Explore The City Without Spending Big

Explore the City Without Spending Big

There are numerous attractions, restaurants and hotels in Dubai that are not cheap. Sure, they’re tempting, but not everyone has the right budget. We present you with an entertaining day from early in the morning until late at night, without breaking a tight budget. We start our 72-euro day at the City Center Mirdif shopping center. Opened only 13 years ago, this center is now home to no fewer than 465 retail outlets.

Breakfast in a dignified atmosphere

Here we treat ourselves to a hearty breakfast. It may not be particularly cheap, but the Egg Benedict is really delicious and only costs 13 euros including salmon. For us, a delicious breakfast is the perfect start to the day, which is why we are happy to forego cheaper alternatives. The Coop House restaurant is not located in a food court, which is an advantage as we can have breakfast in a comfortable armchair

Cost of breakfast: approx. 13 euros

Enjoy nature in Murshif Park

Strengthened, we make our way to Mushrif National Park, which we can reach by cab in five minutes. In November, the temperatures in Dubai are glorious, so we spend most of the day outside. Why did we choose Mushrif Park and what does it have to offer? It was opened around 50 years ago and has no less than 70,000 Ghaf trees with the scientific name Prosopis Cineraria. An entrance fee is sometimes charged for attractions that adorn the park. However, if you are traveling sparingly, you can easily limit yourself to the wonderful natural surroundings. It is definitely worth spending half a day in the park.

Our first highlight is a visit to the International Village. Of the 13 houses, the floating Thai house on the small lake and the stylish English house catch the eye. There are two pools in Murshif Park. The entrance fee is modest, 10 AED (2.5 euros) for adults and half that for children. Important: The areas for women and men are separate.

Anyone who is newly in love definitely needs to look for an alternative. As the sun is now shining more intensely, we make a stop in the pool area to cool off. The fantastic variety of birds can be observed from the pool. Who dares to claim to know how many different bird species there are in the park? There are around 100! We can understand that watching birds is not our daughter’s favorite pastime. But with the game idea “Whoever discovers a new bird species first gets a point”, we manage to outwit our 6-year-old Ayleen.

Railroad Murshif Park Dubai
Playground in Murshif Park in Dubai
The Thai House in Murshif Park in Dubai is one of the 13 Mini Houses

Not only the colorful birds fly up and away, but also our time. We are tempted to take the train through the park, but unfortunately, like the tempting carousel, it only does its rounds in the afternoon. Not so bad – it doesn’t always have to be consumption. On our next visit to Murshif Park we will hire bicycles, as the park is huge and the cycle lanes, separated from the road, are ideal for young and old. As the saying goes: postponed is not canceled!

Cost overview:

  • Park entrance fee: 2.50 Euro
  • Pool entrance fee: approx. 2.50 Euro
  • Train journey: approx. 1.5 Euro

The varied food in a budget-friendly food court

At lunchtime, the question arises as to where we can eat cheaply in order to stay within budget. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options. We prefer so-called food courts. A food court is a must for every mall. There are plenty of tables and chairs in the middle of the court. The whole thing is surrounded by a large selection of stands with international cuisine. It’s quite noisy here, with everyone moving from counter to counter, but in the end everyone has what they particularly like on their plate.

Our daughter once again rushes to the McDonald’s stand. However, we prefer international specialties, especially sushi. A glance at the cost – only around 10 euros per person per menu – tastes like a fine dessert. The price may vary depending on the country or cuisine.

For example, at the Japanese restaurant we get a bento box with miso soup for 10 euros, at the Chinese restaurant four different dishes, accompanied by shrimp chips and a drink. If you are a fan of Mexican cuisine, buy yourself a burrito stuffed with delicious ingredients. For us, it is unimaginable that anyone would not find what they are looking for in the food court’s colorful array of kitchens.

Lunch: 10 Euro

The Frame – Dubai from above

The afternoon has already dawned, and once again we ask ourselves what Dubai can offer us without spending a lot of money. Low-cost attractions are indeed a rarity. An inexpensive destination is “The Frame”. Behind “The Frame” – which opened on January 1, 2018 – is a masterpiece by Mexican architect Fernando Donis. The enormous structure consists of two 150-meter-high towers, which are connected by a 93-meter-long bridge and thus form the shape of a picture frame. Before an extremely fast elevator takes us to the top, we stand in a small queue. However, this is unproblematic in that interesting details in the form of wall information accompany us to Dubai.

In keeping with our 72-floor budget, the elevator takes us up 48 floors in just 72 seconds. A gentle ear pressure, which quickly disappears, is a must. Once at the top, there is only one appropriate cry: “WOW”. This view is gigantic. Depending on the daylight, the golden elements are reflected in different colors.

When crossing the bridge, the optical illusion or the change through the glass floor becomes an impressive experience. Our daughter behaves optimally. Even the eerie view into the depths does not irritate them. But it literally pulls the rug out from under our feet. If you are not afraid of heights, you should definitely not miss out on this inexpensive attraction “The Frame”.

You can walk over a glass bridge in The Frame Dubai - you must be free from giddiness
The Frame Dubai from the street.
The view from The Frame is very beautiful and impressive

Admission price: approx. 13.50 euros

Immerse yourself in 1001 in the Souk Madinat

What’s next – after all, it’s already 4 p.m. and another indication that Dubai doesn’t tolerate boredom. We decide to visit the Souk Madinat. The Souk Madinat is located in the Jumeirah area and transports us into a fairytale world, especially at night. In the picturesque alleyways we discover shining lanterns, handicrafts, fine spices, jewelry and much more, especially a large selection of souvenirs. Friendly haggling over the price with the dealer is a matter of honor here.

Always with the budget in mind, this time it’s not a shopping tour for us, but a pleasurable stroll in a part of the city where modernity does not displace the Arab heritage. When it comes to choosing a restaurant, the wealth is once again a delight. We decide on a Neapolitan pizza at the Trattoria restaurant. Next time it will be a souvlaki at the Greek restaurant or a Thai curry or … after all. All dishes and restaurants are authentic.

The prices for a main course range between 25 and 50 euros. The price depends on the location and the view. The Burj al Arab is radiant and the oriental touch of the buildings would certainly have influenced even a master painter like Kandinsky (1866 – 1944). Admittedly, most of it is a replica, but for us the ambience is decisive, and this is right in every respect.

Souk Madinat in Dubai with great shopping opportunities
Souk Madinat is an incredibly beautiful area. The Jumeirah Hotel in the background
Souk Madinat in the foreground a palm tree

Before dinner, we take a trip on an abra – a traditional boat that reminds us that pearl fishing also flourished in the city’s first harbor. The Abra takes us through huge hotel complexes and is another highlight of this 72-euro day. The 20-minute trip is enriched by exciting stories from the helmsman. Tickets can be purchased directly at the Abra station. Click, click, click – a few photos for Instagram are a must, especially as the skipper knows exactly what a photo eye desires.

Cost overview:

  • Descent: approx. 25 Euro
  • Pizza Bufalina approx. 21 euros with a Coke Zero approx. 8 euros

Total cost: approx. 89 euros

It’s time to return home with the certainty that even an under 100 euro trip to Dubai is worth it. And there is still much more to discover. We will report on this.

Your Sascha

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