Public transportation is a better option to witness the local culture in Dubai. In fact, they have an excellent transportation system that it is not necessary have to hire a car during your stay unless you plan to go to the remote areas or extend your journey to the nearby city like Abu Dhabi.
The roads in Dubai is crazy crowded. Did we witness any supercars during our trip like what the media portrayed? Yes. It got too common to watch them passed by us.
In less than an hour upon arrival in Dubai, we got duped by boarding this limousine tax services (that black Lexus taxi that everyone warned about). How? We walked towards the taxi sign, however this travel buddy of mine walked straight into the trap in getting a short cut. I was hesitant initially when I saw the ‘Limousine Service’ signage, but it was too late to walked back to the taxi line. We paid AED80 for that unfortunate 15 minutes ride.
Some tip that may be useful to future travellers, I would not recommend the airport transfer offered by the hotel. It costs a hefty AED150 one-way! I once saw a Uber ride to airport terminal that cost AED44. Upon checking-out on our last day, we decided to pull our luggage from the hotel to walk outside the main road and hail a taxi. How much does it cost? AED31 for a quick 15 minutes ride to the Airport Terminal.
Dubai Taxi Services
The Dubai Taxi Corporation are the main taxi services in Dubai. All taxis are metered and easily available when you hail it. There are special taxi services like Ladies Taxi meant for families and ladies only, as the driver is a lady. Visibly appealing in pink, the services only offers better comfort for Muslims ladies. On some area like Deira, beware of scammers who poses as taxi drivers using their personal cars. Hail a local taxi and you will be safe.
Like I mentioned above, that black/white Lexus taxi is daylight robbery for us tourists. To marked up the price per distance, are just distasteful and unfair. Even though those fancy taxis are ‘metered’ on their mini Ipads, it is still a bloody scam. In Singapore, it is clearly written on how much the initial flag rate when passengers hail the regardless standard or a premium cab. Alternatively, book a taxi via this Smart Taxi mobile app.
Did we tried any Uber services? No.
The recommended services is to hop on local bus, metro, tram, monorail or ferry. Their trains services are quite easy to catch up once you get the hang of it. I would recommend to download the RTA mobile app or Dubai Metro (android or apple) to plan your journey ahead. Go ahead and purchase your Nol Card that acts just like smart card for your travel commute in Dubai. Pick a Silver Nol card or Gold Nol card if you desire to travel in comfort, though the travelling fee would be doubled than silver nol card users. At the end of your stay, refund your value and keep the card as a souvenir. What stands out are the Ladies and Children carriage that divide the passengers. I see the humour behind it when the ladies sat comfortably while the men cramped up on their theirs. Husbands are allowed to stay close with their wives and family, but it gets awkward to be the torn among the roses. Despite the fact that all passengers can opt for the mix gender carriage during their journey, it is a privilege to stay safe on the designated border in the metro. This border rule extended to all RTA public transportation.
Most tourist attractions in Dubai are not close to the metro stations or bus stop. Either you have to change your mode of transport or power walk your way to the destination. The design of the stations are catered mostly to workers than tourists.
The downside of the public bus is the inability to pay your stop using cash with the bus driver. If you have insufficient value in your Nol card, you pretty much screwed. Even the top up machines are not available on bustops, so you have to find nearest metro stations or bus insterchange to add in your value.
Once we went to Dubai Global Village on Bus 104 that costs AED10 (one way), we had an insufficient amount to our card when we board the return bus. We had to purchased two new Nol cards cost AED21 (per person) with a RTA official, stationed in the car near the bus stand. It looks like as though we were trading illegally. As mentioned above, no top-up machines available at bus stands even on tourist attractions like Dubai Global Village.
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