There’s no escaping the fact that Dubai is an expensive city, but armed with nothing more than a Dhs50 note there is still plenty to do
Even if you’ve never been to Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain, there is a good chance you’ve seen pictures of it. It is, after all, the landmark you see on the back of a Dhs50 note when you’ve blown all your savings and are wondering how to enjoy your final flush of cash. To make things a little easier for you, Time Out has rounded up 50 great things to do in Dubai for Dhs50 or less. Some are frivolous, some are bargainous and all of them are going to cost you no more than a Dhs50 note.
Free Aquaventure pass Atlantis The Palm’s waterpark has just been voted the fifth best in the world by TripAdvisor users and smart visitors can get in for free as long as they’re prepared to wait for a birthday visit. Turn up on your anniversary and get a free pass to use any time in the week of your birthday. Register for free at www.aquaventurebirthday.com. Daily 10am-sunset. Aquaventure, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).
The Dubai Mall summer pass
Okay, so this is actually five things to do for Dhs250 but it averages out at great savings whichever way you look at it. The Summer Pass grants you access to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dhs100 credit at Sega Republic, entry to KidZania, two regular tickets to Reel Cinemas and a skate around the Dubai Ice Rink. Normal price would be Dhs440 making this a great summer saver. Dhs250. Daily until September 5. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (800 3822 46255)
Half price at Splash Pad There’s many a so-called grown-up in the Time Out office who have walked past the wet play zone for kids at The Beach in JBR and wished they could have a go. There’s something about the cooling fountains, water jets, pumps, sprays and various attractions that just makes kids smile and the half price rates will please parents too. Dhs50. Until September 5. Daily 9am-10am. The Beach, JBR, www.splashpaddubai.com (800 637 227).
Half price beach tennis There is so much tennis being played on the beach in Dubai right now that we’re going to have to start calling it a scene soon. The standard is impressive and it is a great sport to both play and pose at. Grab three mates and split the currently discounted court rate of Dhs110 an hour between you. Dhs110 per hour for a court of up to four players. Daily 3pm-sunset. Until August 31. JBR, www.beachtennis.ae (055 268 6090).
Visit Jumeirah Mosque
A visit to the Jumeirah Mosque has been one of the more popular cultural activities in Dubai for years. Learn about Emirati culture and religion in a relaxed and open atmosphere at this landmark mosque. No need to register although modest dress is required. Dhs10 per person, free for children under 12. Sat-Thu 9.45am. Ongoing. Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah, www.cultures.ae (04 353 6666).
Half price soft play Le Petit Palais, Galeries Lafayette’s play area for kids, is styled as a miniature French town. There is a mini-supermarket, multi-storey soft play area, beauty salon and craft station and, although kids tend to love playing here, it is one of the more expensive play areas in Dubai. So the half-priced play deal offering an hour for Dhs40 is ideally timed for school holidays. Dhs40. Until August 31. Le Petit Palais, 2nd Level, Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall, www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com (04 382 7333 ext. 2754).
See Dubai Butterfly Garden
Although Dubai Miracle Garden is closed for summer, the equally colourful Butterfly Garden is open all year round. Inside the nine domes there are more than 15,000 butterflies from around the world. By our calculations that’s about 300 insects per dirham. If you see all 32 species you’re in for a treat. Dhs50. Daily 9am-6pm. Next to Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Barsha South 3, www.dubaibutterflygarden.com (04 422 8902).
Cycle down the coast road
You may have noticed bike stations at various points around Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, the Palm’s crescent and beyond, but did you know you can rent them? Follow the simple instructions on the bike park and some technical wizardry on your smartphone unlocks the padlock. Five hours’ bike rental from Byky costs Dhs40 and bikes can be dropped off at any station as long as you lock up again. Get cycling and exploring. Dhs40 for five hours. 24 hours, seven days a week. Various locations, www.bykystations.com/en/dubai (800 3330).
Take a guided meditation
Premium pampering can easily top Dhs1,000 in Dubai, so we’re happy to have found a place offering an introduction to meditation for just Dhs50. The guided meditation promotes total body-mind relaxation, emotional tranquillity and mental stillness. Just what you’ll need after driving to Sheikh Zayed Road’s The Third Eye. Dhs50. Mondays, 7.30pm-8.3pm. The Third Eye, 1101, Saeed Tower II, Sheikh Zayed Road (055 809 8595).
Putting practise at Dubai Creek
The Dhs50 price cap won’t get you a full round of golf, but head to Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and you can work your short game on the 18-hole Pearl Putting Course. Modelled on the famous 18-hole championship course it is a high-quality introduction to golf for newcomers or an excellent opportunity to sharpen skills for advanced players. What’s more, the iconic clubhouse and Creek views are some of the best sights in Dubai. Dhs50. Daily. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira, www.dubaigolf.com (04 205 4666).
Lunchtime golf at Meydan Keeping with golf (staying putt, if you will) there is a good chance to work on your long game if you head down to Meydan between noon and 4pm during the week. There you can enjoy unlimited golf balls on The Academy’s driving range, a sandwich and a beverage. A great deal if you can stand the heat. Dhs50. Sun-Thu 10am-4pm. Ongoing. The Track, Meydan Golf, Nad Al Sheba, www.meydangolf.com (04 381 3733).
Swim in the Indian Ocean With the cost of a holiday in Maldives, Seychelles or even Goa likely to cost you thousands of dirhams, a day trip to Fujairah is an excellent alternative. A one-way bus from Dubai costs Dhs25 (you’ll need to save the same amount for the trip back) and is the cheapest way to see the ocean. When you get there find the free beach and enjoy the clear waters for a true, day-at-the-seaside escape from Dubai. Dhs25 for a one way ticket. Daily. Plan your journey at www.wojhati.rta.ae.
Make a racket It is easy to see a fifty dirham note go in a heartbeat, but it won’t be the cost of the game that gets your pulse racing at the Al Safa Sport Hall. Find this sport facility, near Safa Park, and you will be able to enjoy three to four hours of badminton for just Dhs45. A regular group of players are friendly and welcoming if you turn up without a partner to play with you’ll get a decent game. Dhs45. Call for timings. Al Safa Sport Hall, next to Gulf News Building (055 860 6012).
Pop your Boxpark bubble
At Time Out we always encourage exploration and discovery of Dubai, so if you haven’t been to hipster-styled mall BoxPark yet lace up your vintage brogues and get down to Al Wasl Road. While browsing the trendy stores and boutiques grab a bubble tea from London brand Bubbleology. The tapioca-loaded Taiwanese drink comes in flavours such as passion fruit with cucumber or banoffee pie and at Dhs25 for a large (700ml cup) you can afford to bring a companion. Dhs25. Daily 10am-midninght. Bubbleology, BoxPark, Al Wasl Road, www.bubbleology.ae (056 815 8374).
Soak up culture Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz is a hotbed of creativity and originality, with more than 20 galleries and creative organisations within strolling distance. What has made it a must-visit district, however, is the opening of the A4 Space, which works as a hub to the many exhibitions being displayed at any one time. Stop in at the Appetite Café mid-culture crawl for quality coffee and snacks before exploring more. A4 Space has regular curated film screenings in its cinema room so check in advance for details. Free. Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, www.alserkalavenue.ae (050 556 9797).
Dubai Sports World The annual sporting takeover of Dubai World Trade Centre that is Dubai Sports World is coming to a close, but if you’re quick there are athletic bargains to be had. Dhs50 will buy you a money-saving combo ticket to use the Wire World assault course and bungee trampoline although age and weight limitations are in place (under twelves and less than 99kgs respectively). For uninhibited play you can opt for table tennis or the Technogym facilities. Free-Dhs50. Daily, 8am-midnight. Until August 29. Dubai Sports World, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.dubaisportsworld.ae (04 306 4000).
Insanity workout at FitLab Potentially one of the city’s more cost-effective workouts, burn calories in an intense 30-minute session that is sure to get your heart rate pumping and metabolism fired up. From Dhs40 per class (members), from Dhs50 per class (non-members). Sun 7pm, Mon 8.45am, Tue 7.05pm (50 min) Thu 10am. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living, www.dubaigolf.com (04 417 9850).
On Friday mornings when early birds are out catching worms and Thursday night revellers are still sleeping, the city’s climbing enthusiasts are headlining to Rock Republic for discounted dangling sessions. Between 9am and 1pm you can scale 250 square metres of bouldering wall for just Dhs30, including shoe rental. An adult pass is usually Dhs80 so the saving is impressive and the cool atmosphere of extreme adventuring and friendly competitiveness is as strong as ever. Dhs30. Fri 9am-1pm. Rock Republic Gym, Dubai Investment Park (050 100 137).
Gape at the Burj Al Arab By no stretch of the imagination is this a budget or money-saving activity but if you have Dhs50 to spare there are not too many better options than sitting in Ocean Blue and looking up at the Burj Al Arab. A pint of hops will set you back Dhs40 but memories of the unrivalled views of the iconic hotel and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s private marina will last forever. Dhs40 for selected house beverages. Daily 7am-midnight. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8999)
Score on a FIFA pitch Take the kids to play matches on a Fifa-certified turf at Goal. You can also book football-themed parties and enjoy the ‘drop and shop’ service, leaving the little ones to get on with the game while you shop in the mall. Dhs38 for a 15-minute match. Daily 10am-10pm. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.goaljunior.com (04 388 2282).
Take photography lessons Enthusiasts at Emirates Photo Club teach you how to take better pictures. Give and receive constructive feedback from fellow snappers and submit your selection of 12 favourite pics for a chance to win Sony camera equipment. Dhs20. Fortnightly Tuesdays 7pm-9pm. Studio Attitude, 6B Street, Al Quoz, www.meetup.com/emiratesphotoclub (no number).
Midnight fitness sessions Lace up your jogging shoes for the last chance to join one of the city’s more atmospheric training sessions. The Nike+ Run Club have been running the midnight mile all summer and are now claiming to be so fast the ‘humidity does not stick’. Make friends and beat the heat as well as your personal best. Free (register online). 11.34pm. Thu August 27. Ittihad Park, Palm Jumeirah, www.gonike.me/nrcdubai (no number).
Five ladies' nights to try
This Dubai institution is always high on our budget-friendly list. Try these deals out for size Embassy Empress Night Ladies at Embassy are given the full red carpet treatment (quite literally) twice a week on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening. With a choice of three drinks on offer including grape, shorts and mixed drinks, plus nibbles to enjoy, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Tue and Wed 8pm-1am. Embassy Dubai, Grosvenor House Dubai, Tower Two, Dubai Marina (04 317 6000).
Honeys Rock the Boat Ladies get free drinks all night long if they get in before 11pm. The dress code seems to be Kardashian-esque with high heels and body-con dresses on the agenda, so make sure you doll-up to get past the door staff. Expect everything from Queen B to Rihanna and Jason Derulo on the playlist. Tue 7pm to 3am. Mahiki, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 380 7731).
Ladies get unlimited free drinks and sushi sharing platters until 1am. DJ Scottie B plays an energetic mix of funky house and R&B all night. Sun 9.30pm-1am. Cavalli Club, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 9260).
Senorita Sundays Ladies get three free drinks from 7pm to 1am and canapés including some of the restaurant’s Mexican dishes. The only downside is that they don’t usually come around until 10pm – but who’s complaining when it’s free? Sun 7pm-1am. Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Lounge, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 316 5550).
The Girls Don’t Q This weekly Tuesday night soiree is ideal for ladies who fancy going for a quick drink after work and those who fancy partying into the wee hours. Ladies get three free drinks – which includes shorts, mixed drinks and grape. The dress code is more relaxed, so you can easily rock jeans and a tee at this one. Tue 6pm-1am. Q43, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 443 5403).