A budget travelers guide to Dubai

Wanting to inject some excitement into your life, you applied to study abroad in the Middle East. You just found out you are about to spend a semester in Dubai and you’re pumped, but nervous.

It isn’t the cheapest place in the world for a broke student like yourself, but if you play it smart, you can ensure that your first few days here are amazing ones.

Here’s how you can make the most of Dubai on a budget.

STAY: At The Top

Due to its relative lack of a budget travel scene, there are few true hostels in Dubai. We can’t recommend the ones that do exist, as they lack the minimum quality standards necessary for our endorsement, but if you want to take a chance in order to save a few bucks, knock yourself out.

If you are looking for decent value for money, book a stay with At The Top. Located in a condo on the 66th floor of a modern high-rise in the Marina district, you’ll only pay around $20 USD for a dorm bed here, but you’ll have a stunning view of downtown, as well as easy access to the famous Barasti Beach Bar, the Marina Walk, and tons of restaurants and cafes.

EAT: Karachi Inn Restaurant

There are plenty of five-star restaurants where you can blow your entire bank account, but there are also a lot of street shawarma and falafel stands as well.

If you are looking to take a break from street food, though, head over to the Karachi Inn Restaurant. Specializing in Pakistani food, this joint is famous for its nihari and biryani. For less than $9 USD per meal, you might end up making multiple return visits here during your time in Dubai.

SEE: Burj Khalifa

You can’t come to Dubai and not at least get dizzy gazing up at the world’s tallest tower. Before coming to the UAE, though, do make room in your budget for the $50 it will cost you to get up to its observation deck.

It is a lot of money to pay for a view, but the chance to look out over the Arabian desert and the sky line of a super modern city that didn’t exist a generation ago makes it worth every dirham.

Just be sure to order your tickets in advance, as getting a ticket on demand will cost you more than double the previously mentioned price.

DO: Tour Old Dubai

It’s hard to believe, but 50 years ago, Dubai was an unknown on the world stage, as it was little more than a humble fishing and pearling center at that time.

Get an idea how things used to be before this city became a financial hub for the Middle East by heading over to Old Dubai.

The Dubai Museum will brief you on the history of this upstart emirate, the Jumeirah Mosque will give you an opportunity to learn more about Islam, and the Gold Souk will allow to immerse yourself in the excesses this part of the world has become famous for.