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Insider’s guide to Dubai ‘on the cheap’

Insider’s guide to Dubai ‘on the cheap’

We don’t have one, but we need your help creating one.

January 31, 2009 12:42 by

Let’s get something straight: Dubai isn’t cheap. And living in and visiting the emirate on a shoe-string budget won’t get you far. After all, this is an emirate famed for its luxuries.

A number of magazines, such as Viva and Time Out Dubai published features in January with ideas on how to reduce your expenses and still have fun in Dubai. They include the usual suspects: going to the beach, visiting a park, going to Peanut Butter Jam at Wafi Rooftop, among others. The suggestions, while good, are too generic for us. We need a little more excitement in our lives than a trip to a park…

Kipp wants your help in coming up with the ultimate budget guide to Dubai.

We want to know what you’ve been doing to keep your budget under control in Dubai. How have you been keeping yourself entertained in the ‘city of dreams’ on a budget? Are there any excellent, but cheap independent restaurants you can recommend? Have you visited a clean camping site you think readers should visit?

Let Kipp know, and help us create the insider’s guide to Dubai ‘on the cheap’.

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  1. zouzou on January 31, 2009 1:09 pm

    thre are many restaurant that have great value for money. only issue for some expatriates is that they do not serve alchool but prices are very affordable and food is good. for instance in jumeirah beach residence, you have a chinise retaurant that serves the best dumplings and has an all you can eat meal for 80 dirhams.

  2. Rick on January 31, 2009 1:09 pm

    I don’t liv in Dubai any more, rather Muscat, but lived in Dubai 25 years ago. On a fairly recent visit, I was astounded to find that Ravi’s still exists, and the food is still excellent! It’s very cheap, too. It used to be out in the middle of nowhere, but now it’s in the middle of Bur Dubai. Wonderful!

  3. Asif Anwar on January 31, 2009 1:37 pm

    Check out the link for some dirt cheap ideas for weekends in Dubai. The
    listed ideas are so cheap that they will redefine cheapness.

    Asif cp

  4. John the Baptist on January 31, 2009 2:39 pm

    A good ace to start your cost saving search is where there are tonnes of FREE printable vouchers just like The Entertainer but for nothing – brilliant!

  5. Jayan Nair on January 31, 2009 4:02 pm

    These rules assume that one still has a job / income: Else pawn your watch, car or whatever and catch the next flight home. Flee today and fight tomorrow. In Dubai, without income you may not have a chance to rebuild your life.

    Okay, to the points —
    1) Say no to unwanted buys (Example – Upgrading ur TV/Laptop)
    2) Minimise on food and shelter
    3) save whatever you and cancel all your credit cards. Sure, credit cards are legal, but they are the equilent of drugs in the financial world. A rotten product that ruins 70% of those who use them. If you are one of the 30, its fine. Im not, Im still payin interest on that big screen tv that i bought with my first card – 10 years back. The tv is long gone, the card isnt.
    4)Cancel duplicate services (example – chose between alshamil and evision). Though not precisely duplicate services, cancelling one in a lean period wont hurt u.
    5)Everything is legal and everything is illegal in UAE. 1000 sharing accomodation advertisements come everyday on all main newspapers, but it is illegal. 500 carlifts adverts come everyday on the same media, but its illegal too, except if you include the RTA. Point is do something extra.
    6)Sell unwanted, unutilized stuff thats there in your home, for whatever money these will fetch.example – (dvds, books, etc)
    May not be easy, still worth a try. Luckily you dont have to pay anything for such adverts. Luck again – there are some people who like to buy more and more.
    7)Excersise regularly, check cholesterol, sugar etc and take appropriate measures. You still have your body and are in control of the same, unlike the economy. So guard it with your life
    8)Keep up the good spirits. One good thing that has come out of this economic mess is that Greenspan, Bernanke, my Grocery guy, me, my Office boy – all of us are equal. Equally dumb or bright. So one fine month, there could be a solution to this mess and there might be a turn around.

  6. rnb on January 31, 2009 4:35 pm

    Barracuda, UAQ!
    Can of beer on roof of villa=aed3

    Pint in hotel=aed30.

    The UAQ 10:1 offer!

  7. EI Stanley on January 31, 2009 5:55 pm

    For inexpensive entertainment once a month, try the Laughter Factory. At Dhs 110, it is still one of the best value-for-money options in Dubai for a night out with family/friends.

    If you have 10 people coming over for a long ovedue dinner, and have a really tight budget, try organising your meal from Lulu’s – Barsha. For less than Dhs 200, you can get about 6 courses including desserts. Their pizza costs Dhs 10!

    Carry lunch from home, at least thrice a week. Say the price of an average lunch is Dhs 50, and by making your own sandwiches or wraps, it means saving Dhs 600 every month. When you get good at it, try making dinner on the other three days. Big savings

  8. Rohit on January 31, 2009 6:56 pm

    Sheesha Cafes anyone
    Lets Go Sheeshing !!!
    Lets face it sheesha is one thing you can still do on a shoestring budget, hanging out with a friend, with backgammon and turkish cofee in any karama haunt, will put you back by 50 dhs at the max.
    If you classy people living in new dubai thinks thats too far, head to reem al bawardi at the beach road after the jumeirah beach park. its the best sheeshah you can have , sheesha is still at 25 bucks there and a really hot joint. For the health conscious there are leagues at you can socialize with cricket, touch frisbee , soccer at 300 dhs for a whole season meet lots of like minded people and stay healthy at the same time, yoga classes at safa park 8am, tennis and basketball courts as well over there. list is endless. From a person who has liven in dubai for 28 years. Dubai can still be handled at a budget as long as you stay from the over rated cheap service so called cool hangouts at SZR and boring headbanging clubs around dubai.

  9. Nick on February 1, 2009 7:46 am

    Oh yes, I know many great cheap restaurants but I am not going to tell.

    The moment a place – even a camping site for that matter – pops up in a guide book it is doomed.

  10. Loz on February 1, 2009 8:34 am

    Head down to Al Mallah on Al Diyafah Rd any night after 9pm – take a table on the kerbside and order yourself a cheese pastry and a juice. Then watch the boys and girls who aren’t crunched cruise past in their glamour vehicles. You can sit there all night giving points or guessing the price of customised cars – this activity has extra value on National Day or after a big sporting match when the cars are extra pretty. A whole nights entertainment can be had for under 20dhs.

  11. labolts on February 1, 2009 9:18 am

    I hear going to park is cheap fun way to spend an afternoon

  12. Gizmo on February 1, 2009 12:11 pm

    Agreed with zouzou, Da Shi Dai at the Walk JBR serves excellend dim sum and other popular chinese grub. They are running a deal all you can eat for 69 Dhs on weekdays, and 79 Dhs on weekends, 12 noon – 6 pm.

  13. Gizmo on February 1, 2009 2:24 pm

    If you want to have a quick, affordable and tasty alternative to junk food then try any of these restaurants in any big mall around UAE, and during DSF you can also win an iPod if you are lucky!
    My personal favourite is Sugoi!, a Japanese restaurant in Ibn Battuta Mall food court :)


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