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5 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the Middle East and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in Dubai for your next trip.

Dubai is a city of superlatives, known for its towering skyscrapers, luxurious shopping, and vibrant nightlife. However, like any popular tourist destination, it has its share of tourist traps. Here’s a guide to help you navigate and avoid them, ensuring a more authentic and enjoyable experience.

What Is The Best Way From Dubai Airport To City Center?

The best way from Dubai airport to Burj Khalifa city center is by metro around 25 minutes for 8 AED which is $2 USD depending on your final destination. Read here

Read here the best Dubai sim card for tourist, How to get from Dubai Airport to city center and the best Dubai breakfast


You can stay in a dorm room starting from $20-30 USD while you can stay in a budget hotel for as low as $60-90 USD. There are so many to choose from depending on what type and how luxurious you want your stay to be starting from $200 USD.

Book your accommodations in Dubai through Agoda or Booking


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Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai

1. The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: While these malls are impressive, they can be extremely crowded and overpriced, particularly for dining and entertainment.

How to Avoid: Visit smaller, less touristy malls like City Centre Deira or BurJuman. For a unique shopping experience, explore the traditional souks, such as the Gold Souk and Spice Souk, for a more authentic taste of Dubai.

2. Burj Khalifa Observation Deck

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: The observation deck is expensive and often overcrowded.

How to Avoid: Visit during non-peak hours (early morning or late evening) to avoid crowds. Alternatively, consider the view from the Sky Views Observatory at the Address Sky View, which is less crowded and offers a different perspective of the city.

3. Desert Safari Tours

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: Many desert safari tours are heavily commercialized, with rushed schedules and subpar food.

How to Avoid: Research and book with reputable companies that offer smaller, more personalized tours. Look for tours that include authentic experiences like camel trekking, falconry demonstrations, and dinner in a Bedouin-style camp.

4. Dubai Marina Dinner Cruises

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: Many of these cruises offer mediocre food and entertainment at high prices.

How to Avoid: Opt for a traditional dhow cruise along Dubai Creek for a more authentic experience. Alternatively, dine at one of the many waterfront restaurants in Dubai Marina for great views and better food.

5. Global Village

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: This attraction can be overly crowded and commercialized, especially during peak season.

How to Avoid: Visit during weekdays or early in the season to avoid the biggest crowds. Alternatively, explore the city’s cultural districts, such as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, for a more genuine cultural experience.

General Tips to Avoid Tourist Traps in Dubai

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Local Insights: Use blogs, forums, and websites written by locals or long-term residents for genuine recommendations.

Social Media: Follow Dubai-based social media accounts and hashtags to discover hidden gems and local favorites.

2. Visit During Off-Peak Times

Timing: Visit popular attractions early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid crowds.

Season: Travel during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for fewer tourists and more pleasant weather.

3. Use Public Transport

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Efficient and Affordable: Dubai’s public transportation system, including the Metro and buses, is reliable and affordable. Use them to avoid expensive taxis.

Nol Card: Purchase a Nol Card for convenient and discounted travel on public transport.

4. Stay in Residential Neighborhoods

Authentic Experience: Choose accommodations in areas like Al Barsha, Jumeirah, or Deira for a more authentic local experience.

Local Amenities: These neighborhoods offer local cafes, restaurants, and shops away from tourist crowds.

5. Eat Like a Local

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Local Eateries: Dine at local eateries and avoid touristy restaurants. Try places like Ravi Restaurant for authentic Pakistani cuisine or Bu Qtair for fresh seafood.

Food Markets: Visit food markets like the Ripe Market for fresh and affordable food.

6. Choose Alternative Attractions

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Dubai And How to Avoid Them

Less Crowded Options: Instead of the busy Dubai Fountain, visit the quieter Dubai Water Canal for a relaxing stroll along the waterfront.

Local Museums: Explore smaller museums like the Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort or the Etihad Museum for a deeper understanding of the UAE’s history and culture.

7. Avoid Tourist Shopping Areas

Local Markets: Skip the touristy souvenir shops and head to local markets or craft stores for unique and reasonably priced items.

8. Use Local Resources

Apps and Websites: Use apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Spotted by Locals for up-to-date reviews and recommendations.

Walking Tours: Join a free walking tour led by locals who provide genuine insights and tips.

9. Ask Locals for Recommendations

Personal Advice: Strike up a conversation with locals or ask for recommendations at your hotel (avoiding concierge desk suggestions, which might be tourist traps).

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