Our Top Tips and guides for navigating your way across Dubai
Dubai is a large city to navigate, but plenty of public and private transport methods are available for tourists. On this page, you can learn more about:
- Dubai Public Transport
- Water Transport in Dubai
- Driving in Dubai
- Beyond Dubai – How to get to Around the Emirates
Dubai Public Transport
The Government-owned RTA (Roads and Traffic Authority) manages the public transport network in Dubai.
Taxis are one of the easiest ways to get around in Dubai. Relative to other countries, they are not overly expensive per km and are in plentiful supply at hotels and attractions across the city.
The minimum Dubai taxi fare is 12 AED. A 5 AED flagfall applies if they are pre-booked, whilst the airport flagfall is higher, 25 AED.
We have a complete guide to booking Dubai taxis here, including how to get about with car seats and finding the best ways to book.
The Metro is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of getting between many of Dubai’s major attractions. There are two Metro lines at present:
- The Red Line that runs along the length of the city and Sheikh Zayed Road – an additional branch now see’s this line end at the site of Expo 2020.
- The Green Line serves the eastern side of Dubai.
Before your first ride on any Dubai public transport, you will need to buy a Nol Card for all passengers over 5 years old. You can pre-load it with an amount if you want to avoid queuing every time or just pay per ride.
The Metro can be very busy at peak times in the morning and evening so it is best for tourists to try and travel off-peak. Every Metro train comes with a Gold class carriage at one end and a special carriage set aside for women and children at the other.
The Dubai Tram operates using Nol only, no cash.
- You can find our detailed guide on how the Dubai Tram works here.
There is an extensive network of buses that criss-cross the city. Tourists are less likely to use the bus system, but of, course, are welcome to do so with their Nol card.
Use the RTA’s Public Transport App to best plan your journey.
The Palm Monorail connects the mainland to Palm Jumeirah and presently has four operating stops:
- Gateway Station (connected via an underpass to Palm Jumeirah Tram Station)
- Al Ittihad Park Station
- Nakheel Mall Station
- The Pointe Station (not yet open)
- Atlantis Aquaventure Station
The Palm Monorail runs every 15 minutes, from 9:00 AM until 10.30 PM daily and the journey from one end of the Palm to the other takes about 10 minutes.
The Palm Jumeirah Monorail is privately operated and NOT on the Nol public transport system. You need to pay in cash at the Monorail Station. A single trip for the whole journey costs 10om0 and a return trip AED 30 per person – pretty pricey for the distance you cover.
Water Transport in Dubai
With extensive waterways across the city (natural and man-made), it’s no surprise there are lots of water transportation options in Dubai.
Dubai Water Bus – Dubai Marina
Within Dubai Marina, an RTA water bus operates with four routes:
- Dubai Marina Walk to Marina Terrace – 3 AED
- Dubai Marina Mall to Marian Promenade – 3 AED
- Dubai Marina Walk to Dubai Marina Mall – 5 AED
- Marina Promenade to Marina Terrace 11 AED
The Dubai Water Bus also work on the Nol system. You can find our complete guide to the Dubai Water Bus here.
Dubai Ferry – Dubai Marina to Dubai Canal
Since the opening of a man-made canal, Downtown Dubai can now connect to Dubai Marina by water.
The RTA runs various ferry routes that stop at:
- Dubai Canal
- Sheikh Zayed Road
- Al Wajeha Al Maeyah
- Dubai Design District
- Dubai Marina
Covered on your Nol card, the cost depends on how many stops you make:
- 1 stop 2 AED
- 2 stops 4 AED
- 3 stops 6 AED
- 4 stops 8 AED
This can make a great value way with a fabulous unique view of the city to get between areas of Dubai, though at present the service only operates three times per afternoon/evening in each direction.
Water Taxis and Abras
If you are looking to cross the Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai to Deira, you can :
- Take a water taxi or sightseeing waterbus
- A traditional abra
At only 1AED per person per crossing, abras are a bargain and a lot of fun.
You can learn more about other water taxi routes in the city here.
Dubai to Sharjah Ferry
The only inter-Emirate service, a ferry service operates from Dubai to Sharjah Aquarium (suspended since COVID).
Driving in Dubai
Dubai isn’t the easiest of cities to drive in with fast-moving traffic and multi-lane freeways, but if you’re hoping to see more of the outter areas of Dubai and explore the other 6 Emirates, it can be a great idea to hire a car in Dubai.
You can pick up hire cars from the airport (use DXB as your pick-up point), or many of the malls and hotels across the city have smaller depots if you just want to hire for a day or two.
- Search for the best car hire prices using price comparison sites such as discovercars.com, rentals start from as little as $20 USD a day
- We have a comprehensive guide to driving a car in Dubai with the key road rules to be aware of here
- Whilst your hotel may not charge you for parking, not everywhere is free! There’s a good guide here on where to find free parking in Dubai.
Beyond Dubai – How to get to Around the Emirates
Dubai to Abu Dhabi
As there is no Metro between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there are a few options including:
- The public Intercity Bus
- Free Airline buses
- Taxi or Uber/Careem
- Private transfer services
- Join an organised tour group
- Hire a car and self-drive
Dubai to the Northern Emirates
There is a network of intercity bus services that can take visitors from Dubai to the other Emirates of the UAE:
- Umm Al Quwain
- Ras Al Khaimah
There are plans for Etihad Rail to connect all major cities in the UAE but this may still take some years to come to fruition.
See our complete guide to getting around the Emirates by Intercity bus here.
Your other UAE transport options include:
- The RAK Shuttle if you are staying in one of the Ras Al Khaimah resort hotels
- Many local bus routes cross between Dubai and Sharjah
- Private transfers or driving services
- Hire a car and self-drive
- Join an organised tour group including transfers
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.Dubai Travel Planner