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When it comes to number of passengers, Dubai International Airport is the world’s busiest international airport. It’s the main flight hub in Dubai, so if you are planning a visit to the city, it’s likely to be the airport that you will be flying into. Once you arrive, you’ll find there are a variety of options to help you get to where you are going. In this post, we’ll take you through the various forms of transport out of Dubai International Airport.
You can hire a taxi straight from the airport to your destination. These taxis are available 24/7 outside Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Riders have a choice between a cream-trimmed taxi, which is available for anyone to hire, or a pink-trimmed taxi, which has a female driver and is available for women and families to use.
There is a 25 AED surcharge for trips from the airport and passengers are generally charged 1.96 AED for every kilometer travelled.
Pros: Door-to-door service, easy especially for families, 24/7 availability
Cons: More expensive for single travellers.
For those of you who prefer ride-sharing apps, there is also the option of taking an Uber. Uber has made it very convenient to request a pick up from Dubai International Airport. You choose the ride option that suits the size of your group and the amount of luggage you are carrying and indicate which terminal you would like to be picked up from. You can then exit from the arrivals area and head to your pick up spot by the parking lot.
If you are at terminal 1, your pickup spot will be the Short Stay Car Park A1.
If you are at terminal 2, your pickup spot will be the passenger pick up area next to the outdoor carpark across the road.
If you are at terminal 3, your pickup spot will be Parking Lot 2.
Pros: Door-to-door service, easy especially for families, 24/7 availability, online receipts make reimbursement easier, ability to pay directly through the app
Cons: Possible difficulty locating the pickup spot and identifying your driver, Internet access required to use the app.
Outside Terminal 1 and terminal 2, you will find special air-conditioned buses with large baggage holds. These buses operate 24 hours a day at 30-minute intervals and follow two main routes.
Airport Bus 401 travels to Deira, stopping at DNATA, Al Maktoum Road, Deira Taxi Station and Al Sabkha Bus Station. Airport Bus 402 transports passengers to the Dubai city area on the other side of the creek. The stops on this line are Deira City Centre, Al Karama, Golden Sands, Al Mankhool and Al Ghubaiba Bus Station.
The bus fare will only cost about 3 AED, making this an extremely cost effective option. However, it is important to note that Dubai buses do not accept payment in cash or coin. You will need to purchase a Nol card and top it up with some funds. Tourists often purchase a red ticket, which can be loaded with up to 10 trips or with 5 daily passes (you can read more about the different types of Nol cards and their associate pricing here). You’ll find kiosks in the airport that will allow you to purchase a Nol card before getting on the bus.
Pros: Highly affordable
Cons: Departure only every 30 minutes, limited destinations so further transport via taxi, metro or bus is may be required.
Dubai also boasts of a world class metro system that connects to Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport. Passengers entering the metro from one of these stations are allowed two pieces of luggage each, one of which is hand luggage.
Trains run every ten minutes; however, the metro is not in operation 24/7. The exact timetable will depend on your destination. In general, trains on the red line run from 5am till midnight Saturday to Wednesday, 5am till 1am on Thursdays and from 10am till 1am on Fridays.
You will need a Nol card with sufficient funds (minimum 8 AED) in order to ride the metro. We’ve written a detailed guide on how to use the Dubai Metro here.
Pros: Highly affordable
Cons: Possible difficulty manoeuvring suitcases on and off the train, limited destinations so further transport via taxi or bus may be required.
You also have the option of renting a car from the airport and driving to your destination. Car hire agents with kiosks in Dubai International Airport include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Sixt, Thrifty, Asia Autolease, Continental, DiamondLease, Fast, Tamara, United and Yasi. This is the most expensive option, with prices varying based on the car make, length of rental and the rental company. If you’re thinking about renting a car, you should also remember to include the price of fuel in your estimate (even though fuel in Dubai tends to be cheaper than in other parts of the world) and the price of parking (as there are only a few areas with free parking in Dubai). You should also consider that driving on Dubai’s roads can sometimes get a bit chaotic, so make sure you will be comfortable driving in these conditions.
Pros: Freedom to travel anytime at your convenience and directly to/from your destination
Cons: This is the most expensive option. You should only consider renting a car from the airport if you are planning to make use of the vehicle throughout the length of your trip
The type of transport you use when leaving Dubai International Airport depends on a lot of factors – the amount of luggage you are carrying, the number of people travelling with you, the time you arrive, your budget and your destination. We hope this post will help you narrow down your options and let you begin your journey into the city.