Three hours in Dubai?
February 20, 2017 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I have an upcoming 8 hour layover in Dubai. Is it worth leaving the airport and if so how can I maximize my time?

I figure if I subtract an hour for getting through customs, two hours for getting through security before the next flight, and two hours of travel time round trip between airport and city I should have about three hours to sight see and maybe have some lunch.

Is this a crazy plan?
Where should I direct the cab driver from the airport to end up in an area I can explore on foot?
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity to Travel & Transportation around Dubai, UAE (7 answers total)
Best answer: No direct advice from me, but you may get some tips from Travel Man: 48 hours in Dubai (23 minutes).
posted by heatherlogan at 6:46 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm perhaps not the best adviser because I've been to Dubai exactly once, but I live just down the road.
First, don't bother with a cab--get on the metro. It goes exactly where you probably want to go--that is, to the malls. Dubai exists for shopping, and you can get to see Burj Khalifa, although it's kind of hard to see close up (just too big).
Incidentally, your estimates for delays may be on the generous side, but perhaps better that way.
My recollection is that visitors of most Western nationalities can get a free entry visa on arrival, but you may want to check that. The immigration officer may want to see your onward booking.
posted by Logophiliac at 7:49 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had a 7 hour layover in Dubai in November. I grabbed a cab down to the Burj/Mall, wandered around, had some food, the back to the airport in plenty of time. I think the above advice on metro is probably good, as traffic can be a bit nuts.

One other factor is that the customs line can be loooong depending on what time you get in. So if you arrive and it's a gigantic mega-hall filled with people, you may want to rethink.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 7:58 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do it! If you don't fancy shopping go somewhere near the creek and walk around, Dubai Museum is ok for a quick visit. I did a 7 hour layover in DXB once and after the third hour it really started to drag (90% of the seats are no good for sleeping).
posted by samj at 12:21 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The shopping malls are ridiculously over-the-top, but the Jumeirah mosque is beautiful if you're into architecture.
posted by Everydayville at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been through Dubai a few times and made it out of the airport pretty quickly. I concur on the metro, especially if you don't want to interact with people since it's all automated, and I was about to recommend familiarizing yourself in advance with the online Metro simulator which was super cool but evidently doesn't exist any longer. :-( (Here's the link in case it's, I dunno, region-blocked or something, and you can see someone else walking through part of it here.)

You miiiiiiight be able to squeeze in a trip up the Burj Khalifa if you book your ticket in advance but if it were me I'd be nervous. It may also be enough just to go walk around the malls (depending on timing maybe you can catch a penguin show at SkiDubai in Mall of the Emirates) or the old town/museum/around the creek, but not both.

I would say it's worth doing some online research in advance and plan what you want to do and how to get there. There is lots and lots of information available including maps (metro and walking) with attractions and pretty much anything that would benefit from booking can be done online.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:21 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Check about the requirement for a Visa if you go out of the airport.

Link here
posted by Flashduck at 5:19 PM on February 25, 2017

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