Dubai Fountain

Getting Around Dubai

Introduction - Your Options!

The number of options for getting around Dubai have increased in recent years and will no doubt keep increasing. You'll find cars, taxis, buses, the Metro and now trams (in the Marina area) have increased the possible ways to get to the Places to Visit and Things to Do in Dubai. However it's not yet really a fully co-ordinated system and to visit a particular attraction you're best asking about the best way (and sometimes the only way) to get there. Use our sub-menu above for much more information as to your options as to how to get around and make the most of your holiday in Dubai.

Getting Around Dubai

In general you'll find that whilst signage, especially on major roads, is getting better all the time, problems arise from the fact that road layouts, particularly in developing areas can change overnight without warning. See also our thoughts on Understanding Signs.

Also, as you'll discover, many of the smaller, older streets do not seem to be named at all although they may be numbered in a seemingly illogical manner. However, even if they are named or numbered it's unlikely that many taxi drivers will actually know the names or numbers. Oh for a Dubai version of 'The Knowledge'! Help is at hand, a scheme seems to be in place to make the address system more user-friendly although I suspect this will take years to complete.

Cycle Hire

Remember, there's no overall communal postal delivery system to individual addresses in Dubai, everything works on Box Numbers, so in the past there's not been the need for road name/number signs as we know them in the UK or other similar Western countries. This is, however, gradually changing in that individuals and businesses can now obtain a totally unique Box Number which is allied to the GPS co-ordinates of their address, and if the person or firm moves they just keep the box number but amend the co-ordinates. They then pay for (say) 3 or 6 postal deliveries a week. At present only a few residents have opted to use the system but it will, without doubt, increase over the years. Once the GPS systems are more fully deployed what's the betting deliveries by drone won't be too long in getting off the ground!

Metro Link Sign

Good maps of Dubai used to be hard to find but this has gradually improved. Amongst a number of other possibilities you can buy a Street Map Explorer book ('Your Guide to Getting Around Dubai'), which is like an A - Z guide and shows all the individual roads, some named, some numbered, some both, but you'd struggle to drive and follow such a map at the same time. A good navigator would be a must. It does however have sections listing places such as hotels, shopping malls, major residential developments, parks, areas of Dubai, hospitals, schools etc. and gives page and map references for them, which is useful in having somewhere nearby to aim towards.

Your first holiday in Dubai? Carry cold bottled water around with you.

Whilst in recent years driving standards have undoubtedly improved and roads seem quieter than previously, it's still a very busy place at certain times of the day. Busy can mean traffic jams on roads that have six lanes in each direction! The biggest driving concern is that cars often drive too close to each other at faster than adviseable speeds on all major roads and even on sliproads onto the major roads. In Dubai road deaths are the biggest killer.

However, a competent, confident and experienced driver should have few problems in driving in Dubai but I'll bet every first time Dubai driver will get lost quite regularly and on the major roads, miss a turn off and you could end up doing a five mile drive just to get back to the same place for a second attempt. Don't let the frustration get the better of you - expect this sort of thing to happen and allow plenty of time for any drive, you'll need it. Have a look at our Best Way to See Dubai page for other suggestions.

On the Big Bus

Eventually during your trips around Dubai you'll realise something is missing, but what?... Where are all the wagons? Driving in the main city during the day time you'll eventually realise that despite all the building work, you're not seeing any wagons. That's because during the day they're restricted to specified or outer roads around the city and can only enter the city itself at night, or during other signposted hours, or on specially designated roads.

On your Dubai holiday why not learn more about Dubai Religions
Where to Stay and Places to Visit and Things to Do in Dubai

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