Dubai has 2 faces, one is the face of luxurious center, where there are more expensive restaurants, expensive services (massage, hairdresser) and relatively expensive entertainment. Then there are also parts like Deira, where you can get everything really cheap. You can sit down in a bistro and eat, let say for 6-8 USD including drink. Prices are in Dirhams, the rate is around 1 USD = 3.7 AED.
I will add, that in Dubai this year taxes have been introduced, namely 5% + surcharge for cigarettes and sweet lemonades (coca cola etc.). This fact, of course, affects a bit market prices.
Food prices in Dubai
Food in a restaurant in the modern part of Dubai with a drink – 50 AED
I omit luxury restaurants or cheaper bistros, take it as an average. Decent restaurant, cuisine from all over the world, you can choose Lebanon cuisine, western type of food, Italian cuisine, etc.
Luxurious restaurant with unlimited food consumption – 200-300 AED
E.g. Hotel Armani in Burj Khalifa, 280 AED for unlimited consumption + soft drinks, unlimited alcohol drinks, which cost another 100 AED. You are in a beautiful place, you can eat great food, desserts, salads, sea fruit and you can have a view on dancing fountains.
Eating in cheaper bistros with a drink – 25-40 AED
Such restaurants and bistros can be found there even in a more modern part of Dubai, especially fast food from all around the world and various franchisees restaurant. In Deira and Burj Dubai, you will also be at this price in fine restaurants such as Iranian, Afghan restaurants or an Indian restaurant, where you can get a great meal. There can be cheaper street food in these parts of Dubai, e. g. kebab, various rice, etc. And some fast food in business centers, McDonald’s big menu for 27 AED.
Coffee – count 20-25 AED, but you can also find cheaper, perhaps in stalls or fast food. If you want to sit somewhere where it is nice, count calmly 30-40 AED for coffee, I personally recommend you Arabic coffee or Moroccan tea. It’s almost as expensive, you get the whole jug and it has an interesting taste of cardamom.
Beer – 40-60 AED
You cannot buy alcohol in the restaurants, only those are in hotels. Prices are really high here. Cheaper hotels, such as various Indian hotels in Deira have a beer even for 30 AEDs, and I still got a bunch of fruit and a snack and dancing Indian dancers.
Prices of food and accessories in Dubai
Prices are quoted for supermarkets, not small street shops where the price is often higher (specifically – Carrefour). You cannot compare everything. You have to realize that the food is here imported. Some things are imported from closer countries and they can be more advantageous than in Europe countries.
- 1 yoghurt: 2 AED
- Cheeses – local (significantly different flavor): 50-60 AED per kg
- (imported very expensive, calm 150 or more AED per kilo, local)
- Toast bread – 6-7 AED
- 12 eggs – 13 AED
- Apples – 1kg – 9-12 AED
- Coca-Cola can – 2.6 AED
Just a remark… if you are interested in a specific item, you will find it on carrefouruae.com
Here’s hard to judge.. For example I bought Levis jeans in Dubai cheaper as in Czech Republic, especially for 200 AED, but it is all about the sales. If you would need e.g. cheap socks or T-shirts, you can get them in Carrefour, or in Deira’s shops for around 5 AED. Many people are travelling to Dubai for shopping, not only for choice but also for prices, events, a wide selection, brands that are not in our country.
- Taxi – 2 AED / 1km, take-off around 10 AED
- Metro – daily ticket 20 AED
- Bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – 25 AED
Current life costs
For an idea, if you would like to live here, just the internet at home cost around 300 AED, apartment 45 meters (outside top locations) from 4300 AED per month, other approx. 600-700 AED for things like electricity, gas and water. You should pay expensive health insurance too, because there are private hospitals.
Fun and admissions
The entrance fees are here in many cases very expensive, but you will not regret the money. For example, Aquariums in Dubai Mall are just a sensational thing. But if you want to have your money under control, I recommend you the Turbopass. For a weekly ticket you will pay approx. 3800 CZK, but you will really enjoy it for sure. With a Turbopass you can have a program for the whole time. And not only to have a 2 or 3 attractions for such price without this pass.
Solo tickets and entertainment:
- Dubai Garden Glow – 65 AED / person
- Dubai Aquarium – 120 AED / person – the most basic ticket for aquarium + small zoo at the Dubai Mall, the best ticket you go to boat, virtual reality and other stuff is for 315 AED (I recommend at least the middle option (Explorer Experience) for 175 AED
- Dubai Frame – 50 AED
- Burj Khalifa – 135 AED – basic ticket, you get on 125. floor
- Day in the Water Park (Palm Island) – 330 AED
- Year-round ticket for 990 AED)
- Cutting – basic haircut for men – 70 AED
- 1 hour long massage – 300-500 AED For services, I recommend Deira, gentlemen may be allowed to cut from here 10 AED, standard around 20 AED. You can shave a massage are also significantly cheaper.
The basis is to have quality insurance, hospitals are luxurious here, but private and expensive. You will be able to choose from 20 different types of meals like in a hotel, but the final bill will be very high. That’s why the base thing is to have a quality insurance.
For example, the dentist services cost from 100 to 500 AED (white seal). You can buy basic medicines like Ibuprofen, Imodium, etc. here for 17 AED.
In the conclusion:
Please take those mentioned prices as an example. As everywhere in the world, you can find cheaper or more expensive restaurants and shops. There are thousands shops.
If you are thinking about what to buy here, surely you can find in Dubai nice and cheap clothes and dresses. I usually buy in Dubai Indian, Asian spices and things I do not buy in our country. Carrefour has one long shelf of international food where you have it categorized according to various countries and you will find something interesting here for sure.
A few people told me that gold and diamonds would be worth to buy in the Gold Souk. Do not forget to bargain there, that’s able in every marketplace. On the contrary, do not bargain in normal shops.