Dubai on a Budget

Last month, the shimmering desert metropolis of Dubai unveiled the world’s most expensive cupcake. Sprinkled with gold dust and priced at 3,675.94 dirhams ($1,010), it did little to challenge the city’s reputation as a hub for outrageous luxury. But what might come as more of a surprise is that it is possible to enjoy an affordable break in the Emirate, and even enjoy cupcakes for the more normal price of 12 dirhams. Here is how to have your reasonably priced Dubai cake and eat it:

Two years ago the orange beacon that is Easy, the company behind budget airline Easyjet, as well as Easycar, Easybus and now Easyhotel, beamed out across Dubai, flinging open the doors to its first hotel in the city. Charging from 99 dirhams a night — compared to 400 dirhams for a mid-range business hotel or 70,000 dirhams for a night in the famed Burj Al Arab’s Royal Suite — it is a decent choice for patient types who do not mind hiking to the last stop on the city’s shiny metro (the trainline opened in 2009, and is by far the most cost-effective way of getting about the city, with fares starting from 2 dirhams – about the price of a pack of chewing gum).

Alternatively, the more adventurous can stay in Dubai’s fully air-conditioned youth hostel. Yes, the city of luxury really has a youth hostel – three in fact. Clustered together 15 minutes from Dubai airport, a little way from the popular tourist hotspots, each offers all mod cons and four to six-person rooms from 100 dirhams per night per person, including breakfast, towels and soap. Bookings should be made at least one month before arrival.

With Dubai’s biggest expat demographic made up of Indians and Pakistanis, many food connoisseurs argue that the city offers the world’s finest sub-continental cuisine. The most well-known and is Ravis Restaurant on Satwa Road, a no-frills canteen that serves renowned butter chicken, best chased with milky chai in a polystyrene cup for three dirhams. Defying logic, it seems that no matter how much you order here it will always work out at around 20 dirhams per person…

Read more: BBC

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