Page update - Dec 20, 2022
How to get from the Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) to the city and to your hotel quickly and conveniently? How to get there cheaply? What to do if you arrive at night? Read the detailed answers on this page.
ATTENTION! Starting December 20, 2022, the F55 bus route from the airport has been changed. It is no longer run to Ibn Battuta metro station, but to Expo 2020 metro station. The F55 and N55 bus timetables have also changed as of 20 December 2022. The DWC1 bus is no longer running. Look for all the current timetables below on this page.
Dubai has two large international airports.
The first is the Dubai International Airport (code: DXB) which is located in the east of the city, in the Deira district. Read about how to get from it to the city in our review "How to get from Dubai Airport to the city".
The second is Al Maktoum International Airport (code: DWC), which is located in the west of the city, in the Jebel Ali area. Read about how to get from Al Maktoum Airport to the city on this page.
An important point! When you fly back, don't forget to recheck the airport on your airline ticket. There have been cases where tourists have arrived at the wrong airport by mistake. If you get it wrong, you are unlikely to get quickly to the right airport, as airports are at different ends of the city, 70 kilometers (45 miles) from each other.
If you communicate with a cab driver, it's best to show him the airline ticket, so he/she understands exactly the destination airport.
Find your flight
First important point! Now you can make payment for the bus only by NOL transport card, no cash. First you need to change dollars, pounds, euros into dirhams, fortunately there are exchange offices at Al Maktoum airport with a reasonable exchange rate. Change a little to be enough to buy a Silver NOL card for 25 dirhams, read our review "Currency Exchange in the UAE".
Then you need to buy the card from a vending machine. Cards come in Red, Gold, Silver. Read about them in detail on the page "NOL Cards".
The second important point! About luggage. It is allowed by the rules to ride with the luggage in Dubai buses. The main thing is not to block the passages and not to put the luggage in the prohibited areas, for this you may be fined.
As for the subway, it's complicated. According to the rules, it is forbidden to ride the subway with luggage. However, in 2010 the RTA (Dubai Transport Authority) made an exception - officially allowed to carry luggage, if the passenger is going to or from an airport. In the case of inspection by a ticket inspector, you must present a ticket for today's date.
But in 2010, Al Maktoum airport (DWC) was not yet working to receive passengers. And it is not clear whether this exception applies to passengers from Al Maktoum airport? Or does it only apply to passengers at Dubai International Airport? No official clarification has been made by the RTA on this issue. So theoretically, the inspector in the subway can fine you 100 dirhams for carrying your luggage. But in practice, tourists have no problems.
The F55 day bus runs every half hour. This bus takes you to Expo 2020 Metro Station. Then take a cab or the subway to the hotel. For the subway map please visit our "Dubai Metro" page.
Attention! Until 20 December 2022, the F55 bus went to the Ibn Battuta subway station and Ibn Battuta Mall. But now it is no longer. The route has been changed as from 20 December 2022.
Journey time is 30 minutes and the fare is AED 3 for the Silver card (AED 4 for the Red card). For the current exchange rates, read our page "What's the money in the UAE". Do not forget to validate the card when you get off the bus, otherwise the trip will cost AED 7.5. We talked about this important feature on the page "Buses in Dubai".
The N55 night bus runs every hour. Until April 2017, this route was called F55A; it has been renamed and lengthened.
The N55 bus goes to Ibn Battuta Mall, then follows the coast past Burj Al Arab, Madinat, Jumeirah beaches and Al Ghubaiba metro station. It is unlikely to take it directly to the hotel. You will usually take the bus to either Ibn Battuta, Jumeirah Beach Residence or Al Ghubaiba and then take a cab to the hotel.
Travel time to Al Ghubaiba (the furthest point on the route) is 2 hours. The fare depends on the distance. If you go to Ibn Battuta or JBR you will pay AED 5. If you go to Al Ghubaiba, then AED 7.5.
Find your hotel
It used to be, it's not anymore.
The free buses were launched temporarily in April-May 2019 and May-June 2022, when Dubai International Airport was undergoing the runways repairs, and some flights were redirected to Al Maktoum Airport. Once the repairs were over, the free buses were canceled.
The cab fares at Al Maktoum airport are higher - AED 20 for boarding. As a reminder, boarding in the city costs AED 5. Pay per kilometer at the standard fare, read our page "Taxis in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah" for current cab rates.
An interesting point is that the RTA (Dubai Transport Authority) periodically arranges promotions. For example, from April 16 to May 30, 2019, there was a promotion - boarding is only 5 dirhams (instead of 20). We hope that at the time of your arrival there will also be some promotion, and you can save money.
The cab fares from Al Maktoum Airport:
- Boarding - AED 20;
- One kilometer of journey - AED 2.2 (per mile - AED 2.5);
- Waiting and low speed situations (for example in traffic jams) - AED 30 per hour (pay by minute).
Most cab drivers take dollars, pounds, euros, but at an extremely unfavorable rate. In any case you should discuss the possibility of such payment and the exchange rate with the cab driver beforehand. We advise you to change money in advance.
Approximate cost of trips to different areas of Dubai are in the table below:
|Approximate cost, AED
|Dubai Marina and JBR
|Downtown - Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa
|Mall of Emirates
|90 to 130
|DXB Airport (Dubai International)
|World Expo Dubai (Expocenter)
You can take an Uber or Careem cab, but it's expensive. In September 2019, cheap UberX and Careem Go tariffs were cancelled in Dubai. Now only expensive fares are in effect. Multiply the prices in the table above by x1.5.
It is possible to ride on Uber and Careem with a discount, then the prices become acceptable. To do this you need to buy a travel SIM-card of operators DU (for Uber) or Etisalat (for Careem). The card comes with coupons for discounts. See our reviews "Internet in the UAE" and "Calls from the UAE" for details.
Find your transfer
If you are going to Abu Dhabi, Al Maktoum Airport (code: DWC) is much more convenient than Dubai International (code: DXB). A cab to Sheikh Zayed Mosque will cost 260-300 dirhams, a little over an hour. A cab to the Corniche Promenade will cost 280-320 dirhams, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If cabs are expensive, take a bus to the subway station per the instructions above. Then take a bus to Abu Dhabi. Read our review "How to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi" for details.
If going to Sharjah, it will cost 180-220 dirhams by cab. If by public transport, take to the subway station as instructed above. Then take a bus to Sharjah. Read more in our review "How to get from Dubai to Sharjah".
If going to Ajman, prepare 250-290 dirhams for a cab. Or take public transport to the subway station as instructed above. Then take a bus to Ajman. Read more in our review "How to get from Dubai to Ajman".
If going to Umm Al Quwain, prepare 300-350 dirhams for a cab. Or take public transport to the subway station as instructed above. Then take a bus to Umm Al Quwain. Read our review "How to get from Dubai to Umm Al Quwain" for details.
If going to Ras Al Khaimah, prepare 350-450 dirhams for a cab. Or take public transport to the subway station as instructed above. Then take a bus to Ras Al Khaimah. Read more in our review "How to get from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah".
If going to Fujairah, prepare from 350 (Fujairah city) to 550 (Dibba town) dirhams for a cab. Or take public transport to the subway station as instructed above. Then take a bus to Fujairah. Read our review "How to get from Dubai to Fujairah" for details.
It makes sense to rent a car at the airport and return it the next day in the city. That way you can get to the city quickly and comfortably, in addition you will have your own transport for the rest of the day.
The cost of renting a car in the UAE - from 30 US dollars a day. Unfortunately, not every rental company is ready to give a car for just one day. And not every rental company has a point of presence in the city, where it is convenient to give away the rented car. Use the Internet to find a suitable rental company.
Remember one important thing! There is a toll to get through Dubai Creek (to Deira) and some other points in the city. You must have a Salik Tag. Do not forget to make sure that the rented car has it and that there is money on the balance.
- Always use only official RTA cabs or book Uber or Careem by app. There are fraudulent cab drivers in Dubai without meters, who take a passenger and demand exorbitant money;
- If you do get caught by these scammers, call the police, the phone number is "999". Or dial "999" on your phone and show the screen. People say this method works against them;
- There is a web site www.al-maktoum-airport.com which seems to be the official site of Al Maktoum airport. But there is nothing official about this site, and the information on it is "bearded". The official website is www.dubaiairports.ae , but the information there is also rarely updated;
- Do not forget about safety, read our detailed review "What is not allowed in the UAE";
- And if you are traveling with children, then do not forget about their safety, read our review "Traveling to the UAE with a child".
Have a great holiday in Dubai, and read our interesting pages about the UAE (see list of the pages below).
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