The Dubai / Abu Dhabi Weekend Getaway
One of the perks of working in Oman is that it's only an hour's flight away to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. So this week, I decided to pack my things and visit the Emirates.
How To Get There
Flight Tickets. Check out the websites of Emirates Airlines for cheap flights. Remember that online flight searches will be more expensive than the actual prices from the airlines' websites.
Visa. Visa categories matter when visiting Dubai. Most of the time, the work visa that an expat has might differ from his actual work. Ensure that you know which visa category you are holding.
Anyhow, Dubai is now requiring Philippine passport holders to have a pre-arranged visa. The process takes three to five days. Give your self enough time to process the visa. Plan ahead of time.
Cost of visa might go from 50 USD approx. This is the price if you are coming from the GCC. However, the cost of visa if you are coming from the Philippines might go from 2500 PhP to 15,000 PhP. You can check out this site for more info:
Visa Requirements for Philippine Passport Holders - by United Arab Emirates
Soon as you have the flight tickets and visa all settled, then you are good to go.
What To Do
As a frequent traveler, one of the most fascinating and interesting part of the travel is getting through the immigration. Filipino travelers should know this only too well after all the hassle that we go through our own immigration.
I can keep on ranting how it feels like we Filipinos are being deprived of our rights to travel abroad when coming from the Philippines. But that in itself is a complete topic already.
So to go back.
Yes, you've finally landed in Dubai International Airport and most likely you'll be accompanied by other passengers.
Your goal is to get to the immigration counters as quick as possible, so avoid chatting with other people and getting too emotionally attached to anyone you've just met on the plane. Keep walking.
The Terminals of Dubai
Terminal 1 : You are lucky if you take an airline that lands in Terminal 1. You can easily catch the monorail baby and a few meters will be the immigration counter. No sweat.
Terminal 3: Emirates flights land in Terminal 3. And I warn you for the love of humanity, DO NOT wear high heels or shoes that may be of discomfort later on. Because honey, you are gonna be walking like forever. This terminal extends like a the big expanse to infinity. It's a never ending walk. My foot literally bled.
Terminal 2: I have no idea how it looks inside, but the down side in this terminal is that it connects with the green line of the metro, which you would need to change to a red line if you are on your way to the city center. So if you don't mind transferring, by all means take Terminal 2.
At the Immigration
When you reach the queue (that's the blockbuster cordoned queue), it's rather fast. Just present your passport.
Tip: Do not keep an eye contact. Arabs has an aversion towards eye contact and they feel uneasy. You do not want to look suspicious and be asked for questions.
And finally, now that you got your passport stamped- walked towards the exit and find the metro station.
In order to get to your destination, you will need to purchase a Noll Card. There are two categories:
Gold Noll Card. For gold class passengers only and can be used in gold coaches (of course that's just a term).
Silver Noll Card. For the rest of the coaches.
Make no mistake about the coach. If you are holding a silver card and you step on to the gold coach, you will be fined 100 AED (that's roughly 1,200 PhP).
Watch out for your station. The good thing about the metro in Dubai is that there's English and Arabic voice telling you where you are. So don't miss your station.
Cost of metro is 5 AED and gets higher the farther you go.
The Bus Stations
If you planning to take the bus to go anywhere, the fastest way would be to go to Al Ghubaiba Station (green line). From there, you can walk towards the bus terminal.
Purchase your ticket before getting into the queue. Alternatively, you can use your Noll Card provided that you have sufficient credit.