Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Pinoy Travelers

About the Place

Dubai is one of the 7 Emirates that makes up the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is also the most populated and economically progressive emirate of the country. As an emerging global city, Dubai’s main source of economic activities are tourism, aviation and financial services. Surprisingly, Dubai does not derive much of its wealth from oil industries.

How to Get to Dubai

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly non-stop from Manila to Dubai utilizing Airbus A330 fleet. Emirates and Etihad are other options if one has higher budget. Manila to Dubai is almost 10 hours.

Dubai Visa

Filipinos are required to have a Tourist Entry Permit prior to arrival. A hassle free Dubai Visit Visa can be obtained through the help of travel agencies. Only a passport is needed but you need to book at least 2 nights of hotel rooms with them. Normally, travel agencies have Dubai Packages with visa and hotel included.

Suggested Dubai Itinerary for Solo Travelers

For a short vacation to one of the world’s most expensive cities, I am suggesting this Dubai Itinerary for first time travelers which I did myself last December 2013.  This is my suggested Dubai Itinerary for solo travelers.

Day 1
Since Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flight arrive in the evening, leave Day 1 to “acclimatize” yourself. Have a good sleep. Haha.

Day 2
Dubai City Tour using the Red Line of Dubai Metro Train

Forget the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus this time around. Dubai can be explored using the Dubai Metro Train and we start with its concrete jungle!

IBN Battuta Mall

IBN Battuta Mall is one of the most beautiful malls I have seen. IBN is the world’s largest themed shopping mall with a total space of 521,000 square meters, additional 28,000 square meters expansion is on its way. IBN Battuta Mall has 6 courts inspired by some countries: Egypt Court, India Court, China Court, Andalusia Court, Tunisia Court and my personal favorite because of its grandness – Persia Court.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

At the back of the mall are the Gardens and Discovery Gardens, Lost City and Jebel Village.

To get to IBN Battuta Mall, take the Dubai Metro Train Red Line and get off at IBN Battuta Station (currently the end of the Red Line). Also in this station are buses going to Abu Dahbi.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a man-made marina — a man-made canal city which is the home of the world’s tallest block of super skyscrapers. Princess Tower – currently the world’s tallest residential building is also here. However, Pentominium Tower, when finished, will de-throne Princess Tower. Feast yourself with tall buildings in Dubai Marina and if you have time and budget, dine-in in the many restaurants in the area. Being here reminds me of Singapore.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

To get to Dubai Marina, take the Metro Train Red Line and get off at Dubai Marina Station or Nakheel Station. It’s on the right hand side.

The Palm Jumeriah and Atlantis Resort

The Palm Jumeriah is an artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree. I have always dreamt of personally being here in The Palm. I have always been impressed by its architectural and engineering wonders. The videos and photos I have seen truly speak for themselves. The Palm is really spectacular and a must-visit when in Dubai.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

The Atlantis Resort is one of the resorts in The Palm located at its crescent. It is a destination of its own.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

To get to the Palm Jumeriah, get off at Nakheel Station of the Red Line. If you are adventurous enough, just walk from Dubai Marina to The Palm, which I did 😉

To get to Atlantis Resort, take the monorail at the Gateway Station.

Mall of the Emirates

The Mall of the Emirates is another huge shopping complex. Should shopping be your waterloo, Dubai is a place to die for. Lol.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

To get to the Mall of the Emirates, take the Dubai Metro Redline and get off at the Mall of the Emirates Station. It is 3 stations away from Nakheel.

Burj Al Arab

Dubbed as the only 7-star hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab is the most identifiable landmark of Dubai. Burj Al Arab has become synonymous with Dubai. It stands on an artificial island in Jumeriah Beach.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

There is a public beach near to it and has great view of Burj Al Arab!

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

To get to Burj Al Arab, one can take a bus or taxi at Mall of the Emirates

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest structure whose design mimics the spiral minaret at the Great Mosque of Sammara, Iraq.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Like a childhood dream, seeing Burj Khalifa ‘in the flesh’ is nostalgic. I cant help but be amazed of its greatness.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time TravelersAll these can be done in a day if you wont get tired. Just in case, you may omit Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and reserve it for next day.

Day 3

Dubai Desert Safari

If you are not driving your own 4×4 in Dubai, chances are you need the services of a travel agent for you to do this tour. There are different tour options for Dubai Desert Safari. You can choose from: morning desert safari, afternoon desert safari and overnight desert safari. I took the afternoon program.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Dubbed as Dubai’s most exciting adventure activity, the Afternoon Desert Safari starts at 4PM and ends at about 9PM. The activity includes dune bashing, camel ride, dinner and some belly dancing shows. However, tourists are not allowed to drive during the dune bashing activity. It could be best if they allow tourists (of course with necessary lessons, license and gears) to try it.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Day 4

Redo Day 2!

But this time around, shop and dine like an Emirati! Or you may try some out-door activities before flying out of Dubai.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Or you may opt to visit Gold Souk and Spice Souk (Nearest Train Station is Al Ras of the Green Line)

Extra Day

Whole Day -Sharjah + Abu Dhabi
Whole Day – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Half Day – Dhow Cruise
Whole Day- Hatta Mountain

Where to Sleep in Dubai

Since Dubai is a luxurious city, you wont run out of hotels. I stayed in a cheap hotel called Panorama Hotel for 100usdd/night. I call it cheap because it is one of the cheapest hotels in the city. It is located about 3-minute walk from Al Fahidi Metro Station (Green Line). Also near my hotel are shopping centers, convenience stores and restaurants.

UAE | Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

How Much Would A Trip To Dubai Cost?

Cebu Pacific and PAL Express regular roundtrip airfare from Manila to Dubai is around 20,000.00 – 25,000.00. If you avail of promo fare, it will be around 15,000.00 for a return flight. Hotel accommodation is roughly at 5,000.00/room per night. Your budget for sight seeing tour should at least be 5,000.00. Food in Dubai is not really expensive. So granting for the sake of argument that you were able to get a promo fare, needed budget for a 4D3N Dubai trip is about 25,000-30,000.00 (around 600usd). Else, you need roughly about 50,000.00 (1.000USD). Is it worth the cost? Cyempre naman!

When is the Best Time to Visit Dubai?

Hands down, the best time to visit Dubai is during ‘winter’ – from late November to Early February.

Dubai Trivia

1. Indians and Filipinos are ‘locals’ in Dubai. The ‘locals’ are like the tourists.
2. Hotels are expensive, car and gasoline are not.
3. Dubai doesn’t feel like you are in a Muslim country. Fashion is out-going and trendy.
4. You think water is scarce in the desert? Not in Dubai!
5. Walking is part of life. Imagine walking almost a kilometer from Dubai Mall Station to the Mall itself and to Burj Khalifa!

139 thoughts on “Dubai Travel Guide for First Time Pinoy Travelers

  1. Not just the travel, i believe fashion and other things are also the best parts in Dubai which one can travel and visit them and enjoy a great experience in the budget. Generally, Dubai is a great place for the fashion lovers so whenever you travel over there do not leave the chance of shopping for sure.

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  2. Your post was very helpful. I can now pack capris and long sleeve tops in general. Your photos were helpful as well. What type of food is served at the desert safari? I don’t eat beef or pork and have dairy allegeries.

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  3. Dubai is one of the best places that i enjoyed to visit anytime. Not only Dubai, Abu Dubai stands in the first place whenever i visit Dubai. I missed those special food items and historical places that i must visit but i have never known that these also exist at that place. Whenever i make time this time i will definitely visit those special places and enjoy the most. Thanks a ton for the special article that really a great source for me to explore the most.

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  4. Excellent post, ! I love Dubai, I have been living here for 5 years now and visited countless times before. It’s not for everybody and I completely understand that but what irks me is bloggers who write posts having a go at Dubai when much of what they are saying is wildly inaccurate. Your post is a refreshing exception, thank you

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  5. Dubai is the most joyful as well the most beautiful place that one should visit once in a lifetime. This is just a pack of wonders where you will experience the safari, world famous places and malls what not we have so many places to visit and enjoy. I travelled for the first time there and trust me i just stunning by seeing the beauty of the place and those most amazing malls to shop. Your article fully gives the overall picture of Dubai which most of the people should know and visit this amazing place and i just loved shopping there.

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  6. It seems you committed a blunder by not visiting the Dubai Mall. Of course, IBN Battuta Mall is beautiful, but my personal favorite is Dubai Mall. Had you visited it, you would have got plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Moreover, it is so close to Burj Khalifa. If you are revisiting Dubai anytime soon, don’t miss it again. I guarantee you that one entire day will fall short given the things you can do there.

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  7. This blog is a must-read for anyone traveling to Dubai for the first time and those traveling on a limited budget.Persia court is an actually beautiful place to be.
    Also, every place has a how to get there section which is helpful.
    Desert safari camel riding in Arabian style is a close experience of Emirati lifestyle.
    Do not miss a trip to Desert camp for belly dancing, henna painting, and shisha smoking and a night under the starry lit sky.
    If you are a shopper please go on Dubai shopping trip.

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  8. Its easy to get visa, how about in phil. immigration? Is it easy also to exit? Waht the immigration need? Original copy of visa or email is okay??

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  9. A Perfect Guide!
    Covered almost all the topics a traveller needs to know. I think you have missed adding a shopping destination (yeah, you have added the malls. but not a specific shopping location). So here it is – http://www.citycentremirdif.com/shopping/fashion I do my shopping from the City centre Mirdif all the time when I am in Dubai 🙂

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  10. I have to commend you for producing such an engaging blog. Starting by briefing about Dubai is an intelligent way of swaying readers into your blog. Then guiding on getting to Dubai and Dubai tourist visa further deepens the interest. The way you have planned your itinerary shows you are a true traveler who knows how to enjoy the most even on a short vacation. So keep inspiring solo travelers.

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  11. I’m a first timer traveling to Dubai and I got my visa already how much will the immigration require for my PTA or BTA

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  12. Nice article.
    Dubai is one of the best place for visit. Khasab is near to Dubai & offers the perfect starting point to explore the unknown Musandam. Khasab is one of the best place in Oman for Camping. Enjoy Khasab beach camping under starry sky with your loved ones.

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  13. I’d like to travel and visit my girlfriend in dubai where will I took my visa and plane ticket package? Is it okay if I dont get a hotel? coz my girlfriend picking me up when I get there in dubai, and is it nessecary for me to get a round trip ticket? coz my girlfriend says that she will get my ticket when my visa is nearly expire and when im ready to get back home here in the Philippines. I want a 90days visa can you give me an estimate how much money do I have to prepare for my packe visa? thanks and more power.

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    1. Hi kuya. Same as yours im planning to visit my bf sa dubai din. Nakaalis ka na ba? Gusto ko na simulan mag ayos ng papers pero gusto ko muna mag tanong tanong sa mga same case ko kasi natatakot ako baka di ako makalusot sa immigration masayang lang lahat.

      Like

  14. Hi. Very nice informative blog. There are many shopping outlets as well as many good websites. One can find wide range of products be it Clothes, be it Fragrances, etc. Dubai has many things to explore than shopping. I feel many people travel on a pack schedule, so rather wasting time on shopping. One will keep on exploring new places. On my visit to Dubai last year, i had actually saved my time on shopping because i shopped Online. There are many sites offering wide range of products like Jadopado, Souq and Beyonder. Out of all i found http://beyonder.co/ cheaper for most of the products, Hence it saved my time as well as my money.

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  15. You mentioned that it’s easier to get a visa from travel agencies, did you get yours from a travel agency? Can you recommend one?

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  16. Thanks for sharing such informative blog. Dubai is one of the best destinations for visitors so, many people want to visit there. If you are planning to visit Dubai and want to take the help of travel guide then contact with Altdubai travel agency which is one of my favourite agencies. I am sure it will definitely help you to get a safe and enjoyable trip.

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  17. The webpage is very informative. Please how can I get a working visa in Dubai? Am Terry Adoro and I reside in Nigeria.

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  18. hello po..i am planning to visit in dubai next month for 30days..and this is my first time to travel out of the country..den aq lang po mag isa..my sister is the one who sponsored me..hindi po ba aq ma.offload kasi sabi nila mahirap daw basta babae lalo nah pag mag isa lang??

    Like

  19. Hi, i have a visit visa to dubai, yung parang printed in a hard paper, un na ba yung visa? Or i need to go to the embassy in manila to get a sticker pated on my passport?

    Like

  20. I love your information and the history of United Arab Emirates along with the cultural experience. I havent made a decision on which airline to use Emirates or Qatar. Also i know Alaska Airlines don’t fly there. But they are partnered with Emirates so i can transfer my point over. Please advise me about the airline ?

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  21. The information on this page is very useful for the first time travelers. Dubai is most exciting city. It has adventure activities, marveling infrastructure, beautiful beaches, tasty cuisine and many more. I found some more information about Dubai on this page

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  22. Hi i am planning to go to dubai this december to meet my boyfriend he is not from dubai plan lang namin dun magmeet and magcelebrate ng new year and ng bday ko. He will be the one to pay my tickets and other expenses. Wala po ba ko magiging problema sa pagkuha ng visa kasi student plang ako.?
    I travelled before but this time will be my first time sana sa Dubai.

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  23. Hello, pwede bang magapply ng dubai tourist visa kahit wala kang sponsor? Your paying with your own expenses to visit dubai.

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  24. Hi… Just want to ask if need p ba ng invitation letter if travel alone to Dubai? Sabi kc Baka kylangan p un sa immigration if a woman travel alone for the first time… I just want to visit Dubai for 10 days… And my friend from there will get the visa and ticket for me? Thanks

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  25. Pls am giving 3month visa, and I will lik to work in a reputable company in dubaai how can I work it out in a convinent way pls..before my visa runs out pls

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  26. Hi i Have my tourist Visa in dubai na and it will expired this coming sept.24, yung sponsor ko for the tourist visa is one of the travel and tours in dubai, so i just wanna ask po, if mag tour na ko yung ticket na bibilhin is come from the travel and tours na nagbigay sa ken ng visa ko or i can book my own here using cebu pacific ??? and regarding for the tourist visa does the immigration asking for financial bank statement and they going to ask employment certificate if im still currently employed? (para po makahingi na ako ng employment certificate ko na proven na me work ako dito sa pinas)? or what documents they going to ask pag asa immigration na ko? im palnning to leave this coming august 22 po. please help me out po. thank you.

    Note: First time to Visit Dubai po, and out of the country.

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  27. Hello! My cousin and I will be going to Dubai next month and We’ll definitely check this places. Question? Will there be a problem if the profession in my visa is not my real profession? I mean Im an Engineer but in my visa Its say Sales Rep. Thank you.

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  28. I’m lucky i came across your blog. Did you secure affidavit of support? For what I’ve read almost all who cant provide the affidavit are being offloaded. I already have the visa which is from emirates since i will be flying with them, yeyy but I will stay in my cousin’s place. Sayang naman kasi mag hotel pa may matitrahan naman db? 🙂

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  29. hello po, meron po b kayo alm n agency dto s pinas n mkktulong skin magtourist visa s dubai wl po kc ako relatives s dubai kya po hnap ng agency dto s pinas.eto po number ko 09198467080

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  30. Hi, what if it is my first time to travel outside the ph? Am i gonna have some troubles with the immigration officers here? Plus i don’t have a work because im planning to take masterals next year. But i have the means to travel there. 🙂

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  31. Hi. I would like to ask something about the visa. My visa will expire on July17th. Kapag ba dumating ako dun for example, July 5, dun pa lang mag iistart ang 30days ko? Or hanggang july 17 na lang po? Please answer. Thanks

    Like

      1. Hello po. gusto ko lang po i-clear, ahm, ang visa ko po ay til july 17 and for example po nag-arrive ako sa dubai sa july 08. Can i stay pa hanggang august 07 or till july 17 na lang? Please answer po. Thanks po much

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        1. start ang count when you arrive. first day yung makikita mo na iistamp nila sa passport mo once u get sa immigration counters nila in short, day 1 mo yung arrival. dun palang aandar ang pag count ng duration ng visa mo. enjoy your vacation 😉

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  32. Hi! Just to be clear,did you get your visa by booking with the hotel stated above,or you applied with j8travelonline?

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  33. bought my ticket for 1,200php ~~ 30USD. Piso fare kasi e. tapos alang surcharge hehe.

    Wala ka ba naging prob sa immigration bro dahil mejo mainit sa mata nila ung middle east? I am a frequent traveller too. Been to eleven countries( half of which have visas). pang 12 itong Dubai if ever.

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  34. Hi, Nik 😃 I just want to ask how long is the visa you’ve been used while you’re in Dubai. And also, i want to make sure that there’s no officer who will ask for my passport while I’m strolling in the city.

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    1. i applied for 14 days visa. tourist visa is either 1 days or 30 days. masyado na mahal yung 30 days. wala na man sumita sa akin the time i was going around dubai. just in case, have your passport all the time with you 😉

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  35. madali lang po ba ang visa for dubai to release my daughter is sponsoring by my cousin and 30 thou ang hinihingi sa amin sa travel agency sya nag wo work kasama na po ba dun ang ticket airline?

    Like

  36. Hi, I am planning to visit dubai this year. I’ve read a lot of blogs about the great destinations in Dubai. Indeed your article add something for me to do. Do you have any recommendation for a 3-day travel? By the way, I am a natural food enthusiast and would like to taste something new every time I travel. I also heard from my Lebanese friends that Filful Beirut is opening in Dubai. Have any idea?

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    1. 3 days? mmm, since ur into food, then perhaps enjoy the many buffet restaurants many hotels offer! i heard the restaurants in burj al arab and burj dubai offer excellent foods! please let us know once you try them!

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  37. Hi I would like to ask,if ok lang ba iconsume ung 20kg of baggage allowance with clothes and shoes khit on tourist visa lang going to dubai,?ndi ba mgtataka ung immgrtn?i hope ul reply,thanks

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    1. yeah. on the other hand, bakit magtataka ang immigration? my advise, if ur purpose of going to dubai on a tourist visa is not actually for that sole purpose, then dont do. dont put yourself to harm.

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  38. Thanks for all your response to me.my fiance` email my visa last and he said i justa need to wait for my plane ticket thru emaik alsi hope i be come soon in dubai..hope to meet many pilipino there.God bless us..

    Like

    1. Meron po bang fiance visa ang dubai and anu yung mga document na kailangan if ganitong situation po. I want to visit my fiance in dubai dn kasi.

      Like

  39. Hi, what airline did you take when you travel in dubai?how was the immigration officer if you take the manila dubai direct flight from philippines.. fo they require any supporting documents?

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  40. Hi just want to know what will i need to prepare if i go to dubai because my fiance` wants me to visit him.thanks

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      1. He said he already process my visa in dubai and i just need to wait for the approval.what will i need to do after i will receive my visa?is there any documents i need to process here in the philippines.he will also buy me there my ticket.thanks a lot

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  41. Hello. We are currently in Dubai right now and im glad i came upon your blog post. I’d just like to ask, is it common for the hotel to say that they’ll keep your passports for you and that you dont have to bring it with you while going around the city? This is our first time here but of all the other countries we’ve been, we always had to bring our passports with us wherever we went. Hope to receive a reply soon! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. hi sir.
    nice blog , very informative.
    im planning to vist Dubai this feb.
    wanna ask your help re: the travel agency who helped you processed your visa.
    many thanks and looking forward for your reply!
    kudos

    Like

  43. Hey Nik..I must say your blog is really helpful. Bravo 🙂
    I am planning to visit Dubai this December and i am sure now it will be much more convenient to plan.

    Like

  44. Sir, may I ask if you processed your visa through an agency based in Dubai or through emirates? And if it’s through an agency, may I know which one because I’m planning to go as a solo traveler and I need a reputable agency to assist me for the visa. Flying through emirates is costly po kasi.

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  45. hi michael can you recommend which travel agency you used for visa processing…we’re going to dubai come dec 24 2014 (family of 4) and am scouting an agency who will help us without the bond requirement. btw, ticketed na din kami (pal express)..got this during the travel expo..thanks for your blog…super big help!!!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Mam, were you able to find an agency to process your visa? Coz I’m also looking for one since no one can sponsor me, plus Flying thru Emirates is expensive

          Like

  46. Hi

    I just want to ask how much is your total budget in plane and Hotel? I am planning to go to Dubai this November for a job opportunity. is there any travel agencies that could help me?

    Thanks 😉

    Like

  47. Thanks for this post. I’m planning to visit dubai soon is the Philippime immigration strict? I had bad experience at NAIA so this troubles me. Does $500 include the hotel bookings already? Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Hi,

    Would like to know how u got ur visa? And how much does it cost? Im planning to travel to Istanbul and the cheapest way would be if i book a Mnl-Dubai-Mnl Ceb Pac piso fare and then book a Dubai-Istanbul-Dubai flight. I was wondering kng pwede ba mag stay lng sa Dubai airport while waiting for my Istanbul flight. In that case pwede n b wala UAE visankng s airport lng nman ako mag stay? Pero sayang din kc andun na ko, might as well check out Dubai. Hehe!

    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  49. True! Kulang talaga ang 4D3N sa Dubai pa lang. Pag lahat ng tourist destinations ng UAE, malamang 3 weeks kailangan. Daming pupuntahan. Next time pag babalik kayo, you should include Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World and side trip kayo sa eastern part ng Abu Dhabi na Al Ain City if you are into archeology and history.

    Like

      1. I planning to go to dubai for vacation,but i dont know w/c agency could help me out get a visa!!and such way that i will not spend much since this will be my first out of the country tour!!!Hope you can help me with w/c agency is best!!but not much expensive!!!

        Like

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