Must have apps in Dubai!
Those of us who love travelling and have had the pleasure of visiting some foreign lands, do find ourselves a little lost sometimes. Finding the best restaurants, clubs and the local buses or other transportation means can be a nightmare especially if you have the fortunate experience of visiting some exotic land where the locals don’t speak your language. In such circumstances, your experience can become stressful, tiresome and expensive. A few apps can quickly get you into the groove. You’ll instantly know where all the trendy places are and how to find your way around town.
If you are planning to visit the UAE and see what this unique kingdom has to offer, all the apps and website listed below will be your best friends and guides. From booking your flight, making hotel reservations, planning your trips, finding the right restaurants and using the local transportation, these apps will have you covered.
#1 Visit Dubai
This is the official app from Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai. It highlights some 13000 sights and attractions with suggestions while taking into account your current location and the time of the day. Dubai has a lot of world class attractions to offer, like the tallest building on the planet and the largest mall in the world where you can enjoy the beautiful choreographed shows of the world’s tallest dancing fountain. The mall even houses a world class indoor aquarium and underwater zoo featuring a beautiful walk through tunnel. Desert safaris give you an exciting tour of the golden sands where the joy riders are even treated to a little belly dancing in beautiful Arabic tents erected in the midst of the desert. Should you choose to relax at one of the many beautiful beaches or visit the local bazaar this app will be your guide.
This app has been launched by the Department of Municipal affairs and Transport and is most useful for using Abu Dhabi’s bus service as it gives you real time traffic feedback. You will be provided all the information required before and during the journey. All the bus locations are shown live on the interactive maps. If you choose to embark one of the buses, the app will also show all upcoming stops so you know where you need to get off and get on the next bus which is heading to your destination. Although this app is primarily used for using the bus network, it also offers taxi hailing service, on street parking payment facility and an updated ferry schedule.
This is a Dubai-based version of Uber. It is widely used in MENA for booking rides. Like Uber, this will allow you to book or schedule your ride. Getting around in a new place can be expensive and tiresome; however their fares are somewhat reasonable. The other great thing about this app is that they have clean and comfortable cars. I have usually found the drivers to be pleasant and speak and understand English perfectly. Payment can be done by cash, credit card or through your account credit should you choose to top it up.
This is the official app by Road and Transport (Dubai). This will provide you schedules of buses, the metro and ferries. You can easily view your transport options, which also includes taxi service from your current location to your destination. The app also gives you an estimate cost for your trip. It also has an interesting augmented reality feature, you just point your phone in any direction and it will show you all the nearby bus stops while your current location is traced out on the map in real time.
#5 Souq (now part of Amazon)
If you are in the mood for shopping while relaxing on a couch and sipping on a nice beverage, this app is your best friend. This app is in fact the Amazon.com of the UAE. Souq offers a vast variety of genuine products to choose from in almost every category you can think of. I ended up buying a lot of sports equipment online, at surprisingly good prices which were difficult to find otherwise. Cash on delivery and other online payment options through credit cards and PayPal are also acceptable, which makes it very easy especially for a traveler.
Instead of looking at web pages upon web pages or calling up multiple travel agents, this app will help you book flights and hotel packages directly from your phone. The app has a refreshingly simple and easy to use user interface. You can make airfare comparisons between a numerous popular airlines from all around the world and easily book and even reschedule your flights. Payments can also be made through credit/debit cards and many popular wallets. It also helps you to find great deals on hotel accommodations. Simply, browse through the long list of hotels using price, star ratings and traveler ratings and location filters to find the best accommodation. The cleartrip local part will update you on the latest events happening in the city and even suggest the best restaurants around town.
Waze is the world’s largest community based satellite navigation app which can be used in all the seven Emirates. The app keeps on updating the traffic conditions by automatically collecting data from all active drivers who are also encouraged to actively report real time traffic incidents, hazards, road blocks etc. Waze will suggest the quickest route to your destination and will also re route you based on the live traffic conditions. Although new roads are regularly being laid in the UAE, all the maps are up to date. The community of drivers is also encouraged to share information on local places and businesses. The app will learn your daily commuting habits and can share your ETA with your friends or associates should you choose to do so. It will also connect with your Facebook and calendar events.
This app provides the official addressing system in Dubai which has been launched by the Dubai Municipality and is the first of its kind in the world. Every building has been given a ten digit unique ‘makani number’ which are coordinates on a map which will lead you directly to the entrance. Since there are no postal codes in Dubai, finding your desired location can be difficult. On top of that, the language barrier also compounds your problems. This app was especially designed for people who speak a foreign language to easily point out their current location and also get to their destination with ease. You can also use the map feature which is GPS enabled and will provide you turn by turn audio directions. The app will also provide details on your ‘makani address’ along with street level imagery.
I have been to the UAE a few times. On my latest trip I decided to buy a used car instead of renting one or using the local cab or bus service. I hoped that this would make it easier for all my family to travel together. It turned out to be a great decision. We would just go wherever we simply felt like going, with ease and eventually ended up saving a lot of time and money too. I actually got to explore more than I had planned. Before leaving, I sold the car through Beepuae.com. You get an instant online estimate after which a meeting is scheduled with their staff that conducts an inspection and in about 30 minutes, you get to sell your car. They pay instant cash and offer fair market values.
#10 Dubai Airport
This official guide to Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International (DWC) airports will give you all the flight information you need. The app provides real time flight updates making it easier for you to choose your flight plan. All shopping, dining and relaxing areas have also been marked on the maps. The app will also help you guide you to your relevant gate number making your navigation through these crowded airports a lot easier.
#11 Cinema UAE
This single app covers 50 cinemas across the UAE covering 10 different chains. You can see the latest schedule and book your tickets online. It helps you save a lot of time, since you don’t have to go through multiple apps or websites to make your reservations.
This is a must have app to have if you are a traveler who loves food. This app will help you find restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars on a map. You can search by location or by cuisine. The users review restaurants which makes it easier for other users to choose the right place to eat. You can even have food delivered to you if you are in the UAE.
If you haven’t travelled to the Middle East and are planning your next holiday, whether you plan to travel alone or with a group of friends or family, I suggest you visit the UAE and experience the rich Middle Eastern culture for yourself, which offers something for everyone and with the help of these apps, traveling to the UAE and exploring its rich culture should be a lot easier.
About the Author:
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger who loves to share his experiences. Follow him on Twitter @eugenegabrielj.