Marilyn Money Diary, Dubai Edition

This is a long-running series where Marilyn shares her weekly spending while travelling. #MarilynMoneyDiary

In this week’s edition, we’ve travelled all the way to Dubai! It’s our first time in the Middle East and we’re very excited to explore that region of the world.

Day 1

12.50 am — Took a red eye on Emirates S$323 (one way) to Dubai. I got a free 1GB SIM card at the immigration and collected my luggage. We took an Uber to our hotel S$25.60 (split) since the metro wasn’t in operation, we did not have a choice. We would have gone by public transport if it was available.

3.30 am — Arrived at Studio M Al Barsha Hotel S$36.75 (split) where we’ll stay for a week. 

12.34 pm — Walked to the Mall of Emirates for lunch. I had a burrito bowl S$17 at the food court. It was a pretty huge serving but still pretty steep in price to me for what I’m expecting at a food court. After lunch, we got a metro day pass S$8.15.

4.08 pm — Arrived at Dubai Mall, explored Dubai Fountain and viewed Burj Khalifa. Coffee break at Peet’s Coffee S$4.08 (split). Created my first shrug my shoulder voice over reels on Instagram.

5.55 pm — Dinner at Time Out Market, we got a pizza S$12.43 (split) to share. Took the metro back, showered, watched Indian matchmaking and knocked out at around 11 pm due to 4 hours time difference from Singapore.

DAILY TOTAL: S$427.01 including flight

Day 2

8.04 am — Woke up and JS was taking his Spanish class. For this trip, I set a motto to “create over consume”. Instead of scrolling through social media to consume content, I decided to use the time to create instead. Will see if I can keep up to this habit.

9.35 am — After his lesson ended, we went to get breakfast. I got a chai & chicken mayo sandwich S$1.30. We walked to Malls of Emirates to window shop. We took 18k steps yesterday & it feels like exercise going around those huge malls.

12.56 pm — I got salad S$5 from Carrefour. Head back to the hotel to eat, took a 15min nap & showered.

3.36 pm — Head to Starbucks, got a Reserve Latte S$6.89 & started working. Wrapped up at 8 pm.

8.41 pm — Packed our dinner from a Philippines night market. Got a chicken with rice and egg set S$5.43 Showered, edited some videos, watched The Light We Carry and had an early night. Studio M S$36.75 (split).


Day 3

10.30 am — JS got me a cup of chai latte S$0.30. Did some work from at hotel before heading to the mall for lunch.  I’m not enjoying this timezone as SG is 4 hours ahead. I have to catch up the moment I wake up instead of being ahead in other time zones.

12.46 pm — I got a beef burger S$5.43 from Carrefour. Got a metro day pass again S$8.15. Visited the famous attraction Dubai Frame S$19.02 for some pics and was surprised that we can actually enter and tour the perimeter of the frame, incl the top! #jellylegs

3.12 pm — Arrived at Dubai’s only WeWork to get some productive work done. It was pretty packed so we booked a meeting room. Drank a cup of latte + chamomile tea & got a lot done. Love WeWork.

8.10 pm — Ate Egyptian food S$8.82 opposite our hotel. Back at the hotel to shower & bulk editing some content. Watched 天赐的声音 Season 4 before sleeping. My fav is 张靓颖 & Gai’s rendition of 想太多 (a mandarin song) which is on replay now. Studio M S$36.75 (split).


Day 4

9.00 am — Alarm rang & got ready to head out. I had an idea to take a pre-wed shoot at each country since we travel so often. Now, we’re on our way to the beach for our first attempt. 

11.10 am — Wrapped up our shoot, it was pretty fun & we’ll do it again! Not as professional since the tripod has its limitation but good enough for mmrs. Got brunch at Artisan Bakes. Ordered shakshuka and pain au chocolat to share S$14.25.

12.37 pm — Took a bus S$1.09 to a Souk (market) nearby. We decided to take a cab back S$2.90 (split) considering the cost & time saved.

2.35 pm — After taking a short break, we went to the gym. It’s amazing having a view of the new Dubai while running. After showering, we started work.

8.12 pm — Had KFC S$7.23 opposite our hotel. After dinner, I wrote this money diary before resting up. Crashed before 11 pm. Studio M S$36.75 (split)


Day 5

10 am — JS woke me up to start getting ready. Made some oats for breakfast, and worked for an hour before heading out. Got a bottle of carrot orange juice S$2.32 at Carrefour. Took the metro S$1.81.

12.08 pm — Arrived at Burj Khalifa At The Top attraction. Got our ticket S$62 from Klook. Crazy views.

1.49 pm — Lunch at Tim Hortons. Got a pistachio chocolate crepe and buffalo chicken sandwich to share S$8.70 (split).

2.54 pm — Arrived at Wework & started work. Made it for the barista oat latte that ends at 3 pm. They were even giving out free tomatoes from Pure Harvest. Worked till evening.

8.20 pm — Took a metro S$1.81 back and tried Egyptian noodles for dinner tonight. It was a mix of pasta macaroni chickpeas and meat sauce S$3.70 (split).

9.07 pm — Showered and started watching Queen Charlotte on Netflix till late. Studio M S$36.75 (split)


Day 6

8.30 am — Got up earlier than I’d liked to. Started working, and caught up with my sis on some time-sensitive SG projects. Worked for 4 hours & started getting hungry.

12.24 pm — Went to the mall. Shared a burrito bowl + guac with JS because I couldn’t finish it the previous time I had one to myself S$7.35.

1.18 pm — Instead of a cafe, we decided to commute S$1.81 to WeWork again. Even though it takes 30mins, we were much more productive there. Got a hot chocolate this time.

6.56 pm — Done with work, created some content before heading to eat hotpot. Cravings. Metro S$1.81. Wrote this money diary on the train. 

8.08 pm — Hotpot buffet at Gulou S$21.30 feels good to have Asian food after 5 days. Back at the hotel, showered & watch Running Man China. Studio M S$36.75 (split)


Day 7

9.56 am — It’s the weekend! Woke up and went through Shrug’s first monthly newsletter which is going out at noon. I also want to say a big thank you to my friends who subscribed & support all my passion projects, you know who you are! 

12.47 pm — After sending out the newsletter we went out for lunch. Got Indian food, butter chicken & garlic naan with a sweet lassi to share. S$15.63 (split)

2.35 pm — Our guide picked us up for a full-day desert tour S$84.83 We each got a headpiece at the souvenir shop S$10.86.

5.11 pm — We did dune dashing, sand boarding, camel riding & have bbq in the desert while watching performances. 

10.30 pm — Arrived back at the hotel to shower. Packed our bags and luggage as we were moving to another hotel in old Dubai. Studio M S$36.75 (split).



Country: Dubai, UAE
Flight — S$323
Accommodation — S$257.25
Food — S$147.16 
Activities — S$186.85
Transport — S$44.98
Others (Shopping) — S$10.86

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