Looking to tackle both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the same trip? It can be done! In this City Insider Guide, we share with you all the transport options for getting between these two bustling Middle East cities, that sit just 160kms apart in the UAE.
To get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai – and vice versa – you can:
- Drive your own car or hire a car
- Take a public bus
- Hire a driver or taxi
- Use a free airline bus
- Join a guided tour
What you cannot do is take a train, there is no passenger train line (yet) between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Let’s look at each of these transport options between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in more detail.
Driving your own car between Abu Dhabi and Dubai
This is by far the easiest and quickest way between the two cities, allowing you flexibility and to get to the exact location you want without needing to navigate the public transport systems.
Driving in the UAE can be challenging though if you are not used to right-hand driving, nor the speed traffic moves at! The freeways can be 4 to 8 lanes wide and move at incredibly high speed so only choose this option if you have a confident driver.
Check out rental car options here:
How to get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai by bus
There is only one government-owned bus service, the Intercity Bus. It costs 25AED one way per person.
There are now three routes.
- Route 100 leaves from Abu Dhabi Central Bus station, it makes two stops on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi and terminates at Al Ghubaiba in Bur Dubai where you can connect to the Dubai Metro and Dubai local bus services. This service runs every 10-20 minutes and takes about 2 hours.
- The 101 will take you from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station to Ibn Batutta Mall, this is on the Jebel Ali side of Dubai where you can connect to the start of the Dubai Metro System. Runs every 20 to 30 minutes and takes about 110 minutes.
- Route 102 (new) takes you from the Abu Dhabi suburb of Mussafah, Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station to Ibn Battuta. It runs once per hour on the half-hour and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes.
You can pay for the intercity bus using cash or a Nol card, but Nol does not work on the Abu Dhabi bus system. Not sure how to get around within Abu Dhabi? Check out this guide.
All the routes stated above also run in reverse from Dubai back to Abu Dhabi.
Hire a Driver from Abu Dhabi to Dubai
If you don’t want to drive in the UAE traffic but like the convenience of door-to-door (believe me with kids, in the heat, it’s certainly preferable) then you can hire a private driver or a taxi from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. This option works best if you have a group.
- A taxi from Abu Dhabi island to Dubai International Airport will cost you approximately 350AED ($95USD). Pre-ordering and larger taxies for groups will cost more.
In comparison, a private hire company may charge you 400AED ($110USD), or much more depending on the size of the vehicle – up to 550AED ($150USD) for a 7 passenger vehicle with luggage. Check out these options:
- One Way Transfer to/from DXB to Abu Dhabi
- Private Transfers One Way for up to 7 passengers
- Private Transfers AUH to Dubai City
Free Airline buses Abu Dhabi to Dubai
Now before you get too excited, this service is ONLY for passengers in transit. Either passengers arriving on Etihad who ultimately want to be in Dubai straight after their flight, OR passengers departing Abu Dhabi going straight to the airport and flying Emirates or code share.
Etihad Free Transfer Service to Dubai
After arriving at Abu Dhabi airport, head to the Etihad Luxury Coach in arrivals (you can see the timetable here). Your journey to Etihad’s Downtown Dubai office (NB not to DXB) will take about 1.5 hours. You will need to make onward connections then from Downtown Dubai – refer to our Dubai transport guide. This service must be pre-book with Etihad at least 24 hours in advance.
Emirates Free Transfer service from Abu Dhabi
If you are departing the UAE from Dubai, then you can catch the Emirates free transfer coach from the Emirates office on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
The coach will depart 6 times per day and will drop you to Terminal 3 at DXB. You must have a pre-booked ticket and allow a minimum connection time of 2 hours.
A great trick if you are out in the UAE for a while and want the best of both worlds squeezing in a Dubai & Abu Dhabi city break is to pay your bus fare or taxi/driver one way between the two cities, but use the free transit bus at the end to get you directly to your airport.
Only want to spend one day in Dubai?
Based in Abu Dhabi but just want to see the highlights of Dubai? There are several companies that will offer you a combo of tours and tickets:
- Full day tour of Dubai from Abu Dhabi with coach transfer & live guide
- Full day in Dubai with coach from Abu Dhabi, audio guide
- Full Day tour of Dubai with hotel pick up and live guide(best priced with Klook)
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