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Dubai on a budget?

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I am flying from Sydney Australia to London, and am considering flying Emirates via Dubai. I'm thinking perhaps of stopovering at Dubai for a day or two (given the 16 hour flight from Australia, I'd say a must!) I've read some of the threads on Dubai here, but I was wondering, is it possible to do Dubai on a budget? And when I mean budget, I mean, backpacking type of budget- staying at a hostel, going to cheap restaurants, etc. I see that public transport is non-existent, so I can't rely on that, but are there other ways to do Dubai cheaply?

Also, has anyone been able to get a free hotel room from Emirates if their connection is over eight hours in duration?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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