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Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus: Timings, Fares & Easy Guide 2024

    The Dubai to Abu Dhabi bus provides a convenient, practical, and straightforward way to travel between the two major cities of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is approximately 130 kilometers west of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE. This means that just a little over an hour separates you from its vibrant attractions and some of the country’s most beautiful landmarks, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the theme parks and museums on Yas Island.

    Whether you’re a tourist exploring the region or a resident commuting for work or leisure, hopping on one of these intercity buses allows you to reach Abu Dhabi quite comfortably without having to rent a car or book a private transfer, which could be a more expensive option, especially if you’re traveling alone. In fact, this is one of our preferred solutions when we need to go to Abu Dhabi and don’t want to drive.

    In this guide, you’ll find all the up-to-date local tips on how to move between the two cities, including routes and schedules for the Dubai to Abu Dhabi bus, information on timings and fares, and some practical tips to help you plan your trip effectively, optimizing both time and budget.

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Routes: How to Travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by Bus

    Traveling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is relatively straightforward as these two cities are connected by the E11 road, also known as the Dubai–Abu Dhabi Highway. The highway runs parallel to the coastline, offering scenic views along the way. Locals usually travel by car, as it is more comfortable, faster, and quite economical, given the low petrol costs (generally under $0.80 per litre) and the excellent, well-maintained, and toll-free highways. However, if driving is not an option, the bus is a popular and budget-friendly alternative.

    The two cities are separated by around 130-150 km – the exact distance depends on the specific areas in each city, as they are quite large. This distance can be covered in around 1.5 hours by car. However, if you choose to travel by bus, the journey may take nearly 3 hours. This option is certainly slower, less comfortable, and less direct, as you will likely have to change buses or take a taxi to reach your final destination. This is why many people choose to rent a car in Dubai or, if they are tourists, opt for a comfortable guided tour.

    Although not the most comfortable or time-efficient option, traveling by bus offers significant affordability. While it may not provide the same level of comfort and speed as a car, it stands as the most economical means of transportation between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, especially since there is no passenger train service between the two cities yet. So, if budget is a priority and time and convenience are not of the essence, opting for a bus ride can be a cost-effective choice. However, if you are traveling as a family or in a group, you might want to consider renting a car.

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Routes

    There are three bus routes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, departing from two main bus stations in Dubai:

    • Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, located in Bur Dubai, is easily accessible from the Dubai Creek and Deira area. You can reach it via the Dubai Metro Green Line.
    • Ibn Battuta Bus Station, adjacent to Ibn Battuta Mall, is more convenient for those in the modern area of Dubai, such as Dubai Marina. You can reach it via the Dubai Metro Red Line.

    The three intercity bus routes, all operated by RTA (Dubai’s public transport authority), are:

    • Bus E100: Runs from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. The journey takes about 2.15 to 3 hours.
    • Bus E101: Runs from Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
    • Bus E102: Runs from Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station in Abu Dhabi. The journey takes approximately 2 to 2.15 hours.

    Bus E102 also stops at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The journey from Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Abu Dhabi International Airport takes approximately 1.5 hours. However, if you have a flight to catch, it’s advisable not to cut it too close with the timing!

    Be careful: The Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station, unlike the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, is not located in Downtown Abu Dhabi. Instead, it’s situated quite far from the city center – about 30 km away. This means you’ll need to account for at least another 1.5 hours of travel by bus. Generally, this station is a good choice only if you get off at Abu Dhabi Airport.

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Timings

    Buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi are quite frequent and run from early morning to late evening. According to the Dubai Transport Authority (RTA), the updated schedules for 2024 are:

    • Bus E100 operates with the first departure at 4.20 AM and the last one at 11.20 PM. Buses depart every 30 minutes. In the evening, extra trips are scheduled, and the frequency is one bus every 20 minutes (e.g., 9.10 PM, 9.30 PM, 9.50 PM…).
    • Bus E101 operates with the first departure at 4.20 AM and the last one around 12.30 AM. Buses depart every 20 to 60 minutes, with an average frequency of one every 20 minutes during the day (from 9.00 AM onwards, according to schedules 9.00 AM, 9.20 AM, 9.40 AM…) and reduced frequency early in the morning.
    • Bus E102 operates with the first departure around 12.30 AM, followed by three other buses at 2.32 AM, 4.32 AM, and 6.02 AM, then a bus every hour until 12.00 PM and one every 40-50 minutes afterwards. The last bus is at 11.22 PM, but note that there will be another one at 12.32 AM.

    The schedules can vary, especially on major public holidays. However, most trips between 6.00 AM and 11.00 PM are usually guaranteed. Updated schedules and any deviations can be checked at Al Ghubaiba and Ibn Battuta bus stations and on the RTA website, the Dubai Transport Authority.

    Bus RouteFirst DepartureLast DepartureFrequency
    E1004.20 AM11.20 PMEvery 30 minutes (20 minutes in the evening)
    E1014.20 AM12.30 AMEvery 20 to 60 minutes (20 minutes during the day, reduced in the early morning)
    E10212.32 AM11.22 PM (Another one at 12.32 AM)Three buses at 2.32 AM, 4.32 AM, and 6.02 AM, then every hour until 12.00 PM, and every 40-50 minutes afterwards

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Fares

    The ticket price for the Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus is 25 AED ($6.80). The fare is the same regardless of which bus you take. Tickets can be purchased directly at the departure bus station and can be paid for in cash at the ticket office on site, or – a more popular and widely used solution – you can pay with the NOL Card.

    If you’re not familiar with the NOL Card, it’s a contactless payment card designed for public transportation. In practice, it’s the equivalent of an electronic ticket that you purchase and then can top-up. Every time you travel on Dubai’s public transportation, such as the metro and buses, including intercity ones like the Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus, you can pay for your trip with the NOL Card and the corresponding amount is deducted from your balance.

    The NOL Card can be easily obtained and topped up at any bus station or any Dubai Metro station, ensuring a seamless travel experience. The ticket price for the Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus does not differ whether you purchase it at the ticket office or with the NOL Card.

    Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Terminals and Stations

    The two main Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus Terminals are Al Ghubaiba Bus Station and Ibn Battuta Bus Station. From these stations, buses E100 and E101 depart respectively, which are the best solutions for those who want to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus. The arrival station is always the same, namely the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.

    Al Ghubaiba Bus Station is located in the Bur Dubai area, near the Dubai Creek. It’s convenient for those traveling from areas in “Old Dubai” (Bur Dubai, Deira, etc.), being served by the nearby station of the green line of the Dubai Metro. However, it is also easily accessible from Downtown Dubai, the area around the Burj Khalifa.

    The station includes some shops, waiting rooms, a taxi rank, and cycle parking. Finding your bus and the schedules will not be difficult, as they are well marked by electronic departure boards, also in English. The station is served by many bus routes, including local routes within Dubai as well as intercity services to other emirates. From here also depart the bus E201 to Al Ain and the E306 to Sharjah, and it is located close to other transport links such as Al Ghubaiba Metro Station and Al Ghubaiba Marine Transport Station.

    Ibn Battuta Bus Station, adjacent to the Ibn Battuta Mall, is a convenient option for those traveling from areas in “New Dubai”, or in the vicinity of Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and the districts of Jebel Ali, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Al Barsha and so on. This is well connected also with Downtown Dubai, being able to take the red metro line and get off directly near the bus terminal. Moreover, from here the bus journey is shorter and avoids much of the possible traffic jams in the city center.

    The station offers a taxi rank and cafe. More places to eat and drink can be found inside the Ibn Battuta Mall. There’s also a convenience store inside the Ibn Battuta Metro Station. The station is a main hub of connection with the metro and with dozens of buses serving the surrounding neighborhoods, including the bus F55 to Al Maktoum International Airport (not to be confused with the Dubai International Airport, which is instead located in the north of Dubai and closer to and well connected with the Al Ghubaiba Bus Station).

    Both buses E100 and E101 arrive at the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, also known as Abu Dhabi Main Bus Terminal, the main bus station in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and a hub for both local buses and buses to other emirates. It’s located in the city center, next to Al Wahda Mall and Al Nahyan Stadium. From here you can take a bus or a taxi to your next destination, since the main attractions are still quite far away. Just to say, the Qasr Al Watan is about 10 km away and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is over 15 km away.

    Consider that you will not be able to use your NOL Card to pay for public transport in Abu Dhabi, but you can buy the corresponding Hafilat Card required for Abu Dhabi suburban buses from within the station, or tickets for intercity services from a ticketing counter with a card or cash. However, you can use the NOL Card for your return journey to Dubai.

    Good news for tourists, which nobody says and many do not know, is that you can use the Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus for free. Bus no. 6 serves along route B2 that goes from Qasr Al Watan to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, also allowing to change for other routes, like the one for Yas Island. The closest bus stop is just next to Al Wahda Mall. The rides are objectively few (around 3 a day for each direction), but it could be an option for those traveling on a budget.

    How to Travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi: Alternatives to the Bus

    The Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus is one of the most affordable ways to travel between the two main cities of the UAE, so if you are budget-conscious travelers looking for a cost-effective solution, taking a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi can be a good option. However, there are some factors to consider before making your decision.

    The first of these is that it will be difficult to visit Abu Dhabi with a day trip, unless it is a guided tour from Dubai. This is because guided tours include comfortable and fast round-trip transportation and between attractions, priority tickets, and thus allow you to optimize time and visit essential attractions, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Etihad Towers, and the Qasr Al-Watan. Replicating the same tour with public transport is practically impossible, or anyway, you would be so much always in a hurry that you would not be able to enjoy the visit.

    Moreover, Abu Dhabi is not a small city: it is huge and sprawling, and the attractions are scattered over a wide area. Just to name one, the famous Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, the Yas Marina F1 Circuit, and the renowned theme parks, such as Ferrari World, are all located far from the center, in the Yas Island area. Other attractions are located near the Corniche, in the scenic city waterfront, while the mosque is located far from the city center.

    This means that if you choose to travel by public bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, then once you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you may need to rely on taxis to get around, as the city’s main attractions are quite spread out. This requires a lot of extra time and money.

    A very popular alternative is to rent a car and drive there, just like most locals do. You might want to take a look at our tips on Car Rental in Dubai: this offers you flexibility and freedom, allowing you to explore Abu Dhabi at your own pace. Renting a car in Dubai is generally affordable and easy, and there are plenty of reliable and cost-effective car rental options available. Certainly, it is one of the most economical and comfortable solutions if you are traveling with family or are a group of friends.

    Finally, a valid alternative for those who do not want to rent a car and drive and prefer a hassle-free experience, is to book a private transfer from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. An ideal solution especially for those who want to stay a few nights in Abu Dhabi, which is certainly the best way to visit the city to the fullest. For those who want to visit in a day, there are also private tours, in which you essentially rent a car with a driver-guide who will take you to see all the main attractions of the city. This is also a convenient option for families or groups.

    FAQs on the Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus

    How long does it take to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus?

    The travel time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus can vary depending on the route and traffic conditions. On average, the journey takes around 2-3 hours if you depart from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, and 1.5-2 hours if you depart from Ibn Battuta Bus Station.

    Can you do a day trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai?

    Certainly! Indeed, a day trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai is a must for anyone traveling to Dubai. There are guided tours that allow you to see the essential attractions in complete comfort. Alternatively, you could go on your own, but in this case, consider that you may need more days to visit Abu Dhabi. This is because the attractions are spread across the city and require many taxi trips or bus changes.

    How can I get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi cheaply?

    The bus is the cheapest way to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, especially if you are a solo traveler. This will allow you to travel between the two cities for less than $20 round trip, to which you will need to add extra money for getting around in Abu Dhabi. However, if you are a group or a family, the cheapest way to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is to rent a car.

    Take a look at Discovercars: prices start from less than $18 per day, for rentals from reliable and international brand car rentals! Moreover, as already mentioned, gasoline is very cheap here! And let me tell you, a road trip through the UAE is really a must!

    Is there a train between Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

    A railway line has recently been constructed and there are plans to implement passenger trains in the future. However, for now, there are no trains between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. You can learn more about this in our article on the Train from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

    Can we travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi without visa?

    If you’re wondering whether tourists can travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and if you can travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi without a visa, the answer is obviously yes! Once you’ve entered the UAE – regardless of your port or airport of entry – you’ll have the right to move freely through all seven emirates that make up the country. The UAE is a single country made up of emirates, which are somewhat similar to the various states in the USA.

    Are you planning your trip? These tips may come in handy: