Bike, boat and hot air balloon your way around town!
So you catch a glimpse of the Burj Khalifa on the school run and might be lucky enough to get a birds-eye view of Dubai on take-off for your hols but have you actually taken the time to marvel at how awesome this city is?! If you’re a resident then it’s easy to let life get in the way – and if you’re visiting then you might not know where to start. So we’ve put together 10 alternative ways to discover and appreciate the city of gold. It’s time to explore, mamas!
Float up, up and away in a hot air balloon for a beautifully serene birds-eye view of Dubai. Yes, you’ll have to rise before the sun (isn’t that normal anyway these days?!) but you’ll start your day in the most magical way, watching the colours of the desert change with the light, spotting Oryx, gazelle and camels below and seeing our infamous city skyline come to life. Suitable for the over 5’s, this isn’t cheap but it’s a one-off experience worth digging into the pockets for mamas!
Book in for a hot air balloon experience with Balloon Adventures Emirates.
Read more: 24 Things To Do in Dubai Over 24 Hours
Petrol heads this one’s for you! Get closer to the sights from the comfort of a HONDA Gold Wing 1800 motorcycle or tricycle (that’s bike talk for a seriously cushioned kinda ride) with the wind in your hair and that fabulous feeling of freedom as a driver whizzes you around town. Choose from 1 hour tours that include downtown Dubai and Jumeirah or something a little longer (‘old & new Dubai’ that includes Deira, Bur Dubai and the Burj Khalifa) – there’ll be plenty of photo-opp stops and you’ll even get to choose a soundtrack to match your ride.
So worth getting helmet hair for!
FlyBike offers motorbike tours around our desert city.
Take to the water and then to the skies on a seaplane tour over the city and the chance to see your fave spots from above! The Dubai Silver Air Tour includes all of the iconic attractions – take off from the water at Dubai Creek or Jebel Ali Resort before cruising along the coastline, soaring past monuments and getting up close to the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. The closest thing we’ll ever get to flying private – and a completely awesome experience.
Check out the cool seaplane tours from Seawings Dubai.
Read more: The Early Riser’s Guide to Dubai
For a trip you’ll never forget, channel your inner rockstar and book a helicopter ride and tour of our gorge desert city. There’s a 12 minute or 22 minute option to choose from and the chance to see everything from Dubai’s historical wind towers to the most iconic buildings on our skyline – your chopper will depart from Dubai Festival City and glide its way across town. The best bit? Kids can come too!
HeliDubai offers helicopter rides around Dubbers.
Discover Dubai from the ocean with a Jet Ski tour that has you at the helm (don’t worry all tours include a briefing on how to handle your machine if you’ve never done it before). An instructor and guide will lead the way past the Burj Al Arab and along the coast to the Palm Jumeirah, with the chance to catch a glimpse of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s private island and luxury yacht along the way. Each jet ski can take 2 passengers – so load hubby on the back and book it as a date with a difference! And your instructor will snap away en route before sending you all the pics so there’s no danger of dropping your phone in the water (again).
Check out Nemo Watersports Dubai for some cool jet ski tours.
Read more: 5 Emirates in 5 Weekends – Dubai
On your bikes, mamas! If you don’t own your own push bike – or if you don’t fancy sweating it across town (or risking your life on some of our city’s crazy roads) then head to one of the next bike locations in the Downtown, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah areas and rent your two wheels for however long you need to! Rental is easy – just call the hotline number you find on the bike and follow instructions. And you don’t need to return your wheels to the same location – if you want to get those legs moving then cycle on to one of the other official stations around town and leave there. We recommend somewhere near a good watering hole, you’ll deserve a cool drink after all that pedaling.
Cycle around Dubai with Next Bikes.
There’s nothing quite like messing about on boats – or rather seeing our gorgeous desert city from the ocean at a thrilling speed! The Yellow Boat crew will show you the sights, from Dubai Marina to the Burj Al Arab and everything in between on a thrilling maritime adventure that’s fab for little shipmates over 3 years and up. Cruise calmly through the Marina before your driver picks up speed and bounces over the waves – our kids loved it but be warned it can get bumpy!
The Yellow Boats offer super cool boat tours.
Read more: Sassy Mama’s Guide to Dubai Marina
One of the very best things we’ve ever done in our city (read all about Kaya’s walking tour of old Dubai), the Frying Pan Adventures tours allow you to see the city in a completely different way – beyond the malls and the skyscrapers – by walking you through some of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods and introducing you to new tastes and cuisines at a few of Dubai’s lesser known yet totally delicious and authentic eateries. Take in all those tiny details you may never have noticed before, meet and mingle with neighbourhood locals and discover a side to Dubai that you will never have seen before while learning about its history. There’s a whole menu of tours from ‘Local Flavours’ to ‘Little India on a Plate’ and even an ‘African Safari’ – and if walking isn’t your thing then a bus or metro tour is available too. Book one and you’ll want to do them all.
Eat and walk your way around Dubai with one of the tours from Frying Pan Adventures.
No you can’t ride a camel around town (sadly – how cool would that be?!) – but you can experience the magic of the landscape surrounding the city sat atop one of these beautiful ‘ships of the desert’, discovering the other side to what makes Dubai so magical. Ride for 45 minutes through a conservation reserve before stopping for falcon demonstrations, photos among the dunes and a scrummy traditional Emirati dinner with entertainment. Over 5’s are accepted if you have a little explorer in your gang who wants to join in the fun!
Platinum Heritage offers all sorts of camel and desert experiences around Dubai.
The original way to see Dubai? On a hop on/hop off double decker bus that cruises around all of the city’s most famous attractions and areas. When it’s hot you can chill downstairs in the a/c and when the weather allows sit out on the top deck and soak up the views and the warmth.
Choose one of 3 Big Bus tour routes (Beach Tour, City Tour and Marina Tour) and jump on and off as many times as you like over the 45 stops all across Dubers. Kids under 5 go free, under 15’s pay a discounted rate and family tickets are also available. Oh and when you buy a ticket you also get a heap of cool added extras including a free dhow cruise, free entry to museums and vouchers to spend at various restos around town.
Want to see Dubai by night when the kiddos are tucked up in bed? Book in for the Night Tour, hop aboard at Souk Madinat Jumeirah and finish with the Wafi light and sound show (also included!).
The good ol’ Big Bus Tours has got all the bus tours you need to explore the city of gold.