It was Day 2 in Dubai and I was thrilled to discover that the city was equipped with its very own “hop on/hop off” Big Bus Tour. I adamantly believe that bus tours are one of the BEST ways to not only explore attractions across a travel destination, but are also a great way to view and get a feel of the city’s landscape.
With that, I arrived at Wafi, an Egyptian themed shopping mall, around 11am and after shelling out 339 AED for a full package Deluxe Ticket, I set off for my very first trip on Dubai’s Big Bus Tour.
The first line I embarked on was the Red Line, or City Tour, which would drive past the Burj Khalifa, then take us around Deira, a region brimming with much of the historical and early development settlements of Dubai.
As we drove around Dubai I was definitely wowed by just how, well, normal the city looked.
In fact, much of Dubai’s landscape reminded me of cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Venice Beach, California of the USA.
The weather was hot and sunny, there were long stretches of busy highways, lots of palm trees, and 2 to 3-story manila painted housing complexes nestled between small to large buildings.
Furthermore, the streets were safe and clean, and everything was organized, modern, and aesthetically appealing—some things I had reservations about before my trip. Thank you Big Bus Tour!
The first stop I “hopped off” at was at the Dubai Museum, which was located in Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in Dubai. The museum housed a number of galleries and displays detailing the culture and history of Dubai in addition to the traditional lifestyle of its citizens.
It was interesting, but I only needed about 30 minutes to cover the entire museum.
The next stop was a 1-hour cruise along Dubai Creek. It was smoldering hot, but I absolutely love cruises and just couldn’t resist having a perfect view of the magnificent buildings that lined the stream from atop of the ship.
During the cruise a pre-recorded voice provided commentary on the historical significance of Dubai Creek and many of the buildings situated along its edge.
I learned that it was once, for example, a major port for ships and a great place to fish due to its shallow waters.
Today, Dubai Creek is mainly used for transporting small cargo and sightseeing.
You’ll also catch dozens of small ferryboats transporting passengers across Dubai Creek.
After the cruise we arrived back at Dubai Mall where I transferred to the Green Line of the Big Bus Tour. I was thrilled to hop aboard this tour as it would make stops at Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Public Beach, the Burj Al Arab, and the Atlantis the Palm; all top attractions in Dubai.
We passed Jumeirah Mosque first, but after hearing from a staff member at my hotel that non-Muslims weren’t allowed in mosques after 10:30am, I decided that taking a few pictures from aboard the bus would suffice.
Next up we passed Jumeirah Beach. It was beautiful, and the landscape near the beach continued to impress me; after all, it was clean, orderly, and looked very localized but with a Western touch.
Burj Al Arab & Sunset Beach
After a while we landed at Burj Al Arab—a luxury hotel designed to resemble the sail of a ship—and it was even more impressive in person.
To the right of the Burj Al Arab sat a just as equally striking Sunset Beach. We were closer to the beach at this point and I could see that the water—of the Arabian Gulf—was a beautiful green closest to the sand, and it transformed into a dark navy blue just a few meters out. I could literally see a line that divided the two colors. The wonders of nature!
Additionally, across from Sunset Beach was a large, serene grass area equipped with palm trees and a number of playgrounds. Dubai just kept getting better and better!
It was mid-afternoon so I skipped the beaches to explore Atlantis at the Palm. And just like that, we were on our way to another iconic attraction in Dubai: Palm Islands.