Riding the Big Bus in Dubai

Dubai is a city of contrasts. Built originally alongside a Creek, with a history, dating back to the 1790’s, of fishing and pearl diving, with a population of approximately 1,200 residents.

It was not until 1952 that electricity was first introduced to the area, and in 1966, oil was discovered offshore, with oil production facilities in place by 1969, driving the population from 59,000 in 1967 to over 2 million residents today.


DUBAI SKYLINE © jensimon7 CC-BY-SA-2.0 creativecommons.org

 Dubai is the home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, surpassing the previous tallest building, Burj Al Arab that is also in Dubai. Dubai is known as an “international jetsetter getaway with myriad luxury stores, world-class restaurants, and over-the-top seaside resorts, each of which comes with a hefty price tag,”(Exploration Guide).



In Muscat, we purchased a combo ticket for the Big Bus Tour (hop-on-hop-off) that included Dubai. In Muscat we had very little traffic, so the bus was able to transport us to more sights, but Dubai has bad traffic congestion in many areas even though they have superhighways that are 7 lanes wide in each direction. Dubai has two separate bus routes, but time restraints limited us to choosing only the inner city tour.





A free addition to our bus ticket was an hour cruise on Dubai Creek in a traditional Dhow. We were able to get a better perspective of the buildings from the water than topside on the bus for our photographs. We shared the Creek with the abras (water taxis) that are a fast, inexpensive way to cross the Creek for pedestrians. We were pleased to see they even accommodate wheelchairs.



Generally speaking, the hop-on-hop-off buses are a cost effective way to see a city or locale. Even though we were caught in traffic, so were the surrounding taxis whose meters were still running. We have used the hop-on-hop off tours in cities around the world, and every line has been clean and the staff extremely helpful, answering thousands of questions everyday from riding passengers. In the hotter climates, free bottles of cold water are provided, as well as shaded and air conditioned sections on the top deck. In Dubai, because of its status as an international destination, the accompanying sightseeing dialogue (heard through free headsets) is provided in 10 different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Hindu, Farsi, and Mandarin Chinese.




Arab Style Parking Garage and Waterside Boat Docking


If you choose to use the buses, wait until the day you arrive to purchase your ticket. We have found ticket prices to be lower on the day you are using the bus than if you reserve ahead of schedule, especially in locations that have more than one hop-on-hop-off bus line. Our day in Malta was priced at the child rate ($10 each) rather than the higher adult rate, competition at work to save you, the consumer, a few extra dollars.

One caveat, however, is that you need to review the bus route before you arrive in the locality, especially if there is more than one route loop or if there are competing bus lines that may have different itineraries. Do your homework ahead of time to be familiar with the sights at each stop, so you can best pick and choose those that are closest to your interests and time available. Just Google “hop-on-hop-off bus Cape Town” and you will be able to review the routes and various sights available in the greater Cape Town area, even going out of town to the wine district to sample wines, or down to Boulder Beach to see the African penguins. Have a checklist before you step onto the bus, and enjoy the ride!



3 Responses to “Riding the Big Bus in Dubai”

  1. Dear Grandma Barb, Mary Jane and Carolyn,
    We like reading about your adventures. I’m telling my teacher that my great-grandma is on a world cruise. My grandma likes adventures. We hope you have a good time!
    Christopher…and his mom and dad

  2. I have only one word = INCREDIBLE !!

  3. Soooo enjoyed your last two blogs. Apart from some absolutely wonderful pictures it is obvious that you have both done your homework and a lot of research, for which we are reaping the benefits.
    Thank you for a great trip to Dubai! What a fascinating city! I can see why Martha Braddock son, who flies for the airlines, likes it.
    I take it you survived your time at sea and missed most of the storm!
    Looking forward to your next stop 🙂


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