If you're going to Dubai soon but will only spend a few days there, I strongly suggest you discover the city on board one of the "Big Bus Dubai" from Big Bus Tours.
This tour will allow you to discover the main sites of interest of the city without complicating your life.
The “Dubai Open-Top Sightseeing Bus Tours” have been specially designed so that you can see the whole of Dubai. You will see the city like never before! You will be able to contemplate its futuristic side with the Burj Khalifa, as well as its classical side with its traditional architecture (souks, palaces...), its Arab-Muslim culture ....
Comfortably installed in a double-deck bus with an open roof, you will have the choice between different itineraries as well as a great number of stops, located of course near the most popular attractions of the city.
Feel free to hop on and off whenever you like and spot which neighborhoods are worth more than a quick visit.
If you want to know more about Dubai's Hop-on Hop-off buses, then you’ve come to the right place.... 😊
HOW DOES THE BIG BUS TOUR WORK?
Dubai's Big Bus Tours - one of the largest tour bus companies in the world (it is a family-owned company formed from the merger of two other companies: the London-based Big "Bus Company Ltd." and the Paris-based "Cars Rouges") - operates every day of the year with double-deck buses with air conditioning on the first floor and an open roof on the second floor.
The tourist bus travels around the city all day long. It follows a well-defined route and makes specific stops (more than 35 stops) along its route. It usually stops near the major attractions of the emirate so that you can explore the city further.
The sightseeing tour has pre-recorded commentary available in 12 languages (English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, Farsi, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese). You will be provided with free headphones as soon as you board the bus. The audio guide will give you information and various anecdotes on the monuments and emblematic sites of the city, and will also announce the stops.
The great thing about the Dubai Big Bus is that there is a bus every 30 minutes or so. It is therefore quite possible to get off, take a tour and then quickly get back on a bus to go to the next point of interest.
WHAT ARE THE HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS ROUTES?
With Big Bus Tours, you can choose from three main daytime routes, a nighttime tour and a walking tour.
Your ticket allows you to hop on and off whenever you want and as many times as you want.
1 - DAYTIME PANORAMIC TOURS
- The “City Tour Red Line”
This tour lasts about two hours and takes you through a part of Downtown Dubai, passing by some of the city’s most important points of interest such as the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, the old districts including the district of Deira, the souks (gold souk, spice souk), the Al Fahidi Fort but also the Heritage Village or the Dubai Creek.
This tour starts every day at 8:50 am from the Dubai Mall (stop n°1). The last tour starts at 5pm.
This is the classic Dubai Big Bus tour. This is the one that is most often chosen, and also the one I take when I show Dubai to friends in general 🙂
- The “Beach Tour Green Line”
With this tour of about 1h10, you will go to the side of Jumeirah Beach while passing also near the big sites (Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates...). You can also get off to visit the Aquarium & Underwater Zoo on Palm Island, or to discover the Souk Madinat.
This tour starts every day at 9am from the Dubai Mall (stop n°10). The last tour is at 5pm.
- The “Marina Tour Blue Line”
In about 1.5 hour, you will discover a large part of the city. You will see the major attractions I just mentioned, but you will also be able to visit the Dubai Marina and take advantage of its shopping center, the Marina Mall as well as use the Water Bus (boat-buses that cruise the Dubai Creek). It is also at the Marina that you will find the Dubai zipline which will allow you to literally fly over the buildings of the city. You can also go on the JBR Walk promenade.
Palm Island is also on the list, with all the entertainment this island offers: The Pointe (the Atlantis Hotel's promenade), the Atlantis The Palm Hotel, the Aquaventure Water Park, the Dolphin Bay's Dolphin Encounter, and a visit to the huge aquarium The Lost Chamber of Atlantis.
This tour starts everyday at 9am from the Mall of the Emirates (stop n°16). The last tour is at 5pm.
What I find interesting about the Dubai Big Bus is that a Big Bus Tour ticket gives you access to all the routes, no matter what the route is. So it is perfectly possible to swap your tours (between the "Beach Tour", the "City Tour" and the "Marina Tour"), get on another bus or enjoy a route in part or in its entirety.
This means that you can visit Dubai according to YOUR itinerary and desires - and that's what I like the most.
2 - THE "DUBAI NIGHT BIG BUS TOUR”
You can also opt for a night tour of Dubai. Indeed, Big Bus offers the "Dubai Night Big Bus Tour", a tour that allows you to discover the city's iconic sites by night.
It's a whole new way of discovering Dubai's greatest monuments: when they are illuminated by the lights of the city. For example, you can admire the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Creek or the Grand Mosque under the light of the projectors.
The only problem is that this is a no-stop tour, and the comments are made by a tour guide in English only. The best part is that this activity is included in all tickets 😊
Buses run every night of the week from 7:30pm / 7:45pm:
- departing from the Dubai Mall (stop n°1 for the "Red Line" and n°12 for the "Green Line");
- departing from the Mall of the Emirates - Gate 1 on the first floor (stop n°17 for the "Green Line" and n°18 for the "Blue Line").
It will take 2h45 for a night tour with the Big Bus Dubai. I did this tour once and it is still a very nice tour, even if you can't get off the bus during the trip. If you don't have many days to spend in Dubai, this might be the opportunity for you to discover the city by night quite quickly.
3 - THE "DUBAI WALKING TOURS"
This tour is also included in the Big Bus Tours tickets. It is only available between the months of October and April (when the heat is less suffocating).
This option allows you to discover and understand the history of Dubai, its customs and traditions.
Five one-hour itineraries are offered:
- The discovery of the city center starting from the Dubai Mall every day at 6 pm.
- The discovery of the old districts of Dubai, including the historic district of Al Fahidi with its fort, the district of Al Bastakiya or of Deira. Departure is every day at 2pm from the Dubai Museum.
- The discovery of the old city, also starting from the Dubai Museum, but at 3pm this time.
- The discovery of the Khan Murjan souk, which is located in the Dubai WAFI shopping mall (option included with Deluxe tickets only!)
- The discovery of the historical village, including the diving village, the Calligraphy Museum, the Shindagha Museum and the Palace. Departure every day at 5pm from the Dubai Heritage Village.
Here are the various sites/attractions that you will be able to approach along the various routes:
- Downtown Dubai, with the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Fountain, the Downtown Discovery Walk, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo...
- The Marina: the Dubai Creek...
- The old districts : the district of Deira , the Dubai museum, the various souks (gold, spices...)...
- The Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach, Madinat Jumeirah...
- Palm Island: the hotel, the aquatic park "Aquaventure"...
WHERE TO BUY A TICKET?
You can buy one on site, from the company's staff at the Big Bus Tours information booth.
It is located next to the main entrance of the Dubai Mall and is open daily from 8am to 7pm:
Address: Big Bus Tours Information booth, Dubai Mall, Dubai
But you can also buy one on the internet, to have the ticket directly with you. There are two options: 1 day or 2 days. The price for the second day is usually quite low so this is the option I prefer.
Simply download and print the ticket that will be sent to your mailbox. It will contain a code that a company staff member will check when you board the bus. They will then issue you a receipt that you can use to board and alight the buses for the duration of your ticket's validity.
WHAT TYPE OF TICKET SHOULD YOU BUY?
Big Bus Tours offers three types of tickets. Your choice will mainly depend on the length of your stay.
1 - THE "CLASSIC" TICKET
Valid for 24 hours, this ticket includes:
- a tour of Dubai by hop-on hop-off bus;
- a dhow cruise on the Dubai Creek;
- Entrance to 7 museums in Dubai: Dubai Museum, Coins Museum, Heritage House, Al Ahmadiya School Museum, Shindagha Museum, Al Oqaili Poet Museum and Municipal Museum;
- City tour by night;
- Walking tours of the city center.
You can choose a ticket valid for 1, 2 or even 5 days. I find the price for the 2-days ticket to be quite good, and it allows you to move around the city easily.
2 - THE “PREMIUM” TICKET
Valid for two consecutive days, it includes, in addition to the unlimited access to the tourist buses and the services offered by the previous ticket:
- a tour of Sharjah, the neighboring city;
- a cruise in the Marina.
3 - THE “DELUXE” TICKET
Valid for five consecutive days, it includes, in addition to the services included in the first two tickets:
- a sunset desert tour;
- free admission to The Lost Chambers Aquarium;
- a stroll through Palm Island;
- entrance to Dubai museums: Dubai Museum, Sheik Maktoum Palace...
- the visit of Meydan and Sharjah.
This is the most convenient ticket because it allows you to visit the city at your own pace.
HOW MUCH DOES A TICKET FOR THE BIG BUS DUBAI COST?
Here are the online prices:
Classic Ticket (1 day)
Premium Ticket (2 day)
Deluxe Ticket (5 days)
Children (5 to 15 years old)
Children under the age of 4 travel for free.
GOOD TO KNOW
Need more help or advice on your bus tour in Dubai? You have two options:
- either go to the Big Bus Tours information booth and ask about it;
- or download the company's free mobile application.
It is a true guide that you will always have at hand. It will allow you to take advantage of many options such as:
- Following the roadmap = the bus route step by step
- Following the bus in real time
- Searching for the most suitable route
- Knowing about the best places to take the bus
- Planning the stops where you want to get off
- Knowing the timetable
- Informing you of ticket offers
- Noting the nearest bus stop
- Knowing where the nearest attractions are (restaurants, stores…)
- Having a detailed map of the city.
Available on the Apple Store and Google Play platforms, the application is free!
Both solutions will allow you to plan your bus tour, save precious time and take advantage of special offers on attractions / activities / excursions available in Dubai.
BIG BUS DUBAI TICKETS
There is no need to print out your tickets: you can present the digital version on your phone. An employee will then issue you a ticket.
If you have requested your ticket to be sent to your smartphone, you will receive a text message containing a link to your ticket. Download your e-ticket and show it to a staff member.
Tickets sold online are undated: you can travel on the day of your choice within 6 months from the date of your purchase.
If you start a tour in the afternoon, it will still count as an entire day. It is therefore much more interesting to start in the morning, in order not to lose a full day!
Tickets purchased online or via the app are valid for six months until the ticket is scanned / exchanged. In the latter two cases, you'll need to use it within the allotted time (usually 1, 2 or 3 days).
- If you need to take a stroller with you, it will need to be foldable (storage on the lower deck).
- Most buses are wheelchair accessible.
- All children must be accompanied by an adult
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE WEATHER IS BAD AND THERE ARE NO BUSES RUNNING?
First, you should know that it rarely rains in Dubai, it's sunny all year round 😊 Dubai's climate is really nice!
But note that:
- If you bought your ticket online and haven't had it scanned yet, it will be valid for up to 6 months from the date of purchase.
- If you bought your ticket on the street or if it has already been scanned by an employee, you can ask for a refund.
YOU HAVE A STOPOVER IN DUBAI AND YOU WANT TO ENJOY THE TOURIST BUS?
The stop n°1 is the Dubai Mall stop, which is also the tourist bus terminal.
- Precautions during the Covid 19 pandemic
Big Bus Tours has introduced new health and safety measures to reduce the risks associated with the spread of the virus:
- buses are cleaned regularly;
- you will be required to follow social distancing measures;
- you will be required to wear a mask throughout the tour.
In addition, the company may apply reduced service, route changes, stop deletions or reductions, and changes in their tickets.
The Red Line Scenic Tours now run daily at 10am, 2pm and 5pm. The "Blue, Green and Night Tour" are unavailable for the time being.