13 Top Things To Do In Dubai For 80 Dollars With Big Bus
Assuming you want to spend 2 days in the Emirate of Dubai there's a surprising amount of things to do and places to discover for about the same price as a decent pair of trainers. The 13 experiences we've listed below all come courtesy of the Big Bus Dubai Tour, which easily doubles up a comprehensive attraction pass as much as it is a sightseeing tour. Each ticket gives riders unlimited access to around 40 citywide bus stops for either 24 or 48 hours, plus free cruises, museum entries, walking tours and more. Here's over a dozen offers which we felt deserved particular attention, and which we feel you'll enjoy the most!
1) Dubai Dhow Cruises (Big Bus Stop 18 & 44)
Like all of the UAE's major cities the Emirate of Dubai has intimate cultural and economic links to the sea. No surprise then that two of its most iconic districts, one modern, one ancient, are poised along the banks of two important waterways. Take your Big Bus Dubai ticket to either the Dhow Wharfage along Dubai Creek (stop 18), or Pier 7 along Dubai Marina (stop 44), and kick-back aboard a traditional Dhow boat. Amidst the cruise ships and millionaire yachts these age-old vessels remain as endearing as ever, with their emblematic spinnaker sails a common sight along Dubai's waterways.
The Dubai Creek cruise is an ideal way to see the oldest portions of the city, covering such areas as the Gold and Spice Souks, Al Fahidi Fort, and the Heritage Village. The Marina Cruise encompasses its contemporary wonders, from the opulent high-rises along the marina baysides to Itihad Park and the famous Atlantis Palm.
2) Dubai Desert Sunset Tour (Departs Wafi City Mall)
Possibly the finest excursion available to Big Bus Dubai ticket holders, it involves an afternoon journey to the city's outskirts and a range of incredible activities. Take your rider tickets along to WAFI (Stop 1, Red Route) and inquire about the next available departure, as times vary throughout the months. During the three hour journey you'll get to experience camel riding, henna painting, falcon interaction, horse riding, and not to mention a stunning desert sunset. To top it all off these definitive Arabian activities are complimented by a free welcome coffee drink and a platter of dates.
3) The Lost Chambers Aquarium (Palm Jumeirah)
By travelling to the Atlantis Palm (Stop 34) holders of 48-hour tickets can get free entry to the vast and utterly captivating 'Lost Chambers Aquarium'. Modelled after the mythical underwater city of Atlantis this attraction is home to some 65,000 marine animals. Not only do you get to see the creatures swimming around their habitats you'll be welcomed to join them on a magical diving experience. These activities take place in what they aptly call the 'Ambassador Lagoon', where as well as getting up close to giant rays, eels and seahorses you could reach out and touch a passing shark.
4) Dubai Museum (Al Fahidi Fort)
Ever wondered how Dubai rose from an impoverished pearl hunting community to oil-rich international tourism hub? All is revealed at Al Fahidi Fort, the city's oldest surviving structure and now its premier historical institution. Walking through the fortified gateway of Dubai Museum is like stepping back in time to world of Bedouin villages, mud brick buildings and tribal warfare. A vast collection of archaeological relics, artefacts and recreations vividly illustrate Dubai's development across thousands of years, from pre-Islamic to the foundation of the UAE in 1971 and modern economic prosperity. Reach Dubai Museum by hopping-off at stop 6 (City Tour), and get in for free with your rider ticket.
5) Coin Museum (Al Fahidi District)
Take a short walk east of Al Fahidi Fort and it won't be long before you reach the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Heritage House (Al Khor Street, Al Ras Metro Station, Deira). This complex of buildings is where you'll encounter the Coin Museum, an attraction which showcases thousands of years worth of rare and beautiful coinage. The main exhibition is divided into 7 displays, each representing a different era with its native currency. You'll see over 470 individual coins, some from as back as the Sasanian Empire and as far flung as Egypt and Turkey.
6) Shindagha Museum (Al Khaleej Road, Bur Dubai, Dubai)
This historical residence was once owned by former ruler of Dubai Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum. Until very recently it directly bore his name, though it's now simply referred to as the Shindagha Museum after the historical neighbourhood in which it's located. It's similar in function to Dubai Museum, but focuses more on the emirate's post 19th century history. You'll about Dubai's transition out of the pre-oil era through an insightful collection of vintage photographs, coins, letters, stamps, maps and more.
7) Camel Museum (Shindagha District)
They're one of the most iconic symbols of the Arabian peninsula, oft seen silhouetted against many a desert sunset, but how much do you really know about the emblematic camel? Right next door to the Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House you'll find a building which once served as the royal camel stables, now renovated into an institution that explores every aspect of these hardy animals. Numerous displays illustrate their physiology and life-cycle, while others focus on their significance within Arabic culture, from depictions in literature to racing traditions and as a means transportation.
8) Traditional Architectural Museum (Shindagha District)
Remain in the Al Shindagha district if you'd like to see and learn about the evolution of Emirati architectural styles. The Traditional Architectural Museum is housed within another former royal residence, that of Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum. A striking structural gem in its own right it's easy to see why this particular building was chosen to house such an institution. Inside you'll discover a treasure trove architectural models, ancient construction tools, and a bewildering variety of ornamental items.
9) Horse Museum (Shindagha District)
If you enjoyed wandering around the camel museum then consider a stop-off at the Dubai Horse Museum, situated within the former home of Sheikha Moza bint Saeed Al Maktoum. Here you'll uncover the legacy of the much celebrated Arabian horse, as well as other breeds and their cultural position across the Arabian Peninsula. View anatomical models, art, riding equipment, historical photographs and more all in your own time. Free guided tours are available to those who want to make the most of their experience.
10) Dubai Heritage House (Al Ahmadiya Street)
Dubai's Heritage House lies close to the Gold Souk in the old Al Ahmadiya neighbourhood. Reach it hopping off at stops 11 or 12 on the Big Bus tour (both are a similar distance away), and get access to this fascinating merchant's residence. Once owned by Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk the Heritage House now serves as a full-scale reconstruction of Arabian domestic life around the turn of the 20th century. Your window into the daily lives of the houses' former owners will be illustrated by a selection of dioramas arranged throughout key rooms, such as the majlis, kitchens and bride room.
11) Al Ahmadiya School Museum (Al Ahmadiya Street)
Next door to the Heritage House is perhaps the most important facet of Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk's legacy. He constructed Dubai's first official private school, a now disused educational institution which today features detailed reconstructions of primary academic life in the early 20th century.
12) Museum of Poet Al-Oqaili (Sikka 21B, Dubai)
Literary and architectural heritage go hand-in-hand at the former home of Arabian poet Mubarak bin Hamad bin Mubarak Al- Manea Al-Oqaili. Pay a visit and learn about his contributions to Arabic literature and to see how men of his status lived around the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
13) Dubai Municipality Museum (Al Souk Al Kabeer Street)
A short distance from Al-Oqaili's house and the Deira Spice Souk is the Dubai Municipality Museum. It's a small place without a huge amount to offer, but it does contain a collection of interesting documents, photographs and artefacts relating to the city's bureaucracy and infrastructure.
The above attractions are by no means the only things to can experience with a Big Bus Dubai rider ticket. Head along to our tour page to learn about free shuttles, access to the RTA Water Buses, 5 free walking tours, a free Emirate of Sharjah sightseeing tour, and shopping discounts.