MAP-FOR-TOURIST.COM

Excursions in Dubai


Page update - Oct 26, 2022

What excursions are available in Dubai? How much do they cost? What is the real value of each guided tour? What is more profitable - to pay for an excursion or go see on your own? Read the answers on this page.

The last question is very relevant in Dubai. There is the Dubai Metro and you can get to almost any attraction inexpensively and quickly on your own. Don't be surprised that many listed below excursions will have the words "low" or "zero" in the "value" column. However, even in this situation, there are a few excursions that are very valuable to tourists.

First important point!

Now (October 2022) all the seven emirates are open. In other words, travel between the emirates is completely free (no test or vaccine needed).

However, Abu Dhabi still has a "green pass" system with the Al-Hosn app. A PCR test will be required for travel to Abu Dhabi's attractions. But you don't have to worry. Tour agencies and hotel guides are usually happy to help tour-buying tourists to install the app and register the vaccination and test.

Second important point!

Starting September 28, 2022, all the emirates of the UAE canceled the mandatory of mask wearing indoors in restaurants and cafes, malls and stores, hotels and airports. HOWEVER! Nothing is said about museums, oceanariums, observation decks, amusement parks (their indoor parts) and other entertainment venues. From a law point of view, the situation is not completely clear.

As a result, all of these facilities now make their own rules. Some museums or oceanariums require masks, some do not. HENCE! We advice to have a mask with you. The good thing is that a mask doesn't take up much space in your pocket. In addition, masks are still required in transport.

Important note

Many of tourists buy excursions from hotel guides who prefer to announce prices in US dollars. Therefore, we publish tour prices in dollars.

We have to publish prices for transport and sightseeing tickets in UAE dirhams, because these prices are announced in dirhams. We will try to put prices in USD in brackets wherever possible and appropriate.

See the exchange rates in our review "What is the money in the UAE".




Dubai sightseeing tour

Value: VERY LOW

Duration: Half day

Price: USD 30-40 per person

It's called "Modern Dubai", it's called "Brilliant Dubai", it's called "The Best of Dubai" and dozens of other bright names which tour agencies invent to attract customers.

The essence of the excursion is simple - tourists are taken to those interesting places in Dubai, which can be seen for free. The correct name of this excursion is: "Tour on Free Attractions of Dubai".

And there are many free to see places in Dubai. See the actual list in our review "What to see in Dubai for free". Naturally, the list of attractions is different in different tour agencies and tour operators.

The value of this tour is low. First of all, it is not profitable, because it is cheaper to buy a one-day public transport pass for 20 dirhams and you can ride the subway to any of these attractions. We talked about the passes in detail in the review "NOL-card Dubai".

Second, the sightseeing time on the tour is limited. You won't be able to stay longer where you like. If you go on your own, you can see everything interesting as long as you want.

In addition to this program, there are sightseeing tours with a visit to a single paid place. But this is another tour, which we will talk more about later.



Find your flight



Abu Dhabi sightseeing tour

Value: MEDIUM or HIGH, it depends on the program

Duration: full day

Price: USD 60-80 per person

During the tour, tourists ride by bus to the neighboring Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where they see a set of attractions, usually free. The program differs slightly from one tour operator or agency to another. Typically the list includes: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Emirates Palace hotel, Heritage Village, Corniche promenade and beach.

This tour has value because getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is expensive by cab and long by bus. Read more about all the ways to get there in our review "From Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back".

The first thing tourists want to see in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. To see the carpet and chandeliers of record size with Swarovski crystals. You can get inside only during a break between namaz (Muslim prayer time). Such a break happens only in the morning from full sunrise until about noon. If the tour arrives at the mosque at this time, see the mosque in its entirety, and only such a tour is of high value.

Some tours include a visit to the Abu Dhabi Louvre. Then the tour is USD 20 more expensive, as a ticket to the Louvre costs 60 dirhams. But remember, if you see the Louvre, you will miss something else because the tour time is limited.

Tourists spend most of their time on this tour in a tour bus. It takes 2 hours there and 2 hours back. On top of that, Abu Dhabi is a big city and it's a long drive between sites. It's good if the bus has Wi-Fi. Or stock up on a local SIM card with mobile internet. Read our review "Internet in the UAE - how is cheap".




Sharjah sightseeing tour

Value: MEDIUM

Duration: Half day

Price: USD 30-40 per person

Another sightseeing tour, this time of the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah. However, one of the attractions tourists must see on this tour is paid, it is the Museum of Islamic Civilization. Although, the museum visit is almost free by the standards of the Arab Emirates, as the entrance fee is only 10 dirhams per person.

In addition to the museum, tourists visit the Blue Market, the Fort of Sharjah, and the historic part of town. Sometimes they visit Al Khan Beach, which is one of the best beaches in Sharjah. They don't visit the Sharjah Aquarium, which is a paid service. The Fountains of Sharjah are not watched as they only work in the evening.

In May 2019, the new and largest in the emirate the Sharjah Mosque opened, but for now tourists on sightseeing tours do not see it. Hopefully, in the future, the mosque will be part of the program.

The tour is of medium value. On the one hand, it is easy to get to Sharjah from Dubai by bus or cab, as we talked about all the options in the review "From Dubai to Sharjah and back". If on your own, you can see as many sights as you like. You can see them as long as you like.

On the other hand, it's quite expensive to get around Sharjah. There is no subway and only a dozen bus routes. You'll have to take a cab to get around. You can spend more money on cabs than the cost of the tour. See our review "Taxis in the UAE" for the cab fares.



Find your hotel



The Burj Khalifa observation decks

Value: generally LOW, it depends on the price

Duration: Half day

Price: USD 50-200 per person, depends on the time and the floor

This is not really a tour. A tour operator or travel agent will buy you a ticket to one of the Burj Khalifa observation decks. In most cases, even the transfer is not included in the price. Sometimes it is included, but it's not much use since you can easily get to the Burj Khalifa by subway, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station. See our review "Dubai Metro" for the map of the subway with all the latest updates.

Guides and agents have higher prices than the official price, for which you can buy tickets on the official website www.burjkhalifa.ae

How much more expensive? It depends on the impudence of the particular travel agent or guide. Here are the official prices (in October 2022) at once in dirhams and dollars to make it easier for you to orient yourself:

Observation deck 124th and 125th floors: 174 dirhams (USD 47)

Observation deck 124 and 125 floors (from 4pm to 6pm): 249 dirhams (USD 68)

Observation decks 124, 125 and 148 floors: 404 dirhams (USD 110)

Observation decks 124, 125 and 148 floors (12 noon to 6 pm): 558 dirhams (USD 152)

Compare these prices with what a guide or agent offers and you can see how much you are overpaying. On your own, you can easily buy tickets online at www.burjkhalifa.ae, pay by VISA, MasterCard, or JCB. Compare prices and decide whether it is more convenient to go on your own or through a guide (agent).




Wild Wadi waterpark

Value: usually LOW

Duration: Half day

Price: USD 85-120 per person

This tour comes with and without transfers.

If there is no transfer, there is no point in buying the tour. You will simply be sold a ticket to Wild Wadi waterpark with a surcharge.

If with a transfer, the tour can be useful, because to get to the water park you need to take the subway and then another cab or bus, which is quite a long time. Read about how to get there and the water park slides in our "Wild Wadi" review.

The main question is: How much will you overpay if you take the tour? The official price of the ticket is 269 dirhams. For example, the organizers of the tour are asking 80 dollars (294 dirhams), then the difference is 25 dirhams. For this money you can comfortably take a cab from the subway to the water park and back.

And there is one more thing. The water park has promotions and discounts all the time. For example, at the time of this page update (October 2022) there is a special price on weekdays when you pay by VISA card - 109 dirhams. If you book a tour, you can not take advantage of any promotions. Or rather the agent or hotel guide will gladly use the offer and will put all the benefits in his/her pocket.

You can find the prices at the official site at www.jumeirah.com/en/wild-wadi

Press the "BOOK NOW" button to see the promotions and discounts.



Find your transfer



Aquaventure waterpark

Value: usually LOW

Duration: Half day

Price: USD 85-120 per person

This is a trip to the man-made island The Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis Hotel where Aquaventure Waterpark is located. It is expensive to get to the island by cab, and even more expensive by the local monorail. So there is some value in this excursion. Read about how to get there and the water park slides in our review "Aquaventure".

However, there is one nuance. The price of a visit to the water park includes unlimited use of the local private Adventure Beach. All amenities are included: sun loungers, umbrellas, beach games, locker rooms, showers. It is very profitable, as on the public beaches of Dubai to rent a sun lounger costs from 50 dirhams a day. Knowing this, tourists go to Aquaventure for the whole day - ride the slides, sunbathe on the beach, swim.

The excursion lasts half a day and often there is not enough time even to ride the water slides as much as you want, and no time for the beach at all. Therefore, the value of excursion is low. The excursion is convenient only for those who do not need the beach at all, but such tourists are a minority.

In October 2022, the entrance to the Aquaventure water park costs 299 dirhams (USD 81). If the ticket also includes a visit to The Lost Chambers aquarium, it's 329 dirhams (USD 89). Compare the price with the guide (agent) and decide if you're ready to pay the difference for a transfer to the Aquaventure, or if you'd rather go by yourself.

And again, you can not take advantage of promotions and discounts if buy the tour.




Ferrari World park, YAS Waterworld waterpark, Warner Bros. park

Value: HIGH

Duration: full day

Price: USD 110 - 140 per person

All of these amusement parks are located in Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. Getting there from Dubai is expensive and/or tedious. Cabs are expensive, starting from 150 dirhams. It takes a long time by bus, as the buses come to downtown Abu Dhabi, and you have to take a cab to Yas Island as well.

The price of tickets to these parks is about 300 dirhams (USD 82). Calculate the difference and decide whether it's better to take a tour or cheaper to go by yourself. Usually it takes 2.5 hours and at least 20 dollars to get there on your own.

For information on how to get to Ferrari World, time and money, and attractions, read our pages "Ferrari World", "Formula Rossa", and "Galleria Ferrari".

About YAS Waterworld, its prices and attractions, read our review "YAS Waterworld".

About the Warner Bros. park, prices and its attractions read, read our review "Warner Bros".

Some tour operators and travel agencies have 2-in-1 excursions available. But it depends not on the agencies, but on what combo tickets are available now.

Some guides and agents offer tickets without a transfer, which generally seems silly. Nothing prevents the tourists from buying a ticket by themselves.




Excursion to the Ice Land waterpark

Some websites and brochures offer trips to the Ice Land water park in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. This water park closed for good in August 2018. Apparently, these tour organizers don't know yet. It's about time they did. Run away from such agents and guides.




An important note about amusement parks and water parks

In order to fully enjoy the entertainment, you need to choose the right day of the trip! For a minimum of people in the park and not to stand in queues, come on a weekday, not a holiday or a weekend.

Read the schedule of holidays in our review "Public holidays in the UAE".

Days off in UAE since January 3, 2022 are Friday (holy day in Islam) from 12 noon, Saturday, and Sunday. Some workers have Thursday and Friday as weekends, some have Saturday and Sunday. Private sector companies have the right to set their own rules.

The best days for entertainment are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday;

Acceptable - Friday at first half of the day;

Worst - Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday.

Read our review "Friday and weekends in the UAE".




Excursion to Al Ain

Value: HIGH

Duration: full day

Price: USD 60-80 per person

Getting from Dubai to Al Ain is not difficult now, as since April 2019 there is an E201 bus from Al Ghubaiba metro station every 30 minutes. It used to be more difficult, as the bus only ran from Dubai Airport.

The price of the bus ride is 25 dirhams one way, which means you will spend 50 dirhams (USD 14) per person just for the bus. You will have to travel around the city of Al-Ain only by cab. As a result, you will pay about the same USD 70 or even more for buses, cabs, lunch, and tickets.

The excursion is clearly more convenient, since everything is included, there will be a guide nearby, the bus will pick you up from the hotel and bring you to the hotel. In addition, the excursion usually takes you to the top of Jebel Hafeet mountain, which is hard to get to on your own.

In the city of Al Ain, tourists usually see views from Jebel Hafeet mountain, visit Al Ain Zoo, Al Jahili Fort, and hot springs.

Whichever option you choose, it will take you 2 to 2.5 hours to ride across the desert by bus. Think in advance about some entertainment on the way, because you won't see anything interesting in the window - the desert bores you after 10 minutes.




Excursion to the shores of the Indian Ocean

Value: HIGH

Duration: full day

Price: USD 60-80 per person

This is a trip to the Emirate of Fujairah, which is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, not the Persian Gulf like the other emirates.

The main destination on this tour is one of Fujairah's magnificent sandy beaches. Tourists also see the emirate's largest mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. No, it's not that famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It is a completely different mosque, just called the same.

To be honest, the Emirate of Fujairah is not rich in attractions. There is not much else to see there. The rest of the time, tourists are occupied with carpet, spices, and fish markets. Some programs include a mini-cruise on a traditional Arab boat dhow, and this option is probably the most interesting.

The value of the tour is high because it is tedious and expensive to get to Fujairah on your own. Read our review "From Dubai to Fujairah and back". On top of that, you'll have to take a cab around Fujairah, and you'll also have to eat lunch. You'll end up spending the same USD 60 or even more. It's easier to buy a tour.

The bus ride to Fujairah takes 1.5-2 hours. The scenery outside the window will be a little more interesting than on the trip to Al Ain as the second half of the road will be the mountains. However, it is highly recommended to stock up on entertainment on the way.




Desert Safari

Value: VERY HIGH

Duration: from half a day to 2 days

Price: USD 30 to 300 per person, depending on program

This excursion is found under a hundred names and in hundreds of variations. It refers to a trip to the Arabian Desert near Dubai and various activities there.

Usually it is riding camels, buggies, quads. A very interesting activity is sand surfing - riding a board (sandboard) on the sand from the dunes.

Some programs include observation of the sunset in the desert. Some even include an overnight camel ride, making you feel like a real caravan rider. Another activity is star gazing through a telescope.

And of course, dinners with meals cooked on a fire, a show program with belly dancing, trying on national Arab costumes. Some of the most expensive programs show the tradition of Arabian falconry.

And also will be a chance to make sure that the Arabian Desert is not as lifeless as it is imagined by most tourists.

The options are endless! Take your pick.

The main value of these tours is that it is hard go to the desert on your own.




Dinner at the Burj Al Arab

Value: ZERO

Duration: evening and night

Price: USD 80-300 per person, depending on the meal

Photos against the backdrop of the Burj Al Arab Hotel are taken by almost all tourists in Dubai. You can see the hotel lobby, where they let anyone who wants to go. But only a few manage to get inside.

If you don't book a room, you can get inside only to one of the restaurants. The only question is: why buy a tour? There are two restaurants and two bars at Burj Al Arab and you can make your own reservations.

The first restaurant is called Al Muntaha and is located on the 27th floor at a height of 200 meters (650 feet). Reservations can be made by e-mail, the address is baarestaurants@jumeirah.com

The second one is called Al Mahara. It is located in the basement, and it is famous for the huge aquarium. You can book a table by email, the address is the same.

Or you can make reservations at Gold On 27 and Skyview Bar on the 27th floor.

Read more in our review "Burj Al Arab".

There are many options, as long as you have the money for the expensive drinks and food at the Burj Al Arab. And no guides or agents are needed for that.

Just keep in mind that these restaurants and bars are very popular and there may not be any free tables. It is better to book several weeks in advance. On Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, it is better not to even try as all the restaurants are "packed" in the evening in the UAE.




Dhow boat trip

Value: MEDIUM

Duration: Half day or evening

Price: USD 20 to 80 per person, it depends on the route and the composition of dinner (lunch)

The essence of this tour is simple. Tourists sail along the coast of Dubai on a traditional Arabian dhow boat. Naturally, the boats are no longer as traditional, they have engines and materials are different. But from the outside, they look very much like the boats the Dubaiis used 70 years ago for fishing, pearl diving, and trade.

They usually sail along the Dubai Marina area waterfront or along the Dubai Creek canal.

The boats come in different sizes - from very small for about ten tourists to huge with a full-fledged restaurant on board.

The price of the tour depends heavily on whether dinner (lunch) is organized and the composition of food and drinks of the meal. If they serve traditional Arabian cuisine then it is especially interesting. There are options that dinner is not included, but the dishes and drinks can be ordered for a fee. Some boats also have a show program and then the excursion is even more expensive.

Is it a valuable excursion or not? It is difficult to say. On the one hand, many tourists like it and it is interesting. On the other hand, there is nothing special to see.




Helicopter sightseeing tour

Value: VERY HIGH

Duration: half a day

Price: from USD 200 to 500 depending on the duration of the flight

There are only 4 helicopter companies in Dubai: HeliDubai, Aerogulf, Falcon Aviation Services, Dubai Air Wing. But these are helicopter companies, not sightseeing companies. That is, it is impossible to book the tour with 3 of them. You can only book it through an agent (guide).

Although you can order a flight directly from HeliDubai through the official website helidubai.com. But the price is about the same. The agents themselves book these flights with HeliDubai.

During the flight, you will look at the city, the Burj Khalifa, the bulk islands, the Burj Al Arab and other attractions from above. The experience is unforgettable!

The flight can last 12, 17, 22, 40 minutes. The longer the flight the more you see.

HeliDubai sightseeing helicopters hold up to 5 passengers.

For those tourists who are afraid of flying, here are the numbers. HeliDubai has flown over 5,000 flights, not a single accident. The helicopters used by the company are Italian-made Agusta 109e, which are in service with the Air Force in over 20 countries. The helicopter is very reliable, there have been only three accidents in the history of this model.




Useful and important tips

- Hotel guides of tour operators usually announce prices and take money in US dollars. Excursion agencies try to work in dirhams. They all will take almost any currency, but most probably recalculate it at an unfavorable rate. If you want to order from them, then change your money, read our review "How to change currency in the UAE";

- We recommend buying a local SIM-card at the airport. Then you can be in touch with the guide during excursions. At the same time get a relatively inexpensive internet. Read about it in our review "How to call from the UAE";

- If you decide to go to the amusement or water parks on your own, read our review "How to buy tickets to the parks of Dubai cheaper".

Have a great vacation in Dubai, and read our helpful for tourists pages about the UAE (see the list of the pages below).

TIPS

Tips for Tourists in the UAE

IMPORTANT FOR TOURISTS

What to Take for the UAE

What You Should Not Do in the UAE

To the UAE with Kids

Sharks in the UAE

Weather in the UAE by Month

Holidays in the UAE

Are Unmarried Young Women
Allowed to Enter the UAE?

All-Inclusive in the UAE

Power Sockets & Voltage in the UAE

Hotels in the UAE with Own Beach

GENERAL INFORMATION

The UAE - Info, Facts, Figures

What Language is Spoken in the UAE

Population and Citizens of the UAE

History of the UAE

Flag of the UAE

Friday and Weekend in the UAE

Ramadan in the UAE

Sheikh Zayed - Father of Nation

Sheikhs of the UAE

GIFTS AND CUSTOMS LAW

What to Bring from the UAE

What You Can and Not Bring In the UAE

What You Can and Not Take Out the UAE

VAT Refund in the UAE

Shopping in the UAE - Why is Cheap

Date Fruits in the UAE

Camel Milk and Dairy Products

Bakhoor and Oud

MONEY AND EXPENSES

Money in the UAE - Emirati Dirham

Currency Exchange in the UAE

How Much Money to Take to the UAE

Food Prices in the UAE

Tourist Taxes in the UAE

Alcohol in the UAE

Cigarettes and Smoking in the UAE

Vape and iQos in the UAE

TRANSPORT

Dubai Metro - Fares and Map

Taxi in the UAE - Fares and Guide

NOL Transport Card Dubai

Dubai Tram

Dubai Monorail

Buses in the UAE

FROM AIRPORT TO CITY

From Dubai Airport (DXB) to City

From Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) to City

From Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) to City

From Sharjah Airport (SHJ) to City

TRIPS BETWEEN EMIRATES

From Dubai to Abu-Dhabi

Free Buses Dubai - Abu-Dhabi

From Sharjah to Dubai

From Ras Al-Khaimah to Dubai

From Ajman to Dubai

From Fujairah to Dubai

From Umm Al-Quwain to Dubai

TELECOM

Internet in the UAE

Cheap Calls from the UAE

Free SIM-card in Dubai

UAE Phone Codes

EMIRATES

Dubai

Deira

Bur Dubai

Dubai Marina

Jumeirah

Downtown

TOP Attractions in Dubai

Beaches in Dubai

Abu Dhabi

Al Ain

Yas Island

Beaches in Abu Dhabi

Sharjah

Beaches in Sharjah

Ajman

Ras Al Khaimah

Umm Al Quwain

Fujairah

ATTRACTIONS IN THE UAE

Best Attractions in the UAE

Free Attractions in the UAE

DUBAI

Burj Khalifa

Dubai Fountain

Excursions in Dubai

How to Save on Entertainment in Dubai

DUBAI MALL

The Best in Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium

Candylicious in Dubai Mall

Waterfall in Dubai Mall

DUBAI DEIRA

Gold Market in Dubai

Al Mamzar Beach and Park

Deira Clock Tower

City Centre Deira Mall

JUMEIRAH DISTRICT

Burj Al Arab

Wild Wadi Water Park

Jumeirah Mosque

Dubai Marina Mall

Madinat Jumeirah

Jumeirah Beach

PALM JUMEIRAH

Aquaventure

The Lost Chambers

Dolphin Bay

Palm Fountains

The View at the Palm

DUBAI PARKS AND RESORTS

LEGOLAND

MOTIONGATE

LEGOLAND Water Park

BLUEWATERS ISLAND

Ain Dubai

Madame Tussauds

BUR DUBAI

The Dubai Frame

Dubai Dolphinarium

Al Fahidi Fort Museum

Museum of the Future

DUBAI - SOUTH-EAST

Global Village

Miracle Garden

Butterfly Garden

IMG Worlds of Adventure

MALL OF THE EMIRATES

Mall of the Emirates

Ski Dubai

ABU DHABI CITY

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

Observation Deck at 300

Sheikh Zayed Memorial

Heritage Village

Corniche Waterfront

Sir Bani Yas

YAS ISLAND

Ferrari World

Formula Rossa

Galleria Ferrari

Warner Bros Park

Yas WaterWorld

Yas Marina & Formula 1

Yas Mall

SHARJAH

Sharjah Fountains

Sharjah Aquarium

Museum of Islamic Civilization

Al Noor Mosque

Mega Mall

AJMAN

Ajman Fish Market

Ajman Fort and Museum

City Centre Ajman Mall

UMM AL QUWAIN

DreamLand Water Park

NATIONAL CUISINE

Emirati Cuisine - What to Taste

map-for-tourist.com © 2020-2024