The Big Bus Tour is something Mum has wanted to do on each of her trips, but we just have never had time. Thankfully I work for an entirely more reasonable firm now than when I arrived (let’s not even mention my Year From Hell employment experience!), and so I was able to take a week off and plan things!
First up on the list was this tour. There are currently two in operation in Dubai. The original Big Bus tour and the newer City Sightseeing bus tour. They are much of a muchness really. We in the end went with Big Bus as they have more buses so less wait time if we wanted to get off for a while.
We manged to time it perfectly and walked onto a bus and set off adventuring really quickly. It’s very strange to see the city you live in from a tourist point of view. Although we had been doing touristy things the whole time, to plug headphones into a box on the back of a bus seat and listen to the tour guide talking is a very strange feeling.
Off we set and went straight over the top of SZR. I have driven over this fly-over more times than I can even begin to count, but I’ve never been so high up and was quite interested to see the road from that angle. It looked so calm but had we been in that spot an hour before, it would have looked like hell on earth!!
One of the first things that came up that interested me is that just over the other side of SZR from Dubai Mall on Al Safa Street is a solar park. No, not an industrial type solar park but a park that relies solely on solar power to light it in the evenings!
Al Khazzan Park isn’t huge or flashy. It has a children’s play ground and is designated as a “family park” which means men basically aren’t allowed in unless they have their children with them. It is, by all accounts, a very lovely green little space that you can enjoy pretending you aren’t still in the middle of a city.
It also has this water tower… only I didn’t know it was a water tower until the tour guide told us!
The tour then took us around City Walk which I discovered was actually much bigger than I realised. It is now somewhere on my “to do list” because I hate to not know what is just over the road from me!
The first stop on the tour was The Green Planet, which is a tropical rainforest inside a building. Literally. I haven’t been there yet etiher, and much as we decided that it looked amazing, we thought it was too much to do when we only had one day to be on the bus. It is however now earmarked for Mummy’s next trip!
(I have since discovered thanks to Expat Panda that there is a ‘sloth experience’ that you can partake in for AED 150. I may have to go before she comes back because I love sloths!!)
Back onto a bit of a blustery SZR again to listen to stuff I knew and didn’t know. For example, there is a building that looks remarkably like Big Ben. That is because it was made to look like Big Ben. So much so that they needed permission from the Queen or something (heavy accented tour guide!) to make it. They still don’t have permission for the clock face or the bells. Once it is all complete then it will (naturally) be the tallest clock tower in the world.
There was a long chat about The Frame next, but having listened to everything the nice guide had to say we decided that was something that we would happily give a miss and instead just admire from afar.
There was lots more talking but nothing amazing came out of it. We did venture through Healthcare City (very randomly) and I was able to point out the hospital where I have sadly been admitted to on a number of occasions! Mum quite enjoyed seeing where it was. She likes to be able to picture things in her mind. We both crossed fingers that my stomach was getting stronger and I would never be admitted again!!
Our first stop turned out to be at Wafi, which is an Egyptian styled mall. Well, not styled but decorated. It has statues, hieroglyphics and pyramids. A bit like Madinat is Disney Arabia, this is Disney Egypt!
But that isn’t why we stopped there. See Part 2 to find out why…..