Dubai from the sky - seaplanes, choppers, balloons and more
What’s On profiles aerial tours in Dubai, including Seawings seaplane tours, hot air balloon tours in the desert and helicopter tours.
Anyone who’s spent time playing on Google Earth already knows the fascination of viewing places from above. When seen from up high, even familiar cityscapes become completely new, with colours, buildings, and geographical features you’d never known existed until you have hovered directly above them.
So with such incredible scenery and impressive landmarks it makes sense that aerial tours are one of the most popular experiences you can do in Dubai. Many operators, such as Seawings – the luxury seaplane tour operator – have even broadened their offerings considerably as customer enthusiasm has grown. Whether it’s in a balloon, in your own private helicopter, or via seaplane, here’s a guide to the best aerial tours of Dubai.
SEAPLANE TOURS – SEAWINGS
Dubai and seaplanes almost seem tailor-made for each other and visitors looking to slip the lackluster bonds of earth should seek out this aeronautical operation, which started in 2007. The city’s compact population is huddled along the coast parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road with the incredible backdrop of the desert on one side and the azure Arabian waters on the other.
Up to nine passengers at a time take to the skies in the Seawings Cessna 208 Caravan, soaring over landmarks, natural environs and manmade wonders such the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Downtown Dubai and The Creek, and the incredible 40-minute ‘dock to dock’ tours takes you on an unforgettable journey. For the ultimate Seawings tour try The World Journey – a new extended excursion that includes a boat ride from the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah to a small dock at the World Islands followed by a full tour aerial tour (Dhs1,895).
To complement the already popular tours, the operators have introduced Seawings Lifestyle – luxurious charter packages including trips to Sir Baniyas Island and Zighy Bay, as well as Walking Tour, Dinner Cruise, and Wildlife Drive packages.
Some of the images above were taken by What’s On on board a Seawings Cessna 208 Caravan.
HOT AIR BALLOONING – BALLOON ADVENTURES EMIRATES
Take a trip at dawn to the heart of the desert and experience the breathtaking view and incredible desert landscapes. Balloon Adventures offer one-hour flights from September to May taking off from the SkyDive Dubai desert campus.
HELICOPTER – HELI DUBAI
Heli Dubai offers a choice of three helicopter tours over Dubai. Choose from a 12 or 22-minute day flight or try the ‘Night Lights’ tour to experience the stunning Dubai skyline in all its illuminated glory.
Cost: From Dhs595 for 12 minutes
MICROLIGHT AND GYROCOPTER FLIGHTS – JAZIRAH AVIATION CLUB
Experience a Microlight plane tour over the the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah. Once in the air, you’ll get the chance to learn how to handle the plane under the guidance of an instructor. Jazirah Aviation Club also has a quirky gyrocopter – an open cockpit flying machine with helicopter-style blades. Choose from a relaxing flight over the sea looking for turtles and sharks.
Cost: Microlight flights start at Dhs900 for 30 minutes, and a gyrocopter session costs Dhs350 for 20 minutes