The contrast of old and new below us — modern skyscrapers fading in and out of view beside miles of untamed desert — gave a perfect glimpse of this unique city as we floated over Dubai.
I recently took a scenic 40-minute Dubai seaplane tour with a company called Seawings. Though Dubai is both hot and hazy in the summertime, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and even though the visibility wasn’t the best, it actually added to the experience.
We took off from the marina at Jebel Ali Resort. The resort is a lovely little oasis tucked away in a quiet industrial area south of the city. As a flight attendant, I’ve done a lot of take-offs and landings, but I don’t usually get to experience them on the water. It’s quite a different feeling.
The flight took us over Dubai’s most famous attractions – the Burj Khalifa, World Islands, Burj Al Arab. We got to get a glimpse of the Dubai Eye ferris wheel being constructed; once completed, it will be the largest ferris wheel in the world at 260 meters high.
We circled around the Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island large enough to be seen from space. I’ve been on the Palm before, but you don’t really get a feel for how cool the design is until you view it from above.
When I initially decided to take the flight I knew it was quite dusty and that the visibility wouldn’t be ideal. But it might have been the best time to do it. Dubai is a city built up from desert, and as we cruised through the sky, the city’s futuristic-looking buildings slowly appeared out of the haze, giving it an almost magical feel. The larger-than-life landmarks disappeared the same way they had appeared, almost a reflection of Dubai’s transient population.
Are you planning a trip to Dubai?
You can learn more about the history of this desert metropolis by visiting some of the lesser-known attractions in the older parts of the city. Check out my guide to the historical places in Dubai for details on must-see spots, including how to get there and what to wear.
Before stepping onto the plane for your journey, make sure to read my tips on how to stay hydrated on long flights. It’s so important to take care of yourself, and this guide will give you valuable advice on how to stay hydrated from the inside out.
I’ve also created a printable travel planner that will help make trip planning a breeze. This 7-page PDF features spots to fill in hotel and flight details, emergency info, must-do activities and more. It is available as an instant digital download in the Onwards + Upwards shop.
*Please note that this article was written prior to the Covid-19 pandemic so some information may have changed. I am not affiliated with Seawings, but received the flight at a discounted rate as I knew the pilot.