What does it take to truly appreciate Dubai’s manmade islands carved out of the Arabian Gulf, its incredible buildings and infrastructure and serene beaches that shape its coast? A 17-minute helicopter ride would be the best way to go.
Picture this: The Palm Island glistens. The Burj Khalifa serves as the world’s largest mirror for the setting sun. Water canals cut through the city, reflecting its incredible skyline. Even the traffic on the Sheikh Zayed Road and its intertwining network of flyovers looks pretty as we soar over the emirate.
Khaleej Times was recently invited onboard a chopper as part of the Dubai Destinations campaign — an initiative that highlights the emirate’s activities and experiences.
After a safety briefing, we boarded the Airbus H125 — the same used by Tom Cruise for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol — and we were off!
We were taken on the 17-minute The Palm tour operated by HeliDubai. It saw us cruising over 1,000 feet above and near iconic locations like the Burj Al Arab, The Palm, The World Islands and the Burj Khalifa.
The first ‘stop’ is the Burj Al Arab. We were in awe as we outlined the 321-feet structure that stands tall on its own manmade island:
Then comes the magnificent Palm Jumeirah. Its trunk branching out into fronds, crowned by its outer crescent, the island gleamed in all its glory as we flew over it.
We also saw the world map sketched out in the sea in the form of the World Islands.
Our chopper flew over the city, with the Museum of the Future, Sheikh Zayed Road, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Water Canal (pictured below is the Tolerance Bridge) and the emirate’s several beaches all making an appearance.
The chopper then circled back over the coastline, offering another perspective of the emirate’s beaches, Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab. Here is snapshot of our tour:
How much it costs
A 12-minute ride aboard a HeliDubai chopper costs Dh675 per passenger. It goes on up to Dh9,395 for a 40-minute trip.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Larry Pentz, director – Finance, legal counsel, HeliDubai, said the 17-minute The Palm trip is their most popular. It costs Dh899 per passenger.
“Helicopter tours are at the top of the list of must-do things in Dubai. A helicopter tour will let you appreciate the city's iconic skyline, the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa and Dubai’s beautiful Palm filled with fabulous mansions.”
There’s nowhere on earth quite like Dubai, he exclaimed.
“2022 marked the eighth year straight that the Dubai International Airport clinched the role of the world’s busiest for international travel … Now, it has taken the crown of the number one most popular destination in the world by TripAdvisor.”
According to Pentz, HeliDubai helped during iconic film scenes from movies like Furious 7 and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Peak season, tours and basic rules
Established in 2005, HeliDubai operates tours from the helipad inside the Dubai Police Academy — which is right next to the Burj Al Arab.
The company’s peak season is from November to April, when the weather is pleasant. “In the past two years, we have seen a surge in summer passengers, as Dubai continues to promote itself with summer festivals,” said Pentz.
The group also offers customised tours to Hatta, Abu Dhabi, Yas Island and “other UAE locations that have helicopter facilities”.
Anyone aged over two years can fly. “Basic rules are to dress responsibly with no loose clothing. Passengers are invited to photograph their experience. People of determination are very welcomed.”
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