Abu Dhabi: Whether you are looking for a way to explore the capital, want to take a mini-break from your routine, have fun with friends or spend a day with loved ones, the Big Bus Company's Abu Dhabi tour is guaranteed to provide all of that and then some.

The tour has 11 hop-on, hop-off stops located across the city. It will give you a chance to view the city from a different angle — from the top of its double-decker burgundy and cream-coloured buses.

It will also give you a chance to discover some interesting things, ranging from various historic and cultural facts about the city, the different events that have been held, major projects that are in the pipeline and even the dos and don'ts of what to do while in Abu Dhabi.

For many, the sight of a double-decker bus in the UAE may seem a tad surreal, as they are usually associated with the UK's capital, London. But that hasn't stopped The Big Bus Company from setting its sights on having tours in countries across the world, from the UAE to Europe to the US and even the Far East.

"Although we have been approached by countries in the Middle East who wanted to have a Big Bus Tour, unfortunately, nothing has worked out yet," sightseeing manager Frazer Povall said.

"However, we are excited and pleased that the Big Bus Tours are a hit here. It is a new way of looking at sightseeing … we will be adding routes later," he added.

St. John Cooper, business development director, Big Bus Tours International, agreed.

No strict goals

"While there aren't any strict goals at the moment regarding the Big Bus Tour Abu Dhabi, we always make sure to work with the cities we are operating in …to grow with them. We are planning on adding more features to the tours, such as walks and water tours in the future," he said.

"We are grateful for all of the help that has been extended to us from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority [ADTA] in setting up here," he added.

"It took six to nine months of planning to set up the Big Bus Tour Abu Dhabi. We are not just focusing on the present but also on what will be happening in 12 or 24 months from now, with all the projects expected to be completed," Michael Clifford, chief executive officer, Al Fahim Investments who partner the Big Bus Company in the UAE.

The Big Bus Company was formed in 1991 by Richard, Eleanor and Desmond Maybury.

Starting with only two buses, its focus upon entertainment, customer service and passionate local knowledge has enabled the company to become one of the largest open-top bus tour operators in the world, with 80 buses in London alone.

In 2002 the company began an operation in Dubai and now boasts 46 buses in its Dubai fleet.

In 2003 the company opened in Philadelphia in partnership with Philadelphia Trolley Works. The Big Bus Company then launched the first of its Far East operations in Hong Kong in Dec-ember 2008, before starting its tours in Abu Dhabi in November 2009.

Though predominantly owned by the Maybury family, in 2007 the company announced an investment partnership with the UAE-based Al Fahim Group, with the group acquiring a 30 per cent stake in the Big Bus Company, according to Cooper.

"We have been partners with The Big Bus Company for three years now. We had mutual business contacts and explored the possibility of working together. As an investor, Al Fahim Investments are very satisfied as the business is continuing to grow," Clifford said.

"At the moment, we are looking into a bus tender project, among other areas … we are just exploring right now, so nothing is confirmed," he added.

More locations are expected to be added to the ever increasing Big Bus Tour family.

In addition, because of the service the company provided to the British public throughout its 18 years in business, the Bus Tour has won three awards at the Visit London annual awards ceremonies and was nominated for Best Tourism Experience in 2007.

Service information

  1. The hop-on, hop-off, Big Bus Tour of Abu Dhabi departs from the Marina Mall every 30 minutes. Tours operate from 9am to 5pm.
  2. Each tour features a recorded commentary in a choice of eight languages that provides a narrative to accompany the sightsof the city.
  3. A continuous circuit takes approximately 2.5 hours, although there are 11 stops where you can hop on and off the bus and take time to visit attractions or explore places of interest.

Ticket prices

  • Adults (Age 15 ) Dh200
  • Children (Age five to 15) Dh100
  • Family (Two adults and two children) Dh500


  • Telephone 971 800 BIG BUS (242 287) or via email: infouae@bigbustours.com
  • Website: www.bigbustours.com