Fly over the city and get a bird’s-eye view

Twisting in the sky in a teeny-tiny plane is really not my idea of fun. But here I am, aboard the Seawings’ flight and soaring through the sky. A nosedive feint and some shuddering later, the 10-seater calms into a smooth ride and zips and zags its way through the city.

This is a photographer’s — even a budding one’s — dream. It’s impossible to snap Dubai, edged by emerald green waters and bedecked in glittery skyscrapers, in a bad light.

We cross the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa — at a distance, of course, because of airspace restrictions — and flit over the calm sea. Twisting and turning, playing hide and seek with the sharp rays of sunlight. But also mesmerised by the blushing horizon, the unfurled Palm and The World Islands.

While water cascades onto the shores of the beach, spotted by umbrellas that look like a candy fest, the views offer a chance at introspection — if you can put down that camera, that is.

The journey began smoothly enough, with a handover of ID cards. Once checked in, we were driven on a golf buggy past the greens where amateur sports people pretended to be professional and those with prowess moved on quickly. We began the day with unsteady feet and thumping hearts when we walked the floating plank onto the small plane.

But perhaps this will help you shed your fear: The pilots fly between six to eight flights per day on average, and in the 10 years that the firm’s been operational, it has flown more than 180,000 guests.

Unfortunately we do not know this. And so as the winds race and the heat rises, so does the paranoia.

It’s a confusing time, what with the beautiful city spreading out before us and a plane rumbling in the wind.

Still with all the dexterity it can afford, the flight goes all the way to Jebel Ali, past Ain Dubai (the Dubai Eye) and back to Dubai Creek, landing like a hopping stone on to the crisp water.

We are on the ground. And now missing the view.

Name of tour: Seawings Silver Seaplane Tour
Cost: Dh1,515 (child)Dh1,780 (adult)
Time taken on flight: 45-minutes. You need to check-in for a debriefing.

Fly with the falcons

Here’s offering you another aerial view. Balloon Adventures Dubai, which has been running since 2005, takes you up, up, up into the air from where you can launch Peregrine falcons.

Price: Dh1,195 (Adult); Dh1,045 (child)

Chug down the marina

All aboard the RIB boat cruises. The 90-minute ride will see you from Dubai Marina to Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and back. Perfect for selfie-spot hunters and those who want a guided sail.

Just remember to arrive 15-minutes before departure time.

Price: Dh220

Hop on/hop off

See the city in your own time, with the hop on, hop off alternative.

City Sightseeing Dubai shows you sites from an open-top double decker bus that stops at major attractions including the Burj Khalifa and Atlantis the Palm. The audio commentary available is in 13 languages, and the trip comes with a complimentary 60-minute Arabian dhow cruise and entrance to Global Village. Plus you get Wi-Fi.

Cost: Dh245.73 for a one-day pass