Spice up your Dubai visit with these activities


The man-made marvels of Dubai could certainly lure in any avid tourist. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have their generous share of photos from tourists posing with the beautiful Burj Al Arab or sliding down the snowy slopes of Ski Dubai. But, there is more to see than the shiny glass panels of the skyscrapers or the remarkable artificial islands.

Immerse yourself in the soul of this charming Arabian paradise by taking on the exotic offerings as well. You haven’t been to Dubai if you haven’t embarked on these unique adventures.

Escape into the deserts

Obviously, this is a must-do. Undulating sand dunes are a trademark in the Middle East, so don’t say no to a desert safari. It includes dune bashing on 4×4 Land Cruisers, riding quad bikes in the sand, getting henna tattoos, sand surfing, belly dance, Tanoura, and Arabic dinner buffet.

Equally amazing are the overnight safaris where you spend the night under the enchanting desert sky and greet the morning with authentic Bedouin breakfast and traditional coffee.

If you wanted to experience life in the desert 50 years ago, a camel safari is a perfect activity to try. You and your friends can spend an hour riding on the back of camels and going on a “camel convoy” while enjoying the sights of the desert wildlife around you.

Your camel safari will end at a camp where music, dancing, and food awaits. You have the opportunity to learn more about life back in the old days.

As an essential part of hunting, falconry is also a popular feature of desert safaris. You get the chance to observe the trained falcons, lure them in, or fly them yourself. You learn more about the role of falcons in the lives of the early Bedouins and ancient and modern training techniques.

Sail over the waves

Dubai is not all about deserts. In fact, the region has abundant marine resources where its livelihood and sustenance heavily depended upon back then. The seas produced bountiful harvests of tuna, hammour, mackerel, and gorgeous pearls.

Fishing and pearl diving were huge industries and were the main source of revenue for the region. Pearl diving took a dive in the 1940s with the introduction of cultured pearls, but fishing and trading flourished.

If you want to have a glimpse of Dubai’s maritime legacy, head to the Dubai Creek where traditional Dhows and abras still ply the waters. These wooden vessels offer tourists trips down the historic district through charming Dhow cruise Dubai dinners and refreshing abra rides.

The brightly lit Dhows offer sumptuous dinner buffet and superb entertainment on board while cruising down the Dubai Creek. Abras take people across the creek from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa for only 1 AED.

Hire them for private trips down the length of the creek to see the stunning contrast of old Arabian architecture in the Bur Dubai side and the shiny towering buildings on the Deira side.

Dig into the roots

Another best way to know more about Dubai is through cultural and heritage tours. Coordinated by Emirati volunteers themselves, the activities are interactive and enlightening.

You can tour the Bastakiya neighborhood and wander down the pathways amidst old-time wind tower houses. Nearby is the Dubai Museum, a trove of historical artifacts from Dubai’s glorious past. The Textile Souk is also a neat stop with its veritable displays of colorful fabrics, clothes, shoes, and the like. On the Deira side of the creek are the extraordinary souks.

You can wander around the rows and rows of shops selling glittering jewelry of all kinds at the Gold Souk or smell the tangy aroma of herbs and spices in the Spice Souk. One day is not enough to explore the place.

So, there you are. A visit to Dubai is never complete without these exotic adventures. By going on a desert safari, having a Dhow cruise Dubai Creek dinner, or visiting the jaw-dropping Gold Souk, you can finally boast to the world that you have truly been to Dubai.