Buy an everyday travel guide on Dubai, and you’ll probably be directed to visit the Burj Khalifa and the colossal Mall of the Emirates. While these are iconic Dubai landmarks, they may not be the activities a knowledgeable local would advise you to visit with a limited amount of time in the city.
You may be disappointed to learn you spent a day walking around the mall when you could have been flying through the desert on a dirt bike or playing a polo match aboard a camel’s back. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five activities that will give you a true taste of the culture and adventuresome personality of Dubai without that unwanted “tourist trap” feel.
Skydiving in Dubai
There is arguably no city in the world as mesmerizing from above as Dubai. It is a metropolis with a larger-than-life feel, and skydiving is the best way to take in all of the beauty of the skyline, aquamarine Persian Gulf waters and world-renowned architecture. Skydivers enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the lavish manmade island, the Palm Jumeirah and other iconic, luxurious resorts while experiencing the ultimate adrenaline rush of falling (safely) from the sky. This is a Dubai activity you’ll want to experience again and again.
Visiting Ferrari World
United Arab Emirates is a gathering place for the rich and famous, and you can catch a glimpse of the high life by visiting Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. This one-of-a-kind amusement park on Yas Island is the first Ferrari branded theme park in the world. F1 racing is the main theme of the park, and once inside you can experience some of the world’s fastest roller coasters (reaching 240 km/hour), 4D simulations and dozens of other thrilling rides. Don’t forget to create a personalized Ferrari souvenir before you leave.
Dirt Biking in the Desert
If you think dirt biking on your local trails is fun, you’ll be blown away by the adventure of dirt biking in the desert surrounding Dubai. It’s no wonder that dirt bike enthusiasts from around the world gather to experience the adrenaline rush of hopping aboard a KTM Desert Motorbike and spending two to five hours in the sand and dunes. This is one adventure that’s guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again.
Camping in the Desert
If dirt biking sounds a little too intense, a luxurious camping experience in the desert may be just right. The infinite twinkling stars above desert sand is a sight that simply needs to be seen to be believed. Desert camping excursions typically take place at Jebel Maleihah (Fossil Rock), Liwa or Umm Al Quwain Beach, which are all in close proximity to Dubai for when it’s time to return to city life. Your desert camping experience can be tailored to suit your needs, so whether you’re interested in roughing it or a lavish night of glamping, you’re bound to find a camping package that works for you.
When you’re looking for an “only in Dubai” type of experience, camel polo is an adventure you must put on your bucket list. The game of polo has been entirely re-invented to fit the culture of the United Arab Emirates, and visitors get a chance to take part in the action. Local tour companies allow visitors to take special tours, which include polo mallet swing training and a chance to participate in an action-packed match aboard the back of a camel. This team activity is especially fun for families or groups of travelers and can be enjoyed by players of any skill level (even beginners).
Dubai is a dream destination for any type of international traveler, but it’s especially exciting for those who like to venture off the beaten path. The above are just some of our favorite regional activities, but we encourage you to dive into the culture, beauty and nonstop action of the “City of Gold” in your own way.