8 Outdoor Activities in Dubai You Probably Have Not Heard About
The shopping malls of Dubai are often times the first destinations on the agendas of tourists freshly stepping off a plane in one of the airports in the area. The glitz of the skyscrapers and glamour of the wealthy life styles found here may famous, but don’t let them conceal the many outdoor activities that will satiate even the most seasoned adventurer. Below are 8 of the best such activities that are offered in and around Dubai, and should be on the agendas of every visitor and resident.
#1: Desert Safari
The desert is the home of the Emiratis, a place where they have survived for centuries and who deeply respect the desert’s mesmerizing sand-scape. It is a place of fascination and beauty not unlike the sea itself.
To visit the Arabian Desert is to appreciate some of its tremendous mystique, and usually best experienced in a typical “Desert Safari” in which operators take visitors through a journey of dune-bashing through the sand, followed by a Buffet Dinner at a Desert Camp and a belly and “Tanura” dance show.
If you can find an operator who is willing to take you a bit further, you may see more of the desert and have a truly special time far from the bright lights of Dubai city. A journey like this will put the Dubai experience into perspective.
#2: Horse Riding
Some visitors prefer to experience the desert while horse-riding through in the sunset. The Emiratis love horses which, like camels, were an important part of their lives in the desert environment.
Horse-riding and racing is also a large sport in the UAE and an integral part of the local culture, and interacting with animals will make you understand why they are so valued in this region. Great for both animal lovers and outdoor adventurers, a horseback ride is a wonderful way to connect this important aspect of the UAE’s cultural heritage.
#3: Scuba Diving
The United Arab Emirates lies on the Persian Gulf, so there are many water-based activities on offer. Scuba Diving is perhaps the most quintessential one of them, and is very popular on the west coast of the region.
There are some genuinely exciting dive destinations there, some picturesque coral reefs and even the occasional whale shark lurking amidst them. It’s likely that you’ll see eels, stingray, barracuda and even highly colored nudibranchs. There are some great opportunities here for underwater photography, and when the visibility is good the underwater views are absolutely breathtaking.
#4: Deep Sea Fishing
While the UAE is no Bahamas, you may find the deep sea fishing in Dubai is actually pretty good even though the Emirates is not typically seen as a fishing destination.
Fishing in the Emirates offers a good catch of barracuda, king fish, trevally and cobia on most days. On a lucky day, you may haul in a bluefin tuna or even a rare aquatic giant. Where to go? Twenty kilometers out into the Persian Gulf. You’ll find that bottom fishing and trolling will bring in the best catches.
#5: Palm Island Sea Cruise
Cruising out into the Mediterranean Sea is another great thing to do in Dubai. Take a fantastic Cruise around the Palm Island and the Dubai Marina Canal to get a glimpse of the stunning sail-shaped building of the Burj Al Arab luxury hotel from the sea.
See the breathtaking Jumeirah coastline as well as the World Islands. This is a gentle tour throughout which you will never lose sight of the coast, and is usually enjoyed even by those who are struck by the occasional bout of seasickness.
#6: Yacht Rental
Dubai is a premium destination for yacht rental. It may cost a little bit more, but you’ll be able to leave shared trips and pre-arranged routes behind. This a novel way to enjoy Dubai, as the entire frontage of the city is on the coastline. Leave standard tourism to others by hiring a yacht with your family and friends and cruising any route that you wish to. Amp up the magic by having lunch or dinner onboard. Having a barbecue onboard is another way to enjoy the beautiful ocean vibe.
Before you eat you may wish to drop anchor and go for a swim. You’ll soon realize that diving into an uncrowded ocean to swim is a very different experience than that of visitng an overpopulated beach.
#7: Dhow Cruise Dinner
A final way to explore the water canals that surround Dubai is to hire a dhow for a dinner cruise in the Dubai Marina. The dhow is a traditional wooden sea-craft like the one pictured below, and is now a vessel commonly used by tourists to travel in the various waterways in the area.
By taking a dinner cruise along Dubai’s well-known Dubai Marina, you can combine a thrilling scenic experience with a three-or-more course buffet dinner and live entertainment. A meal in the open breeze is wonderful way to take in the sights of Dubai’s incredible skyline, and is often described as one of the highlights of a visit.
#8: Musandam Day Trip
Perhaps the most beautiful part of the UAE is the mountain ranges west stretching over the West coast. The landscape and climate of this area is slightly different to that of its eastern counter-part; The temperatures are lower and it’s a little more windy, but the real attraction here is again the sea.
The Musandam Governorate on the west coast of the region is a spot that is definitely worth a visit. It is an area that belongs to Oman even though it is geographically, and is a very common destination for residents of Dubai and the UAE to visit on weekend trips.
It is a truly breath-taking place, with steep fjords running down to the sea match any found in Nordic Europe. The mountainous backdrop combined with panoramic ocean views make this part of the region very scenic and the whole vista is definitely one of world-class beauty.
If you only spend one day in Musandam, take the day long Day Trip, transferring from Dubai or Sharjah while lunch along the way.
The day trip to Musandam concludes this list of the eight interesting things you can do in Dubai besides go shopping or staying in a fancy hotel. Try to think outside the box when you are considering a trip to here, dedicate some time to get off the beaten track and away from the modern tourist-traps of shiny malls, expensive boutiques and towering skyscrapers.
Don’t be afraid to leave the air-conditioned world and go outside where you’ll find much of what Dubai has to offer, and these experiences may very well become the highlights of your trip.
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