My Dubai Guide Part Four – Sun, sand and camels… Dubai by Day
My friends and people I know in my network are always asking me about where to go in Dubai, so that’s why I am making My Dubai Guides, which are lists of MY favorite places in Dubai.
Most people who go to Dubai for the sunshine and there is lots of it, so of course there are also plenty of outdoor activities.
Here are a few of my picks of fun things to do during the day in Dubai.
My favorite of the waterparks is Aquaventure in Atlantis, it has lots of fun rides for kids and grown-ups, especially the slide where you are standing and suddenly the floor opens beneath you or the slide that takes you through the shark tank are very thrilling and will get you out of your comfort-zone, in a fun way of course. There is also a beach, so if the screaming kids and waterslides gets to be too much, there is a perfect little spot to chill out on and get some sand between your toes.
Talking about sand between toes, there are several beaches in Dubai, most hotels will charge you somewhere between 100 and 500 dirhams for a beach bed, which is nice and comfortable if you are spending the whole day there. If you just want to go for a dip or sit on a towel there are public beaches such as Kite Beach near the famous Burj Al Arab hotel and JBR Beach by the Marina and for a more party vibe and fruity cocktails go to Nasimi Beach at Atlantis. And yes women can wear bikinis and normal beach-wear and don’t have to be covered by a burkini, although they do exist and are often spotted at the beach. Another often sight at the beach are camels. Bedouins bring the camels to the beach as a tourist attraction, so you can pet and even sit on the camel if you give the man some cash.
I really enjoy pools, sand is just a bit annoying sometimes. There are many hotels that offer access to their pools even if you are not a guest, you have to pay an entrance fee, but sometimes it’s worth it. I loved the pool at the Shangri-La on Sheikh Zayed Road, they have nice lounge music, big fans, good food and cold wet towels to cool you off and the view is pretty cool too. Some other hotels with nice pool are: The Ritz-Carlton in Marina, this one is very child-friendly, The Address Hotel Downtown, they have an infinity pool facing the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall lake and fountains and The Conrad Hotel, the pool landscaping is like a lake with different “bays” and trees, very relaxing and quiet.
A must-do when in any desert country is to go dune-bashing, so a travel agent will arrange a pick-up in an SUV car and then you drive out in to the desert, the driver will take out some of the air from the tires and then he will just drive around on the dunes, this is both fun and a little scary and for my friend a little too much movement. It did at some times feel like the car would just topple over and roll down the hill, but this doesn’t happen. After that there usually is a sort of barbecue dinner Bedouin style, with some dancing on a stage and you can also sit on a camel for a few minutes to take a picture.
This was a cool experience and it it was fun to try and see at least once. The other times I have been in the desert we were driving around in buggies, now this is very fun, but be careful, if you are not used to it make sure you get proper instructions, each time I was out there someone flipped a buggy or landed nose first in the sand resulting in us hurrying to the emergency room. So just be careful or let someone experienced drive, it’s still as fun.
I keep changing my mind about skydiving, on one hand it would be amazing on the other I’m scared and would probably pee my pants before even getting close to the door. So to start off I tried indoor skydiving and this is so much fun, so basically it’s a huge fan in the floor with a net over it and the wind makes you fly, definitely a must. There are 2 of these in Dubai a small one called IFLY located in Mirdiff Mall, which is the one I tried and another professional one, which is huge and its called Inflight Dubai, it’s located about 45 minutes from downtown Dubai in the desert.
One really nice and cultural thing to do in Dubai is to go down to the creek, this is a very historic part of town where a trip on a traditional Dow (big wooden boat) will take you back to a time where Dubai was simply a trading harbor and where locals would fish for pearls in the Gulf. There are several tourist agencies that offer these trips and there are also some boats that offer dining.
Also visiting a mosque, the Grand mosque in Abu Dhabi is the prettiest, but if you don’t want to go that far there are local mosques that offer tours for tourists, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding offers several walking guides in the old part of town along with arranged traditional breakfasts or dinners.
Then we get to the famous shopping malls, so Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world and it really is big, I have managed to get lost there so many times and not even on purpose! But there are also many activities in the mall, from walking in the tunnel of the aquarium to ice skating, there is the famous fountain show outside, which starts at 6 pm and goes every 30 min with different songs, they even made one to the Emirates theme song last year.
There is also a great place for the little ones to be entertained and feel grown-up, it’s called KidZania and here children can see what kind of work adults do, there are firemen, cabin crew, pilots, ambulance drivers and lots more, it is super cute and fun for the kiddos. The other fun and amazing thing inside a mall is SkiDubai which is inside Mall of the Emirates and it is literally a ski ramp inside the mall and they also have live penguins that people can pet.
And of course the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, which is my favorite place to hang out. they have a few restaurants and bars where you have a few of the polo fields, during the polo season which starts in November and end in mid April there will be teams playing and practicing, call the club and ask for timings and entry is free on normal days and picnic baskets are more than welcome, or the restaurant to make it more convenient. You can also try the majestic sport for yourself with the different classes thy offer, for absolute beginners up to professionals.
Really the possibilities in Dubai are endless and by next year they will probably have come up with even more over-the-top things to do, but until then I think these activities should be enough.