Dubai is a playground for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Being the UAE’s most populous, and ever-blossoming megalopolis, the cosmopolitan city continues to develop new and exciting things to do. A city known for its superlatives: biggest, fastest, tallest, largest, highest, it almost seems as if impressing tourists and indeed, the world, is a favoured pastime of Dubai’s investors.
Easily accessible from most major airports, Dubai is an excellent urban adventure city to spend a weekend or, if time permits, a full-fledged holiday. Here are our favourite activities, hand-selected by Remote Lands’ most discerning team members.
There is no better way to see Dubai than from above, where a bird’s-eye-view provides stunning panoramas of the superb infrastructure in a city under constant flux, with new and exciting architectural marvels being constructed throughout. Of course, the city’s famous azure coastline and scenic desert are prominent features to be seen on the plane ride as well. Try a 40-minute aerial tour in a privately-chartered seaplane that takes off and lands on the crystal waters of the Arabian Gulf, and gain a truly unique perspective on this one-of-a-kind city.
Atlantis Water Park
Thrill-seekers can get their kicks at this fun-for-all-ages adventure theme park, built over 42 acres. Wild waterslides will catapult you through shark-filled lagoons, while water roller coasters will careen you through tunnels of mysterious darkness. High-intensity rapids surround the main park, which also act as a sophisticated (and super fun!) transport system for guests wanting to move on to their next ride. If time permits and desires allow, visit the adjacent Dolphin Bay, one of the world’s most sophisticated dolphin habitats, where it’s possible to interact with trained dolphins, some of the world’s most charismatic and gentle creatures.
It wouldn’t be a true trip to Dubai without a desert safari. This is one activity you almost definitely cannot do back home – riding in a 4X4 through the hilly sand dunes of the Dubai desert. Most tours incorporate camel rides and a stop to observe the dramatic Dubai sunset over the hilly terrain. Some also incorporate a tasty barbeque filled with local delights and a traditional belly dancing performance around a campfire by starlight. This is a truly one-of-a-kind Arabic adventure that will immerse you in Arabian culture in a most thrilling, stimulating way.
Sandboarding on Big Red
For those who truly want to experience a thrilling desert adventure, sandboarding is a trendy new activity that is taking Dubai by storm. The notoriously-popular Big Red dune is 300 feet high and has runs reminiscent of black diamond ski runs on snow-capped mountains. Sandboarding is very similar to snowboarding in both technique and equipment, though most people who try it find it more difficult due to sand’s grainy texture, compared to the smoothness of snow. Due to the technical difficulties of building a mechanical chair lift in the desert, it’s necessary to hitch a ride with a dune buggy to the top of the hill once you’ve completed a run.
Cirque le Soir
Cirque le Soir is a unique clubbing experience for party-lovers in the UAE. With a secret entrance, guests will instantly feel like VIPs at this exclusive venue, frequented by celebrities and socialites alike. This is a nightclub unlike any other, with world-class circus performers, from burlesque dancers to sword swallowers, entertaining the crowd with mind-boggling stunts throughout the evening. International DJs pump out multiple genres of tunes to appease all musical tastes. Each night is colored with a different, captivating theme. Located in The Fairmont Hotel, Cirque le Soir is renowned as one of the top nightclubs in the world.
A Night in an Extravagant Underwater Hotel
It’s not finished yet, but the soon-to-open Water Discus Underwater Hotel will have 21 rooms at least 30 feet below the water’s surface, in a giant disc. But only the rooms are underwater, with another three discs above ground to host recreational facilities, including a spa, garden and swimming pool, as well as a diving center, helipad, and emergency flotation pods. The whole design concept, a brainchild of Poland’s Deep Ocean Technology, has a similar appearance to the Star Trek Enterprise.
Of course, there are hundreds of other exciting activities in Dubai that we haven’t mentioned here. A full range of flavours is waiting to be tasted at Dubai’s vast array of fine and casual restaurants sprinkled throughout the city, while the shopping – from designer malls to street market stalls – is world-class.