Explore the shops, galleries, and restaurants in the alleyways of the Bastakiya quarter, an area that has been inhabited by wealthy Persian merchants since the late 19th century and was painstakingly renovated by the government in the 1980s. Narrow pedestrian alleyways snake around the district, lined with local architecture and wind-towered houses in coral-colored stone and beige clay.
Visit the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest skyscraper at 2,722 feet (830 meters). The tower houses both residential and commercial spaces as well as the first Armani Hotel, situated in the lower 39 floors of the building.
Dubai is home to an extensive collection of art by emerging Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, and Arab artists, as well as increasing exhibits of work by Western and Far Eastern artists. The Al Quoz district, one of the most popular art sectors, has seen more than 30 galleries open since 2005.
Notable galleries include: The Third Line, which showcases some of the most interesting art by Middle Eastern talent; 1x1 Contemporary, which was transformed from an old warehouse and displays art from all over the Asian subcontinent; and the Flying House, based in the private home of a curator, and which contains the work of three generations of Emirati artists.
Take a ride out to the desert for a safari adventure. You will be picked up in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle that will take you to the entrance of the desert, where your driver will deflate the tires to prepare the SUV for the sand dunes. Your vehicle will then climb and slide its way through the dunes until you reach a tented area, where you can stop for a camel ride.
Visit the Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, which dates back to 1787. The museum details life in the Middle East before the discovery of oil via a series of intricate, life-size dioramas depicting scenes of life at sea, life in the desert, domestic and commercial life. In addition to scenes on a date farm, in a souk, or open-air market, and inside a mosque, there are also detailed exhibits on some of the lesser-known aspects of the Emirates, including one on pearl diving complete with weights, scales, sheaves and other occupational accoutrements.
A giant conglomeration of theme parks and suburbs, Dubailand will, upon completion in 2018, be about the size of Singapore. Interestingly, Dubailand will also include a medical community centered around one of the world’s largest plastic surgery clinics, as well as an outpost of the Harvard Medical School.
Visit the Hatta Oasis, a village located at the bottom of Hajjar Mountains. Hatta is accessible by a desert safari ride through the sand dunes and volcanic peaks before reaching the village. Take a dip in the series of clear-water pools, where tiny fish will swim with you or may even nibble at your toes.
Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and offers skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing (or just playing in the man-made snow). The construction covers an astounding expanse of over 240,000 square feet, covered with fresh powder year-round. Runs of varying difficulty include the world’s first indoor black diamond slope and a quarter pipe for stunt-minded snowboarders. Appropriate clothing and equipment can be provided.
Charter a private cruise on a luxury yacht to the Musandam Peninsula, a finger of rock overlooking the Strait of Hormuz. Its remote location is home to wild, mountainous fjords, dolphins and isolated villages. Visit the town of Khusab to go dolphin-watching or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters.
Visit Palm Jumeirah, the giant, artificial archipelago that is the first of three planned Palm Islands off the coast of Dubai. Visible from outer space, the Palm's sister projects include the World, an archipelago of private islands formed in the outline of the seven continents, and the Universe, islands modeled after planets and constellations.
Have lunch at Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), where you will have a traditional Emirati lunch and will be able to chat (through your guide as interpreter) with locals about their lives in this singular city.
A rare opportunity to get up close to playful and cuddly penguins awaits you at Dubai's Snow Penguins experience. Touch, feed and play with several penguin species in a specially created environment, with private access available for Remote Lands clients.
Cruise down the Creek, a huge natural inlet, at a leisurely pace on a wooden dhow, a traditional sailing vessel with triangular sails and a swift hull that sits low in the water. The Creek was once the only trade route in the Emirates, a position it now shares with Jebel Ali Port. As you cruise down the inlet, you will see myriad facilities providing anchorage and port services to traders from across the region and the subcontinent.
Have an over-the-top dinner at the Burj Al Arab’s “underwater” Al Mahara Restaurant (Al Mahara means “the Oyster” in Arabic). The dining area is wrapped around a massive aquarium holding 35,000 cubic feet of water, coral, vibrant tropical fish, and other marine life, including black-tip reef sharks. The menu is equally impressive, with a wide variety of seafood prepared in styles that fuse Asian and European cuisine.
Indulge your inner child at the adjoining Wild Wadi Water Park, a true feat of technology in such an arid region. Wild Wadi is the most technologically advanced water park outside the US, with 12 acres of grounds and 30 rides.