The world’s fastest growing city was nothing more than a pile of sand blowing in the wind until the late 1960’s. Today, Dubai is a dazzling cosmopolitan center and arguably the most advanced and luxurious city in the entire world! Jam-packed with fun activities, Dubai is a playground for the ultra-wealthy, adrenaline junkies and just about anyone looking for a good time. With a crime rate of 0% (!), its Lamborghini cop cars and no standard address system (how the heck do they manage?), Dubai is one of the most interesting places to visit in the world. Here we take a look at the most fun things to do in Dubai.
1. Watch a camel race
Al Marmoom Camel Race Track is the place to go if you’re in the camel racing business. Just a spectator? Don’t worry, this is also for you. Watching the camels race is a great way to experience Middle Eastern culture, and a fun day out in Dubai for all the family! Unlike at the horse races, these days camels usually race around the track without a rider. Instead, their owners follow along beside them in 4×4’s. Some camel races do have robot jockeys riding the camels! But before you start applauding the United Arab Emirates for their technological advancement, you should know that robots are only slowly replacing child jockeys, which has brought up some unsettling issues of human rights abuse in the past.
But, camel riding robots? I’m in!
2. Take part in Dubai’s national sport: Shopping
The city of Dubai is synonymous with spending. Whether you’re looking for gold and handicrafts at traditional shops or more upscale global shopping destinations you’ll find it here. Shopping is Dubai’s favourite leisure activity. Nothing in Dubai is done by halves, and the shopping certainly shows no signs of any expense spared. Shopping centres in Dubai are at the heart of the Dubai social scene. Giant aquariums and open-air botanical gardens lure customers inside, enticing people to spend their cash here.
Start (and probably finish, shattered, at least for today) at the Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest shopping center by area. There are over 1,000 stores spread out over an area of 50 football fields. At this rate, you won’t need to choose a hotel in Dubai with a gym!
3. Go skiing in the desert
Speaking of huge shopping malls, the Mall of the Emirates, in the middle of the Dubai desert, is home to the third largest indoor ski resort in the world. As with everything in Dubai, Ski Dubai goes all out. Not only can you ski down a real-snow mountain, you can also build a snowman, play with penguins, go on the snow bullet ride, or go tobogganing. The temperature is held at a constant -4°C, so even though it’s 35°C outside, you’ll want to kit yourself out in winter clothes (don’t worry – as with most things in Dubai, the latest ski gear is available to purchase close-by). A hot chocolate at the café won’t go amiss either. If you thought you were missing the cold days of winter that they don’t get in Dubai, then you’ll soon be cured with a visit to Ski Dubai.
Tickets aren’t cheap, however. A day pass to Ski Dubai will set you back around €115, and that’s before you’ve even rented any equipment. Is it worth it? It’s a fun thing to do in Dubai for families with kids, and the slopes are better suited to beginner skiers. If you’re a proficient skier already, then you might want to spend your money elsewhere.
4. Sleep under the stars (in style)
You’ve heard of glamping, but what about glamping in the desert? The Starlight Camp combines all the amenities of a luxury hotel, with the excitement of sleeping outside under the stars. You will be taken to a remote location in the middle of the desert, where you’ll find your camp set up for you. This is no slumming-it-in-your-backyard type of camping. Here, you’ll have a spacious crystal roof tent, a stylish lounge to sit back and relax near a warm bonfire, a cozy dining area, a fully equipped BBQ facility, a food and beverage trailer, a toilet & shower, a wash basin with mirror and other lovingly selected amenities. Perhaps, yes, not the most authentic experience you could do in Dubai. But, over-the-top is what Dubai is all about, so you might as well embrace it while you’re here! Authentic or not, the desert in the evening is incredibly romantic, and it’s a great thing to do in Dubai on a romantic getaway. Star gazing, nature walks and sipping a sundowner on the top of a sand dune are the perfect backdrop for two star crossed lovers.
5. Skydive for the best view of Dubai
Have you been itching to see Dubai from a new angle? Perhaps whilst you’re hurtling towards the ground at 200 kilometres per hour? It’ll certainly be one of the best views you can have of the whole city, we can guarantee that. Whether or not your nerves and adrenaline will allow you to take it all in is another matter. Skydiving is a popular activity to do in Dubai. You’ll get to see the man-made island that’s shaped like a palm tree from the best spot in town. You’ll also marvel at the sheer size of the desert, and how Dubai makes up the tiniest part of this huge expanse of sand. The skydiving schools in Dubai are well experienced and are highly trained in calming nerves, so it’s the ideal place to skydive if it’s your first time.
6. Have dinner in the sky
Could “Dinner in the Sky” be anymore Dubai? You can truly do anything in this city. Dinner in the Sky, as you can imagine, is no ordinary restaurant. No, it is not the fancy new dinner spot at the top of a skyscraper. It is a leg-dangling, vertigo-inducing, restaurant in the sky. You’ll be clipped into your dinner chair and hoisted 50 meters into the air by a crane. From here you’ll have the best view of all the sights such as the Burj Khalifa tower and the Dubai marina. The food served is a spectacle in itself, with three-course meals for lunch and dinner (if you manage to stomach the food, that is). The whole experience lasts about 90 minutes, and prices start at around €140.
7. Go all out for Friday brunch
Dubai is the city for brunch. Perhaps one of the most legendary things to do in Dubai is the all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunch buffets that are hosted by all the top luxury hotels. If you like to eat, drink and be merry, then you’ll absolutely love brunchtime in Dubai. The best brunch in Dubai is up for debate, but one of our favourite spots is Jumeirah Al Qasr’s brunch. Set across three restaurants that you can easily move between, Jumeirah Al Qasr has over 300 different dishes to try and 35 cooking stations, so you better bring your appetite. Most people opt to wear their finest threads for an afternoon of sophisticated debauchery. But the sheer size that this place covers is no laughing matter. Prepare for some serious walking over the afternoon as you dot between the different stations – you might want to leave your ultra-high heels at home. Don’t be surprised to find yourself outside boogying to the live band after a few hours either. Fresh rum coconut cocktails will do that to you.
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