With deserts, mountains and beaches, a colourful local heritage and some of the world’s most daring architecture, there is no shortage of beautiful sights in Dubai.
A popular activity with tourists is to go on a desert safari – these organised trips take you into the desert for some thrilling dune driving before heading for a desert camp at sunset, where you can enjoy a sumptuous Arabian barbecue, traditional activities like henna painting and camel rides, and enjoy a belly-dancing performance. Desert safaris are offered by most tour operators.
An altogether different way to experience Dubai is from the top of a double decker bus – these bus tours take you throughout the city, from the older areas of Deira and Bur Dubai to the newer areas along the coastline towards Jebel Ali. Each bus has a knowledgeable tour guide who can share some fascinating facts about Dubai as you go.
Aerial views of the city offer a dramatic perspective and a real sense of how Dubai has changed dramatically over the years. Helicopter, planes and hot air balloon tours give visitors a bird’s-eye view of the Palm Islands, The World Islands and the city’s distinctive architecture from a unique angle. If you fancy a view from the tallest building in the world, then you must book a visit to Burj Khalifa.
Alternatively, you can view Dubai’s skyline from the calm waters of the Arabian Gulf by taking a leisurely cruise along the coast, or experience the bustling atmosphere of the Dubai Creek area from a traditional dhow or a small abra (water taxi). Each day, thousands of commuters cross the creek by abra, with the trip costing just 50 fils each way. You can grab a seat on an abra with the locals, or hire one out for yourself for a longer cruise up and down this integral waterway.
While it is relatively easy to navigate the city on your own, a guided tour may offer the best way to experience the best that Dubai has to offer. Tours are themed according to area of interest, so you can go on a city tour, a shopping tour, or a mosque tour, among others.
You can also book a tour to see some highlights outside the city of Dubai. Recommended excursions include a trip to the mountains of Hatta, a tour of neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, and a tour of the souks, museums and sights of Sharjah. These and other tours can be booked through most Dubai-based travel agents.
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