A trip to fascinating Dubai should rank highly on every adventurous traveler’s bucket list. This thriving metropolis, rising from the desert and perched on the edge of the Persian Gulf can truthfully be described as a man-made wonder. Dubai is one of the most dazzling cities on earth and is now a playground of the rich and famous. Celebrities and billionaires flock there to enjoy the good things in life at great expense. However, a visit there is possible for those not so wealthy and you can still be spoiled and pampered in the city of gold.
Dubai takes its goal of being the top tourist attraction in the world very seriously, and you will literally be spoilt for choice in many ways. With its cutting-edge architecture, fantastic recreational facilities and amusement parks, sun-drenched beaches and a vibrant nightlife, your trip is guaranteed to be an exciting and fulfilling one.
Main attractions in Dubai
From the minute you land in the city, numerous sights clamor for your attention, from the imposing Burj Khalifa, dominating Dubai’s skyline, to the majestic Burj al Arab Hotel, both now regarded as iconic symbols of the city.
For shopping, you can head to the huge Dubai Mall or the Mall of the Emirates to buy or just browse to your heart’s content. Alternatively, you can catch an amazing show at the Dubai Fountains or head to the Wild Wadi to give your children a treat. You can also enjoy a great skiing experience at Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort to be built in the Middle East.
If taking photos of the city’s architecture and doing the usual tourist rounds sounds a bit too tame for you, Dubai has a wild side that will definitely catch your imagination. The city has a few choice treats for those who hunger for adventure.
If you are tired of the view of Dubai from the ground, why not take to the skies for a unique bird’s eye view? You can satisfy your need for adrenalin by skydiving from a Cessna above the city’s skyscrapers. There are several companies offering skydiving tours, and you do not have to be an expert to take part. You can take off from the Dubai Marina then tumble out of the plane, strapped to an instructor. Once the chute opens, it is time for you to relax and take in the sights as you glide gently towards the custom-built Palm Drop Zone.
If you are a mountain biking fan, Dubai has a treat for you. Contrary to popular belief, the area outside the city is not all sand and soft dunes. To the east of Dubai are the Hajar Mountains, a haven for mountain bikers with a labyrinth of biking trails stretching for 70 kilometers or more.
The Showka area in the mountains is the perfect spot for you to enjoy mountain biking. Be warned though, the trails wind through harsh, craggy terrain characterized by rough ground and steep climbs. These trails are not for the faint hearted but are ideal if you are an experienced rider.
Hiking and climbing
The Hajar Mountains are also home to some fantastic hiking and climbing trails. If climbing is your thing, you can head up the limestone crags and try to conquer some of the peaks. Jebel Misht is especially popular, providing a challenging climb and bouldering opportunities.
For some intense hiking take a guided hiking tour by heading over to the walking routes in the neighboring emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. The trails feature hidden paths winding up the cliff sides towards a series of plateaus and mountaintops. The difficult route to the top is rewarded by the spectacular views of the plains spread out below.
Reef and wreck diving
While the Red Sea is the most famous diving spot in the Middle East, the waters of the Emirates are rapidly gaining popularity as viable alternatives. If you are in the mood for an underwater adventure, why not go diving a few miles off Dubai’s shore? The reefs are sparse, but there are a few notable wrecks to explore underwater, including the Anchor Barge sunk in 1998 and the Mariam Express that went to the bottom in 2006.
Alternatively, you can see more marine life in the Gulf of Oman or in the warm waters of Fujairah, or perhaps head to the glorious Musandam peninsula where you might catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphins.
Exploring the desert
The desert is also a fascinating place to explore, and the best way to do this is to go on a desert safari. Several tour companies in Dubai can arrange these tours at an affordable fee. You will be provided with a skilled driver who will take you on a thrilling journey up and down the sand dunes. If you time your trip just right, you can get to enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from the top of one of the larger dunes. As part of the package, some companies may include a night out camping in a replica Bedouin camp in the desert.
Before planning your trip or logging on to Expedia Canada for the best deals in air tickets or hotel accommodation, it is important to study Dubai’s culture. The city is, after all, a Muslim emirate, and the culture is quite conservative compared to that of Western countries. It is important to respect this to avoid offending the locals or landing yourself in trouble with the authorities.
While the city has a quite relaxed attitude towards attire, women are advised to avoid wearing tight-fitting or skimpy clothing. Beachwear, bikinis and bathing suits should be confined to the beaches. Cover up if going into a beachside shop. Men are required to have T-shirts or shirts on at all times and can only be shirtless on the beach. Public displays of affection may cause offense and may even earn you some jail time, as will public drunkenness or drunk driving.
During the summer months of June and July, temperatures can reach 49°C (120°F), and the city bakes in the heat. Due to this, the best time to visit Dubai is between October and April when temperatures are more manageable and the city is more alive during the day.
Next time you are selecting vacation spots, why not travel to this jewel in the desert? Make your way to Dubai and delight in an exotic adventure of a lifetime.