When it comes to Dubai, you may think dazzling architecture, glorious beaches, or cultural hotspots, but this city can more than hold its own on the adventurous end of things. For fans of experiential travel, Dubai is a mecca, offering enough indoor and outdoor escapades to satisfy even the most die-hard thrill-seeker. From sea to desert, sky to underwater, this capital is packed to the brim with memorable, adrenaline-pumping experiences. Here are a few of our favorites.
Get Out to the Desert
Exploring the desert is a bucket list travel adventure that’s easy to make happen in Dubai. Operators can arrange luxury safaris to ride camels and spot gazelles, or take you to visit authentic Bedouin camps. Platinum Heritage offers even more extraordinary experiences, including hands-on lessons with a world-class falconer, fire shows, multi-course dinners catered by a private chef, night safaris guided by a professional astronomer, and made-for-Instagram drives in a museum-quality 1950s Land Rover. We also love Sonara Camp, located in the middle of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This unique spot is a sanctuary for oryx and gazelles, and evening events here — which include a chef-prepared dinner, camel rides, and live music — are all backed by a gloriously star-filled night sky.
On the Waterfront
Dubai’s unique positioning allows visitors to enjoy the very best of the desert and the sea in one ultra-convenient package. Set sail on the glittering waters of the Persian Gulf on a private chartered yacht (some even come with DJs and exclusive catering options), and kick back in view of the jaw-dropping city skyline. If you’re looking to burn some energy, dive off the side for a swim, or rent a jet ski to zip through the clear waters. Various operators like Sky & Sea offer scuba diving and kite-surfing rentals and classes. In the mood for something completely new? Try flyboarding, a heart-pounding soar up to 45 feet in the air, standing on a board and propelled by powerful water jets.
Over the Urban Jungle
Bragging rights are included with your urban ziplining experience: Dubai boasts the world’s longest city zipline (a full kilometer). The XLine runs right over Dubai’s downtown, and you’ll zoom past skyscrapers on each side, with the Gulf glittering in your eyeline. Reaching speeds of an eye-watering 80 kilometers per hour, this is truly experiential travel at its most thrilling.
Take it Easy
After all that excitement, it’s time to take it easy and just sit down for a bit. But we can up the thrill level even on that, by taking a ride on the Ain Dubai (the Dubai Eye). The highest observation wheel in the world at 250 meters in the air, Ain Dubai offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city from luxury cabins, some of which come with their very own bartender for a truly relaxing experience.
Hit the Sand
Hop onto a quad-bike or dune buggy and rev that engine right out into the desert for an unforgettable travel experience. Dubai’s dunes are the perfect playground for perfecting your sand-driving skills, especially the ones with a 45-degree angled slope! Be sure to leave enough time for sand-boarding – it’s just what it sounds like – and the most adventurous might also want to consider a night-time buggy tour under the canopy of stars.
Where You Will Stay
A city of contrasts, where modern glamour meets traditional culture, creating an enticing blend of mystery and excitement. From spectacular shopping to landmark tourist destinations, there is always a reason to explore something new in the City of Gold. Nestled on the shores of Dubai's iconic Palm Jumeirah, our luxury rooms complete with balconies and exquisite furnishings make for a distinctive oasis where guests can celebrate the exotic side of life.