In a city like Dubai it’s easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore the adventures to be had. Yes, it might be tempting to linger in the brightly coloured malls and giant, skyscraping hotels with their air-conditioning but it’s worth exploring the real Dubai, and that involves braving the heat, lathering on a few gallons of sunscreen and venturing outdoors.
Hotels in Dubai tend to be beautiful, opulent, and comprehensive in their capacity to satisfy every luxury a traveller could require. But for one night only, plan an excursion and rough it on a desert adventure. Roar out over the dunes in a four wheel drive and pack your itinerary with quad-biking, camel rides and dune bashing before settling down to an al-fresco dinner and shisha at sunset to enjoy belly dancing and fall asleep under the stars, then awaken with the supreme desert sunrise.
Souk it up
A breath of fresh air after the sterility of the endless malls, the Dubai souks will sell you everything from spices and perfume to fake handbags and dodgy DVDs. The gold souk is especially notable, with wall to wall, gleaming golden trinkets, gold bars and the world’s largest gold ring on display. Leave plenty of time to explore the beautiful merchandise, and if you do plan to buy something, get into the spirit of things with a little passionate haggling before settling on a price.
Immerse yourself in the culture
When visiting any country, it’s important to learn about the customs and religious practices which underpin its culture. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a great destination for first time travellers to Dubai, with a relaxed and open environment designed to put visitors at ease, educate and inform them about all aspects of the city.
Dubai may be a bit of a culture shock for first time visitors, but it’s important to embrace the differences this amazing desert city presents, and immerse yourself in the culture. Don’t skulk indoors, get out there and have the best possible experience on your holiday in the United Arab Emirates.