Dubai is known for its decadence – expensive cars, luxury shopping, and the tallest structure in the world – which offers a magnificent experience. But at the same time, the city is full of culture and traditions and you definitely don’t want to miss out on this experience if you visit!
My suggestion – spend the day time walking the Dubai Mall, touring the Burj Khalifa, and drinking cocktails at a luxurious lounge or bar and then spend your night experiencing a desert safari and dune bashing. This offers you the true all around Dubai experience and how fun is it to try on traditional garb (see how fun it is below!).
For the desert safari and dune bashing you will need to book through a tour company. We used North Tours and I would recommend them as our night went relatively smooth and they were one of the cheaper options online. We paid $65 each which was the cheapest available.
Fun Fact: Multiple tour companies offer the desert safari and join together for the dinner at the Dubai Desert Safari – no matter what you pay or who you go with the food and the entertainment is the same!
A quick synopsis of what the night includes and a few suggestions:
A 6 hour desert trip in which they pick you up directly from your hotel in a 4×4 – ours was the typical white Toyota Land Cruiser – a staple off roading machine in the UAE. Unless you pay for and request a personal trip be aware you can end up riding out to the desert in a car with another party (we did but it was actually fun to meet other people!)
Your driver will take you on a 30 minute drive outside of the city into the desert. This will include a stop at a local market / convenient store – this is where all the tour guides basically stop to lower the air in their tires for the dune bashing.
Your driver will advise you to put on your seat belts as they drive into the desert. Starting off slow and then pick up the pace for an adrenaline filled drive through the rolling dunes. It’ll include throwing up sand and basically surfing the sand dunes in a large SUV. I laughed pretty much the whole time. But I will say if you aren’t much of an adrenaline junky this might be a part of the tour you choose to pass on.
You will stop in the middle of the desert for a photo op. Be aware, this is where you are offered opportunities to hold a falcon (a typical rich man pass time in Dubai) and other activities. They ride right up to you on quads. It isn’t free but it’s cheap – but just be aware they expect tips.
Then it’s off to the campsite where you will be able to ride the camels, get henna painted on, eat dinner, smoke sheesha, watch belly dancing and other performances. You table is assigned and the seating is colorful and traditional with you sitting right on pillows.
- If you get there early ride the camels first because it’ll get busy.
- The lady painting henna doesn’t speak english and basically draws what she wants.
- The food was pretty good – not fantastic – but is buffet and has quite a few options to choose from including chicken, lamb, and rice.
- You have the option to ride quads as well but at an additional cost.
Once the entertainment ends, your original tour guide will take you back to your hotel. Easy as that and you get the full experience in one swoop!
All in all the night was great. My biggest tip of all is don’t forget to try out everything they have to offer – I promise you won’t regret it – plus it makes for a super fun photo op.
Not sold yet? Check out the belly dancing video below!
Happy Travels 🙂