Venture away from the glitzy skyscrapers of Dubai to find a wealth of unique culture, history and stunning scenery that you may never have known existed.
1. Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
From women’s dress to public display of affection, volunteers at this centre are happy to answer your questions, no matter how sensitive, as their aim is to help you understand the local culture and customs. Just a two-minute walk from the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, the centre also offers a delicious traditional feast on selected days, perfect for those looking for a slice of Emirati life.
From skiing down a slope inside the Mall of the Emirates to surfing down a mighty sand dune under the golden Arabian sun out in the desert, Dubai is fast becoming a favourite for those after adrenaline-fuelled activities. Join a sandboarding tour – they will take you to the Big Red, the country’s biggest sand dune, where you can stand or lie on a freshly waxed board and speed down 300m (984ft) at speeds of up to 50kmph (31mph).
Falconry, the keeping and training of large birds, is ingrained in UAE culture and the practice has been part of desert life for locals for hundreds of years. Today, there are tours taking visitors into the desert showing you both traditional and modern falconry techniques, while some private groups even allow you to handle and fly some of the birds yourself.
4. Turtle Lagoon
The Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel famously launched a 150sqm (1,614sft) outdoor lagoon built to rehabilitate injured, endangered turtles. On Wednesdays, they carry out a mass turtle feeding, which is as much of a spectacle as you’d imagine. The program is said to have released over 560 turtles back into Dubai’s waters, continuing its work towards preserving these amazing local creatures.
Fly on the iconic Emirates A380 to Dubai and experience all this for yourself.