The United Arab Emirates are often called a “land of great contrast.” There is certainly some truth to that, beginning with the social contrasts between the local Emirati and the rest of the diverse population. Defined by beaches, deserts and mountains, and inundated with camel races and Bedouin markets all crowded into one area, the adage does ring true. Shopping still reigns as the many things to do in the United Arab Emirates increases each year due to the incredibly ambitious nature that drives development and the economy. Some cry ‘innovation’ while others cry “excess” but no matter how you slice, the reason the UAE, especially Dubai, is such a popular tourist destination is because of all it has to offer. Beach resorts, modern amenities, exciting attractions and the best in luxury are only the beginning.
Visiting the renowned Gold Souk in Dubai is one of the best things to do in UAE. The souk is an area that is full of shops selling diamonds and gold. All around the Gold Souk there are a host of mini malls and shops to explore. Bargaining is accepted so don’t be afraid to try for the best deal.
Wild Wadi WaterPark
People of all ages love Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai. Splashing away an afternoon, especially in the hot summer months, is one of the most popular things to do in Dubai. It’s adjacent to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and features a large number of water-based rides, shops and dining.
Shopping is paramount on the list of things to do in Dubai. Actually, shopping in Dubai is one of the best things to do in the United Arab Emirates! Don’t miss exceptional, tax-free deals at the incredible Mall of the Emirates and the large number of other shopping malls, complexes and souks located all over Dubai.
For those who love ocean sports, things to do in UAE do include snorkeling and diving. Although not optimal all over the country, snorkeling is quite good at some Dubai beaches and is also popular in Fujairah at renowned Snoopy Rock. There are numerous dive centers scattered around the coastal areas of UAE, some offering PADI diving courses.
A visit to Jumeirah Mosque illustrates the tranquil beauty of Islamic design. The only way to take a look inside Jumeirah Mosque is through official UAE tours. The mosque tour should be high on your list of things to do in Dubai as it’s the largest and most impressive in the country.
One of the top things to do in the UAE is a desert safari. This wild ride whisks visitors off into the sweeping desert landscape for dune bashing, dune riding, camel rides, colorful sunsets, delicious barbeques and traditional belly dancing. If you have to limit the number of things to do in the United Arab Emirates, this is not one to stroke off your list!
Fun things to do in Abu Dhabi include visiting the Corniche. This area comprises interconnecting pathways, lush gardens, a cycling path, shade trees, benches and an expansive waterfront. It’s a great place to relax, social and enjoy some quiet time.
Al-Hosn Palace (White Fort)
Visiting the White Fort is another of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi. The White Fort is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi built in the later 19th century. Noteworthy is all the exquisite tile work at the north gate and the beautiful courtyard. Visitors can explore the many exhibits highlighting old photographs and artifacts.
Heritage Village is a testament to Bedouin culture. It resembles an authentic Bedouin camp and features a customary mosque, mud houses and a traditional Bedouin souk. Visitors can shop, take tours of the village and enjoy camel rides.
Arabian Wildlife Center
One of the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries is the UAE is the Arabian Wildlife Center in Sharjah. The facility houses more than 100 extinct and current animals from the Arabian Peninsula. There is a small bird aviary, an insect, reptile and fish house and an area featuring various desert cats.
Things to Do in Dubai
Due to its impressive number of shopping malls and souks, Dubai is a shopper’s paradise, frequently called “the shopping capital of the Middle East”. At Dubai’s shopping centers visitors can find a wide range of products including cars, haute couture clothing, jewelry, electronics, furnishing, perfumes, sporting tools, etc. at reduced prices. Shops usually open from 9 am to 10 pm and on weekends until midnight. Visitors can apply for shopping cards in major malls and receive important discount.
Dubai Creek Ride
The creek is the historic and modern hearth of Dubai. It formerly served as a port for trading to/from India, Africa and the Middle East, and today has become the main commercial hub of the region, preserving some of its shipping culture and traditional houses; along with imposing contemporary buildings. There are available all the year organized creek-tours in wooden Abras or in private boats that carry tourists along Deira and Bur Dubai while enjoying a calm and relaxed trip.
The city has various excellent public and private beaches where visitors have the chance of soak up the sun or practice different sea-sports in the hot, white and very salty waters of Dubai, like scuba diving, surfing, skiing and fishing. The beach parks have diverse facilities including changing rooms and play zones. Visitors can also travel 90-minute road to Khor Fakkan in Sharjah, where there are beautiful coral reefs supporting extensive aquatic life that includes kingfish, jackfish, red snapper, barracuda and rock cod.
Hot Air Balloon
There are helicopter and plane tours providing an excellent view of Dubai throughout the year. The fee is about Dhs. 250 for 1-hour flight. Hot air balloon is another option to see the sand dunes and mountains in the countryside (there is an annual festival). Tourists can even try bungee jumping. The city is also provided with a cable car ride that runs 2.3km length at Creekside Park in 30 minutes. Suspended 30 m in the air, visitors can enjoy a wonderful sight of Dubai Creek.
Originally staged just at weddings or special festivals, this traditional sport has been renewed with a lot of enthusiasm in latest years and today is enormously popular in Dubai, which counts with exceptional customized tracks. The exciting race meetings are normally held in the winter months (October to April) finishing in the annual camel race festival at Al Wathba, which attracts entrants from the entire world. The Zayed Grand Prize is a singular race to commemorate the UAE National Day (2 December).
As well as camel racings, the sport of kings is extremely popular in Dubai. The Nad Al Sheba club hosts the world’s richest horse race every year, in its 2000-meter turf course with 15,000-spectator capacity. Moreover, Dubai has a world-class FIA autodrome that includes single seater racing, motor bikes and karting. Abras races have a great cultural significance and are considered as one of the most graceful sports.
Sited at Jumeirah Rd, it is an fabulous 2-ha outdoor (there is an indoor plan) zoo near to the beach that houses many exotic species like chimpanzee, tigers, Arabian wolves, gorilla and the Arabian wild cat. Admission fee Dhs. 3 (US$ 1), open 10 am to 6:30 pm, Wednesday to Monday. Tel: +971 4 344 0462. Due to at the emirate there are more than 400 species of birds, bird watching is a major appeal for ornithologists. Tours may cover Dubai’s natural habitats including parks, desert, mountains and the famed flamingo reserve on the creek.