Dubai is known as the city of luxury, where you can enjoy every comfort that exists in the world. It is also the land of architectural marvels: wonders that have won the city several world records. For most people, a holiday in Dubai involves lots of sightseeing and having fun. However, there is another side of the city that not many are aware of. Dubai offers a lot of thrilling activities that are perfect for adventure lovers. Right from the exhilarating rides and attractions of the numerous theme and water parks to the most extreme adventures, there is no dearth of thrilling activities in Dubai. If you want to add some zing to your Dubai vacation, here are the best adventurous things to do in Dubai.
A relatively recent adventurous activity that is exclusively found in Dubai is flyboarding. Just as the name suggests, the activity gives you the chance to fly in the air. It is a water sport, where you have to stand on a board that is attached to a jet ski engine. When the engine is turned on, it shoots water propelling you to fly at least a 10 meters high in the air. It may require a few tries, especially if you are a novice, but once you get the hang of it, you can control the board using hand controls or even with your balance. Apart from enjoying the thrill of flying in the air, you can also witness the incredible skyline of Dubai while jet skiing.
Timing: 10 AM to 7 PM
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Location: Dubai Beach
Ticket/Fee: AED 350
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Dubai without getting your heart racing, a hot air balloon ride would be a better option for you. On the other hand, it is nothing less than awe-inspiring as it takes you some 4000 feet above the ground. Hot air balloon ride in Dubai usually happens in the desert, where the climatic conditions are perfect for this activity. If you choose to go on an early morning hot air balloon ride, you would be able to enjoy the sunrise as well as the pleasant climate of the desert, as it may become too hot as the day progresses. However, it is the view from above that is the best. From high above, you would not only be able to see the desert and its flora and fauna but also the glamorous city and the Persian Gulf beyond.
Timing: 4:30 AM to 7:30 AM
Duration: 3 hours
Location: Dubai Desert Conservatory Area
Ticket/Fee: AED 1255
- Desert Safari
Considered to be the ultimate Dubai experience, the desert safari is something you have to do before you leave Dubai. The Dubai desert safari includes several interesting activities, although the adventurous activities are just amazing. The one that tops the list is dune bashing, which involves riding a 4×4 vehicle and running over the mighty sand dunes of the desert. The tires are deflated a bit and the vehicle itself comes with all the safety equipment. The dune bashing session lasts for 20-30 minutes and each second is exhilarating. Other thrilling activities in Dubai desert safari include sandboarding, quad biking, and camel riding. While most desert safaris include entertainment activities along with dinner, opt for a morning desert safari if the adventurous activities are the only thing you are interested in.
Timing: Depends on the type of desert safari you choose, i.e. morning or evening desert safari
Duration: 4-6 hours
Location: Dubai Desert Conservatory Area
Ticket/Fee: AED 150 (approx)
- Helicopter Tour
If you want to enjoy the splendor of Dubai in its true sense, a helicopter ride would be perfect for you. This is also a great way of sightseeing, especially if you want to avoid traffic. The helicopter ride offers a panoramic and bird’s eye view of the entire city, including the desert and the Persian Gulf. During your ride, you would be able to have a closer look at Dubai’s iconic buildings like Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, etc. You would also be able to see other Dubai attractions like Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina, Dubai Festival City, Hotel Atlantis, etc. The highlight of the entire tour is definitely a view of the Palm Jumeirah.
Duration: 12/15/17/22/25/40 minutes
Location: Dubai Police Academy, Al Sufouh, Near Madinat Souk, Dubai
Ticket/Fee: AED 665
Another aerial activity that involves a lot of heart thumping is ziplining. Moreover, along with enjoying the excitement, you would also be able to view the stunning sights of the Dubai Marina. Xline Zipline Dubai at Dubai Marina is the longest urban zipline in the world that stretches for 1 km. It is also known as the fastest zipline as it goes at a speed of 80 km/hour. The best part is that two ziplines run concurrently, giving you the chance to enjoy this activity with your loved one. While you would definitely experience an adrenaline rush ziplining some 170 meters high in the air, you would also get to enjoy the glamorous view of the Dubai Marina with its numerous luxury yachts and swanky buildings.
Timing: 10 AM to 4:30 PM
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Location: Level P, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai
Ticket/Fee: AED 650
- Shark Encounter
The Dubai Mall Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is home to the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. Apart from viewing these sharks through the aquarium tank, you can have a face-to-face encounter with these predators with Shark Encounter. This activity involves diving into the 10 million liter tank. However, you do not need any diving experience or training as you would be safely inside the diving cage. During the 30 minutes experience, you would get to watch shark feeding frenzy and observe the sharks from a close range. Post the underwater experience, you would be taken to the back-of-house facilities where you would be able to learn about the shark breeding program of the aquarium and also watch shark babies being fed. In short, the shark encounter is both a stimulating and educational experience.
Timing: 2 PM
Duration: 30 minutes
Location: Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, UAE
Ticket/Fee: AED 630
- Sky Diving
In case you are looking for the ultimate thrilling experience in Dubai, it would undoubtedly be sky diving. The thrill of jumping from an airplane 4000 meters above earth is simply incomparable. First-time divers would have to go tandem diving, where they would be accompanied by a professional. The dive from the airplane would involve 1 minute of freefall followed by 5 minutes of gentle descent after opening the parachute. The freefall would give you an adrenaline rush like no other, while the gentle descent would give you the chance to admire the view of the city including that of the Palm Island, the World Island, Burj Khalifa, etc. With the level of thrill involved in sky diving, it is surely not for the faint-hearted.
Timing: 10 AM to 4 PM
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Location: Drop Zones – The Palm and Desert Campus
Ticket/Fee: AED 1200
- Indoor Skydiving
If you think that you are ready for the actual indoor skydiving experience, Dubai lets you have a taste of it through indoor skydiving. iFly Dubai is the city’s indoor skydiving center that lets you enjoy skydiving as well as bungee jumping. Anyone from the age of 3 years can enjoy this fabulous activity. Here, you get to enjoy skydiving inside the double vertical tunnel, which is powered by advanced vertical wind tunnel technology. It propels you 10000 feet above and also lets you try some mind-blowing twists and flips with the help of your instructor. Even though it is an indoor activity, all the safety precautions are taken into consideration and you would have to wear safety gear like helmet, earplugs, goggles, etc. along with a jumpsuit. If you are not too sure about skydiving for real, the indoor experience would definitely prepare you for the real thing.
Timing: 12 PM to 10 PM (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 AM to 11 PM (Friday and Saturday)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: 3rd floor, Play Nation Area, City Centre Midrif, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, UAE
Ticket/Fee: AED 230
Another popular water sport in Dubai is Kitesurfing, and the best place to enjoy it is on the beach that is named after it, the Kite Beach. During this activity, you have to hold onto a handle that is attached to a parachute and maneuver as per the direction of the wind. You have to use your entire body to change the speed and direction of your parachute. Aside from being a thrilling activity, it is also a great way to workout. Although Kitesurfing does need some practice, it is something you should try even if you are a beginner in case you love water sports. If Kitesurfing seems too difficult, opt for parasailing that is similar but easier as your parachute would be pulled by a boat.
Timing: 7 AM to 7 PM
Duration: 1-2 hours
Location: Kite Beach, Jumeirah 3, Dubai, UAE
Ticket/Fee: AED 500 for half-day and AED 700 for full-day (Kitesurfing gear on rent)
Skiing in the desert city of Dubai may seem hard to believe. However, Dubai has made it possible to indulge in skiing at the world’s largest indoor ski park, Ski Dubai. This 22,500 square meters facility is located at the Mall of Emirates. It includes 85 meters high indoor mountain that has five skiing slopes in various levels of difficulty and steepness. With 400 meters run, Ski Dubai is also home to the first indoor black diamond run in the world. While it is ideal for skiing experts, beginners can also have some fun by taking skiing lessons here. Next to the ski slope is the Snow Park, where you can go sledding, tobogganing, climbing on ice towers, making giant snowballs and simply playing in the snow.
Timing: 10 AM to 11 PM (Sunday to Wednesday), 10 AM to 12 AM (Thursday) and 9 AM to 12 AM (Friday) and 9 AM to 11 PM (Saturday)
Duration: 6 hours
Location: Ski Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE
Ticket/Fee: AED 275
Best Time to Visit Dubai
The best time to visit Dubai and enjoy all these thrilling activities is during the months of the winter season. Winter in Dubai falls between November and February when the temperatures are lower and the climate is pleasant. This makes it easier to enjoy the outdoor adventurous activities. Summers are extremely hot in Dubai, making it impossible to venture out. However, indoor adventure activities like indoor skydiving at iFly and skiing at Ski Dubai can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Tips for Travellers
If you are planning a thrilling and adventurous holiday to Dubai, here are some tips that would be useful:
• An important thing to check is whether you need a Dubai visit visa to travel. While some countries are offered a visa on arrival, several of them have to apply for one before traveling.
• While trying any of the above adventurous activities listen to the safety instructions carefully and make sure to follow them. While thrill is exciting, being safe is extremely important.
• Book all your tours, adventurous activities, and even hotel rooms online before you travel to the country. This would help you to save both money and time.
• While Dubai may look like a modern city, the locals here are quite conservative. Hence, it would be best to dress modestly while visiting public places like tourist places, metros, and shopping malls.
• You can wear swimwear at the beaches as well as in the pool area of your hotel. However, make sure you cover yourself while commuting to and from the beach.
• Avoid public display of affection at all costs. PDA is an illegal offense in the UAE.
• You can buy drinks at licensed hotels and restaurants in Dubai. However, you cannot drink in public places. Moreover, drinking and driving is a criminal offense. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system while driving can lead to punishment.
The thrilling activities in Dubai would definitely make your holiday in Dubai even more exciting. Hence, do include at least a few activities in the Dubai tour itinerary.