If you’re looking to explore the Gulf countries, Dubai is an excellent destination for travelers. While some may view it as the world’s most consumerist city, with shopping and dining being the main attractions, plenty of other exciting activities exist.
What are some unique experiences that can add to the excitement and fun of your Dubai trip?
We have compiled a list of 10 exciting and unconventional things to do in UAE this weekend beyond just visiting the malls. Incorporating these suggestions into your travel plans can enrich your experience and create unforgettable memories.
1. Ski Dubai – Magnificent Indoor Ski Resort in UAE
Have you ever heard of skiing in the desert? It may sound unusual, but at “Ski Dubai,” an indoor ski resort, you can experience this unique activity. Unlike the scorching heat outside, the resort offers comfortable temperatures and artificial snow, creating a snowy wonderland for you to enjoy.
Whether you want to ski or have a snowball fight with friends or siblings, this resort has you covered. One of its main attractions is the trademark mountain, which stands 279 feet high and looks just as impressive from the outside.
This ski resort boasts numerous ski runs, including the world’s first indoor black diamond course. Advanced technology maintains a chilly temperature indoors to ensure a realistic skiing experience.
If skiing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Take part in the “Penguin March” or ride a traditional Toboggan. For a unique experience, climb inside a human hamster ball and roll down the slopes.
Ski Dubai offers an array of fun activities to enjoy with kids and friends while visiting Dubai. Opting for a specific package will allow you to get closer to the penguins and witness them swimming underwater.
Skiing in the desert and mingling with penguins is an unparalleled adventure in UAE and beyond. Even in +30 °C heat, prepare for an unforgettable experience unlike any other.
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2. The World Islands
If you travel 3 miles (approximately 4.8 kilometers) away from the coast of Dubai, you will come across 300 unique man-made islands. These islands were designed to resemble a world map when viewed from above.
The World Islands project was meant to replicate the success of the “Palm Islands,” but the effects of climate change and erosion made it challenging to create an accurate map of the world.
While the boundaries of the islands were not clearly defined and have since merged, they still provide a stunning aerial view that resembles a world map. Despite most of the islands being just sand, the project creators’ efforts should not be overlooked.
The concept behind the archipelago was to create a closed community for the elite, with most of the islands already owned by world celebrities and the wealthiest individuals. Visiting the World Islands can be challenging for those who do not own an island due to the absence of excursions and strict private security.
However, there are still ways to experience the beauty of the World Islands. One option is to take a helicopter tour and witness the impressive view from above.
Another option is to visit the only island open to the public, “Lebanon,” which was transformed into a paradise and is home to The Royal Island Beach Club.
The beach club offers gorgeous beaches and stunning views of the rest of the World Islands complex. Visitors can also dine in a chic restaurant, relax in a swimming pool, and enjoy a luxury recreation area.
Another way to experience the World Islands is by staying at the Anantara Resort, which provides a one-of-a-kind experience on its own private island.
The resort offers a variety of rooms, villas, and suites, each with its own private beach. Guests can rent a villa with a pool facing the ocean for a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai.
The speed boat ride of 15 minutes from Dubai to the Anantara Resort is a fun experience and provides a stress-free getaway similar to the Maldives. Discover more about this exceptional resort by visiting here and being amazed by the breathtaking views.
3. Desert Safari, Camel Rides, and Meeting Bedouins
The UAE deserts are renowned for their vastness and camels, making them a must-visit destination. Indulge in a unique experience by embarking on a desert safari, which is highly recommended. A 4×4 Jeep will be provided for you to explore the desert and immerse yourself in its essence.
Upon reaching the desert camp, you can relish delicious Arabic dates and coffee before embarking on a thrilling quad bike ride, racing over the sand beneath the scorching sun and amidst the complete wilderness.
Camels are a popular mode of transportation in the desert, and in Dubai, a camel ride is a must-do experience for visitors. Along with the ride, you can also enjoy a delicious dinner, complete with BBQ, and end your day by watching belly dancers perform traditional Dubai music.
Another signature dance in Dubai is the Tanoura folk dance, which you can enjoy while admiring sand art and getting a henna tattoo. It’s an excellent opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship of the artists and immerse yourself in the local culture.
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4. Unique and Authentic Dine-In Experience in Dubai
Located near Al Fahidi Metro Station in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, “Al Ustad Special Kebab” offers an exceptional dining experience. This Halal restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern Persian Cuisine, particularly kebabs and Hummus.
While the ambiance may not be upscale, the food is simply amazing. The walls are adorned with colorful decorations such as vintage objects, old photos, flags, clocks, and old newspapers, creating a unique and funky atmosphere.
Visiting this restaurant is highly recommended if you want to explore a different side of Dubai. You’ll have the chance to taste some authentic and unique dishes that locals enjoy. Although the building and environment are a bit old-fashioned, the taste is very modern and advanced.
5. Virtual Reality Park in Dubai
The Virtual Reality Park in Dubai is a one-of-a-kind attraction that offers unique experiences not found anywhere else in the world. While the United Arab Emirates may not be known for its historical or natural wonders like Europe, China, or Russia, they make up for it with its out-of-the-box attractions.
The park offers a chance to blur the lines between reality and fiction with its immersive experiences. One of the best things about the park is that you can purchase an open-dated access ticket, allowing you to skip long lines and enter at your convenience.
It’s the perfect place to have fun with friends and try out different genres like action, horror, mystery, and adventure. Once you decide which reality you want to explore, you’ll be taken on a ride that will make you forget the difference between what’s real and what’s not.
If you’re a fan of computer games, you’ll love the incredible experience the virtual reality park offers.
6. Ras Al Khor, The Wildlife Sanctuary – Off The Beaten Track in Dubai
If you want a unique experience in Dubai, consider visiting The Wildlife Sanctuary in Ras Al Khor. Located just meters from central Dubai, this wetland is home to thousands of birds. It’s hard to believe that so many birds can be found so close to town!
In addition to birds, you’ll also see mammals and fish using the sanctuary as a breeding ground. There are many different kinds of birds to observe here, including cormorants, herons, egrets, reef herons, and black-winged stilts. However, the show’s real stars are the pink flamingos, especially during the winter.
The sanctuary also features salt flats, mudflats, and mangroves, providing bird nesting and habitat. The sanctuary is fenced off to protect the birds’ habitat, but visitors can access three bird hides located on the sanctuary’s perimeter during designated daylight hours.
7. See Dubai From Above with a Gyrocopter
Dubai is home to a one-of-a-kind type of helicopter known as the gyrocopter. This mini-helicopter does not have a rotary engine and instead relies on thrust to achieve the necessary height.
Gyrocopters can perform simple stunts to provide a breathtaking aerial view of Dubai’s famous landmarks, including the Palm Islands, the World Islands, Atlantis, and the Burj al-Arab.
The views from above are truly spectacular, and the sights in Dubai are incomparable to anything else. The unique palm and world islands are particularly stunning from the sky.
You can rest assured that the gyrocopter is a safe and secure mode of transportation, and the pilot can perform exciting stunts without sacrificing your safety. Your pilot will provide a thorough safety briefing before your flight to ensure you feel comfortable and confident throughout the experience.
For adventurous travelers, a gyrocopter flight is an unforgettable highlight of any trip to Dubai. Dubai is home to a one-of-a-kind type of helicopter known as the gyrocopter. This mini-helicopter does not have a rotary engine and instead relies on thrust to achieve the necessary height.
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8. The Satwa District: Alternative Dubai
The Satwa district in Dubai, located on Al Satwa Road, is a unique and enjoyable place to explore on foot. It resembles a small, intercultural town with various local shops, restaurants, and markets selling fresh fish and produce. For those seeking unconventional things to do in Dubai, a visit to Satwa is highly recommended.
Satwa is particularly appealing to tourists because the prices here are often lower than in other popular areas of Dubai. The district has a pedestrian area and well-preserved old buildings, which make it look like Dubai from a decade ago.
Only 15% of the locals in Satwa are Arabs today, despite the Baloch tribe having historically resided there. Instead, most residents come from various parts of the world, with large Indian, Pakistani, and South Asian communities.
As you stroll around Satwa, you may feel like you’re in a mini version of the Philippines due to the significant Filipino community. You can also savor authentic dishes from Yemeni, Afghani, Pakistani, Iranian, Indian, and Filipino cuisines at various ethnic restaurants.
Exploring the Satwa district is a fun and must-do activity to experience another side of Dubai.
9. Chillout Ice Lounge Dubai
The Chillout Ice Lounge in Dubai is an exceptional place, being the first of its kind in the Middle East. It boasts an icy environment with ice sculptures, offering a luxurious and refreshing experience in a desert-surrounded country.
The lounge was inaugurated in 2007 and is maintained at a temperature as low as -6 degrees, thanks to artificial cooling.
In order to assist visitors in acclimating to the extreme temperatures, a buffer zone is provided where the temperature is kept at a steady +5 degrees.
To further enhance the icy experience, the lounge offers hot fluids and meals to make your visit more enjoyable. You don’t have to worry about carrying winter clothes, as the Chillout Lounge provides warm and cozy clothes to wear inside.
Situated at the ground level of the Times Square Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, the Chillout Ice Lounge is an unforgettable destination for an amazing time with your loved ones. The lounge also welcomes reservations for birthday celebrations, special occasions, private events, and film and photo shoots.
10. Visit The Alternative Louvre in Abu Dhabi, The Capital of UAE
Are you aware that there are two Louvre museums around the world?
If you happen to be in Dubai, visit the second Louvre in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. The trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi will take around two and a half hours, but it’s definitely worth it.
You can spend an entire day exploring Abu Dhabi’s other attractions, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World, and Qasr Al-Hosn.
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is an independent museum and not a branch of the Paris Louvre, but it borrowed its name from the Parisian Louvre for 30 years. The Abu Dhabi Louvre is an unusual building that will amaze any traveler with its concept and execution.
The architect arranged over fifty snow-white cubes halls on the water and covered them with a 180-meter dome consisting of eight thousand stars.
The square with the sea surrounding it becomes something magical due to the light streaming through the dome. The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is more than just a structure; it is a breathtaking piece of art.
There are 600 pieces included in the Louvre collection in Abu Dhabi. with half of them from its own collection and the other half loaned by French museums such as the Paris Louvre, Orsay, and the Pompidou Centre. You can appreciate works of art by famous artists such as Titian, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso.
The collection also gives visitors an excellent overview of art history, as you will see works chronologically from ancient times to the present.
The exhibition is completed by a 7-meter spiral “Fountain of Light,” a chandelier by the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. This symbolizes the museum’s cultural universalism and openness to all cultures and peoples.
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a cultural symbol and a new type of museum space. Its collection is diverse and impressive, and visitors can learn about the world’s culture and find their artworks.