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Adventure

Watch: Adventure in the Desert

Explore ballooning and dune bashing with 360° views.

Courtesy of Dubai Autrodome
Adventure

Seeking a Rush in Dubai

These three activities are guaranteed to get the blood pumping.

You don a mask, fins, and an air tank and drop down into the water. Bright, beautiful fish swim all about you, and then you spot it: a shark, darting around nearby.

Shark diving is just one of the thrill-seeking options you’ll find in Dubai, a place that’s attracting a growing number of adventurers. Some of them are pros: In recent years, people have flocked to Dubai to attempt—and set— world records in boundary-pushing activities like completing the highest BASE jump and holding the longest breath.

But Dubai also features an increasing number of options for the casual thrill-seeker. So once you land after a relaxing Emirates Airline flight, here’s where to go get your fix.

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Shark Diving

Shark. Just saying the name of this famous predator is enough to get the heart pumping. And at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, you can get up close and personal with these 750-pound creatures—safely, of course. The aquarium offers a few ways to do it. Certified and noncertified divers can don tanks and fins and go diving in the 2.6-million-gallon tank to come mask-to-fin with the world’s largest collection of sand tiger sharks. Or drop down in a cage at feeding time; you’ll be surrounded by fish as the sharks swim up for their meal.

Conditions: Minimum of 8 years old for the shark encounter; 10 years old for shark diving; Noncertified divers must take a short instructional course.

Book It: Dubai Aquarium

Courtesy of Dubai Autrodome
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Race Car Driving

You’ve probably been there: Waiting for a traffic light to turn from red to green, imagining you’re in a race car ready to peel off down the track. The Dubai Autodrome offers a variety of options to make that dream a reality. Don a helmet, tracksuit, and gloves, and climb into your single-seat Formula DXB racecar, then hit the gas and jet off over the track’s three-plus miles, down speedy straightaways and around sharp turns. Or book with Dream Racing Dubai and experience Formula One™ cars actually driven in races.

Conditions: Valid driver’s license (must be 21 or older at Dream Racing Dubai), manual transmission experience, height between 5'2" and 6'2" and weight under 250 pounds.

Cost: $238 U.S. (AED 875)– $5,400 U.S. (AED 19,900)

Book it: Autodrome, or Dream Racing Dubai

3

Tandem Bungee Jumping

Your heart may be in your throat as you peer over the edge of a platform more than 160 feet off the ground, tethered only by a bungee cord around your ankles. Fortunately, you have a friend to hold onto, someone to take the plunge with. You’ll jump together, screaming as you fall at speeds up to 60 mph, until the bungee bounces you back up toward the sky. Of course, if you’d rather go it alone, you can do that too.

Conditions: Ages from 14 through 50; maximum weight for a couple is 478 pounds, or 265 pounds for one person

Cost: $133 (490 AED) for a couple; $79 (290 AED) for an individual (age requirements apply)

Book It: Gravity Zone Adrenaline Sports

Book your Emirates Airline flight to Dubai and prepare to feel the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.

Courtesy of Platinum Heritage
Adventure

4 Ways to Do a Desert Safari

Immerse yourself in Dubai’s desert culture on an unforgettable safari adventure.

After the sun sets behind shimmering sand dunes, the Arabian Desert takes on a new personality. Bedouin villages host unique dinners, bonfires fend off the night’s chill, and stars fill the sky as you climb into your sleeping bag.

Spending an overnight on a desert safari is just one way to experience this fascinating landscape. These thrilling tours can also take you to see wildlife, go dune bashing, drive into the mountains, and meet the locals. And you can get a preview of Dubai’s natural wonders aboard your Emirates Airline flight, which offers more than 2,500 channels of entertainment, including wildlife programs.

Here’s how to leave the city and coast behind and head out on a safari-style tour.

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Desert Safari

Following an afternoon pickup at your hotel in an SUV, you’ll hit the highlights of the Arabian Desert. Your driver starts you off with a rollercoaster-like ride along the slopes of the rust-hued dunes. Enjoy the thrilling ride on your way to a private, authentic Bedouin camp, where a glowing bonfire awaits.

Here you’ll receive an introduction to Middle Eastern culture with a belly dance show. Get a henna tattoo, then climb aboard a camel for a fun, new perspective on the desert. Before returning to Dubai, dine at a Bedouin-style barbecue buffet underneath a moonlit desert sky.

Book It: Gulf Ventures

Courtesy of Oasis Palm Tourism
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Overnight Desert Safari

Spending a night in the desert is an incomparable way to experience its magic. This tour offers the dune bashing and camel rides you’ll find on day trips. And it adds the opportunity to photograph the desert at both sunset and sunrise, when low light paints the dunes in a changing palette of reds, pinks, and golds.

You’ll savor the flavors of a traditional Arabic barbecue and enjoy the warmth of a bonfire before settling into your sleeping bag at a Bedouin campsite. You may find yourself waking up to gaze at the clear night sky, filled with more stars than you’ve ever seen.

Book It: Oasis Palm Tourism

Courtesy of Platinum Heritage
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Wildlife Drive and Bedouin Breakfast

If you’re more interested in connecting to the desert culture and environment than you are in dune bashing, this is the safari for you. Leave the city in a vintage SUV and head out to the stillness of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

You’ll spend time at an exclusive desert retreat, where a Bedouin storyteller will answer questions about the region. Enjoy a breakfast of Emirati cuisine, featuring regag (Arabic bread) with egg, balaleet (sweet noodles), chbaab (pancakes), and, of course, robust Arabic coffee. And keep your eyes open for some of the remarkable wildlife that survives in this challenging desert landscape, including the Arabian oryx—a gorgeous antelope famous for its long, slender horns.

Book It: Platinum Heritage

Courtesy of Arabian Adventures
4

Hajar Mountain Safari

Travel beyond the desert sands and into the rugged Hajar Mountains on a full-day safari that also visits the United Arab Emirates’ Al Aqah coast. The tallest mountains in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the Hajars top out at over 6,500 feet in this section of the range. It’s the perfect place to explore canyons and deep valleys.

You’ll also visit a fishing village and enjoy a lavish international buffet lunch at Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. In addition to seeing the spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, you’ll learn about the region’s culture during stops at a market and at the historic Al Badiyah mosque—the smallest in the UAE.

Book It: Arabian Adventures

Book your next trip to Dubai on Emirates Airline and prepare for thrilling adventures in the desert.

Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm
Adventure

There’s Something in the Water

The desert meets the deep blue sea in Dubai, where the waters of the Arabian Gulf offer not only a place to cool off but also endless adventures.

Whether you go out on dives that explore reefs and shipwrecks teeming with marine life or for high-octane boat trips that cruise along the coastline, spend a day on the gulf and you’ll gain a new appreciation for Dubai’s natural beauty. Here are a few ways to find adventure out on the water.

Fishing on the Gulf

Forget the catch of the day. You might just hook the catch of a lifetime in the rich waters of the gulf on a fishing voyage with one of the professional charter companies that operate off Dubai.

Beginners and experienced anglers alike can test their skills as they battle to reel in such fish as barracuda, grouper, and giant trevally. Some trips stay close to the coast while others venture farther out to sea. Boats are equipped with the latest technology, including fish finders, and outings range from half-day to full-day experiences.

Swim With Marine Animals at Atlantis, The Palm

The waterfront resort Atlantis, The Palm is famous for its dramatic architecture; it’s also a place where you can be dazzled by close encounters with unique marine life.

Swim and scuba dive with dolphins in the resort’s Dolphin Bay, or learn about sea lion behavior as you interact with these playful creatures under the guidance of marine mammal specialists.

Forget the catch of the day. You might hook the catch of a lifetime.
Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm
Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

Tour by Speedboat

Talk about an adrenaline rush: Cruise out from Dubai Marina on a speedboat for a fast-paced adventure that takes in top sites along the coast.

As impressive as the city’s soaring skyline may be when you’re on land, nothing compares to seeing it from the gulf. Boats follow the outer shoreline of the remarkable palm-shaped island lined with opulent villas and luxury resorts. Then travel past Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s iconic hotel famous the world over for its sail-like silhouette.

If you’re more into thrills than sightseeing, some tours are all about speed, as your captain opens the throttle and shows off the boat’s maneuverability by twisting and turning through the gulf waters.

“Surf” the Sky

Sure, maybe you’ve zoomed around on a watercraft or tried stand-up paddleboarding. But why just go out on the water when you can go airborne?

Flyboarding lets you take to the air on a board outfitted with two jet nozzles that are attached by hose to a personal watercraft engine, propels riders hovering above the water. Expert instructors will teach the basics before you strap into the board’s bindings and glide 30 feet or more into the sky. With a little practice, you might start to perform flips and spins; advanced flyboarders even dive beneath the surface, where they surge through the gulf like dolphins.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Experiences

At reefs off the manmade The World Islands, an archipelago less than three miles from Dubai that was constructed to resemble a map of the globe, divers and snorkelers can see such marine life as graceful angelfish, orange and white clownfish, and maybe even sea turtles. And you can find even more great diving in a surprising location: The Dubai Mall. That’s because this huge shopping center is home to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, where the scuba and snorkel experiences include meetand- greets with the world’s largest collection of sand tiger sharks. Don’t worry: You can choose encounters during which you remain in a cage for a measure of separation from these 350-pound predators—and their teeth. But the truth is that sand tiger sharks are typically quite docile.

Book your flight to Dubai on Emirates Airline and explore Dubai’s waters.

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Courtesy of Bollywood Parks
Adventure

4 Theme Park Adventures in Dubai

Hold onto your hats! Find thrills and chills for the whole family.

With the opening of a remarkable collection of new family attractions, Dubai has transformed itself into one of the world’s leading theme park cities. Last August, IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest indoor theme park on the planet, debuted. Soon after it was joined by the $2.8 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts, an enormous complex with three different parks—from the movieinspired Motiongate Dubai to LEGOLAND® Dubai.

So for anyone who loves the thrills and escape of theme parks, Dubai is definitely on the map. Here’s a look at some highlights.

COURTESY OF IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE
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IMG Worlds of Adventure

It’s hard to imagine how so much could fit under one roof. But in a massive space equal to about 26 football fields, IMG Worlds of Adventure is big enough for 69 animatronic dinosaurs and brawny superheroes alike, not to mention endless dining, shopping, and a 12-screen multiplex with a 3D IMAX theater opening this year.

The age of the dinosaurs comes alive in the Lost Valley-Dinosaur Adventure zone. Climb aboard the Forbidden Territory ride for an up-close-and-personal look at gigantic creatures (the park has a 50-foot-tall barosaurus) so lifelike that you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported millions of years into the past. Meanwhile, the younger set will love the dinosaur-themed carousel and Adventure Fortress, an innovative playground with a network of connecting ladders, tunnels, and slides.

But as enormous as IMG Worlds of Adventures may be, it’s still not big enough to contain one ride. You’ll have to go outside for The Velociraptor, Dubai’s fastest and tallest roller coaster, which reaches speeds of more than 60 mph in 2 ½ seconds.

Courtesy of Motiongate Dubai
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MOTIONGATE™ Dubai,
Dubai Parks and Resorts

From the moment you walk through the iconic film reel entrance, you’ll be fully immersed in the world of the movies at MOTIONGATE™ Dubai. Here you’ll find movie-inspired rides and attractions from three of Hollywood’s largest film studios, bringing some of Tinseltown’s favorite films to life.

Attractions range from 4D motion simulator rides for a little bit of thrill, to free-falling from a 190-foot tower in an effort to escape zombies for major chills.

Looking for something a little less intense? Catch one of the entertaining shows that will make you feel like you’re a part of the movies.

Courtesy of Bollywood Parks
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Bollywood Parks™ Dubai,
Dubai Parks and Resorts

One does not have to be a Bollywood fan to enjoy the world’s first Bollywood theme park. Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, built on the legacy of Mubai’s legendary film industry, is a haven for live entertainment, stage performances and flamboyant cinematic rides.

The park recreates the Bollywood experience through themed attractions, and rides spread across five zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios. Visitors can experience bold action, colourful storytelling and captivating dance sequences inspired by some of the genre’s biggest blockbusters. The park hosts up to 20 live shows across five stages, and kids and adults alike get the chance to learn typical Bollywood-style choreography live.

Courtesy of LEGOLAND® Dubai
4

LEGOLAND® Dubai,
Dubai Parks and Resorts

Imagine a world where buildings are constructed from colorful plastic bricks and rides with brightly hued planes, trains, and automobiles (plus submarines!) resemble colossal toys. Designed for children ages 2 through 12, LEGOLAND® Dubai is a gentler kind of theme park that emphasizes fun and learning, not scary excitement.

Watch your kids earn a LEGOLAND® driver’s license at the park’s driving school or captain their own boat in a lagoon. At the park’s Miniland, the whole family can see a scale version of Dubai’s famous skyline, as well as iconic Middle East landmarks, built from 20 million LEGO® bricks. The Taj Mahal alone required nearly 300,000 bricks to construct, while the 56-foot reproduction of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa skyscraper is the world’s tallest LEGO® model of a building.

Go behind the scenes at the park’s factory to watch how the bricks are created (you’ll even get a freshly made brick as a souvenir). And remember that if your family is looking to cool off, nothing beats the slides and raft rides at the adjacent LEGOLAND® Water Park (separate admission).

Fly Emirates and experience the thrills and chills at Dubai’s theme parks.

Adventure

High-Octane Desert Adventures

Dune buggies and sandboarding turn Dubai’s desert into an adventure playground.

Sure, Dubai is home to one of the world’s most luxurious hotels and the world’s biggest mall, but you’d be missing out if you came here and just stayed indoors. After a relaxing flight via Emirates Airline, enjoying more than 2,500 channels of entertainment, you’ll be ready to mix things up with a dose of adventure.

Dune Bashing

Everything is elaborate in Dubai, of course, so you don’t just go off-roading—you go “dune bashing.” Sitting safely inside a 4x4 (hint: pick the front seat for extra excitement), you’ll take off into the red dunes with an experienced driver at the wheel. Climb to the tops of the sandy pinnacles, taking a moment to snap a photo of the landscape, and then head down at a steep angle as your knuckles turn white gripping your seat.

Book It: The Dubai Safari

ATV Riding

ATVs, quad bikes—whatever the name, pilot one and you’ll really feel the desert air as you kick up sand. With a guide leading the way, you’ll cut your own path through the always-changing landscape of the desert’s red dunes, speeding over low dunes and climbing up high ones for an awesome perspective. Stop for a breather and refreshments before driving off again.

Book It: Red Dunes Dubai

You'd miss out if you came here and stayed indoors.
Courtesy of Dream Explorer Dubai

Sand Boarding

If you’ve only been snowboarding, you haven’t had the full experience of what’s possible on a board. Get dropped off at the top of a sand dune, with endless peaks stretched out in front of you. Then get up on your board and whoosh back and forth over the open expanse of sand—you’ll never see boarding the same way again.

Book It: Dream Explorer Dubai

Dune Buggy Exploring

Climb into a dune buggy specially designed for this otherworldly landscape and get ready for a roller coaster of a ride. The buggy’s single seat and wide wheelbase give drivers a different feel from ATVs. Rip up the sand, climb and descend the dunes, and take a turn leading the convoy during a half-day expedition.

Book It: Desert Rangers

Book your next trip to Dubai on Emirates Airline and prepare for thrilling adventures in the desert.

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Watch: 360° Experiences of Dubai

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