Alternative things to do in Dubai

Looking for alternative things to do in Dubai?

Dubai is known for its luxury lifestyle; all 5* hotels and designer shopping malls. While we like to indulge in the finer things this emirate has to offer, we also love to instead seek out the alternative Dubai. If you feel the same, here are some alternative things to to in Dubai.


Fun activities in Dubai (the alternative Dubai list):

Desert Camping in Dubai

Dubai desert

Dubai desert

Camping in Dubai is easy. Only a short drive out of Dubai and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the orange-red sand dunes. The dunes are an incredible sight, whether it’s your first or 100th time seeing them. Make the most of this spectacular natural landscape with an overnight desert camping trip; gaze up at the stars before bedtime and awake with the sunshine as it peers over the dunes in the morning. There are a few options for such trips; for a cheaper trip with a tour-group contact Arabian Adventures or do it in luxury with a stay at the Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah. Arabian Adventures also offer an evening desert safari, in case you don’t want to stay overnight.

Art Galleries in Dubai

Hassan Hajjaj artwork on display at  The Third Line , Alserkel Avenue, Dubai.

Hassan Hajjaj artwork on display at The Third Line, Alserkel Avenue, Dubai.

There are many art galleries in Dubai. The super-cool Alserkel Avenue is home to multiple art galleries, all of which are housed in former warehouses gwith an industrial vibe. Here you'll find all kinds of art on show; it's not unusual to find art from an up-and-coming UAE based artist alongside some of the bigger names in the art world. Former exhibitions have included work by popular Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, plus Moroccan born, UK-based artist (and an all-time Contemporary Class favourite) Hassan Hajjaj, dubbed the 'Andy Warhol of Marrakech'. In between the art galleries you'll find a few of Dubai's coolest cafés to hang out in.  

Jumeirah Mosque Tour

Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai. Photo Credit: Aidas U.

Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai. Photo Credit: Aidas U.

A Jumeirah Mosque tour offers a unique insight into the culture and religion of Dubai. Do keep in mind that as a place of worship, visitors are expected to cover their arms, legs and shoulders. Next-door you'll find a cafe serving camel-milk coffees and hot chocolates; pop in after your tour is finished. 

Dubai souks

A spice souk

A spice souk

The Dubai souks can be found in Old Dubai (Bur Dubai). Two of our favourite Dubai souks to visit are the gold souk and the Dubai spice souk. Visit the gold souk for varying carat jewellery; the gold sparkles and flickers from store after store, and all at reasonable rates - so long as your haggling skills are on point. The Dubai spice souk is the place to stock up on ingredients to take home with you; use your nose to seek out the strong scents of chilli, ginger, frankincense. We recommend taking an abra (traditional Arabic boat) from the south side of the creek over to the souks to get a feel for a more traditional way of life.

Watersports in Dubai

Contemporary Class Editor, Katie Silcox, wakeboarding in Dubai

Contemporary Class Editor, Katie Silcox, wakeboarding in Dubai

Watersports in Dubai are plentiful. The city’s costal location means it’s the perfect place to partake in a watersport or two. We recommend having a go at fly-boarding, where you stand on a small platform attached to water jets that propel you high up into the air…or if you don’t quite master it, face down into the sea. Other popular watersports in Dubai include wakeboarding, yachting, jet-skiing and game fishing. 

Contact Hydro Watersports to find out more

Waterparks

Aquaventure waterpark at The Atlantis, Dubai, UAE

Aquaventure waterpark at The Atlantis, Dubai, UAE

Fun for kids and adults alike visit either the Wild Wadi Water Park or the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark (part of the famous Atlantis The Palm hotel). Both have a load of exhilarating water-themed rides, along with more relaxing lazy rivers and sun loungers.  The latter is home to a ride called The Leap of Faith, a near vertical drop that definitely takes some psyching up to hurtle yourself down. We’re proud to say, we managed it (and lived to tell the tale!). 


Best time to visit Dubai

Dubai weather

The best time to visit Dubai is November to March. This is winter in Dubai. The weather in Dubai during December and January can get quite cold, especially at night (16C) so be sure to pack trousers and light jumpers for the evening.

In our opinion, the best time to visit Dubai is during February and March. The average temperature in Dubai in these months is 27C.

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