Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It may not have the greenest of environments, but the stunning desert landscape is a natural wonder to behold and explore. The massive Arabian desert that surrounds Dubai, the Persian Gulf and the neighboring Hajar Mountains provide the residents of Dubai with ample avenues to explore their adventurous side. Be it desert safaris and dune bashing, or deep sea fishing and mountain biking, the popularity of most Dubai adventure activites has grown immensely.
If you're a resident of Dubai or visiting the emirate for a few days and would love to experience something outside of the glitz-filled extravagances that Dubai has become famous for, then these adventure activities will quench your thirst. Check out some of the most popular thrilling experiences that Dubai and the neighboring regions have to offer.
Skydiving has enjoyed the top spot of many a bucket lists. Dubai makes realizing this dream extremely easy, bringing together the ease of expert skydiving facilities and marrying them to a stunning coastal desert landscape. You will be jumping out of a plane at a height of almost 4,000 meters and swoop down onto the stunning dubai landscape. You can go for a solo jump if you are experienced or a tandem dive if you’re fairly new to the sport. Your jump will include a minute of freefall followed by a gentle descent for five minutes. As you come down, you will be able to catch stunning sights of Dubai from above, including a bird’s eye view of the Palm Islands, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa and the desert landscape.
Read our comprehensive guide on skydiving in Dubai and learn about the best places for skydiving in Dubai, Palm Islands vs the desert, indoor vs. outdoor skydiving, discounts, tickets, tips and more.
If you haven’t gone for a desert safari in Dubai, have you even experienced Dubai? An extremely popular activity amongst visitors to the city, a desert safari in Dubai will take you to a camp in the stunning desert that surrounds Dubai. Here, you will be able to participate in activities such as camel riding, dune bashing, sand boarding or enjoy a delicious buffet dinner under the stars. The sheer number of activities that are available at such safaris make them an extremely popular choice amongst those who wish to experience life in the desert, with a dash of comfort.
Al Qudra Cycling track is a haven for pedal-power lovers. With limited opportunities to cycle around in the city, Al Qudra provides the residents of Dubai a perfect 80 km long stretch of paved paths to cycle on. The path runs along the Al Qudra Road for 20 km, while some of the remaining will take you through pristine desert landscapes. You will be surrounded by mountains of sand on both sides and may also run across a wild horse or an oryx along the path. All in all, Al Audra cycling trail is a must if you’re looking to give yourself a good exercise or even enjoy an adventurous escape in the deserts of D
- Arrive in the morning, before the sunrise if you can since that is when the desert is at its coolest.
- If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry. You can rent one in a store at the beginning of the trail.
- The terrain is mostly flat. With the amount of cycling involved, you should be prepared with bottles of water.
- Late evenings are also comfortable to cycle in.
Desert sand dunes provide an offroading opportunity unlike any other terrain. Vehicles with more than enough power in the wheels and flat profiled tyres can race onto the sand dunes and cruise across the undulating desert surface. Dune bashing is a sport that brings the best of 4x4 world to the desert sands and offers an exhilarating desert experience. You will be strapped onto the seats of a Hummer, a Land Cruiser or a similar vehicle while it takes you on a rollercoaster ride over the sand dunes. Dune bashing can be experienced in most desert safaris. However, there are exclusive experiences as well that are dedicated to dune bashing only.
Quad bikes are one of the most accessible vehicles to take on the desert. With easy riding techniques, anyone can learn how to ride a quad bike and take on the mighty desert. A light body, combined with wide tyres and a powerful engine will enable you to ride on the sandy surface with ease, making dune hill climbs relatively easy. Quad biking in the desert is a thrilling and adventurous activity that is extremely popular amongst locals as well as visitors to the city.
Next to mountains covered in snow, natural smooth inclines of land that can allow a board to slide down with sufficient speed under the force of gravity can only be found in tall sand dunes in the desert. Naturally, this has given birth to the extreme sport of sandboarding, and what better place to experience this sport other than the sand dunes that surround Dubai. Strap your boots onto a smooth-surfaced board, similar to a snowboard, and slide down the sand dunes for one of the ultimate desert extreme sport experiences.
Dune Buggy driving in Dubai is one of the most popular desert activities. Designed to driven off the tarmac and on the rough ground, dune buggies are a wonderfully exciting and unique way to travel in the desert. The special thick tyres are comfortably able to move across the desert sand without getting stuck. The abundance of power and safety of a protective cage and gear provide the most fun one can get out of an automobile in the sand. This makes dune buggy riding in Dubai one of the most popular desert activities.
Deep sea fishing is another adventurous experience that you can undertake while in Dubai. The Persian Gulf is home to large schools of different fish species that live a healthy life, given the strict fishing regulations in the region. On these fishing adventures, you will be accompanied by expert anglers who will take you off the coast of Dubai, roughly 20-30 kms out, and help you catch fishes such as Kingfish, Barracuda, Cobias, Grouper and many others. Most deep-sea fishing experiences practice the catch and release method of fishing. However, if you wish to bring your catch with you, then you can come back to port with a maximum of 15kg or 6 large fishes.
Mountain Biking has steadily been growing in popularity in Dubai. With a lack of neighboring hills, avenues to mountain bike are less in the city. However, if you head out of the city and into the wild wadis of the Hajar Mountains, then you will be greeted by some of the most extreme mountain biking terrain in the Arabian peninsula. With multiple levels of difficulty, even newcomers to the sport can find themselves getting comfortable biking down the rugged slopes of the Hajar Mountains. And with plenty of bike rentals in the city, you needn't worry about buying one. Just head out of the city and enjoy a wild day out in the mountains.
Hatta is an inland exclave of the emirate of Dubai situated high in the Hajar Mountains. If you’re looking for a day of adventure, then safaris that take you to Hatta are your answer. These mountain safaris will take you to the wild wadis of the Hajar Mountains that lie behind the rugged canyon slopes. You will be driven through the canyons on some of the best off-roading tracks in UAE and taken to picturesque lagoons that lie hidden in the rocky valleys. These tours will also give you a cultural insight into the region, taking you to Hatta Heritage Village and the ancient Hatta fort.
Driving a supercar is a dream for many. At Dubai Autodrome, you can drive around the dedicated race track in a car of your choice. Some of the cars that you get to drive at the Autodrome are the Audi TT, Audi R8, Lotus Evora, the McLaren MP4-12C and even a track-only Formula DXB. An experience at the Dubai Autodrome will include an expert session on handling the car before you’re let loose to drive for yourself. Dubai Autodrome also has a separate area with an indoor and outdoor circuit dedicated to karts that deliver an excellent racing experience.
Flyboarding is one of the newest extreme sport to hit the coasts of Dubai. Flyboarding consists of a board with a hose that is attached to a jetski engine. The engine pumps water out of the hose at a great force, allowing one to propel into the air at heights of up to 10 meters. While you’re in the air, the board can be maneuvered using hand controls or even distributing your weight accordingly. The arrangement lets you fly, Iron man Style!
Hot Air Ballooning in Dubai has seen its footprints grow steadily in the past few years. Now, a favourite pastime amongst those visiting Dubai, hot air balloon rides have slowly seen their popularity rise from an activity for the indulgent to an activity that anyone can participate in. In Dubai, one can participate in hot air balloon rides that are usually organised in the desert. The comparatively flat lands, undulating surfaces and calm winds make for perfect hot air ballooning conditions. Away from the city, the vast expanse of desert land makes for a dramatic and beautiful landscape. Flying 4,000 feet high above the desert ground gives one a fantastic vantage point to view desert on one side and the Persian Gulf on the other with a modern Dubai in between.
Hop on a ‘fat bike’ and traverse the desert like never before! Fat tyre bikes, as the name suggests, are special bikes designed to handle the rough terrain of the desert. The fat profiled tyres of the bike prevent the bike from sinking into the soft sands. Fat tyre excursions allow you to explore the vast, gentle rolling dunes of the desert that surrounds Dubai and traverse through them with ease.