So you’ve made your way to Dubai and ready for a taste of the Middle East? Maybe you’re on a little stopover on your way back to Australia from the northern hemisphere. Dubai prides itself on tourism and has spent the last 10 years developing a hoard of incredible attractions whilst it busily adds to it’s skyline of hotels and apartments. Dubai can be a little daunting to first timers as it’s an extremely spread out city with vast and busy highways connecting the various areas and beaches. There’s a lot to do but often people fall in to the same tourist traps and Dubai can punish your wallet quicker than a lot of places around the world; having spent a considerable amount of time living in Dubai, I’ve put together a list of a couple of our favourite off the track hangouts and attractions to help you find a few more adventures without just hanging out at Dubai Mall.

Play Mini Golf at the Hyatt Regency Dubai

You don’t need to stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Dubai hotel to get a round in at one of the best mini golf facilities I’ve ever been to. Forget trying to hit your ball in to a rusty old windmill, this course is shaped and curved like a miniturised version of the real 18 hole course. It’s real green turf, manicured to perfection and it’s open 24 hours. I recommend hitting this place up at night to beat the heat. It’s a 9-hole course and you can rent all the putters you need at the pro shop inside the clubhouse. There’s also the 18-hole course if you want to upgrade.

Address & Information:

Open daily 24-hours
18-Hole Course Open daily 8am-4.30pm
Hyatt Regency Dubai, Deira (Ph: 04 209 1234).
Cost: Dhs30 per person

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

Drive 4WD’s & Ride Camels in the Desert with the Bedouins

If you like a bit of adventure, take one of the many desert tours in to the Bedouin camps accessed by 4WD. The Emirate love driving 4WD’s on the dunes and it’s a fun experience being in one of these cars as they take them to extreme speeds and turns in the soft sand dunes. A typical tour starts in the 4WD before arriving at a traditional Bedouin camp where you can smoke a shisha pipe, watch traditional tanura and belly dance shows, feast on a BBQ dinner or do a bit of falconing under the stars. Of course you can also ride some camels! Tours are typically 4-5 hours and there are many different packages and options for various sports inclusing 4×4 quad biking etc. Be sure to bring some cash as the locals will HARASS you for tips to make anything happen (Duabi style).

Prices & Information:

Prices start from $80 USD for 4-5 hour tours

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

Deira Boat Rides & Gold Souk

This is the best thing you can do in Dubai for 1 Dhs. That’s right, $0.30 cents for a short boat ride around Dubai Creek at Deira. You’ll find the boat jetties just in front of the Deira Gold Souk, Deira Spice Souk and Deira Covered Souk. The boat is an older style wooden boat however the view back towards the Souks is spectacular and the waterway is always a hub of activity; mad chaos between all the other boats on the small waterway and rubbing elbows with the locals who use these boats to get around. It’s a unique experience in Dubai, which is somewhat saturated with glitz and glam attractions.

Of course no trip to Dubai is complete without a visit through the numerous Souks in Deira. This area is the historical centre of Dubai, becoming an important trade port over a century ago, and by the looks of some of the Souks nowadays, not a lot has changed. Haggle for some saffron or buy yourself a carpet. You’ll be harassed by the locals trying to sell you all sorts of trinkets, but that’s part of the appeal of this area.

Address & Information:

Deira Gold Souk: Souk Deira St – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Open Saturday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm.

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

View Burj Khalifa from DFS MARKET OTB Park (برج خليفة)

For sure one of the first things you’ll do when you get to Dubai is to go and see the Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest building is pretty impressive, and if you shell out the $50-100 USD to get to one of the many observation decks up in the clouds, the view is out of this world; literally. That being said, if you want to ACTUALLY see the entire building a take a photo of it, you need to be further away than you think. The best place to view and photograph the Burj Khalifa is actually behind it, in a relatively unknown park called DFS Market OTB (the name of the markets, that often pop up there). You will find it on Google Maps behind the tower, a nice big patch of well kept grass to relax on and a perfect view of the Fountain Show which operates daily.

Address & Information:

Burj Khalifa: – 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai.

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

Explore the Dubai Miracle Gardens (حديقة الزهور بدبي)

The Dubai Miracle Gardens first opened their gates on Valentine’s Day in 2013, but of course. This enormous garden park in Dubai’s “Dubailand” district stretches over 72,000 square metres and is the world’s largest flower garden featuring well over 109 million planted flowers. You don’t actually need to be a garden buff to enjoy the park, its full of unique and interesting sculptures crafted out of flowers as well as extraordinay floral displays which are changes regularly. Definitely worth the visit although you are walking around quite unprotected in the heat so definitely bring a hat!

Address & Information:

Address: Al Barsha South 3, Barsha, Dubailand Area, Dubai
Open: Daily 9:00am – 9:00pm October to April (closed June – September) due to high temperatures
Cost: 30 AED (USD $8) entry fee. Kids (up to 3) & Disabled FREE entry.

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

SUP around the Burj Al Arab (برج العرب‎‎)

The 7-star Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, and probably one of the most photographed locations in Dubai. It’s built right on the front of Dubai’s stunning Jumeirah beach just a little way upwind from The Palm development. If you can’t afford the room prices for a stay, one of the BEST ways to see it is virtually unknown. You can rent a stand up paddle (SUP) board from the local Surfing Dubai shop and paddle yourself right in front of the hotel. The water is very clean and clear in the UAE and it’s a fantastic way to beat the heat. Check the weather forecast before you go as you can occassionally get some small waves breaking on the beach which makes SUPing a little trickier for the first timers paddlers, but the view back to land with the Burj Khalifa in the distance is simply magical and well worth the effort.

Address & Information:

Address: Surfhouse Dubai – 10 41 A St, Dubai, UAE.
Open: Daily 7:00am – 6:30pm
Board Rental: 1 hour – AED 75 | 2 hour – AED 125 | ALL DAY – AED 300

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

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