Once in a Lifetime: Dubai

By: Katie Manning

January 9, 2013

The city of Dubai is not one to do things by half – from fantastic restauarants and bars to unique outdoor activities. Take on these unique, truly mind-blowing experiences and we promise you wont forget your trip to this city any time soon”¦

Camel Riding and Sandboarding Safari

Camel Riding and Sandboarding Safari | DubaiSandboarding in Dubai © Arabian Adventures

For us, this is a uniquely Dubai experience as they get: you’re picked up in the morning from Dubai in a four-wheel drive and driven into the desert to meet your camel. You then climb on and start a half-hour trek across the red dunes of Margham. The views are as breathtaking as any we’ve seen. Our favourite bit comes next: the adrenaline gets pumping by strapping on a sandboard and “˜surfing’ down the dunes to the valley floor. All this, and you’re back in Dubai by lunch. Arabian Adventures, +971 4 303 4888,

Ski in a Desert

Ski in a Desert | DubaiDesert skiing © Skidxb

Swap suntan lotion for gloves and hats and hit the powder in one of the world’s biggest indoor, real-snow slopes – it’s also the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. We’ve got both seasoned skiers and wannabe snowboarders among us, and there are slopes and lessons to accommodate everyone. There’s also a snow park if you just want to throw a few snowballs. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, +971 534 7873,

Eat at the Top of the World

Atmosphere | DubaiAtmosphere Dubai © Atmosphere

For the height of Dubai’s fine dining, we love Atmosphere, a restaurant and bar situated on level 122 of the world’s tallest building. We’d highly recommending getting a seat by the window, and enjoying the food and the views out over the Arabian Gulf, 442 metres above the ground. It holds the Guinness World Record for the Highest Restaurant from Ground Level! Atmosphere, Burj Khalifa, +971 4 888 3444,

Sleep Under the Stars, Desert Safari Dubai


Sunset in the desert, desert safaris in Dubai © Daniela Ritrovato

To really experience the calm and quiet of the desert, we reckon you have to spend a night out on the dunes. We like this one because it also includes camel rides, dune bashing and dune driving, belly dancing, shisha, traditional costumes, Arabic coffee, a barbeque and henna tattoos. Not to mention sleeping bags and blankets. We recommend bringing along your camera to capture the sunrise and the sunset over the desert.+971 4 357 2200,

Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places