Dubai is where you would expect to find jaw-droppingly high skyscrapers, incredibly luxurious hotels, and out-of-this-world desert safaris. After all, you can visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. You can also gaze up at the Millennium Tower or stare in awe at the Burj Al Arab. 

You can also visit Palm Jumeirah, a dream destination in the form of a palm-tree-shaped group of artificial islands. You can even go on a camel ride across the desert landscape. However, camel rides are just one of many attractions in gorgeous Dubai. 

There are so many other experiences to have in this city, so ditch the path well-traveled and, instead, get to know Dubai’s unexpected side. 

Leave the City Views Behind for a Unique Nature Experience

 If you want to experience more than just skyscrapers and ocean views, why not visit the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary? This sanctuary forms part of the city but offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the area’s ecosystems. 

Here, you will find many animal and plant species that cohabitate in harmony with their surroundings, which include wetlands, mangroves, and mudflats. One of the most infamous attractions is the flamingo population that makes Ras Al Khor their home every year. 

There is no glitz and glamor here. Stunning birdlife, flora, reptiles, mammals, and fish form part of what nature offers in Dubai. 

If you want to experience more ocean life, the Dubai Dolphinarium does not disappoint. This aquarium is also in the heart of Dubai and is home to beautiful and well-trained dolphins. It is a fun outing for families, with the highlight being the daily dolphin and seal shows. 

If you want an experience of a completely different kind, a visit to the Dubai Butterfly Park is a must. Here, you will find one of the largest butterfly gardens on earth, attracting photographers and artists everywhere. 

More than 15,000 butterflies float around the park, so there is ample opportunity to admire their patterned wings and observe metamorphosis. 

Head to the Dubai Souks for an Immersive Cultural Experience 

Skirt the malls and head to the Dubai souks instead for a cultural experience of a different kind. You will find the biggest gold bazaar in Arabia at Dubai’s Gold Souk. Something will catch your eye if you are in the market for fine jewelry. 

The Gold Souk sells platinum, pearls, gold, and silver. You can even request a bespoke piece based on your preference. There is no need to worry about the merchandise, as it is heavily regulated. You may even find a good bargain or two. 

If you love to cook, the Spice Souk is a must-visit. Here, you will find spices you probably have never heard of. You can also get rice and fruit, as well as locally-made tea. 

There is also the Perfume Souk, where attars, incense, and aromatic oils compete for buyers’ attention. The experts at the Perfume Souk can even blend a perfume for you based on your skin type. 

Walk on Water at the World’s Largest Inflatable Water Park

If you are after some fun in the sun, as they say, you cannot go wrong at the AquaFun inflatable water park. This water park is the largest of its kind in the world, spanning just over 42,000 square meters and including 115 obstacles. Whether it’s bouncy castles or climbing walls you are after, you will find it here. 

Considering that you are bouncing your way on inflatables that rest on the water, you are technically ‘walking on water.’ And the sea is there to catch you if you slip and fall. 

Spot Wildlife at Al Qudra Lakes

Al Qudra Lakes is a true desert oasis. It is the ideal location for watching wildlife and taking in the surrounding nature scenes. 

These man-made lakes form part of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve and flow against the backdrop of the Saih Al Salam desert. If you are into 4×4 traveling, this would be an excellent place to show off your driving skills. 

Keep in mind that the islands along the lakes provide a home for birds, insects, and animals, so keep an eye out while you drive along. If you are an avid birdwatcher, you will spot swans, ducks, and flamingos. If you are patient, you may even see kestrels, cormorants, and herons. 

There are no restaurants here, mainly because the locals want to retain the unspoiled look and feel of the lakes. But you can grill food on a raised barbeque or have a leisurely picnic. 

If you are up for a hike or bike ride, there is an 86-kilometer track that runs alongside the lakes and through the desert. While on the track, you may spot foxes, sand gazelle, or even an Arabian Oryx. 

Explore Dubai’s History at the Al Shindagha Historical District 

The sheiks and other important city inhabitants lived in Shindagha until the 1950s. The area sits at the Dubai Creek mouth and houses the Al Shindagha Museum today. 

If you want to learn more about Dubai’s history, this museum provides all the stories and anecdotes you need to understand the city’s past. There are 22 pavilions to explore within more than 80 historic houses. 

You will find Emirati collections, archives, and exhibitions put together by the museum and the community. This process shows how much the people of Dubai respect and honor their legacy, and they want to preserve it for future generations. 

The City (and Surrounds) Is Your Oyster In Dubai

In Dubai, there are so many other activities you can participate in. You can watch a movie at a rooftop cinema or rent a sandboard and sail down the dunes at Mushrif Fort. You can also take a dhow cruise on Dubai Creek and take in the skyline and sunset while enjoying a delicious dinner. 

Either way, luxury and adventure await in Dubai. By straying off the beaten path, you will experience this city like you never thought possible. And you will create unforgettable memories around every turn. 


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