Tourists will be officially allowed back into Dubai on 7 July so I thought I would round up the most unusual things to do whilst in Dubai. After living here for 2 years, I have been to most of the tourist hotspots and have discovered lots of more unusual things to do. If you have been to Dubai before, then you have most probably visited The Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Water Fountain, JBR and the Palm, but if it is your second time visiting, you might fancy doing something a little bit different…
1. Go Karting at Dubai Autodrome
You can find Dubai Autodrome in Motor City, just a 20 minute drive from the city centre. There are both indoor and outdoor tracks and children from the age of 7 are able to drive. We booked the ‘Arrive and Drive’ option on the website and opted for the outdoor track. This cost us around 130 AED (£28/$35) each for 15 minutes. It was the first time I have been Go Karting and it was absolutely brilliant. We went during the winter so the outdoor track was perfect, although I would recommend the indoor track during the summer months.
Nearby the Dubai Autodrome there are lots of restaurants and cafes to stop by afterwards and have some dinner. It was a great evening activity and something a little bit different.
2. Horse Riding in the Desert
I came across this activity after a friend recommended it to me. You can horse ride in the desert courtesy of Al Ali Stables. Al Ali Stables is a horse riding school but you don’t need to be a professional or take classes. The stables offers a sunset ride to beginners for 150 AED (£33/$40) per person. You can book online or call them to reserve your spot.
We were part of a group of around 15 riders and there were always staff walking with you to ensure that you were safe and comfortable. Experienced riders were able to go off on their own but as we were not, we stayed with the group. It was such a fun activity and we saw the most picturesque views of the sunset in the Desert. It was so memorable and I am so glad we did it.
3. Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions is a fun and interactive experience located in Al Seef. The museum has a number of impressive optical illusions and activities. Tickets are currently on offer now for just 49 AED (£10/$13) and you can book online or just walk in. It is great for adults, as well as children as they have lots of different games and activities to get you thinking.
The Museum is situated in Al Seef which is right on the Creek. For a nice day out, you can take a traditional Abra ride along Dubai Creek and then walk around Al Seef. There are lots of cultural shops and experiences, as well as restaurants and cafes.
4. Mini Golf Glow in the Dark
Another great activity in Dubai is glow in the dark mini golf. ‘Tee and Putt’ is based at Wafi Mall and costs just 65 AED (£14/$17) per person. The regular course has 18 holes and there is now also a ‘puzzle’ course where you have 60 minutes to crack the puzzles and complete the course.
Wafi Mall is just a 10 minute drive from Downtown Dubai and it has a range of shops and dining options. The entire mall is Egyptian-themed which is really beautiful!
5. Kayaking at Hatta
Although Hatta is an hour and a half drive away, it is still technically in Dubai and serves as a great day trip. At Hatta Dam, you can rent a kayak for just 60 AED (£26/$32) and float around the picturesque Hajar Mountains. I wrote a whole blog post on my staycation to Hatta, but is is also easily accessible as a day trip from Dubai.
As well as kayaking, there are a number of other activities to do. Hiking, swimming, cycling and camping are just a few examples of the things available in Hatta. Hatta is beautiful in the winter due to the cooler climate but activities are available all-year round.
6. Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is a huge flower garden located in Dubailand, with some of the most beautiful creations and displays. At the garden, you can find an Emirates full size A380 aircraft made entirely from flowers! There is also a castle, a Disney avenue, a flower passage and giant sized flower clock – to name but a few! For entry, it is 55 AED (£12/$15) for adults, and 40 AED (£8/$11) for children.
Unfortunately, the Miracle garden is only open during the winter from mid-November to mid-May due to the extreme weather conditions during summer. However, if you are visiting during the winter, it is a must-see, and is a great family day out.
7. Dubai Garden Glow
Similar to Dubai’s Miracle Garden, the Dubai Garden Glow is situated in Zabeel Park and features hundreds of different coloured illusions. The park has a new theme every year, and also hosts a dinosaur and ice park. To enter, tickets start at 55 AED (£12/$15). Not only is the park wonderful for children, it is great for adults too and there are so many great spots for photos.
Again like the Miracle Garden, the Dubai Garden Glow is only open during the winter months. As it is connected to Zabeel Park, I would recommend visiting there first, along with The Frame, and then stopping by the Garden Glow in the night once everything is illuminated.
8. Escape Room at Escape Reality
Escape Reality located on Sheikh Zayed Road, nearby to the Mall of the Emirates has 8 different themed rooms. For anyone who has not tried an escape room before, the aim of the game is to get out of the locked room in 60 minutes. Inside the room, you face lots of puzzles and challenges, and you have to crack the code to get out. At Escape Reality, it costs 140 AED (£30/$38) per person – if you are Emirates Crew, you get up to 25% discount!
It is such a fun activity and there are lots of different themed rooms based on movies such as Saw, Jumanji and The Escape from Alcatraz. You need a minimum of two people for some rooms and a minmum of 4 for others. To book you can use their website or call up in advance – they are normally always full so best to book ahead of time.
9. Cycling at Al Qudra
Another unusual and fun activity is cycling in the desert at Al Qudra. Al Qudra is an 80km cycling track around 40 minutes drive from Downtown Dubai. To rent a bicycle, visit Trek Bicycle Store which is also at the start of the cycling track. Rentals start from 50 AED (£11/$14). I visited Al Qudra cycling track last winter and it was a fantastic day out, you can read all about my experience here.
The cycling track is definitely geared towards professional cyclists, however, as a complete beginner, it was also fine. The route is completely flat, but I definitely recommend coming in the winter and during the afternoon as it can get extremely hot!
10. Visit The Queen Elizabeth 2
The Queen Elizabeth 2 is a retired British ocean liner which is now moored in Dubai and has been transformed into a hotel. You can visit the QE2 and book a heritage tour where you are taken around the exhibition as well as the cabins and Queen’s Room. Tickets for this tour are 170 AED (£37/$46) per person, but you can then claim back 100 AED (£21/$27) on food or beverages in one of the restaurants or bars on board.
The tour was fantastic. A lot of people don’t even know the ship is in Dubai, let alone that you can stay there and go on a tour! We ate in the buffet restaurant for dinner and the food was delicious. There was so much choice and variety. Overall, it was an incredible day out and something so different.
And that sums up my list of top 10 unusual things to do in Dubai! I hope that inspired you to do something different next time you are visiting Dubai, or for those who live in Dubai. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading.