Most travelers visiting the Middle East tend to get lost in the glitz and glamour of Dubai, and fail to realize that the place is about so much more. Dubai might be the land of superlatives, but at an hour’s drive to the South, you have Abu Dhabi, an emirate that gives Dubai a run for its money in terms of its futuristic architecture, but still clings onto that beautiful Middle East culture that dates back centuries.
Abu Dhabi might be the city with the soul, but a few miles to the north of Dubai lies Sharjah, home to the best museums in the country, and the perfect place to check out UAE in its pre-oil days.
A trip to the UAE requires visits to all three emirates as each offers a range of sights and attractions that simply cannot be ignored. Bookmundi presents a list of the top things to do in the United Arab Emirates, with a focus on Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
At the Top, the tallest observation tower in the world, is located in Burj Khalifa’s 124th floor. Standing on top of this observation tower and taking in sights of one of the most dynamic and extraordinary cities on the planet is an experience that very few tend to forget. It is one of those few moments where nothing else matters and all that is important is right in front of you. Apart from its mind-boggling 360-degree views, this observation deck also lets you take a closer look at the streets below through high-powered telescopes, including a grand view of the Dubai Fountain. Bookmundi recommends you to enjoy the thrilling experience of riding in one of the fastest elevators of the world and also to book your tickets early, particularly on weekends, to avoid long queues.
A speedboat tour of Abu Dhabi takes you into the open seas and gives you a thrill ride at speeds of up to 30 knots per hour. Your speedboat moves towards the Atlantis Hotel to introduce you to one of the most beautiful photo opportunities of your holiday. After clicking that perfect photo, you pass by breathtaking palaces, the majestic Burj Al Arab, the beautiful Dubai Marina and the exotic Palm Jumeirah.
Escape the hustle-bustle of those futuristic UAE cities and head into the desert for an exhilarating desert safari. Watch belly dances, enjoy barbeque dinners, ride camels or try out dune bashing in your land cruiser. Your tours may also include several exciting stops such as exotic camel farms, enchanting sunset views and lazy camel rides. Other things to do in a desert safari include henna painting and sand boarding.
Stop dreaming about getting into that cockpit every time you see the F1 on television. Ferrari might not be living its glorious Schumacher days on the circuit, but the brand still enjoys a massive fan following and appeal. Responsible for creating some of the best automobiles on the planet, Ferrari is a brand that deserves to be revered. One of the best ways of entering the world of Ferrari is at the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Follow a young boy into one of the most sophisticated simulators on the planet for a 4D fantasy into a dreamland where no other Ferrari has ever gone before. Fly through crumbling cliffs, glide along ice caves, tumble into a dense jungle and sink to the bottom of the ocean, feeling real life extremes in terms of movement, temperature, light and moisture. Complete your fantasy by stepping into the fastest roller coaster on the planet and feel what 4.8Gs really feels like. Zoom across the track and launch 52 meters into the sky to experience a Grand Prix worthy adrenaline rush.
Yas Waterworld, the first mega waterpark in the UAE, presents an unforgettable water adventure in the form of 43 thrilling rides, exciting slides, lazy attractions and exciting pearl-diving experiences. Covering an area of 15 football pitches, Yas Waterworld is a full-day adventure that is perfect for the entire family. Some of the main highlights of Yas Waterworld include the Liwa Loop, a high-intensity looping waterslide, Dawamma, a 20-m high funnel, Bandit Bomber, the longest suspended roller coaster in the Middle East, the largest kids play area in the Middle East, and PearlMasters Treasure Hunt, the first interactive treasure hunt in a waterpark.
Searching for something fun and exciting to do in Abu Dhabi without having to burn a hole in your wallet? How about enjoying an aerial view of this enchanting island? Abu Dhabi is full of new and old structures as well as a number of futuristic buildings that are in their first stages of development. One of the best ways of catching all the romance and grandeur associated with the country’s marvellous architecture is from the air. A seaplane experience lets you fly over some of the greatest city landmarks, introduces you to exhilarating views and showcases Abu Dhabi in an entirely new light.
Embark on an adventure that has been stimulating the minds of travelers for centuries. A hot air balloon flight over Dubai lets you soak in those incredible desert landscapes in all their beauty and enjoy a ride that lets you see Mother Nature in an entirely new light. All safety precautions are taken to ensure that you enjoy a safe ride.
Quad Biking in Dubai or Abu Dhabi Desert
To truly experience the UAE desert, you need to embark on a quad biking adventure that lets you take control of your fully automatic quad bike and rule the sands of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Your guide helps you navigate through challenging dunes and leads you to traditional Bedouin camps where you are welcomed with Arabic traditions. You can also choose from a range of traditional activities such as belly dancing, tanoura dancing, barbecue dinner, henna painting, camel rides and fire dances.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
A trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must while on a trip to Abu Dhabi. This enchanting mosque rises beautifully from perfectly manicured gardens and can be seen from any bridge that joins Abu Dhabi to the mainland. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque marks the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed, the first president of the UAE, and is one of the few mosques in the region that is also open to tourists. The mosque is one of the most breathtaking examples of Islamic architecture. It boasts of more than 80 marble domes that are ably supported by 1000 pillars made using more than 100000 tons of Greek and Macedonian marble. Beautiful floral designs decorated with semi-precious stones adorn the walls of the mosque in stark contrast to the geometric ceramic details. Gold, brass and crystal chandeliers adorn the breathtaking interiors, the largest of which weighs approximately 12 tonnes and shines with 40kgs of 24K gold.
The Dubai Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the planet, is a spectacle that simply cannot be missed while traveling to the UAE. Home to more than 33000 animals that represent over 85 species, this aquarium presents one of the best marine-life watching experiences through its 270-degree acrylic tunnel that lets you walk underwater for a close encounter those fascinating sea creatures. A special lunar-cyclic lighting system also changes the lighting of the tank to keep it in sync with the time of the day.
Dubai Helicopter Flight
Helicopter tours of Dubai is a privilege that very few travelers get to enjoy. You can choose from a number of aerial tours that have been carefully designed to offer you and your family one of the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences of Dubai. From the enchanting Palm Jumeirah to the majestic Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa, enjoy unobstructed views of your favorite city landmarks from the comforts of your luxurious helicopters. These helicopter tours can also end up being the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski center in the Middle East, is located in the Mall of the Emirates. Whether you’re new to the world of skiing or a seasoned pro, Ski Dubai offers an outstanding setting that lets you snowboard, ski or play in the snow, irrespective of your level. Some of the main highlights at this indoor ski center include tube slides, jumps, a 3000m interactive snow park, ziplining and ski slopes. Confident skiers can also take on the very first indoor black run at Ski Dubai. Bookmundi recommends you to reserve some time to visit the colony of Gentoo and the resident King Penguins in Ski Dubai.
Iconic skylines, world famous resorts and breathtaking architecture are just some of the things that make the UAE a perfect destination for your upcoming holiday. Give the country some time and scrape through its surface and you also come face to face with its enchanting culture and rich Bedouin past. Lose yourself in the country’s desert to rediscover a part you never thought existed and soak in all that natural beauty as seen from your Bedouin camp under starry skies for some of the most peaceful nights of your lives.