While Dubai may be better known for its retail haunts, more and more travelers are making the journey to the City of Gold to experience some truly thrilling adventure sports. Beyond the traditional tourist attractions, shopping, and wining and dining, Dubai offers its visitors plenty of indoor and outdoor adventure activities to be explored.
If you’re seeking adventure, Dubai has it in spades. Whether it’s by land, sea, or air, Dubai and its surrounding landscape is a huge playground for adventure lovers. From skydiving and desert safaris to skiing in the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, Dubai is truly an undeniable blissful adventure.
For adventure enthusiasts, here are the 10 must-try thrilling experiences in Dubai.
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Falling from at least 4,000 meters in the air isn’t exactly most people’s idea of fun. But for thrill seekers, skydiving is right up their alley. The thrill of free falling is an undeniable experience and one that cannot be easily mimicked.
The rush of jumping out of a plane is the ultimate thrill ride. Daredevils traveling to Dubai get to experience this epic adventure as they leap out of a turboprop plane at almost 4,000 meters. Particularly as you freefall to the sights of the iconic Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and the city’s towering skyline.
For inexperienced skydivers, tandem parachute flights are available. It’s important to note that age, height, and weight restrictions do apply, so inquire before you go.
2. Water Parks
Dubai’s water parks are a welcome sight for thrill seekers in search of aquatic adrenaline rushes. Aquaventure Waterpark, Wild Wadi Water Park, and LEGOLAND Water Park are just some of the water parks available in Dubai ready to provide liquid thrills.
No matter your chosen water park, each is a vast playground for adults and kids alike. Aquaventure Waterpark has a near-vertical plunging waterslide aptly named Leap of Faith. Meanwhile, Wild Wadi offers the exhilarating Jumeirah Sceirah, a death-defying tandem slide that is a wild ride from start to finish.
Certain water rides will have minimum height requirements. Opening hours will also vary according to the water park and by season. Check each respective website for more information.
3. Hot Air Ballooning
Savor the best of Dubai’s landscape with an early morning hot air balloon experience. Take to the skies as you bear witness to an incredible sunrise peaking its way through the Hajar Mountains and blanketing Dubai’s endless sand dunes with its warm glow.
As you glide up and away from the city, you are given a fantastic vantage point to view Dubai’s dramatic and beautiful desert landscape. Rising in popularity over the years, certain hot air ballooning experiences provide a complete adventure package complete with a falcon show and gourmet breakfast once your feet return to the ground.
Dubai may have a flat, desert landscape, but in a nearby emirate, there is a unique mountaineering experience that is both challenging and exhilarating. The Hajar Mountains and the mountainous parts of Ras Al Khaimah offer climbers, hikers, and mountaineers memorable, picturesque views from the summit.
With limited technical climbing available, this adventure experience is perfect for any tourist seeking to escape Dubai’s glittering metropolis.
However, if your climbing experience is more catered to the indoors, there’s plenty of opportunities to get vertical in Dubai. The Rock Republic, Pharaoh’s Club, and other rock climbing venues allow adventure enthusiasts the opportunity to scale walls like Spider-Man.
Taking to the waves off Dubai’s coast is the perfect way to cool off. While not known as a surfing destination, surf seekers will find plenty of action here in Dubai. With pleasant water temperatures and the absence of rocks or corals, Dubai is the ideal place for casual surfers to develop their technique.
The World Islands, Palm islands, the Dubai Eye, and other coastal re-developments offer limited surfing opportunities, but there are still plenty of breaks to be had if you know where to look.
Sunset Beach and North Beach are both a surfer’s paradise, though the latter is more catered to experienced surfers due to the formation of high swells throughout the season.
You can also read: 10 Must Do Things in Dubai for every adventure lover
6. Desert Safaris
Desert safaris are one of the most popular ways to explore Dubai’s vast desert landscape. Certain safari adventure companies provide package deals so you can enjoy unique desert excursions. Your desert rendezvous will be led by an expert local guide who can tell the tale of Dubai’s enchanting, barren landscape.
Dune bashing, camel rides, and sandboarding are a must while exploring the desert. Each is a different thrill that is sure to get your heart racing.
When the sun dips below the horizon, complete your desert excursion with a relaxing camping retreat under the unrivaled Arabian stars. Dine and feast on a delicious barbeque dinner by the fire as you enjoy a traditional tanoura dance performance.
7. Scuba Diving
Just like on land, there is plenty to see and do under Dubai’s waters. Despite being overlooked as a top diving destination, Dubai offers a range of dive sites that offer pristine reefs, incredible wreckage, and an abundance of marine life.
There are night dives, reef dives, and guided dives available to adventure seekers off the coast of Dubai. For those hesitant to take the plunge into the deep blue sea, aquarium dives are available at the Dubai Aquarium located in The Dubai Mall.
For any indoor or outdoor diving excursion, restrictions apply, so check before going.
8. Indoor Skiing
No adventure experience in Dubai could be considered complete without a pilgrimage to Ski Dubai. The first of its kind in the Gulf Region, Ski Dubai is a wonderfully enchanting alpine winter wonderland situated in the Mall of the Emirates. Ski Dubai’s mountain can serve as the perfect escape for slope-starved expats and adventure tourists looking to escape Dubai’s sweltering heat.
While it may not compare to places like the Alps, curious tourists and snow virgins can be challenged enough to enjoy the experience.
This relatively new adventure sport utilizes snowboard-style bindings and a water-powered jetpack to propel adventure lovers high above the Persian Gulf.
If your quest for adrenaline-filled activities includes an aquatic component, then flyboarding will suit your needs. The ultimate, gravity-defying watersport, flyboarding is an adrenaline-filled watersport experience unlike any other.
With twin jet nozzles strapped to your feet, you are free to slice through the water or zoom around in the air like a superhero.
10. Autodrome Racing
The ability to race a supercar around a dedicated race track is a dream for many adrenaline junkies. At Dubai Autodrome, rubber truly meets the road. The ultimate motoring experience, racing around the Autodrome is an unforgettable life-defining experience.
Specially prepared authentic Formula One race cars like the Jaguar F1 2000 or the Arrows F1 2002 allow thrill seekers and car enthusiasts alike to feel the power of acceleration and the heart-racing pace of an F1 race.
If letting loose on the track may be too much to handle, Dubai Autodrome also has a dedicated indoor and outdoor circuit for kart racing aptly named “Kartdrome.”
Finding adventure with Dubai
Dubai’s reputation may be steered more towards being a glamorous playground, but those seeking adventure will be spoiled for choice with Dubai’s rich variety of adrenaline activities, all just waiting to be experienced.
Featured image source: Peepal Travels