Dubai with Visit Dubai & Arabian Adventures
Last September I travelled to Dubai for 5 days with Visit Dubai, the official tourism partner of Dubai. It was to be an action packed trip taking in the desert, souks, sea planes and sampling the food, drink and hospitality that Dubai has to offer and I was very excited to begin the trip.
On a cold Manchester Tuesday night, I departed Manchester airport with Emirates Airways, which was a treat in itself, as I’d never flown with the airline before. I was travelling Economy Class but my seat felt much more spacious than other economy long-haul flights I’d experienced and the plane was modern in design.
On arrival in Dubai, I checked my travel documents and was told to look out for a representative from tour company Arabian Adventures who would escort me speedily through to collect my baggage. And that they did – in fact, it was the quickest airport arrival I’ve ever experienced! I was then taken to a waiting air-conditioned 4x4 and was driven to the first hotel of my trip, the St Regis Dubai.
After checking in and enjoying a spot of lunch, myself and the other journalists on the trip were taken on the first activity of our stay, to experience the Dubai desert and enjoy Sand Dune Bashing, Camel Riding and a Sunset Picnic with Arabian Adventures.
It was only a short journey from the hotel and 45minutes after setting off we entered the dessert amidst lots of other 4x4 vehicles carrying people taking part in similar adventures. First up, we stopped to watch a Falcon flying which was an impressive sight to see, before we headed into the dunes for sand dune bashing!
It was interesting to see that all the cars from Arabian Adventures line-up and follow one another for this activity – this is incase the car in front gets stuck, then the car behind can help them! Everyone driving the vehicles would have had to pass a test to drive a vehicle like this in the dunes and I thought it was quite cool to have a sand dune driving licence!
We were right at the front and our driver was fantastic and we speedily climbed and dropped in and out of dunes, twisting and turning so it felt like a rollercoaster! We then stopped at a high dune and got out to take pictures of the imminent sunset which was breathtakingly beautiful, with nothing but sand surrounding us.
We were then taken to a lovely spot where we could see blankets and a table laid out in the dessert under a canopy with lanterns surrounding it. We had the option to ride a camel to this spot or be dropped off and after seeing how high the camels were up close, I decided to take the easier option and jump back into the 4x4!
It was a lovely end to the day sitting under the stars in complete peace and quiet eating meat from the BBQ with salads, houmous and flatbread. A wonderful welcome to Dubai.
On day two, we were heading out early for a packed day of activities, again with Arabian Adventures. First up we visited the Marina for a paddle in the sea, which was so warm! We then visited the Dubai Museum, which was not what I was expecting and was a really old stone building, full of history in the building itself not just its belongings, and not flash and modern like I thought it might be. Next up, we caught a gondola style boat over to the souks, which were open air treasure chests filled to the brim with gold and spices.
After a spot of lunch at Tom & Serg, where we tucked into delicious salads washed down with strong coffee all in very cool modern industrial surroundings, we were heading out onto the water with The Yellow Boats. The yellow boats are moored in a residential and business area with skyscrapers surrounding the water and it was cool setting off in our bright yellow dingy style speed boat looking up at the buildings surrounding us.
After a leisurely journey taking in the Dubai waterline with iconic buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and Burj al Arab, we headed further out and that’s when things got fun! We bobbed along the water at a good speed and it was so fun to get the wind in my hair and a cool breeze in the intense afternoon heat. We lastly pulled up opposite Atlantis, The Palm, which is such an impressive building and it was a perfect opportunity to take a few snaps on our cameras.
Our driver was also a great guide who knew lots of interesting facts about Dubai and the main hotels and The Yellow Boat tours are such a fun activity and a great way to see Dubai.
On day 3, we had some time at leisure but we were also heading up into the air again – not to fly home but to take a sea plane over Dubai with Seawings. After watching safety instructions, we walked down the jetty to the small plane and were helped on board before the door shut and we took off on the water. I’d never been in a sea plane before but it was a great way to see Dubai from above and really get an idea just how high a lot of the city’s buildings really are.
We were then taken to another lovely café, The Sum Of Us, to enjoy lunch and I dug into some homemade Ravioli and a side of Polenta Chips with Avocado Salsa before finishing the meal with some delicious cakes. I loved the botanical and industrial feel to the décor and it had a really cool, relaxed feel.
On our final day before we flew home, it was only right that we saved the biggest adventure until last and went up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. After going up in the lift to At the Top, which showed videos of the heights of all the other tall buildings in the world, we disembarked at level 125 and wow, the view! It was incredible and everything looked almost hazy, we were that high in the air. It’s an amazingly designed building and it was exciting to have been up it.
I had a fantastic few days exploring Dubai with Arabian Adventures. The staff are extremely friendly and knowledgable and our guide for most of our activities, Mohammed, was really entertaining and interesting. Make sure you book in some trips with Arabian Adventures if you are visiting Dubai.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Visit Dubai and Arabian Adventures.