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Guest post by Neha Singh, Dubaiwikia.
Sports in Dubai? Not only is it possible but you can find lots of fun sporty activities to do when you travel in Dubai! Excited to launch this new Active Travel series zooming into different destinations around the world with stories from other travel writers as well. This week Neha Singh shares insights to 15 fun activities in Dubai UAE (United Arab Emirates), a place where I’m still to travel but she knows well.
There is more to Dubai than the mind-numbing skyscrapers and the fabulous malls and attractions. The city is home to a vibrant, incredibly modern lifestyle that has evolved owing the presence of multiple cultures and their needs. Dubai is the place to chill out, to work out, to enjoy rigorous ocean-sports, do yoga and even adopt a healthier lifestyle. It’s all possible in this incredibly evolved modern city – you just have to look beneath the surface glam, that’s all.
Experience a Walking Tour in Dubai
Dubai, with its many intricate roadways and highways and traffic might make you think this city is not walkable. Not true. Pull on a pair of sturdy boots and explore this city’s past as a fishing and pearl-diving village on foot. Understand its past as a strategic port on the Persian Gulf during turbulent times. Learn about the city’s historic sites, cuisine, culture and trading, life in Old Dubai, old souqs, influence of other countries on its art and architecture and its sea transport.
Enjoy Biking along Dubai’s Purpose-made Cycling Paths!
The weather is great from October to May. It’s the best time on hop on a bicycle and explore Dubai.
- Get set to bike on the loops of Nad Al Sheba Park near the Meydan racecourse. There are lockers, air-conditioned rooms and shower facilities plus fabulous views of Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa. There’s a kiddie biking course here as well.
- The Al Qudra Cycle Track has an 18km path and a 50km loop. Soak in the vista of the breathtaking sand dunes plus the Bab Al Shams resort.
- The Dubai Autodrome on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road has a closed 2.46km circuit for beginners. There’s also a weekly event on Wednesday nights.
- Explore the dedicated cycle-paths of Al Barsha Park and Mushrif Park. The Dubai Canal has a 12km cycling track that’s the best way to enjoy the canal.
- Mountain biking enthusiasts can head to the 52km mountain biking trail at Hatta.
- For sightseeing, rent a bike at Wolfi’s Bike Shop or Byky along Sheikh Zayed Road and join the community rides across the city. Explore the dedicated cycling paths along Dubai Marina, Downtown and Palm Jumeirah on your bike.
- Cycling events: Be sure to attend the 92 km-long, largest cycling event in the Middle East – UAE Tour, in early March.
Scuba Dive into Dubai’s Underwater World
With all that ocean right at its door, it’s no wonder that Dubai has some excellent scuba diving opportunities. Whether you’re a beginner just learning to dive or you’re an experienced diver, you’ll love Dubai’s waters. You’ll love the exotic and colorful coral and undersea life. A professional instructor will accompany you if needed, so relax and enjoy your dive. You can also dive into the Lost World of Atlantis’s Shark Tank, and the Underwater Zoo at the Dubai Mall.
Experience Walking Underwater
Walking on the ocean sands has been likened to walking on the moon but you won’t know until you try it. Sign up for the underwater shark safari at the Hotel Atlantis. You’ll don a high-tech helmet as you walk along the bottom of the huge shark tank. Curious sharks will swim around you but you will be safe with your guide.
Enjoy a Kayaking Adventure
You can enjoying kayaking in a number of spots in Dubai, each with its own rewards. Enjoy kayaking on the Hatta Dam surrounded by incredible mountain views. Or kayak along the amazing Palm Jumeirah Islands, past the Atlantis hotel via Dubai Marina, enjoying views of the Burj Al Arab. You can kayak on your own or go doubles, or kayak with an instructor if you’re not sure of going solo.
Experience Indoor Skiing or Snow Zorbing
Ski Dubai is the UAE’s largest indoor ski resort where you can go skiing, tobogganing, and snow-zorbing to your heart’s content. Snow zorbing involves rolling down a long ice slope while being imprisoned within a giant plastic hamster ball. As you roll down the ski slope, picking up speed, your zorb ball will bounce high in the air and land you down, turn you upside down and make you experience multiple gravitational forces.
Say Hello to Skim-boarding
Feeling impressed at the speed with which lifeguards at the beach move? Now you can move the same way, with skim-boarding. Skim along the shore at speed on the wash at the edge of the waves on a flat board. Pick up a skim board at a sports shop like Go Sports and skim away on the frothy waves at top speed.
You’ve tried go-karting before and want something different. Why not try sail-karting? Speed along the sands of Dubai in a wind-powered kart equipped with a huge sail. This sport is a definite cross between go-karting and windsurfing. You can sail-kart at speeds of up to 90kph, with the wind in your hair and a scream on your lips.
Ever Tried Yoga Hanging Upside Down?
If you’re concerned about your health, especially about your flexibility, sign up for a Swing Yoga course. It’s a combination of hanging from aerial silks in various yogic postures, with each pose designed to tackle a particular health concern. The blood rushes to your head when you hang upside down, making you feel vibrantly alive and well.
Try Your Hand at Fly-boarding
If you are into watersports and you are a lover of extremes, here’s a way to get that adrenalin high in Dubai. Flyboarding is a relative recent sport, in which a board is connected to a fast-moving watercraft by a long hose. You’re on the board, flying high above the water, your body free while your feet are fastened to the board. It’s a high like nothing else in Dubai.
Have You Tried Dune Sand-boarding Yet?
If you’ve snow-boarded, you need to try what sand boarding feels like on Dubai’s hot desert sand dunes. Grab a sandboard when you’re on a desert safari and launch off from the top of a tall dune. You can do it standing as you would while surfing, or try body-boarding tummy down. Experience the thrill of riding the dunes, feeling the sands slide out beneath you, letting you zoom down to the bottom. The sand dunes surrounding the city of Dubai are some of the largest you’ll find in the UAE, so enjoy.
Play Polo on a Camel
Camel polo is one of the ‘royal’ things to do in Dubai, as it is the chosen sport UAE’s rulers. Book as a group, attend a safety briefing, learn how to handle the cantankerous creatures you’ll be sitting on and you’re ready to go. No prior training is required – just start playing! If you’ve played polo traditionally on a horse before, you’ll find sitting on a camel and getting it to obey you quite a challenge. That’s what makes camel polo so much fun.
Enjoy a Dinosaur-themed ‘6D’ Cinema
Tired of being static and sleeping through movies in regular theaters? Head to Oasis Centre’s Thrill Zone and experience the thrilling dinosaur-themed 6D cinema. This 436 square meter movie complex offers you the sensory ride of your life, accompanied by 3D movie clips. Your seats will move according to the scenes and there’ll be unique and weird wind and sound effects. No napping through a movie here!
Travel the World in Just One Evening
The Global Village in Dubai is a huge park-like market comprising of 160 kiosks that belong to 65 countries. Each kiosk offers that country’s cuisine through intriguing snacks and meals. There are souvenir kiosks, dance and music kiosks and kiosks where you can learn the culture and history of various countries. At night, Global Village transforms into a vibrant carnival with artists, fire-eaters, dancers and musicians performing at different kiosks. It’s one of the best things to do in Dubai.
Enjoy Gastronomic Experiences with a Twist
- At The Garage, Deira, you’ll be seated within a decommissioned vintage car whose top is sawed off to accommodate seats. Watch African bands weave their magic as you enjoy your dinner.
- Head to La Casa in Oud Mehta in Karama Market, a traditional sheesha bar with a unique twist. Each seating place has a couch, a play-station and a television. Look around and you’ll see a range of colourful sheesha pipes arranged traditionally. Enjoy cups of fragrant Arabic tea at this traditional yet uber-modern sheesha cafe.
As you can see, you can do so much more in Dubai other than following the tourist trails. Look up the offbeat things that tourists don’t really think about. Delve into the UAE’s culture and enjoy cultural tours of Old Dubai and historical museums. See Dubai as never before – on your own terms.
About the author:
An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavours of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest. Check out her blog here: http://www.dubaiwikia.com/.
Have you been to Dubai and would you have other great activities to recommend? We’d love to hear from you! If you have more time to travel in the region and are looking for inspiration, check out Best places to visit in the Middle East.
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Portugal’s southwestern coastline offers amazing views to the Atlantic Ocean over scenic beaches and impressive sandstone rock formations. Seeing the beaches, caves and grottos from the sea is something you shouldn’t miss if the weather permits! Also the Lagos old town is a charming place for a stroll and enjoying a meal. A bit further away is the Lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres at the southwesternmost point of Europe that’s worth the drive.
Lagos Coastline and Caves Kayaking Trip
We booked the kayaking tour online with Kayak Adventures. The check-in took place at the shop on Praia de Batata where we were guided to leave our shoes and towels in storage. The tour organizer provided us with a dry sack, life vests and paddles. We walked to the adjacent beach where there was a short briefing on paddling technique. Soon we were already pushing the double kayaks to water and hopping onboard. As soon as everyone on the tour was ready we started paddling west towards the caves and a motorboat came along for safety. There were plenty of stops where the guide shared stories about the history of the area.
We’re lucky with the weather and tide as the sea was quite calm and the tide was perfect. It was the first time for my daughter to be in a kayak but she was very quick to pick it up. It was the first time for me to paddle on the Atlantic and I find the views stunning – the sea was sparkling emerald and the standstone cliffs and rock formations were just breathtaking!
Bring along plenty of water, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, waterproof case for your mobile or camera. We found UV shirts useful but many people were paddling in their swimwear. The biggest challenges in kayaking was the quite high boat traffic so I’d recommend to practice paddling a bit in advance to fully enjoy the experience.
The first grotto was Lovers’ cave and it was the most exciting moment on the trip. The entrance to the cave was quite tight and it seemed to be quite shallow and we needed to turn in very small space while the water surging into the cave gave some additional challenge. At this point I was very happy to have some paddling practice in the background. The next grottos called “Kitchen” and “Cathedral” were much easier and wider. We reached the Ponta da Piedade and marveled the sea arches, cliffs and rock formations.
Finally we turned around and returned to the secluded beach for a swim. It felt wonderfully refreshing after kayaking for over an hour in the sun.
After half an hour break it was time to get on-board the kayaks to return back home. To make it super easy for us there was no more paddling ahead, but the kayaks were hooked to each other and towed by the motorboat back to the starting point. I wouldn’t have minded the additional paddling but it was nice to just concentrate in observing the amazing views.
It’s just a short walk from Praia de Batata to the Lagos historic center that’s a charming place set inside the town walls with little stores and lots of restaurants. We enjoyed a refreshing fresh squeezed juice, latté and milkshake at Kisa Real Italian Food that caught our attention with their gluten-free menu.
Our first impression of the Lagos Marina was the numerous stands selling boat trips, water sports and other activities which gave it a bit touristy feel. We had booked our online but noticed that it could have actually been easier to compare and get a good price by visiting there in person. Walking back along the canal in the evening, the entrance to the Marina looked more glamorous with boats passing by.
Lagos beaches are gorgeous but most of them require taking stairs or walking down a steep path which can make them challenging to families with small children. Meia Praia was our favorite beach easy access to parking close to the beach and long stretch of white sand. There’s a café for cold drinks or ice cream after sun bathing too. Praia Dona Ana is west from the Lagos historic center and has been highlighted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres
A bit further west from Lagos is the lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres that’s located in the south-westernmost point of Europe. Centuries back it was considered as the “Edge of the world” and looking at the impressive views and feeling the strength of the wind it really feels like there might not be anything else out there but the endless sea.
The high-speed train from Lisbon was a great way to travel to Lagos in just 3 hours and the closest international airport Faro connects the Algarve region with numerous cities across Europe. Renting a car may be the easiest way to get around for a larger group traveling longer distances but it’s good to know that there are tolls on the main highways that can add up expenses. Uber worked really well in the Lagos area, it was fast, reliable and affordable.
I was so excited about our Lagos cave tour that I would have absolutely wanted to kayak also the Benagil cave further to the east but had to save it for the next trip to the gorgeous Algarve region.
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I wish I would have done a bit of research in advance and known about the Fastpass system to beat the lines! Here’s insights to Disney World Fastpass Secrets – I imagine it would have been a similar system in Hong Kong as well.
Hello Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto! Nice to meet you Winnie-the-Pooh! The Disney Princesses were my daughter’s favorite and we couldn’t exit the park without visiting the gift store and purchasing some Palace Pets figures.
There were also some live music performances that we enjoyed very much.
As it was November the park had lots of Christmas decorations, a huge Xmas tree and we could hear some Christmas carols. It was quite a different experience in the hot and humid weather from what we’re used to for Christmas in our home country Finland 🙂
Eventually the sun started to set and it was time to say good-bye to Mickey and friends. Looking forward to return one day!
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