If you’ve seen the outrageous amount of photos I posted on Facebook and Instagram, you know that I had the time of my life in the Middle East a few weeks ago.
Honestly, I really needed a vacation.
So… I wanted this to be one of those “Eat, Pray, Love” trips, and while I thought I was pretty uninhibited by the series of events I planned, I now know I was 100% A TOURIST!
Judging from my excursions, of course. Haha!
Sidebar: Watching Sex and the City 2 really helped prep me for this trip. Even though I’d seen it a million times, watching it on the plane was extremely imperative and helped frame my understandings of how things work in the Middle East.
So on last year’s trip to Europe, I learned you can save yourself a lot of time by paying for your excursions PRIOR to your trip. So, three out of six of these excursions were planned before using the only excursion app I trust; Viator.
Check out my recommendations for the top 6 excursions to do while in Dubai.
In no particular order.
4×4, Camel Rides, Dune Bashing, and Dinner
I went on this excursion on the third day. Looking back now, I would highly recommend doing this LAST! It’s one of those “finale” excursions that completely wraps your trip up in the best way possible. Not to mention, I had sand EVERYWHERE for the next 3 days.
The 4×4 wheeling was our first stop, and it was so freeing! I know on the video I look like a wimp, but in reality, I was the fastest one out there! You know me. 😏
After the 4×4 wheeling, we went dune bashing. Now, I’ll say this, if you have a weak stomach…this isn’t for you. But if you think you’ll be okay, please do try it!
I’m going to write another blog post about the “things I learned about myself on this trip” at a later date, but let’s just say this didn’t sit well with my stomach.
I didn’t puke, but I felt like I was the entire time.
It essentially feels like you’re on a high-speed chase around the desert…going nowhere. But, it was definitely fun!
Even for a control freak like me.
If you don’t know what Dune Bashing is, watch the video below.
Lastly, we arrived at a camp where we were able to ride camels, watch a fire show with belly dancers, shop, and eat.
Side note: One thing about Dubai, the food is ALWAYS on point! I don’t think I had one bad meal. At the camp, it was chicken kabobs, veggies, salad, and a few cultured desserts that were amazing!
For only $60, this 10-hour excursion was worth EVERY PENNY!
Here is the link to the excursion: https://www.viator.com/tours/Dubai/Desert-Safari-Dubai-Best-offer-in-right-time/d828-193505P1
Burj Khalifa Tour
I planned this while at the hotel.
A. Because I’m cheap and I saw a million and one DIFFERENT PRICES for this on Viator.
B. Because this is one of the main reasons why I came to Dubai, and I knew I would like to take my time inside this beauty…it is the tallest in the world you know?
So the Burj Khalifa is 828 meters of awesomeness. This skyscraper is a mixed-use building with residential condos, offices, a mall, restaurants, and anything you can think of.
The mall that I mentioned the Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world with over 1200+ stores).
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Dubai loves having the best and the BIGGEST!
My ticket inside The Burj was around $25.
Day Tour by Yacht
This excursion was my first real experience of the HEAT. I don’t know why, but the Lord decided he wanted me to be on a yacht in the middle of the Dubai Creek with 130 degrees beating down on my face. Not fun, but the views completely changed my attitude toward the heat.
Also, this is my only excursion that did not include transportation. So, from the Business Bay area (where my hotel was) to Pier 7 Mariana, I paid about $12 for a cab to take me there.
I really wanted to take a yacht tour around the city to start off with, so it was worth it to me.
Again, the food was good too! Chicken in the Middle East is very tender and lightly seasoned…just how it should be. They also don’t leave any fat on the chicken whatsoever, which was right up my alley!
I loved this excursion because it’s here where I met some of the dopest people traveling solo and with their spouses!
That’s my favorite part about traveling solo; you get to meet some amazing people!
This excursion essentially toured a big circle around the city, so we could get to see how big the city actually is.
It’s HUGE by the way.
Here is a link to this excursion. This wasn’t my exact excursion, but if you go to Viator and look for “boat tours in Dubai” you will find one that suits you.
Dubai Mall and Underwater Zoo and Aquarium
As I mentioned before…
In case you didn’t hear me…
The Dubai Mall has 1200+ stores! Anything you can think of is here.
I was walking around like, “Really y’all? Like why do we need 4 Gucci stores?” 🤣🤣
I suppose one wasn’t enough.
This photo was at the gold souk. The souk is where you can find textiles, spices, and other authentic middle eastern items.
So inside the mall, they have 4 food courts, the retail stores, ice skating, and even an underwater zoo and aquarium.
I can’t say I went inside the Zoo, but from the outside, it looked very nice.
The thing I found really interested is they really love American-style food. I couldn’t turn around fully without seeing a KFC or Pizza Hut on every corner.
But remember, they don’t eat pork, so pepperoni is BEEF PEPPERONI!
Big difference, sis.
The Dubai Mall is free, but it helps to ask your hotel/resort if they have a shuttle that can bring you.
Also, saves on cab cost.
Dubai Dinner Cruise
The Dubai Dinner Cruise was nice because it allowed you to see the city at night. It is truly a beautiful city, and the water show is said to be better than the one in Vegas. During the ride, you literally see the city light up!
It was a real eye-opener and (since I can’t stress this enough) the food was BOMB! The also had a few dancers, and they were so talented!
Here is the link to this excursion: https://www.viator.com/tours/Dubai/Dhow-Boat-Dinner-Cruise-in-Dubai/d828-122216P1
Abu Dhabi Day Trip
I saved the best for last, of course.
Well, all of these excursions were AMAZING, but for a whopping $40 for a 12-hour excursion, this was definitely life-changing.
We began our adventure by traveling to Abu Dhabi which is around 2 hours away. On your way to AD, you really get a feel for the Middle East. The Arabian Desert is such a beautiful sight! I also noticed every few miles they have huge portraits of the Sheik.
Good thing it’s not mandatory for us to plaster our leader up every three miles on the interstates. Lol.
We stopped at Ferreri World, which is the largest space-frame structure in the world. This amusement park was phenomenally impeccable, and it also has the fastest roller coaster in the world.
Of course, the highlight of this tour for me was going to the largest mosque in the Middle East, The Sheikh Zayed Mosque جامع الشيخ زايد الكبير.
This mosque is literally breathtaking. Just walking around inside you feel invincible, powerful, and really just honored to be there. There are a few rules though (especially for women), so I will create a separate post with those details. Long story short, make sure your head is covered like so. See photos below.
This mosque was built in 1996 cost around $545 million dollars and you feel the presence of dirhams when you are here. 🤣 Marble and gold coat the floors and there are ALWAYS workers cleaning to ensure it stays in mint condition.
They also had the call to pray a few times while I was here. Call me crazy, but hearing it was very calming.
Click my video below to check it out.
Did you see the architectural detail in this video? The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has been inspired by Persian, Mughal, and the Alexandrian Mosque of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Egypt, also the Indo-Islamic mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan being direct influences. The dome layout and floorplan of the mosque was inspired by the Badshahi Mosque. Its archways are quintessentially Moorish, and its minarets classically Arab.
Here is the link to this excursion: https://www.viator.com/tours/Abu-Dhabi/Full-Day-Abu-Dhabi-Sightseeing-Tour/d4474-139198P9
This solo trip was AMAZING to say the absolute least! What was your favorite excursion I went on? Have you been to Dubai? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.
See ya next times, loves!