Planning a trip to Dubai? Then get your 'Things To Do in Dubai' list ready, because its going to have a massive makeover!
The story of Dubai is that of a stunning metamorphoses. A small fishing village, surviving off an oasis in the desert. Until 1960's Dubai was limited to the banks of the Creek, sustaining itself off of fishing and trade with other emirates. And then they struck oil, catapulting the city into one of the most remarkable and legendary transformations of 21st century. Now, Dubai stays up all night. Its glimmering malls, seven star hotels, artificial islands and towering sky-scrappers are a monument of change and welcome people of all ethnicities to fall in love with them.
In Dubai, all the glitters, is really gold. But don't let the popular attractions blind you, because the best way to experience the city is to take the off-beaten path and discover the pulse of tradition and culture in this urban metropolis.
Here are our top picks for things to do in Dubai that tourists don't even know exist.
1. Take a yoga class under the full moon and by the world's only seven-star hotel.
Only Dubai can bring the extremes of spirituality and luxury together in one frame. The Talise Spa offers single session (full time memberships as well) amidst the tropical landscape of Madinet Jumeirah. The full moon yoga class is a favorite amongst regulars, but if you don't have the budget then check out the schedule for daily sunset yoga sessions.
More: The Talise Spa has released their schedule of full moon yoga sessions for 2017. They also offer 12 sessions, one month and six month long memberships. Read this for rates, dates and further details.
2. Go on a delicious milkshake tour.
If you have a sweet tooth then a trip to all the milkshake havens should be on the top of your list of things to do in Dubai. The city has an enviable number of cafes and parlours that excel in the art of milkshakes. From combining the love of cake and shakes to diving into a mason jar of Nutella goodness, you name it and Dubai's got it!
More: Check out these cafes for best milkshake in town: Shakespeare and Co. for its Red Velvet Shake, Ice Lab for their overloaded Nutella Shake, have a monster shake at Fume and relish a vegan banana based smoothie at Wanna Banana.
3. Take an Abra and get a glimpse of the history of Dubai.
If you have ever been to Dubai, you know that walking on the streets during day is a completely imaginable wish to have. Even the bus stops have air-conditioning there! But if you want to see the foundation, the beginning of Dubai as we know it then take a local wooden Abra and make way to old Dubai, where narrow lanes provide enough shade to walk and the winds from the creek keep you cool.
More: Take the Abra from the Old Souk, and get off at any of the many spots. The Abra also goes till the Spice Souk and costs only 1 AED!
4. Rent a surf board or learn surfing at Surf House.
The Surf House is a haven for surfers, yogis and people who prefer leaving malls to experience the city in a holistic way. One would not expect surfing as one of the things to do in Dubai, but ever since Surf House has opened, tourists and locals are hooked! You can rent surfboards, pedals, wet suits, take lessons and even practice yoga here.
More: The Surf House has a conveniently charged rate list for rentals, yoga and surf classes, and memberships. Check out their website for further details.
5. Sail to the island wildlife sanctuary of Sir Bani Yas.
Situated in a closer proximity to Abu Dhabi, the Sir Bani Yas island is easily reached from Dubai as well. Sir Bani Yas is the largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates and is also the largest wildlife reserve in all of Middle East. Decades of conservation has rendered this place a safe haven for free-roaming animals such as Arabian Oryx, which are otherwise extinct from the world.
More: The only accommodation available are the Anantra Resorts situated on the opposite coast. To reach Sir Bani Yas you can take a direct flight from either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. To reach by road, take the E11 highway from Dubai in the direction to Tarif and Mirfa. After reaching the jetty, park your car and take a water taxi to the island.
6. Learn to Speak Horse.
Who would have thought that learning the art of horse whispering could ever on the list of things to do in Dubai. You can learn to communicate with horses and delve deep into understanding the psychology of the beautiful beast. From private interactions to observations of a horse's disposition in a herd, a session at Hoofbeatz will add a new dimension to your opinion of horses.
More: You can book for a private lesson of 45 minutes or have a series of four lessons. As per availability, a jockey will take you around the equestrian club and provide an educated insight into the mind of horses. Check out the website for further information and bookings.
7. Delve into the underground music scene of Dubai.
When clueless tourists come to Dubai, they expect exotic performers belly dancing their way across the street. But this modern metropolis has an emerging and vibrant electronic music scene. Underground disc jockeys and performers are entertain the young crowd of Dubai, and you should definitely not miss out on their infectious energy.
More: Keep a close check on the Facebook pages of the following places for upcoming gigs: Freshly Ground Sounds, Bad House Party, Jazz Pizza Express, Vibe Series, Piknic Electronik, Truckersdxb, and The Fridge.
8.Check out the mind blowing murals on Dubai's streets.
The Dubai Walls project was an initiative taken up by artists in collaboration with the government to decorate the streets of Dubai with stunning murals. In 2016, artists from all over the world gathered to paint their best, kick-starting a wave of street art. The streets that have been blessed by these graffiti artists look nothing short of a masterpiece, and also make for a great stop for anyone visiting Dubai.
More: There are several murals all over the city, but Karama Street and City Walk are the ideal streets to see the best of mural work that happened last year.
9. Ditch the malls for local souks.
Despite seeming like an obvious priority, many tourists visiting Dubai fail to visit the traditional souks. Tempted by the charms of high-end monstrous malls, visitors pay only little or no attention to the rich culture of souk in Dubai. Of all the things to do in Dubai, getting lost in the colorful and endless shops of a souk is definitely the best.
More: Don't miss out on the Spice Souk for which you would need to take an Abra from the Old Souk, which too is a fascinating stop in itself. There is also a small Perfume Souk by the Gold Souk, mark these on your list as well.
10. Find a quiet and totally isolated spot on the Jumeira Beach
The statement might seem like an oxymoron, given that Jumeira Beach is the most crowded place in Dubai. But it is all about putting the extra effort and driving the extra miles to reach a place of peace and quiet on this very popular beach. The coast of Jumeira Beach is huge, so the tip is to keep driving on the parallel road to find a stretch with few or no people, even is it takes a while.
More: We suggest driving out of the city centre to find a quiet spot. If you are lucky you might even be the only ones there. Irrespective the crowd, stay till sunset when the sea lights up golden and becomes a sight to behold.