Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve picture
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
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Courtesy of The Emirates Group

Key Info

Route E66

Details

Parks and Gardens, Tours, Zoos and Aquariums Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

When the glitz and glam of urban Dubai grows tiresome, visitors strongly recommend escaping to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The UAE's first national park sits on the outer edges of the city, and occupies about 87 square miles of the Arabian Desert. The reserve mainly acts as a research unit, but travelers are allowed to explore the area – with one caveat: visitors aren't allowed to tour the reserve by themselves. 

Luckily, the park offers many different types of activities that will cater to travelers with varying interests. Thrill-seekers can go sand boarding, dabble in archery or go dune driving on a luxury four-wheeler. Those looking for a more relaxed experience can soak up the spirit of the desert on low cushions in Bedu tents for a delectable Dune Dinner, or arrange a more intimate Private Desert Dinner. There's also traditional camel treks available, as well as horseback rides, and even a class on falconry. Visitors can also camp on-site, or retreat to the luxurious Al Maha A Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa at the end of the day. The interesting flora and fauna, as well as all of the fun activities, including barbecues and camel rides, made the experience unforgettable for most travelers. 

Past visitors described the experience as "unforgettable," "fantastic" and "unique" and said it's a must-do for Dubai travelers. Reviewers were keen to praise the staff, who they said made them feel comfortable and welcome. 

You will need to rent a car to get to the reserve. There are nine tour operators allowed to run tours within the reserve. Prices for tours and activities vary depending on the provider and the length of the experience. You must make reservations in advance, which can be done through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Dubai

Dubai Mall
Burj Al Arab
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Dubai Mall

Skirting the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai is every shopper's paradise. The massive Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in the world and houses more than 1,300 stores. Even if you aren't interested in buying anything, a visit to this immense retail center is a must: The Dubai Mall also contains numerous entertainment facilities, such as an ice rink, a movie theater and several kid-friendly attractions, including an aquarium that houses thousands of underwater creatures. If you happen to be around at night, stop by the Dubai Fountain outside of the mall. Created by the team who designed the Bellagio's famous dancing fountains, the fountain features nightly shows set to a mix of western and eastern music. 

Visitors were taken by how much was at the mall – everything you could possibly need can be found inside its sprawling square footage. A few visitors were keen to point out that you might not want to shop here after all. Because so much is imported, some reviewers found prices to be higher in comparison to what they've seen at home. Still, many said that shouldn't stop you from popping in for a visit. Of course, if you're on the hunt for a taste of Middle Eastern culture, this isn't the place to experience it. It is, however, a great escape from the heat, according to travelers. 

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