Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve picture1 of 3
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve2 of 3
Courtesy of The Emirates Group

Key Info

Route E66

Price & Hours

Prices vary by tour company
Hours vary by tour company

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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Burj Al Arab1 of 13
Dubai Mall2 of 13
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Burj Al Arab

Overlooking the Persian Gulf from its perch between Jumeirah Beach and the Palm Islands, this stunning building has wowed architecture buffs since it opened in 1999. Its curved glass façade – modeled after the sails that have graced Dubai's waterways all these years – shelters a world-class, über-luxurious hotel located on its own man-made island. The hotel not only houses the tallest atrium in the world at nearly 600 feet high, but it is one of the tallest hotels in the world. Architecture aside, amenities include revolving beds in some suites, as well as a helipad, in case you thought arriving via a complimentary Rolls-Royce was too pedestrian. 

But you don't have to stay at the Burj Al Arab to enjoy it (and let's face it, most can't). Those who aren't crashing at the hotel can gain entry by grabbing a bite at one of the on-site restaurants. Among them are Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, which features floor-to-ceiling windows guarding a massive fish tank, and the sky-high Al Muntaha, located on the scenic 27th floor of the building.  

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