First-time visitors to Dubai have plenty to see and do, but what do you do when the beaches, shopping malls and desert trips are wearing a little thin. We've picked some of the locals' favourite spots and activities, from which you can the city from a whole new light, and height.
Jump out of a plane with Skydive Dubai
I can tell you from experience, jumping tandem with Skydive Dubai was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I’m not a daredevil and I was scared at first. What eased my mind was that the Crown Prince of Dubai, who is also a regular skydiver, owns Skydive Dubai. The facilities are new, they employ professional staff, and the equipment is top of the line. Once you’re actually out of the plane, it’s a wonderful feeling of freedom with spectacular views of almost all of Dubai. The best part is that you have your very own photographer who takes stills and videos of you — a keepsake that’ll last a lifetime. Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons. www.skydivedubai.ae
Eat a camel burger
I’m not a huge fan of burgers generally, however I have tried a camel burger and I did enjoy it. Camel meat is said to have less fat and more iron and protein compared to beef. In Dubai we have countless dining options, but eating a camel burger is something unique to this region and you can tell people at dinner parties. Local House Coffee Shop & Restaurant is located in one of the old parts of Dubai, Al Bastakiya. Local House started serving camel burgers in 2010 and they claim to be the first in the U.A.E. Another option is BBF (Best Burgers Forever) located in Wafi Mall. This restaurant specialises in burgers and has camel burgers and camel milk shakes on the menu. www.localhousedubai.com.
Go skiing indoors at Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai © Orbit Tourism
Yes skiing indoors really does exist in the desert. It certainly doesn’t compare to skiing the Swiss Alps, however the sheer fact that it’s located in the Mall of the Emirates and is so over-the-top is reason enough to visit. The cool climate (although it’s fake) is welcoming during the hotter months. Other activities at Ski Dubai include the Penguin Encounter and the Snow Bullet zip-line. After your day in the snow, unwind at Après — the après ski themed restaurant and bar. www.malloftheemirates.com
Visit the Burj Khalifa like a local
At.Mosphere at the Burj Khalifa: The tallest restaurant in the world.
A valuable tip when planning a visit to the tallest building in the world: don’t buy tickets to ‘The Top’. Instead, book lunch or dinner at At.Mosphere restaurant & lounge. Why? Relax in a chic restaurant and dine on gourmet food while admiring the views from the 122nd floor. This option is only AED 150 more than a ticket to the observatory deck on the 125th floor, which doesn’t include the luxury aspect. www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com
Related: Dubai's best rooftop bars
Traditional Arabian Entertainment Al Hadheerah
Al Hadheerah located at Bab Al Shams hotel & resort has one of the best traditional dinning and entertainment experiences in Dubai. It’s where I always take guests from out of town and it never disappoints. Set in the desert inside a traditional fort, Al Hadheerah guests dine beneath the stars in this magical, open-air setting. Take in the traditions of Arabia with a falconry display, camel caravan, dancers and a stunning Arabian horse show. As for the cuisine, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a display of delicious traditional Arabic delicacies served buffet-style. Chat to the friendly chefs at the live cooking stations, spit roasts and wood-fire ovens. Al Hadheerah is open from 7:30pm -11:30pm. We recommend arriving just before sunset for cocktails at Bab Al Shams before. www.meydanhotels.com
Related: Best Arabic restaurants in Dubai