So, I know three things about Dubai.
First, it’s where people who appear on TOWIE go on holiday. I’ve never watched TOWIE, and I’ve never been to Dubai (unless you count the airport).
Second, it has a big, fancy hotel that looks like a sail. I saw a documentary about it once; you can buy a gold-plated iPad in the gift shop.
Third, it turns out actually I only know two things about Dubai.
This Easter, Flea and I will be travelling to Dubai, as guests of Dubai Tourism.
Our mission (and we’ve already accepted it) is to discover what families can do in Dubai, and what the city is really like beyond the TOWIE stereotypes and flashy hotels.
Before we leave, we need to organise our itinerary – and that’s where you guys come in. I’d like to ask you to help us decide on what on some of our Dubai holiday activities.
Tell us in the comments what you’d like to know more about in Dubai (or see us doing), we’ll go and check places out, and report back!
To kick us off, here are 10 things (oh alright, 11) to do with kids in Dubai:
1. Ski Dubai
Dubai is in the desert, so it only makes sense that there’s an indoor skiing dome where you can do all manner of winter sports – Ski Dubai is in the Mall of the Emirates, and offers snow activities for the whole family. I suspect this is the kind of thing that comes as a HUGE relief after a few days of desert heat. It’s the biggest of its kind in the world.
2. SEGA Republic
SEGA Republic is an indoor theme park, complete with the world’s largest indoor slide, theme park rides and video games. Looks like a must for video game fans.
3. Emirates A380 Experience
Ever wanted to be a pilot? The Emirates A380 Experience, at the Dubai Mall, gives you the chance to take flight as the captain of an Emirates A380 and experience what it’s like to fly the world’s largest aircraft. Flea sat in the cockpit of one of these when we visited Heathrow a few years back, and they’re mahoosive.
4. The Burj Khalifa
Visiting Dubai gives you the chance to stand on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. From 550m in the air, you can get views of the city and surrounding desert.
Having visited the Sky Deck in Chicago just before Christmas, I love this kind of attraction – you get such an awesome overview of a location.
5. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Just outside the city of Dubai, you can take a balloon ride over an endless ocean of sand dunes, and spot a glimpse of wandering camels, gazelles and oryx. There’s even the chance to witness the sunrise over the sand – how cool?
I’ve never been in a hot air balloon and it’s TOTALLY on my bucket list.
6. Donut Ride
Like most 10-year-olds, Flea is a fan of things that go fast, and anything that’s water-based. The highlight of our trip to Jamaica was when Flea learned to scuba dive, while in Mauritius we loved paragliding.
In Dubai, you can ride a ‘donut’ – an inflatable loop that gets dragged behind a speedboat. Fast. Apparently it’s a great way to get views of the Dubai beach skyline, if you can keep your eyes open, I guess!
7. Heritage Walking Tour
This walking tour is a chance to explore the Al Bastakiya neighbourhood of the Al Fahidi Historic District, with a great chance to learn more about Arabic culture and history. The tour includes a Q&A session, and finishes off with Arabic coffee, tea and dates.
8. Camel Trek in the Desert
Dubai offers families the chance to get a close-up view of the desert by trekking across the sand on a camel, before tasting an Arabic buffet dinner, and an evening of entertainment at a traditional Bedouin desert camp.
Last time we camped in a Bedouin Camp (in Jordan) I was the sickest I have ever been in my life, and I almost married a man on the strength of a lukewarm can of 7Up. Flea left me in my sick bed and went dune bashing without me.
It’d be nice to give it another go.
9. Abra Trip across the Creek
The Creek (Al Khor) is a saltwater divide at the heart of Dubai, which can be crossed by a wooden abra, or water taxi. It gives tourists the chance to see up-close the old and new parts of the city, with wind towers and gypsum houses alongside shiny high rise offices.
10. Kite Beach
If you’re heading to Dubai, then the main event has to be the beach. Kite Beach is one of the best for watersports, and offers great activities for kids, and views of the Burj Al Arab.
11. Wild Wadi
The UAE is well known for water parks, and Dubai has some of the best known – from the Atlantis Palm, the largest water park in the region, to Wild Wadi, an outdoor water park owned by the Jumeirah hotel group, with more than 30 different rides and attractions.
We are big fans of water parks – a highlight of Flea’s summer last year was taking me on a series of terrifying torture devices disguised as rides at Siam Park in Tenerife.
We’d love to hear your recommendations if you’ve been to Dubai, or perhaps you live there! Alternatively, if you’re new to Dubai like us, let me know what sort of things you’d like us to check out on our Mission:Dubai
*plays Mission Impossible theme*