Dune Bashing in Dubai

28 Apr

No trip to Dubai can be complete without experiencing the actual sun and sand of this desert city. And the tourists in us decided to do just that with the famous and ultra touristy  half day Dubai Desert Safari tour. Well, some may say that it’s just a touristy gimmick and not worth wasting time and money, but I felt that this was something that you should try at least once, as it gives you a small flavor of the old desert life. These tours come as a package that includes – pick and drop from Dubai, dune bashing, camel riding, dance performances in a desert camp, sheesha smoking, arabic coffee and dinner. Now there are numerous tour operators who conduct these tours here, but a word of caution – do check the quality of these before booking, as there are quite a few quality issues and complaints concerning these tours too.

Sand Dunes, Outskirts of Dubai

Sand Dunes, Outskirts of Dubai

We booked our tour through recommendations received from friends and set out for our ride at 3pm along with 3 other tourists (2 were from NZ and 1 from Nigeria). Our driver, Sadiq was super fun – he turned out to be a mallu from India, had starred in small roles in numerous movies and was super talkative. He drove us through a completely new way and kept showing us different things.  In Dubai, we saw the current Prince’s palace, Dubai’s national Park, etc and on the outskirts of Dubai we saw the numerous villas where a lot of locals stay, the small areas where the not so well off of Dubai stay, local Arab families snow boarding and quad biking, camels leisurely walking around, etc. I guess this was as village a scene as was possible in Dubai. 🙂 But the two best sights that we saw en route were –

  • Al Marmoom camel racetrack – This is a proper stadium with a race tracks for camel racing and we saw people training camels for the actual races. These races are a very serious affair here and held from October to March every year.
  • The Dragon Mart Mall – This is a huge Chinese Mall shaped like a dragon and full of all kinds of ultra cheap chinese products. If you are looking for that kind of stuff then a visit here is a must.

    Dragon Mart Mall, photo courtesy -http://globetrottingtexans.blogspot.in/2013/02/definitely-dubai-part-10-last-stop-of.html

    Dragon Mart Mall, photo courtesy -http://globetrottingtexans.blogspot.in/2013/02/definitely-dubai-part-10-last-stop-of.html

We however didn’t stop here (though I have added them to my must visit list for the next trip) and proceeded further for dune bashing. We reached the particular place where Sadiq deflated the tires and we proceeded for the actual dune bashing fun. Now there were some instances in the past where the local drivers were driving too rashly on these dunes, which led to numerous complaints. Hence the Ministry has now set out some clear rules which includes not going above a certain speed. Despite that this was super fun. To get a sense of this ride, imagine a large sand hillock which the car first climbs upwards (so you are nearly vertical going up), then rides along a narrow ledge (only 2 tires on the ledge and 2 downwards hence you are inclined sideways) and then climbs downwards (so you feel you are falling down). It is super fun, but if you have motion sickness or vertigo, then do bring your medicines with you. 🙂

Sand Dunes all set for bashing :)

Sand Dunes all set for bashing 🙂

Setting Sun against the sands

Setting Sun against the desert

After a while we got off and then clicked pictures of the beautiful dunes and hills all around and posed in the jumping masai mala poses etc. We then headed towards our desert camp for the balance part of our program. Here there was a beautiful low seating against the sands and the setting sun.We enjoyed taking more pictures, checking out the local souvenirs and the arabic coffee. We then decided to try camel riding, but didn’t after seeing how the camel was being treated. 😦

Our Desert Camp

Our Desert Camp

The Camels

The Camels

By this time the sun had set, and we went and sat down on our seats to enjoy the dances.

Beautiful colors of sunset

Beautiful colors of sunset

There were 3 main performances for the evening and it started with the fire dance. This was a short performance and quite different form what we have always seen in India.

This was followed by an awesome Tannoura dance. Now this is an Egyptian sufi folk dance, where the performer wears a colorful skirt and keeps whirling and juggling with numerous objects. This was the first tannoura performance that I saw and was quite fascinated with it. It is a definite must see.

But the most awaited performance was the belly dance. This was performed by a beautiful dancer with the most flexible body and amazing moves. I so wish that I could move like that 😦  I’ll try to upload videos soon.

Post these dances we had a dinner (they had numerous veg options) and then proceeded back to the city.

Tips for the Trip –

  1. This half day trip should cost you anywhere between 100 – 150 dirham. Be sure to negotiate if you are in a group.
  2. At the end of the safari, the drivers stop at shops to inflate the tyres which have attached souvenir shops. Try and avoid shopping here as these shops are quite expensive.
  3. Be sure to check the quality / rating of these before actually booking them.
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25 Responses to “Dune Bashing in Dubai”

  1. tamikadoubell April 28, 2013 at 14:04 #

    this looks incredible!!! the camels are my best!! 😛 truly spectacular experience you had there. Makes me want to travel!! Super blog. really fab! check mine out at http://www.tamikadoubell.com 🙂 xx

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 29, 2013 at 14:02 #

      Thanks a tonne for visiting my blog and the kind words for it. Dubai has a lot of beautiful things to see and do and warrents at least one visit.

      I shall definitely check out your blog too 🙂

      Like

  2. Rosemarie April 28, 2013 at 19:51 #

    You write a very colorful and detailed description which makes me feel that I have experienced this with you. Thank you.

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 29, 2013 at 14:03 #

      Thanks Rosemarie. You have made my day with these beautiful words. Super Thanks again 🙂

      Like

  3. Bella Remy Photography April 29, 2013 at 05:58 #

    These images are amazing, and what a fantastic day you had exploring the dunes. I’ll probably never make it there, but your photos made me feel the sand between my toes.

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 29, 2013 at 14:18 #

      Hey, super super thanks for the kind words… This comment is even more special to me as you are such an amazing photographer yourself and you think these images are amazing. 🙂 Thanks again 🙂

      Like

  4. My Say April 29, 2013 at 20:24 #

    sandune and the dawn .. both the clicks are absolute wonders of yellow !! loved the post !! 🙂

    Like

  5. Not Without My Passport April 30, 2013 at 06:51 #

    How fun! I’m curious: did the excursion feel like a tourist trap?

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 30, 2013 at 16:36 #

      The excursion was fun for us and we did not feel like it was a tourist trap, but with the wrong travel agent it can be a major tourist trap.

      Like

  6. freedman121 April 30, 2013 at 07:43 #

    Too bad you didn’t try camel riding, I found it to be very fun. How were they mistreating the camels? If they were mistreating them badly then way to go for not paying to ride them; we’ve all got to be aware of how our tourism affects the local economy as well as how people are treated.

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 30, 2013 at 16:38 #

      I hav done camel riding in the past and agree, its super fun. Especially when the camel runs 🙂

      They were poking him with sharply pointed metal rods to get up and move in certain directions. It was painful to see it. I dont know how people can treat innocent animals like that 😦

      Like

  7. Jade@CoolPads April 30, 2013 at 12:12 #

    Lovely – good to hear there is something else apart from artificial landscape – shopping centres and sky scrapers. Over here, we tend too hear about how much jewelry you can buy in Dubai and that’s it..

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 30, 2013 at 16:39 #

      Thanks. This and Old Dubai were a pleasant surprise for us too 🙂

      Like

  8. chandralatha May 9, 2013 at 11:38 #

    Reblogged this on sueshan123.

    Like

  9. Nivedana May 14, 2013 at 21:23 #

    Love the detailed descriptions in the post! Reminds me of my trip to Dubai many many years ago 🙂 I recently found out that Dune Bashing is apparently called Wadi Bashing as well!

    Like

    • getsetandgo May 27, 2013 at 21:23 #

      Thanks Nivedana and I’ll check on Wadi bashing. I thought that was a term used in Oman.

      Like

  10. Laurie Merritt Photography June 3, 2013 at 20:03 #

    Oh my, must see some of these lovely sand dunes. Wonderful shots, Snigdha! Can you share some travel info about Dubai (or, if it’s on your blog somewhere, I may have missed it)? All we know about is the huge monstosity of a hotel, and while we’d love to stay there, that’s not going to happen! Thanks so much.

    Like

  11. Steffanie January 21, 2014 at 17:05 #

    Hello! Wonderful post! My boyfriend and I are actually visiting Dubai end of February and are intending to go for a Desert Safari tour. May I know which tour operator did you use? Thanks! 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo January 22, 2014 at 21:00 #

      Hi, we used ABC Tours and you can reach them at 0552129841.

      Like

  12. merkydoodles July 31, 2014 at 10:52 #

    Thank you for a very detailed blog about Dubai. My husband & I are will be in Dubai towards the end of the year for our honeymoon. Any chance you can give me the name of the tour company that you’ve booked with for the evening desert safari? 🙂 thanks!!

    Like

    • getsetandgo August 10, 2014 at 22:35 #

      We used ABC Tours…http://www.abctoursdubai.com/

      Like

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