Over the last few decades Dubai has strived to become a city that welcomes tourism. The national carrier (Emirates) continually promotes the destination, and the city has continued to develop sights to encourage tourism – indoor snow fields, giant shopping malls, unique architecture, luxury hotels and more.
It has taken time but Dubai is recognised as an international stopover point, somewhere you can take a break between flying to or from your destination. Today, most people recognise the name of Dubai, few realise that there is anything beyond it. Some might recognise the name of Abu Dhabi, the capital, but the cities of Sharjah, Fujeirah, Ras Al Khaimah, Hatta, Al Ain and the varying oases, mountain ranges, ancient ruins and numerous off-road locations are almost as lost to the world as Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Beyond Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates lays an incredible destination, filled with ancient sites datingback to the days of the Spice Trade. Nature reserves dedicated to preserving rare species from Kingfishers, to Turtles to the Arabian Oryx. Natural wonders from the mountains and coats of Musandam to the Oases and desert dunes. Then there are the cultural centres, the religious sites and of course the resorts and opportunities that seem to hide around every corner in the UAE.
Still not sure that there is much to see beyond Dubai? We have several itineraries on this site that will show you otherwie, but lets start by showing you an incredible offroad odyssey..
Day 01: Arrival Dubai Arrival at Dubai International Airport, Flight details to be advised Meet, greet and assist outside the Airport Transfer to a Dubai hotel in a suitable vehicle. (Check-in from 1500 hrs onwards). Optional Evening Tour: Dhow cruise with dinner on scheduled seat-in-basis. Overnight at a hotel, Dubai
Day 02: Musandam Mountains Dubai to Fujairah: Musandam Mountains (A 4WD vehicle will be used for the day). After an early breakfast check out of the hotel and board your rugged 4WD jeep for a panoramic drive towards Fujairah, the only Emirate on UAE’s east coast. The excursion takes you through the oases of Al Dhaid and Masafi then reaches Dibba Village located at the base of the magnificent Hajar Mountains for a wander around its port area. From here to view the fascinating cliffs and deep canyons hidden within the mountains the drive crosses the Musandam Peninsula on off-road tracks through winding gorges, reaching a height of nearly 1,200 meters. Enjoy breathtaking views as you stop for picnic lunch en route. Afterwards proceed to Fujairah City and reach your beach hotel for an overnight halt. (Check-in from 1500 hrs onwards). This evening is at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the hotel including the beach and pool area. Overnight at a beach hotel, Fujairah
Day 03: Fujairah to Hatta This morning is partly at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the hotel including the beach and pool area. (Check out at 1000 hrs) Off-road from Fujairah to Hatta (A 4WD vehicle will be used for the day) Today your off-road trip starts with a scenic drive along the east coast to reach Kalba, a coastal enclave belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah where you have an opportunity to take a look at the famous mangrove marshes which are a reserved area. Then you will make a stop in Wadi Helo (dry riverbed). From here the 4WD jeep crosses a variety of terrain on the way to Hatta, en route taking a rugged mountain track via Wadi Huvailat. Approximately 90 minutes later you arrive in Hatta where there is time to visit the Heritage Village and take a few photos at Hatta Dam. After lunch (paid directly) the tour continues through the sand dunes to reach Fossil Rock and later Camel Rock, an unusual rock formation hidden among the dunes. Your tour now kicks into high gear as you join one of the most popular activities in the desert, the ‘Desert Safari’. Enjoy an exciting dune drive with many photo stops in between including a stop at a camel farm. As the drive continues across the desert you watch a beautiful sunset before reaching an Arabian campsite where you have the opportunity to do camel riding, sand boarding and try a henna design on hands or feet. Be mesmerized by a Tanoura performance – a traditional folk dance then having worked up an appetite enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner and a ‘shisha’ (renowned Arabic water-pipe). Afterwards watch an exotic belly dancer perform around the campfire before sleeping the dreams of the desert beneath a star-studded sky in tents. Overnight at the Campsite
Day 04: Al Ain Light camp breakfast. This morning you will be transferred to a meeting point at the edge of the desert for a change of vehicles into a regular Sedan / Coach for your onward journey to Abu Dhabi Emirate’s second largest city, Al Ain. Enjoy a great day taking in the sights of the beautiful ‘Garden City’ of Al Ain. The tour begins with a drive through the fascinating and ever changing desert scenery before reaching the Hajar Mountains. In Al Ain, step back in time at the Hili Gardens, famous for the archaeological excavations from the third millennium B.C. The tour continues with a visit of Al Ain National Museum and Al Jahili Fort. During a stop at the Al Ain Oasis you will learn about the ‘Falaj’, an underground irrigation system, before driving to the renovated Old Palace of H.H. Sheikh Zayed, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi and former President of UAE. Stop at a hot spring at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, the highest mountain peak in the area before visiting the region’s largest camel market to hear about the “Ships of the Desert”. Afterwards you will drive to Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet, a unique mountain oasis resort located 915 meters above sea level on the top of Hafeet Mountain. Check-in and enjoy an overnight stay with breathtaking views of Al Ain city sprawled below. Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the pool and other recreational activities on offer. Overnight at Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain
Day 05: Abu Dhabi After checking out from the hotel, proceed to UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi. On arrival you will once again change to 4WD vehicle for another exciting desert trip to see an ocean of dunes and sands! En route you stop at the unique Car Museum to see an extraordinary collection of vehicles owned by one of Abu Dhabi’s royal family members, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. The tour continues to the beautiful red sand dunes on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi for an exciting dune drive. You will enjoy a great day out with plenty of opportunity for photos of the curious shapes the dunes take as they are constantly moulded by the harsh desert winds. A picnic lunch is served amidst the sand dunes. Afterwards drive back to Abu Dhabi and arrive at your hotel. Overnight at a hotel, Abu Dhabi
Day 06: Abu Dhabi to Dubai Discover the highlights of Abu Dhabi, capital of the Emirates, known as the Arabian Jewel. The first destination is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest in the world. Continue to the Sheikh Zayed Centre for a glimpse into the private life of H.H. Sheikh Zayed, who is revered as “Father of the Nation”. Your final stop this morning will be at the artificial Breakwater for a visit of the Heritage Village where you journey into the past to explore life before oil was discovered. Thereafter drive along the beautifully manicured Corniche (waterfront) on the way to Dubai.Dress Code for Mosque: Loose long trousers or long skirts & long sleeves. No shorts for men, no tight & transparent clothing. Women must cover their head with a scarf. Arrive in Dubai and continue with a panoramic tour of UAE’s commercial and entertainment capital, starting with a drive onto Palm Jumeirah, a fully reclaimed, palm tree-shaped island that is home to the magnificent US$1.5b Atlantis, The Palm resort. Later make a photo-stop near the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel built on its own island. Admire the glittering high rises of the city as you drive down Sheikh Zayed Road en route to Downtown Dubai. Arriving at The Dubai Mall, you will stop for photos at the base of what is currently the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. At the bottom of this mega-structure there is time to snap pictures of Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain laid out inside Burj Dubai Lake and see the water jets soar to a height of almost 150 meters (500 feet). Later you drive to your hotel and check in. Overnight at a hotel, Dubai
Day 07: Dubai Departure (B) Breakfast at the hotel. Morning is at leisure. Check out at 12 Noon. Transfer to Dubai International Airport for your departure flight. Flight details to be advised.