When most people think of the United Arab Emirates they think of elaborate skyscrapers, decadent restaurants, lavish Dubai hotels and beautiful beaches. But there is another, far more exciting, side to the region which, despite its huge growth in recent years, often goes under the radar of potential holidaymakers. This is Dubai's rapidly expanding culture of thrill-seeking rides and unusual extreme sports, which offers visitors the chance to try out some unique activities which are unlikely to be found in other destinations. Whether it's skiing on the desert slopes, driving at speed across steep sand dunes or ballooning high above rugged mountain terrain, there is something in Dubai to satisfy every type of thrill-seeker.
Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts should not pass up the chance to join one of the many sand-skiing/ sand-boarding trips which leave the city daily. Tour operators drive deep into the desert in search of the steepest and most evenly shaped dunes where they will provide customers with special sand-skis which are designed to glide smoothly through the sand without sinking too deep below the surface. Snowboarding aficionados can opt for sand-boards if they prefer, which abide by the same principle.
Dune-bashing is an increasingly popular activity which involves driving a 4x4 vehicle out into the Arabian Desert and accelerating up the tallest dunes before turning sharply at the top in order to ride the slope back down. Drivers are very experienced and always consult their passengers as to how rough they would like the journey to be. Dune-bashing is an extraordinary experience; the feeling as the wheels slip and slide on the desert slopes is like no other form of driving and one you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. Tours can be arranged through the receptions at most hotels. Most tours are offered in groups, but for those who are itching to have a go, one-to-one tuition lessons can be purchased from most operators. Journeys vary in length and can be tailored to the party's needs; various stop-off locations are available for those who would like to break up the day with a meal or even another activity.
For an aerial tour of Dubai, book tickets aboard a hot air balloon to experience breathtaking views of the city as you sail high above the desert. Most balloon tours last around an hour and venture out over the desert to Fossil Rock near Al Faya Wadi. Bedouin villages and spectacular mountain terrain will drift passed below as you enjoy the miraculous feeling of flying through the open skies. Most guides will share their knowledge of local surroundings and history, pointing out various key landmarks as you pass them. Balloon rides are timetabled depending on wind conditions and can be arranged through Dream Days Tourism LLC.
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