Dubai Tourists Tours day trips Dubai

Sometimes it is difficult for Dubai tourists to know exactly how to get the best out of their time here. The better known Dubai attractions are listed elsewhere on this site, but what do you do if none of these things appeal?

If shopping malls and theme parks seem too "touristy", why not take a look at some of Dubai's mosques? There are around 200 mosques in Dubai, and not one of them has been built with Western tourists in mind. This can make them a refreshing and informative contrast to the purpose built attractions.

However, bear in mind that non Muslims are not permitted to enter mosques in the UAE, although an exception is made for Jumeirah Mosque, where the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding occasionally gives tours aimed at educating visitors about Islam. If you are a non Muslim on one of these tours, it goes without saying that you should dress conservatively and with respect for your surroundings.

However, admiring the architecture from outside the mosque can be an experience in itself. The Grand Mosque in was a centre of religious life before being knocked down in the 1960s. It was rebuilt in 1998 in the style of the original, so convincingly that many unwary visitors think they are seeing a period building. It also has Dubai's tallest minaret, at about 230 feet.

But Jumeirah Mosque (Jumeirah Beach Road) is probably the best known in Dubai, because it is such a large and attractive building, with one big central dome. It looks wonderful lit up at night.

You will have heard all about the horse racing at Nad Al Sheba, but did you know that Nad Al Sheba is also well known for camel racing? The camel racing season is the same as the horse racing season (November to April) and admission is usually free to the races at Nad Al Sheba.

Another popular pastime in Dubai is "dune bashing". This involves taking to the desert in a four wheel drive and enjoying the bumpy ride. The best way to try this is by booking a trip with a tour operator. It is a bad idea to go out on the dunes unaccompanied, particularly if you are not experienced in desert driving. Even experienced drivers tend to travel with another vehicle in case of emergencies. Another thing to remember is that this activity is very bad for the fragile desert environment. Sticking to the existing tracks will reduce the amount of damage you do.

Smart Dubai tourists also know that there is a limit to what you can learn from guidebooks and websites. We try our best to bring you the freshest, most accurate information about a place, but there is no substitute to finding things out for yourself. A day spent wandering off the beaten tourist path isn't a day wasted; it is an opportunity to discover the real city, away from the frantic pace of guided tours.