When you think of Dubai, what springs to mind? High-end shopping, ultramodern architecture and blistering sunshine were top of my list.
Because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t snap up the opportunity to live the luxury life for a few days?
But there’s so much more to this diverse and dynamic city which, when you scratch under the surface, offers substance as well as style.
You just need to dig a little deeper to discover the real beauty of Dubai.
From Jeep safaris allowing you to experience the magic of those gorgeous dunes, to stunning beaches and endless culinary highlights, you’re sure to be spoiled for choice.
If you can stomach a touch of motion sickness, add a desert safari to your itinerary.
You’ll be whisked off in a Jeep to explore the sands from which the city rose and there’s something magical about driving over seemingly endless stretches of golden grains.
After what can only be described as an adrenaline-fuelled ride around the sand dunes, you have the option to ride a camel or quadbike (which, it must be noted, is not for the fainthearted).
Some desert safaris also include a dinner at sunset or lunch, so keep this in mind when booking.
For those who can bear to drag themselves away from a luxurious poolside, make time to squeeze in an afternoon of culture.
Learn about the Islamic faith at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
Here, you’ll find out all about Dubai’s culture and customs.
Since opening in 1998, the venue has offered heritage tours, Arabic classes and guided mosque visits. A beautifully restored wind-tower house in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood, it’s a must-see.
The centre’s motto is “Open Doors, Open Minds”, which neatly summarises its appeal – all questions are welcomed and answered, and it really is the perfect place to learn more about Dubai.
Once you’ve had your fix of culture and all things active, it’s time to make the most of those glitzy skyscrapers.
Soak up the views at the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It might seem like the predictable thing to do while you’re there, but it’s a must.
Here, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the city so just put the camera away and take some time to digest truly breathtaking views.
The Burj Khalifa is just next door to the world-famous Dubai Mall, the largest retail development in the world, where you can enviously window-shop those luxury items one can only normally dream of buying or, of course, spend a pretty penny.
You’ll also find views for days when you head to Dubai Marina, which is particularly special after dark. Surrounded by sky-high twinkly buildings and filled with neverending dining options, it’s a great way to spend an evening in the city.
And finally, you cannot head all the way to Dubai without soaking up some sunshine.
After all, we all need a healthy dose of vitamin D every now and then.
Between June and September, the city is extremely hot but conditions outwith peak months are far more bearable and comfortable – making Dubai the perfect off-season getaway.
Whether you’re relaxing on one of the many public beaches, a private hotel beach or maybe you’d prefer to dip your toes into a five-star pool, a bronzed glow is definitely on the cards.
It’s time you booked that Arabian adventure.
Fly To Dubai via Bahrain from London Heathrow with Gulf Air. For a touch of luxury, Gulf Air has just introduced their new first-class Falcon Gold cabin. For more information, please visit: www.gulfair.com