Unique Dubai Experiences Most Travellers Never Try

Avoid the tourist traps and see a new side to The City Of Gold.

Unique Dubai Experiences Most Travellers Never Try

Whether you want to put your Business trip downtime to better use or you are a traveller stopping in Dubai to break up a red-eye flight, there are many tourist traps that can take your precious hunk of time and suck it drier than the Al Qudra desert.

From over-rated shopping centres to yawn-worthy aquariums, some of Dubai’s most famous attractions are full of camera-wielding tourists more than culture.

As Dubai is one of the world’s pre-eminent metropolises, you feel a certain pressure to experience these civic monuments. But it can be hard to decipher which urban experiences are worth your time, and which you should trade for a more offbeat encounter.

To prevent another wayward mega-mall excursion, we consulted Daniel Tolson, a renowned business coach who has spent a significant chunk of time in The City Of Gold.

Daniel is a firm believer in the notion that Business trips, while they aren’t a holiday per se, “Shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world.”

According to him, “If you are headed to Dubai there are fabulous opportunities to immerse yourself in a new culture and expand your mind.” Which can be a bonus for your productivity as well as your travel ‘gram.

“Taking time to look around at the place you are visiting not only helps you situate where your business is taking place but also helps you to relax and destress!”

“Yet, when faced with an entirely new landscape, city life and culture, it can be difficult to know where to start,” he continues. If that sounds like you: check out Mr Tolson’s top 5 things to do if you’ve got 48 hours in Dubai.

Visit Dubai Creek

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One of Daniel’s “most favourite places on the planet,” Dubai Creek is no slow running stream. And, as Daniel explains, while the city—with its new fangled designs and enormous towers reaching through the clouds—is magnificent; it is only one part of Dubai.

If you want to experience a bit of history, Daniel says you should really visit where it all began: The Creek, where, “You can still see wooden trading ships puttering in, offloading their goods from the other Gulf regions, and puttering back out into the open waters.”

“These boats travel thousands of kilometres, and are built by hand! Visiting Dubai Creek gives you a taste for what Dubai was like 50 years ago and allows you to fully experience the diversity of the area.”

Dine With Clients

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Nothing brings people together like trying new food. And, for Daniel, it is unlike anything else in the world. Here are his picks for the three best value (and best tasting) local food in Dubai.

  • The Spice Souk: get your nose into the herbs and spices, watch how the local trade, go the Bazzar and negotiate a deal!
  • Bur Dubai: a fusion of middle eastern and subcontinents residents, and the air is buzzing with the scent of curry and spice. Bur Dubai is a mixture of residential, businesses and hotels, it is fast moving and very few westerners in this area. Get into Bur Dubai to truly experience subcontinent foods and hospitality.
  • Din Tai Fung: my friends own Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese restaurant, which is one of the top ten best restaurants in the world according to the New York Times. They have recently opened up in Dubai Mall, and it is the perfect high-class spot to take a client.

Hire A Car

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Daniel believes the best places in Dubai are ones that you will never find in a tourist guide: “When you drive 15 minutes outside of the city centre you end up in the middle of the desert!”

“With half an hour drive, you’ll experience sand and dunes as far as the eye can see.”

With sand dunes the size of mountains, and a relaxing, inspiring drive to get there, you owe it to yourself (and your next business meeting to take a few hours to ‘go bush’.


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According to Daniel, “Dubai has incredibly clean beaches with white sand, sparkling blue water and palm trees.”

“My favourite beach is La Mer, which also has an energetic beachfront culture, whether or not the sun is up!”


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While Daniel admits he loves a cheeky impulse buy in the mall, which has some of the best centres in the world, he also loves to shop in the Bazaars.

“These small local shops provide cheap, handcrafted, and generally high-quality goods. I purchased dozens of hand made shirts from them over the years, and the tailors are world class.”

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