In case you thinking we haven’t had any down time, we have. Yesterday and today started with a couple hours spent in the rooftop pool. Today, we also took a cab ride to see iconic the Burj al Arab and dip our feet in the warm Persian Gulf waters before spending a little time at the super posh Mall of the Emirates (which I’ll update you on later).
These nice, slow starts to the day made sure we had energy we for sure were spending getting into shenanigans in the desert. The intense heat definitely takes a lot out of you by the end of the day. Despite falling asleep by 11pm, we’ve needed alarms to wake us up at 8am and 9am.
These last two days in the desert were a perfect ending to what I can only describe as a fantasy.
Day 1 in the desert: Sand dune crashing
Tours for sand dune crashing are easy to find, both when you get here and in advance. (We booked in advance.) Six of us were buckled into a white Land Cruiser and were driven about 45 minutes outside Dubai to the Lahbab Desert, which creeps up on the border of Oman. As we approached the red sandy desert, we became one among a sea of other white Land Cruisers.
After deflating the tires a bit and getting the music ready (literally), our driver just … took off, along with about 10 other cars. It seemed like a race to get to the head of the pack, but once the line was formed, we were in our spot, following the path, but each experiencing a different ride. Going 40 mph over uneven, tall sand dunes left for a thrilling, bouncy, laugh-filled ride. Sand went flying everywhere. I had a front seat view, and I swear we were going to topple over a few times, but he clearly knew how to control the vehicle. At one point, we took one crazy sideways turn and the tire popped off the rim! Less than five minutes later, he had it fixed and we were back on our way.
After an hour or so, we eventually arrived to a tent where we enjoyed a lovely sunset, were entertained by fire and belly dancers, smoked sheesha, held a falcon, and ate dinner. When we got back to our hotel, we found sand everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.
Day 2: A luxury desert safari experience
There’s a reason this tour company is rated #1 on Trip Advisor and is where celebrities head to. Every detail was done to perfection. We lucked out by getting Wesam as our tour guide, who is the team lead of the tour group. He’s a big reason we had such a wonderful experience.
What our day included:
- Getting traditional shela head wraps to protect our hair and face from the desert sands
- Hopping aboard a light green 1961 Land Rover that brought us through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and had me thinking I was part of Lawrence of Arabia all day
- Watching a falcon display its amazing hunting techniques
- Sipping sparkling date juice as we watched a gorgeous sunset
- Making camp at a luxurious camp site where we lounged while smoking more sheesha, got henna tattoos, rode camels, watched an insane fire show, and ate a delicious meal
I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful everything was. I’m really glad this was how we ended our holiday. At $150, it was more than worth it. We even paid an extra $75 to get a few photos and fantastic video recap. If you make it to Dubai, work through Platinum Heritage Tours. They know what they’re doing, and you’ll have an incredible experience. Everyone is attentive, jokes with you, and makes sure you’re comfortable and enjoying yourself. It truly was the PERFECT ending to trip that I can only describe as a living fantasy.