What are Fun and Inexpensive Things to Do in the Dubai Desert?

Fun and Inexpensive Things

Dubai conjures images of luxury shopping, towering skyscrapers, and opulent hotels. But just beyond the city’s dazzling facade lies a vast and captivating landscape: the Arabian Desert. This golden expanse offers a unique opportunity for adventure and exploration, even for those on a budget. Here at Desert Detour, we know an unforgettable desert experience doesn’t have to break the bank.

This guide unlocks a treasure trove of fun and affordable activities to make your desert adventure in Dubai truly special. We’ve covered you, from exploring historical sites steeped in tradition to indulging in heart-pounding thrills.

Embrace the Thrill Seeker Within

The Dubai desert isn’t just for strolls. Unleash your inner adventurer with these exciting and surprisingly affordable options:

  • Dune Bashing: This quintessential desert experience is a must-do for any visitor. Climb aboard a sturdy 4WD vehicle and hold on tight as your experienced driver navigates the towering sand dunes. Feel the adrenaline surge as you crest each dune, experiencing the thrill of the desert terrain. Prices for shared dune bashing adventures start surprisingly low, making it an accessible activity for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Sandboarding: After conquering the dunes on a thrilling ride, why not try navigating them yourself? Sandboarding is a fantastic way to experience the desert from a new perspective. Rental boards are readily available at most desert camps, making this a budget-friendly option to extend the dune bashing fun.
  • Buggy Rental Dubai: Take the wheel and chart your course through the desert with a buggy rental. Explore hidden corners, feel the wind in your hair, and create unforgettable memories. Buggy rentals in Dubai cater to a range of experience levels, from beginner-friendly single-seaters to high-powered options for seasoned off-road enthusiasts. Compare prices and choose a rental company with proper safety briefings and equipment.
  • Dirt Bike Dubai: For the ultimate off-road adventure, consider renting a dirt bike. These high-powered machines allow you to tackle more challenging terrain and experience the exhilaration of carving your own path through the desert sands. Dirt Bike Dubai experiences often include guided tours led by experienced professionals, ensuring both safety and maximizing your desert exploration.

Explore the Desert’s Cultural Gems

Dubai’s desert isn’t just a playground for thrill-seekers; it’s also a land steeped in history and tradition. Here are some fascinating and affordable ways to delve into the desert’s cultural heritage:

  • Visit a Bedouin Camp: Immerse yourself in the nomadic Bedouin way of life by visiting a traditional desert camp. Enjoy a warm welcome, taste authentic Emirati cuisine, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the desert people. Many camps offer cultural performances, traditional storytelling sessions, and opportunities to try your hand at henna painting or camel rides – all at very reasonable prices.
  • Hatta Heritage Village: Nestled amidst the Hajar Mountains, this charming village offers a glimpse into Dubai’s pre-oil past. Explore restored mudbrick houses, learn about traditional crafts like palm weaving, and understand the region’s fascinating history. Entrance to the village is free, making it a perfect budget-friendly activity.
  • Al Ain Oasis:  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al Ain Oasis is a haven of lush greenery amidst the desert landscape. Explore ancient falaj irrigation systems, wander through date palm plantations, and discover archaeological sites that shed light on the region’s rich past. Entrance fees here are minimal, allowing you to experience a significant historical and ecological treasure without a hefty price tag.

Seek Tranquility and Natural Beauty

The Dubai desert offers a surprising serenity for those seeking a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. Here are some budget-friendly ways to experience the desert’s peaceful side:

  • Desert Stargazing:  Escape the city lights and marvel at the breathtaking night sky in the desert. The vast expanse and minimal light pollution create a perfect canvas for observing constellations, planets, and even the Milky Way. Join a guided stargazing tour with a knowledgeable guide who can help you identify celestial wonders, or find a secluded spot and lose yourself in the beauty of the desert night.
  • Camel Trekking: Traditionally, you can experience the desert on a relaxing camel trek. These gentle giants have been a vital part of desert life for centuries, and a camel ride offers a unique and peaceful way to explore the dunes and appreciate the desert landscape. Camel ride prices vary depending on the duration and location, but you can find affordable options that won’t break the bank.
  • Desert Camping:  Pitch a tent under the vast desert sky and reconnect with nature. Witness the stunning desert sunrise, enjoy a campfire under the star-studded sky, and experience the tranquility of the desert wilderness. Camping permits are easily obtainable at reasonable prices, making this a budget-friendly option for a truly immersive desert experience.

Unwind and Refuel

After a day of exploring the desert, there’s nothing like relaxing and enjoying a delicious meal. Here are some budget-conscious options to consider:

  • Picnic in the Desert: Pack a light lunch and find a scenic spot amidst the dunes to enjoy a delightful picnic. The fresh desert air and stunning scenery will enhance your meal, making it a memorable and affordable way to refuel.
  • Local Restaurants: Venture beyond the tourist hotspots and explore local restaurants serving traditional Emirati cuisine. Sample dishes like Machboos (spiced meat and rice) or Luqaimat (sweet dumplings) for a taste of authentic desert flavors at a fraction of the price of upscale restaurants.
  • Dates: Desert adventure is only complete with trying dates, a staple food in the region. Dates are delicious and incredibly nutritious, making them the perfect on-the-go snack or a sweet treat to end your day. Purchase them from local vendors or supermarkets for a budget-friendly and authentic taste of the desert.

Insider Tips for a Budget-Friendly Desert Adventure

  • Plan Your Trip: Research desert activities and compare prices beforehand. Look for combo packages that offer discounts on multiple activities.
  • Travel During the Off-Season: Dubai’s peak tourist season coincides with cooler winter months. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall), when prices tend to be lower, and the weather is still pleasant.
  • Utilize Public Transportation: Public buses can be a cost-effective way to reach the city’s outskirts, where many desert camps and activities are located. Taxis are another option, but negotiate fares beforehand to avoid inflated prices.
  • Embrace Free Activities: Many incredible aspects of the desert can be enjoyed for free. Explore the vast expanse on a self-guided hike, stargaze under the night sky, or relax on a public beach and soak up the desert sun.
  • Pack Smart: Pack comfortable clothing suitable for the desert climate, sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water. Bringing your refillable water bottle will help you stay hydrated without incurring additional costs.


The Dubai desert offers a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. With some planning and resourcefulness, you can have an unforgettable adventure without exceeding your budget. Desert Detour is here to help you plan your perfect desert escape. Contact us today to explore our range of affordable desert tours and activities, and get ready to create lasting memories in the heart of the Arabian Desert.

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