After visiting the United Arab Emirates 7 times, I’ve nearly tried it all. The UAE is such an ever changing place that you can travel there over and over again and experience something new every time. Below are 7 of the most unique activities in the UAE, some you’ve likely never heard of before!

1. Falcon Hospital Abu Dhabi

The staple of UAE culture and tradition is Falconry. For thousands of years, Falcons have been used as hunting birds predominantly in the Middle East and are a pet and an asset to those who own them, with the most expensive bird’s price tag at a record quarter million dollars. Consider your trip to the UAE incomplete if you haven’t seen or even held a falcon. The most intimate way of learning about falcons is by visiting the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the world’s first and largest hospital dedicated to the Falcon. The Falcon Hospital Abu Dhabi is one of the most unique experiences you’ll have in the UAE. There you will be able to see first hand the intricate treatment these pricey birds receive. You’ll learn about their history, their anatomy, and you’ll see an actual procedure done on the bird! A visit to the Falcon Hospital is arguably the most unique experience you’ll have in the UAE. And the best part?  The ticket is only 30 Dhs (less than $10) 

2. Hot air ballooning with Falcon’s

To piggyback on the topic of falcons, Ballooning UAE, offers sunrise hot air balloon rides in the Dubai desert with special guests: falcons! The experience is unlike anything you’ll ever see and one of the most unique things you can do in Dubai. On this ride, you will experience the  most stunning sunrise in the world in the Dubai desert and you’ll be up close and personal with real falcons. Their trainers will feed them and send them flying around the hot air balloon, too. Balloon Adventures Dubai is the longest operating Hot Air Balloon Company in Dubai. Their team of experts have been flying since 2005 and after thousands of flights its unlikely that you will find someone better to take you on this whirlwind of an experience.   

3. AquaFun Dubai / Abu Dhabi

If you google Jumeirah Beach and click on the “earth” option, you will see the large word “DUBAI” in the middle of the water. The letters  make up what is actually the largest inflatable waterpark in the world – of course, because this is Dubai. The over-water theme park, which is also open in Abu Dhabi, attracts hundreds of children and adults alike and for 150 dirhams (~$40) you can spend literally all day trying to pass the whole course or just glide your way into the salty blue waters, no pressure. The park was founded by a local Emirati, Ahmed Ben Chaibah, and gained popularity globally with major viral videos on Social Media. One of the recent viral videos has reached more than 4.4+ Million viewers alone.

Credit: Business Insider

4. Skydiving Dubai

If there is one thing you should do during your trip to the UAE it is skydiving over the Palm. It is simply the most unique experience in the UAE. Nothing in the world compares to the feeling of skydiving – doing it over the Palm and flying above the Dubai Marina? Indescribable! The feeling is like no other, the vantage point is better than any that you’d see from an airplane, and the intimacy you’ll feel with the skyline under your dangling feet will leave you longing for more. A tandem skydive is the quickest and easiest way to experience the thrill of free fall at over 120 miles per hour, while securely attached in a harness to one of our world-class instructors.

5. Ziplining in Marina and RAK

Another unique experience in the UAE is longest urban zipline in the Dubai Marina. Enjoy the city scapes and fly over land and water at up to 80km/h from 170m down to ground level!

Credit: X-Line Marina

6. Gyrocopter Dubai

If skydiving isn’t your thing, the next best way to see Dubai is from a gyrocopter, which in itself is the coolest piece of flight machinery you’ll likely ever see. Only you and the pilot flying over the breathtaking views of the Palm, along Jumeirah, Madinat Jumeirah, Burj al Arab, Kyte Beach followed by Burj Khalifa  and back over Sheikh Zayed to Marina and landing.

Credit: Tripadvisor

7. Helicopter from the Palm

I now realize that most of the activities here are based many feet in the air – however, I can’t help it: Dubai is absolutely incredible from above! Even as little as a 15min helicopter ride is a unique way to see some of the pivotal sights that Dubai has to offer its visitors: the Palm, Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and Downtown, as well as the world island.

8. Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Dinner in the Sky is a Belgian based experience which is exactly as the name suggests: you have dinner 50 ft in the sky, at a table that dangles from a large crane. Ok, it doesn’t exactly dangle, but it does slowly rotate to give everyone a fair chance to see the beautiful views. Dinner in the Sky is one of the most unique experiences hands down, not just in the UAE, and what better city to do it in if not in Dubai while overlooking the Dubai Eye, the Dubai Marina and the Burj Al Arab in the distance. Prices range from $135 – $200, I recommend the afternoon session which happens during sunset in winter months, giving you an unforgettable view during both day and night.