Take the plunge with Dubai’s wet (and sometimes wild) water experiences
It might be known for its desert, but Dubai is the ultimate holiday for those who love the water. From adrenaline-powered flyboarding and deep sea diving expeditions to a leisurely sail through the Arabian Gulf, there will be a memorable water experience or two for those who enjoy aquatic adventures.
The world’s largest man-made island is also home to Atlantis, The Palm’s waterpark, Aquaventure. While the high-speed water slides and wave pool keep kids-at-heart happy, it’s the immersive underwater experiences that set this waterpark apart from the rest. Don a bubble helmet, and sink to the bottom of Aquaventure’s Shark Lagoon tank for a stroll amongst tropical fish, manta rays and, yes, sharks.
Rather keep your head above water? Try your hand at feeding the park’s school of friendly cownose rays. The petting pool lets you feed the curious rays by hand while standing thigh-deep in the salt water pool.
Atlantis, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah
+971 4 426 0000
Tried-and-tested by the city’s fitness stars, stand-up paddleboarding is one of Dubai’s favourite watersports. Sunset Beach is one of the most popular spots to do it, thanks to its calm waters and easy access to board rentals (not to mention the great coffee from LEEN's by The Surf House). A quick ten-minute tutorial is all beginners need to get out on to the water and start paddling. Get ready to sweat, with the cardio-heavy movements burning about 350 calories per hour at a casual pace. Fancy something a little more relaxing? Book in for a SUP sunrise yoga class and get your zen on in tree pose, floating in front of the Burj Al Arab.
Sunset Beach, Jumeirah
+971 4 321 1309
Experienced divers will jump at the chance to explore Dubai's coasts and meet the region’s unique mix of marine life face-to-face. Al Boom Diving, offers accompanied diving packages for those with their licences, as well as lessons and log-book hours for water babies looking to perfect their skills, equipment provided. They offer dive adventures to the World Islands around 4km off the Dubai coast, home to angel fish, grouper, clown fish, sting rays, barracudas, and a turtle or two.
+971 4 341 4940
Thrill-seekers can get their kicks out at sea with Hydro Water Sports, where Dubai’s latest toys are setting hearts racing. Flyboarding, also known as water jet-packing, sees adventure lovers fitted into a small board and strapped to a specially-made backpack that sucks up seawater before spitting it back out, propelling the rider high into the air. With a coach constantly by your side guiding you, Hydro Water Sports ensure that even beginners will be able to manoeuvre themselves around and soar above the sea– just be prepared to make a splash crash-landing on your first few attempts. This is not for the faint-hearted so come with a thirst for adrenaline, and for first-timers, a little patience to get the hang of it.
JBR, in front of The Ritz Carlton Hotel
+971 54 598 5353
Dining by the pier
At the end of luxe Al Qasr resort’s rustic wooden jetty, and accessible by tuk-tuk, sits popular romantic restaurant Pierchic. While the table-to-ceiling windows offer views of the Arabian Gulf waters, it’s the terrace seating that really impresses, delivering an unbeatable panorama of the nearby Burj Al Arab, Al Qasr lagoons and palm tree-lined shoreline. Diners can tuck into shellfish signatures from the seafood menu, or celebrate with a feast at the Friday brunch.
Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah
+971 4 366 6705
Private Yacht Tour
Take on the high seas in style and climb aboard a privately chartered yacht for an afternoon of sailing. Your own crew will stop by Dubai’s best-known seaside sights, with the Burj Al Arab, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah topping the must-see list. Or, they will create an itinerary tailored to your interests. Lunch is provided on request, with the on-board cook whipping up a barbecue feast. Drop anchor in the depths of the Arabian Gulf for a spot of swimming in warmer waters, or throw out a line to reel in a few hammour fish.
Xclusive Yachts Charter, Dubai Marina
+971 4 432 7233