Dubai is surprising in many ways; not only for being one of the fastest growing cities in the world but also for the incredible mega projects that consequently make it as the business capital of the UAE. Yet, another side of Dubai, the desert, is often overlooked.

As a part of the Arabian Desert, the Dubai Desert attracts travelers in search of picturesque landscapes and venturesome experiences. To catch a glimpse of the orange dunes at sunset is really a wonderful feeling, and can be an interesting way of contrasting the dynamic urban area.

There are several ways to visit the desert, with the most common being to go on a 4×4 Safari. Most tour companies follow similar itineraries, where passengers leave the city at around 4 pm and begin to traverse the dunes in the late afternoon. After sunset, groups reach Bedouin camps, where it is possible to go on camel rides, try sand-boarding, or experience traditional activities such as haymaking. Before dinner is served, locals organize performances of belly dancing and choreographies with fire and swords. In addition to the regular itineraries, there are alternatives to spend the night in the desert to see the sunrise or have a romantic dinner in the dunes.

For those looking for a more exclusive experience, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the ideal place to look into. This area of the desert is richer in life (popular for species like the Arabian oryx) and the grandiosity of its dunes. Within the reserve, one can stay at one the resorts in the midst of the dunes, which aside from accommodation offer various day tours that allow an even closer look into the desert.