Popular Driving Trips in Dubai
The desert playground of the rich and famous, Dubai is the second largest of the United Arab Emirates and the most important port and commercial centre of the UAE. Dubai lies on the banks of the Dubai Creek at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia. To really explore Dubai during your visit renting a car is highly recommended.
Throughout the UAE driving is on the right hand side and the main roads connecting the various sections of the city are modern and well-maintained. The two sections of the city on either side of the creek, Bur Dubai and Deira, are connected by two bridges and a tunnel. Petrol is considerably cheaper in Dubai than in Europe although petrol stations are less frequent so fill up whenever you can and carry a spare tank of fuel, especially if heading into the desert.
Foreign licenses are usually acceptable to drive in Dubai as long as the driver is a citizen or legal resident of the country of issue. It is often recommended to carry an international driver`s permit too for added security. When choosing a vehicle, be aware that a four-wheel drive is only necessary if you plan to drive across the desert. If you do intend to do this, you should ensure you have someone with good local knowledge travelling with you and carry plenty of water, fuel and food when setting off.
Popular driving trips in and around Dubai include self-guided city tours taking in the main attractions. You can plan your own route depending on which part of the city you choose to stay in but highlights not to miss include the iconic Burj Khalifa, where you can take a lift to the viewing deck and enjoy incredible views across the desert city. The striking Islamic architecture of the Jumeirah Mosque is another Dubai landmark and a great place to learn about the Islamic heritage of the area. In the Bastakiya Quarter you will find the Centre for Cultural Understanding, which is highly recommended for anyone interested in understanding real Emirati culture, beyond the skyscrapers and oil wealth.
With a rental car it is also possible to visit other Emirate states and a full day trip to Abu Dhabi is a particularly interesting excursion. Around 170 kilometres southwest of Dubai, Abu Dhabi is a thriving port city, featuring the Jebel Ali Port, the largest man-made port in the world. Sharjah is also accessible on a day driving trip and here you can see the King Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in the Emirates.
A great way to discover the Dubai landscape is by desert safari, which involves exploring the dunes in a four-wheel drive. Organised safaris are easy to arrange with lots of operators providing these, so shop around for a good deal and seek recommendations before booking. Safaris generally involve the exhilarating activity of `dune bashing` and early evening is a great time to go as the sunset really brings out the magnificent colours of the desert sands. When looking for good deals on car rental shop around online before booking. Also bear in mind that when youflights to Dubai might entitle you to a discount as many airlines now have special deals with rental companies.