So many activities!

I have spent most of the afternoon searching the internet for exciting, adventurous and unusual things to do in Dubai; bookmarking various pages whilst trying to work out how long each activity will take, how to get there and how much it will cost.  You see my parents are visiting at the end of November and we’ve only been here a short while so there are two major obstacles; we haven’t actually partaken in many of the activities yet therefore we don’t know if the activities will be suitable or any good; and we are rather strapped for cash (as many expats will tell you, moving here is an expensive business)!

So, where to start when looking for activities to do? I have always found this a rather daunting and somewhat time consuming task that never ends in any definite decision as to what activity to do. I end up spending hours reading the latest ‘Top 10′ book, or searching ‘google’: then once I’ve found some things to look at I skim read the contents before moving on to see if I can find something else that offers the same activity cheaper or better! At the end of all of this I never end up booking anything, feeling deflated and frustrated whilst everyone else has been there and done that.

A friend of a friend (who has only been here for about 3 months, if that) told me across the dinner table the other night that they, as a family, had been on a desert safari tour that was on one of those deals on Yallabanana and it had been a bit of a disaster. Now that puts me off a bit. On the one hand I was slightly envious that they had already been ‘out there’ as such, experiencing what Dubai has to offer but on the other hand I felt disheartened at her experience as it only means that I have to delve deeper into my research to find the best desert safari. When I say the best: that is what we are ultimately looking for isn’t it? The best experience, the best value, the best for our kids and having the “best time ever”?

Now they got a deal on that particular website. I have heard numerous ‘horror’ stories (a bit OTT to call them that but you get the jist) about certain deal sites in the UK. My mum bought a voucher from Groupon for a wee cafe in Glasgow but the owner of the cafe saw the voucher, was not best pleased and decided that they were closing in half an hour so they had to order a take away sandwich instead of a sit in meal. There is more to that story but basically that was what happened. So I am always wary at getting a deal whether it be on a Groupon-esque site or a voucher or coupon found in a magazine or book. However I think it is time I get over that. Big style. As in Dubai EVERYONE uses vouchers! In fact you can buy books full of the things!

Since arriving in Dubai loads of people have said to me, “Do you have the Entertainer?” and I’m thinking, “What?!” They mean the books of vouchers you can find in some stores here or you can buy from them directly online for 10% discount (as I have just discovered) at For your information the Family Entertainer is 350 AED which seems a bit expensive but, as my friend said to me today, the cost of two adult tickets for Aquaventure at the Atlantis at the Palm is 450 AED (225 each). Therefore you have nearly covered the cost of the book. (Entry is cheaper if you are a resident but I’m talking about one example of how much this book is worth it.)

Have I bought one? No. Simply because it is nearly November and the vouchers are only valid until the end of the year then you buy another one. However if my parents are coming it might actually be worth it.

Anyway I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent here as I was originally going to talk about the wide range of activities Dubai has to offer (more of that later). But I suppose that, in the end, we are all after a ‘deal’ or a discount and we are in a recession and it is actually quite cool to be seen to be saving a few pounds these days. Or so they say! I will be back with some other deals and suggestions of how to save a few pounds on those many activities! P x