Experience the many thrills of the UAE on this brand new expedition trip.

Discover one of the most underrated and incredible destinations of the world on this unique expedition trip to the UAE. While for most travellers this destination is nothing more than a stopover, there’s much to discover beyond its ultra-modern and opulent reputation – or is that half the fun? Delve into Old Dubai with the locals, experience heart-warming Bedouin hospitality, camp under the stars on the edge of the desert, visit ancient oases and get a glimpse from the dizzying peaks in both the city and the mountains. This small group tour of the UAE will make you wish you’d discovered this desert gem sooner.


Start
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Finish
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Destinations
Style
Original
Theme
Expedition
Code
EESB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 4, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • An informal welcome dinner at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding breaks the ice – and takes the hassle out of organising your first meal in a new place

  • A tour run by our friends Urban Adventures gives you the best possible experience of Old Dubai. Sip rich aromatic coffee with Bedouin locals, try your hand at calligraphy and tour the spice and gold souqs

  • Try a bit of dune bashing as you explore some of the largest sand dunes in the world, not without a night spent under the stars

  • Visit Al Ain – a World Heritage-listed 4000-year-old oasis which is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited settlements

  • Take an exhilarating drive to the highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais, with breathtaking views over the Gulf

  • Soar to the 24th floor of the Burj Khalifa at 10 metres per second for breathtaking and unobstructed views of the Emirates

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes two nights camping in igloo tents in a designated site. All equipment is supplied. This is a fantastic experience, but keep in mind bathroom facilities are shared.

  • While the United Arab Emirates can be very hot, once the sun dips in the desert and on top of the mountains temperatures can drop quickly. You will need a warm sweater and, depending on your time of travel, thermals if possible.

  • There is some dune bashing and off road driving on this itinerary, all of which adds to the excitement. But because of the adventurous nature of the journey and the rough terrain covered, we do not recommend this itinerary to passengers if they have any pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant or over 65.

  • While we’ve put a lot of research and work into creating this trip, it’s a new adventure for Intrepid, and sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones. Either way, it’s important to be open and flexible. This is expedition travel after all!

Itinerary

Welcome to the UAE! There's a welcome meeting at 6 pm today, after which we'll head out for dinner. You're free to arrive any time before that.

To call Dubai the 'little fishing village that could' is an understatement – this city has well and truly made it big, at least as far as opulence and grandeur is concerned. The abundance of supercars is one of many manifestations of this wealth. But there's so much more to Dubai for those willing to delve deeper. Check out man-made islands sculpted into the shapes of palms, visit the famous kilometre-tall tower (or nearly a kilometre), explore the heritage area of Bastakiya, or wander the spice and gold souqs. Keep in mind we'll be covering some of these things once the trip starts.

After the welcome meeting tonight we'll head to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) for an informal dinner. The centre provides a bridge between the many different nationalities living, working and visiting the UAE.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today we hit the streets for a tour of Old Dubai. The tour begins with a gentle stroll to the historic Alfahidi district, one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai.  Our first stop is a traditional Bedouin tent where we will share a coffee and chat with our Emeriti friend Abo and find out more about the life of the Bedouin people (and meet his pet falcon!). At a neighbouring tent we learn more about the national dress of the country and take a look at some traditional abayadresses and kandoura (the all-white robes worn by Arab men).

After visiting the Calligraphy Museum and Coffee Museum, we visit a local art gallery set in a beautiful old Persian house. Then it's off for a spot of shopping – a very Dubai pastime. After that we take a water taxi to the other side of the creek where a delicious surprise awaits us – dates covered in creamy white chocolate made from camel milk, a local delicacy and a must-try here in the old town. Finally we tour the spice souq and the gold souq, where your guide will naturally be on hand to guide you through any bartering if you buy anything. After the tour, the afternoon is at your leisure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dubai - City Tour (Half Day)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Meet your Bedouin guides and set off for Abu Dhabi (1.5 hours), the capital of the UAE and of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The marble domes and towering minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque shimmer on the horizon as you approach the city. Enjoy a guided tour of this opulent mosque, the largest in the country and capable of seating 41,000. Then swing past the elegant Emirates Palace, which occupies nearly 250 acres of coastline along the Corniche and stretches almost one kilometre from wing to wing.

Continue to Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, a model of a traditional Emirati village which gives insight into the heritage of Bedouin people such as your guides. In the afternoon, continue south-west to the edge of the great empty quarter. Liwa is the name given to this vast and almost barren region of golden dunes. Discover the legendary Rub Al Khali – one of the largest sand dunes in the world. Enjoy a spectacular sunset and some sand hiking before settling in to your private campsite for dinner under the stars.
Accommodation
  • Igloo Tent Camping (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Liwa Oasis - Scenic Drive and Dune Bashing
  • Abu Dhabi - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Camping this evening is basic igloo twin share tents, mattresses and blankets are supplied.  There are shared bathroom facilities in the camping area.  There are no shower facilities 
After a camp breakfast we head to Al Ain, stopping at Al Bithna Fort en route. Al Ain's name (literally 'the spring' in Arabic) stems from the six oases that have sustained Bedouin life here for 4000 years. It's one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited settlements. A tour of the oasis reveals thousands of plots farmed by Emirati families who manage more than 140,000 palm trees.

The camel souq in Al Ain is the last of its kind in the UAE, a place where 'working' camels are traded for about $5000 a head. Watching the trading is a slightly dusty and not that easy on the nose but it is an integeral part of Arab culture. Later we visit the Al Jahili Fort, which houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Wilfred Thesiger, the intrepid explorer, travel writer and photographer who crossed the Empty Quarter twice in the 1940s.

After lunch we hit the road for an afternoon of some of the best driving in the UAE as we continue to Ras Ras Al Khaimah and the highest peak in UAE Jebel Jais at 1,925 m. The drive to the top can be windy but the road is well maintained and safety barriers are in place. It is cold up here, so you'll need to bring an extra layers! Later we continue to our oasis for another night in our igloo tents and some more heart-warming Bedouin hospitality.
Accommodation
  • Igloo Tent Camping (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ras Al Khaimah- Jebel Jais Mountain
  • Al Ain - Tour
  • Al Ain - Camel Market Visit and Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning we relax a little at camp before we making the journey back to Dubai. We'll arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon we check into our hotel, then meet our local guide who will show us around some of modern Dubai including the Burj Khalifa. Soaring high at 555 metres, the observation deck is thankfully not something you have to reach by foot – the high-speed elevator takes us up at the furious rate of 10 metres per second. As the doors open, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a breathtaking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, desert and ocean.

Afterwards, the evening is yours, so kick back and relax with your new travel companions, or explore some more as you please.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dubai - Burj Khalifa 124 Floor
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

metro, 4WD

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nights) Igloo Tents (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Dubai - City Tour (Half Day)
  • Liwa Oasis - Scenic Drive and Dune Bashing
  • Abu Dhabi - City Tour
  • Ras Al Khaimah- Jebel Jais Mountain
  • Al Ain - Tour
  • Al Ain - Camel Market Visit and Lunch
  • Dubai - Burj Khalifa 124 Floor

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our United Arab Emirates Expedition trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
There is a single supplement available for this trip including camping nights.

ITINERARY
This trip includes off road driving and some dune bashing. We do not recommend this itinerary for pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women or travellers over the age of 65.

This itinerary includes two nights igloo tent camping.  Camping mattresses are supplied and bedding but we do recommend carrying a sleep sheet and or sleeping bag on this trip.

TOUR LEADER
This trip has a Tour Leader for Dubai activities on day 1 and day 5.  Days 2-5 you will be hosted by your Bedouin driver / guide  in modern 4WD vehicles.  All of our driver /guides speak excellent English are trained in off road driving and basic first aid.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.