Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Day 3 – Markets, dune riding and belly dancing!

Last updated: Jun 4th, 2024

After another early start, we made our way over to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Here, the world’s tallest elevator (figures) whisks you to the ‘At the Top’ observation deck at a speed of 10m per second, where you are rewarded with a spectacular 360° view of Dubai.

Once safely back on solid ground, we headed to Old Dubai and a cultural lunch at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. While here, I enjoyed a fascinating presentation into the centre’s role to raise awareness of the Emirates’ different cultures and religions, concluding which a very open Q&A session and a delicious traditional lunch.

The afternoon was then spent wandering around the vibrant souks and spice markets of the old town. This is where the children on tour can practice their haggling skills and buy all manner of delightful presents to take home. For groups spending the evening in the old town, dinner is in a great restaurant sitting on a pontoon over the creek, overlooking the lights of the boats and the distant glittering skyline of downtown Dubai.

There’s nothing like ending on a high, and the final stop on my Dubai itinerary was a Desert Safari! As part of this, everyone travels in 4×4’s along the road into another of the UAE States, Sharjah. This is as apparently the red sand here makes for the best dune riding experience!

After an hour’s exhilarating ride, it was back across the border into Dubai, where the brilliantly quirky evening entertainment took the form of Tanoura dancing, belly dancers and a traditional meal. How many times in your life are you going to be in a desert under the stars, the temperature still hovering around 80°, trying out belly dancing?! It was the perfect end to a magnificent three days in Dubai.


Having found both a warm welcome and some incredible, second-to-none sporting facilities during my time here, I can confirm that a trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi will certainly provide a real once in a lifetime school sports tour!

What really stood out were all of the amazing enrichment opportunities that were available through educational, religious and sporting attractions dotted around the Emirates. From the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, to Dubai’s colourful old town, everywhere you turned there were constant reminders that you are in a very different part of the world, alongside the chance to learn about and experience more of this wonderful culture.

– Glenn Martin, Tours Consultant