Dubai is a city enamoured of superlatives, from the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa) to the longest driverless metro (Dubai Metro Red Line), and even the world’s longest bar (creatively named Long’s). It’s no surprise, then, that in March the Guinness World Records set up a dedicated Dubai-based office, and to date the city holds 60 world records. In honour of Dubai’s wacky side, we’ve come up with 47 of the most unusual, interesting and refreshing activities to try. There are a few to keep more faint-hearted residents happy, such as weird and wonderful massage treatments, as well as eye-boggling eats and hair-raising sporting activities only the most die-hard adventurers can handle. Measure your comfort level on our wackometer to find the right activities for you, then head out to test your mettle…
1 Russian cabaret at Tchaikovsky
This all-singing, all-dancing Russian venue in Dubai Marina is a must-visit for its doo-wop dancing, disco lighting and traditional Russian dishes.
Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 448 8222). 4/5
2 Have a drink in icy surroundings
Cool off in the freezing Chillout Bar, which is constructed from ice. You’ll be given a warm coat to wear so you don’t get too chilly in the -6°C temperatures.
Dhs60 per person, including drink. Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.chilloutatdubai.com/home (800 24455 688). 3/5
3 Atlantis’ underwater suite
Where else in the world can you hire an underwater suite? At Atlantis you’ll gaze out at more than 65,000 different marine species in the Ambassador Lagoon.
From Dhs45,000 per night. Atlantis The Palm (04 426 2000). 5/5
4 Sleep at a height of 300 metres
Check into the tallest hotel room on the globe at the new record-breaking JW Marriott Marquis hotel, which has four sumptuous suites on the 69th floor.
From Dhs60,000 per night. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Business Bay (04 414 0000). 3/5
5 Visit a space-age bar Cosy Bur Dubai drinkery
The High Mile Club looks as though it’s modelled on the inside of the Starship Enterprise, yet it serves a range of traditional Indian food to a mainly Arabic clientele.
Surreal. Open daily noon-4pm, 6pm-3am. The Manhattan Hotel, BurDubai (04 325 9000). 4/5
6 Spend a night at Cirque du Soir
Party with dwarves, aerial artists, jugglers, fire breathers and people painted in random colours at Dubai’s high-end answer to the Moulin Rouge.
Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 115 4507). 5/5
7 Dine inside a classic car
One of the most beguiling of all of ‘old Dubai’s beguiling bars, The Garage takes its name literally, with an interior full of decommissioned vintage cars, with sawn-off roofs and big leather seats in which to relax.
Open daily 9pm-3am. Ramee International Hotel, Deira (04 224 0222).3/5
8 Tour the world in one evening
Wandering around this huge theme park-like market of 160 kiosks from 65 countries is an entirely unique experience.
Open daily Sun-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 4pm-1am. E111, signposted from Arabian Ranches, www.globalvillage.ae. 5/5
9 See theatre 43 floors up at The Act Dubai
Anything that originated in Vegas is always going to be a little zany. Located over two levels on the 43rd floor, the world’s highest theatre club holds weekly performances.
Open Thu and Sun 9.30pm-3am. Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 811 9900). 4/5
10 Sing karaoke tunes at TECOM hole-in-the-wall 1UP
What’s weird about this venue is the artwork on the walls. The karaoke room out the back features giggle-worthy painted interpretations of The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley.
Boutique 7 Hotel, TECOM (04 434 5555). 3/5