Arabian Nights in Modern Times

Desert - Photo by Bilai MirzaThe Arabian Desert isn’t exactly considered a paradise. Images of the endless dunes of sand conjure thoughts of dying of thirst and being unable to escape the relentless beating of the sun. The silver screen has painted the desert as a mysterious place where adventures come alive. If you believe the tales you have seen in The Mummy, Aladdin, or Hidalgo, then this arid land offers only danger to those who dare to visit.

The Arabian Desert does not have to be a scary place. The truth is that cultures have thrived there for thousands of years. Tourists will find a multitude of activities to fill their time while visiting the Arabian Desert. Dubai is a bustling city in the middle of the sand. It can offer you all the luxuries you are used to having at home. Be sure to pack carefully. People are often taken aback by how strong the sun’s rays are. You can avoid heat stroke and dehydration by packing clothes that are light in both color and weight.

Cave exploration is one of the most exciting options to fill your time with during an Arabian Desert vacation. Beneath the sand, there are miles of tunnels to explore. As you walk into a passage entrance, you will not find smooth walls and electric lights. Protrusions from the rock will jut out to trip the unsuspecting so be sure to keep your wits about you. Before you even think of stepping a foot into one of these caves, you must learn the two mandatory rules every explorer must obey at all times.
Desert Cave - Photo by James Emery
The first is to always have three sources of light with you at all times. Being caught without a source of light can turn this trip into a deadly situation. Because of your unfamiliarity with the tunnel, you will be unaware of any holes in the ground or places that are weak enough to cave in. The second rule is to never take off your pack. Your bag carries the essentials you need to survive such as rope, water and food. By leaving your pack behind, you are putting yourself at great risk. If you keep in mind these two mandates, you can be confident in your safety as you explore these underground pathways. Do not forget to sign the cave register, which is usually a piece of paper kept in a mason jar placed somewhere deep in the tunnel. This way everyone who comes after will know of your accomplishment.

Dune Bashing  - Photo by Rezza SardoviaWhile visiting the area, you must go on a desert safari. Also known as dune bashing, this excursion takes passengers on an exhilarating ride through the sand. While you can rent your own 4WD drive vehicle, hiring a professional driver allows you to get the most out of the experience. You will be picked up about 2 p.m. and taken to the rallying point where vehicles from all the tour companies will meet and go out together. You will usually have about a 30-minute wait. During this time, the companies will double check to their cars as young men perform driving tricks to entertain the tourists. Once the safari begins, be ready for the ride of your life. The drivers will spend about a hour-and-a-half racing through the sand. Time will be divided between multiple exciting maneuvers such as bursting through small dunes, climbing up mountains and speeding diagonally across the ground.

Camel Riders - Photo by Adam StoneThe ride will end just in time to watch the sun dip below the sand. In the last rays of the sun, you will be chauffeured to the center camp in the middle of the desert. Most tour companies include a barbeque in their safari packages. Some camps even offer alcohol for an additional price. While the food is prepared, you will be able to take it easy and various activities to enjoy as you wait. The typical entertainment options include going on a camel ride or watching a group of young women as they perform belly dancing for the crowd. After you eat, you will be taken on a gentle ride back to your hotel.

It is important to keep in mind when planning a trip that political unrest and war affects the entire world at some point. Pay special attention to the news and cancel or postpone your trip if things in the area seem to be making a turn for the worse. If you are particularly nervous about going to this section on the world, consider going with a tour group or seasoned traveler. By taking your time and truly relishing every experience that comes your way, you can learn about the culture and daily life of the local residents. That is the best part of traveling — learning how people around the world differ from you. A trip to the Arabian Desert will be one you will remember for a lifetime.

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About the author: Amber Watkins

Amber Watkins always knew she wanted to be a writer. After revealing her first novel at the tender age of seven, a fantasy story all of ten pages long, she was confident she had the skill and determination to reach her goal. Over the years she dabbled in various genres, pausing for almost ten years on poetry. Once her teenage angst had passed, she moved on to article writing so she could actually support herself and her family. Now she focuses on honing her craft as she takes on new challenges.

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