The United Arab Emirates is known as one of the top players in the oil and gas industry, an economic powerhouse in the GCC, and home to the world’s tallest building. It also brings to mind, rolling and picturesque deserts and other popular tourist spots.

With its seven emirates, though, there are still other places you must discover with unusual yet exciting and fun things you can do while you’re here.

Extraordinary and Enjoyable Experiences

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want to try something unique while you’re in the UAE, here are some tips and suggestions:

1. Experience the LIWA Desert Safari

The UAE is surrounded by numerous sandy wild lands but no other place can allow you to experience a unique blend of rugged and luxurious outdoor living than the LIWA desert.

The LIWA desert safari takes place at the LIWA oasis in Abu Dhabi – the home of the biggest sand dunes in the world. You can choose from different activities to include in the tour package such as sightseeing, sand boarding, dune bashing, and camel back riding. If you want to spend the night here, you can stay at one of the different types of tents. These tents range from budget-friendly ones to more luxurious, spacious accommodation options where you won’t feel like you’re in the desert at all.

At night, you can also join a camp bonfire, indulge in an outdoor feast, and experience dokha smoking (if you are over 18 years of age).

One unique side trip you shouldn’t skip out on is a visit to the Singing Sand Dunes. In this area, you will hear a chilling sound that is akin to the low notes of the didgeridoo or the one made by a low-flying plane. This “singing” is said to be caused by the vibrations of the grains of sand as they fall on top of each other. According to experts, 30 locations around the world have singing sands, but the ones found (or heard) in LIWA are the most pronounced and melodious.

2. Feel the chill at the Ski Dubai Snowpark

If feeling hot and sweaty isn’t your thing, escape the heat by hanging out at the Ski Dubai Snowpark. This indoor ski lodge and snow park is covered with real snow all year round. You’ll get to go skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even ride a ski lift even during the hottest time of the day. The indoor snow park is also home to a few cute penguins, so this is a good choice if you’ve always wanted to see these flightless birds up close and personal.

Ski Dubai is also home to the world’s first indoor sub-zero Zip Line – the Snow Bullet. The Snow Bullet will let you fly down the hillside and soar as high as 16 meters above slopes along its 150 meter-long Zip Line.

3. Ride a Futuristic Car

It’s not hard to imagine what the cars of the future will look like and what they can do, thanks to various sci-fi movies and shows. But you can go one step further and actually ride one in Masdar City.

Masdar City is an eco-city located near Abu Dhabi’s airport. The local architecture combines traditional Arabic and ultramodern designs. You’ll also find the latest technology here, including the wind tunnel which controls the temperature even in the summer. You’ll also get to ride in a driverless car (alas, it won’t transform into a robot yet) which will take you from the car park to the city itself.

4. Live Underwater

You don’t have to grow a tail and fins to know what it’s like to live under the sea; simply book the Poseidon or Neptune Underwater Suites at the Atlantis on Dubai’s Palm Island. You’ll be surrounded by amazing underwater views, including a re-imagination of the mythical lost city of Atlantis and hundreds of beautiful fish and other marine life.

5. Withdraw Gold from an ATM

There’s nothing exciting about getting cash from an ATM, but withdrawing a gold bar might just become the best part of your day. The gold ATM at the Emirates Palace Hotel offers 24-carat gold bars in 1, 5 and 10 gram sizes. It also has a gift box option where you can withdraw gold coins embossed with symbols such as a maple leaf, kangaroo, etc. Regardless of what you get, you’ll have a unique souvenir, one that can be a great investment, too.

6. Try some Unusual, Exotic Dishes

What’s a stay in the UAE without sampling some unique dishes? Byblos Sur Mer at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi serves fried baby birds. The Coya at the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah is proud of its beef heart dish. If you want to know what a slice of camel pizza tastes like, head to the Osha Emirati Restaurant in Masdar City. You can end the meal with some coffee or wine and a puff of some Red Rose dokha.

There’s nothing wrong with checking out the usual tourist destinations in the UAE. But if you’re looking for something extraordinary, you’ll surely find this in one of the emirates, too.