Tripadvisor ranks Dubai dune-bashing safari as world’s best bucket list experience

Whizzing over the Lahbab dunes ranks higher than exploring Peru's Inca Trail or whale watching in Alaska

Dubai's OceanAir Travel's desert dune-bashing experience is the world's best bucket-list experience says Tripadvisor. Photo: OceanAir Travel
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Adventure-seeking travellers in Dubai can tick off the world’s best bucket list experience according to Tripadvisor.

A six-hour desert experience in Dubai’s Lahbab dunes ranks first in a curated list on the travel platform – the 2023 Travellers' Choice Best of the Best Bucket List Experiences.

Combining several desert pursuits in one, the dune-bashing tour is billed as the best way for travellers to explore Dubai’s desert surrounds. It includes a 60-minute quad bike ride over the red dunes in Lahbab, plus camel rides, sandboarding, stargazing and a traditional Arabian barbecue.

Operated by OceanAir Travels, a Dubai-based travel company, the experience costs around Dh400 per person. It's the second year that the experience has been ranked as Tripadvisor's best bucket list experience in the world.

As well as adrenalin-inducing dune bashing and traversing the desert on camelback – the same way that Bedouin tribes used to – there’s also a trip to Al Khayma Desert Camp, in the Hunaywah region of Dubai, where guests can see live shows including Khaleeji dancing, try Henna painting and don traditional Emirati attire.

The annual Tripadvisor rankings come after the travel company analysed 12 months of review data from millions of travellers around the globe.

The Dubai tour ranked ahead of several phenomenal sounding bucket list experiences on Tripadvisor’s best of the best list.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Peru’s Machu Picchu, whale-watching in Alaska, traversing Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and an off-roading experience in Aruba rounded out the top five.

And Dubai’s desert safari and dune-bashing experience also placed in Tripadvisor’s Top Overall Experiences in the world list for 2023. It ranks in fourth place behind a day tour in Bali, a Thai-cooking experience in Chiang Mai and an exploration of Hawaii’s Oahu island.

According to the latest research from Tripadvisor, 28 per cent of global travellers are motivated by the opportunity to experience something new when travelling.

“Experiences turn travellers into adventurers, connecting them with the local community and giving them unforgettable stories for years to come, said Kate Urquhart, general manager for experiences at Tripadvisor. Experiences on the platform are classified as bookable tours and activities.

Dubai Fountain and Yas Island parks rank in travellers' best of the best lists

Other attractions in the UAE also found a place on the travel website's 2023 best of the best lists.

The Dubai Fountain, which shoots water about 150m in the air, was a new addition to Tripadvisor's world's top attractions list, a category that was headed up by Barcelona's Basilica de la Sagrada Familia for the second year running.

In the ever-popular theme parks and water parks category, two UAE attractions listed in the top ten.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the first Ferrari-branded theme park in the world, was named the fourth best theme park in the world in the list which is topped by Siam Park in Tenerife.

Yas Waterworld – Abu Dhabi's Emirati-themed water park on Yas Island – also squeezed on to the top ten list, ranking in ninth position.

The Emirates also placed in Tripadvisors’ ranking of the world’s top cultural and historical tours.

A day tour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi that takes in the capital’s gleaming Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the ornate Qasr Al Watan ranked seventh in the category, with first place going to a day tour that takes travellers around the rice terraces, waterfalls and forests of Bali’s Ubud.

Tripadvisor's top 10 bucket list experiences in the world in 2023

  1. Dune-bashing experience on Dubai's red dunes with sandsurfing, camel rides and stargazing, Dubai, UAE
  2. A four-day classic Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru
  3. Whale watching in the wild, Juneau, Alaska
  4. Exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey, Wild Atlantic Way and Galway, Ireland
  5. The ultimate island jeep safari, Aruba
  6. A lofty balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
  7. Boat-tripping and kayaking at Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba, Vietnam
  8. Three-hours swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida, US
  9. Snorkelling between tectonic plates in Silfra, Reykjavik, Iceland
  10. Touring Arenal volcano and La Paz waterfall, San Jose, Costa Rica
Updated: June 28, 2023, 10:10 AM