I’m an island girl. Living in the Philippines makes you a default island person. Every Filipino has seen a body of water at some point in their lives because, well, Philippines is an archipelago. Falls, seas, oceans, rivers, lakes.. I’m quite familiar with them. But I never thought I’d get cozy with a desert.
A desert for me used to mean cactuses, thirst and immense heat. I guess I’ve only read and seen them exaggeratedly presented (or misrepresented) in books and movies. As I set my foot on the sand, it felt as if I was walking on fine marshmallows, cold fine marshmallows. It was unexpectedly soft and cold.
From the city, we drove for an hour to the desert where rows of 4×4′s were ready to take us through the sand dunes. The dune bashing was rather quick because the sunset was fast approaching, but I suppose if you arrive earlier, you’d get more of the rollercoaster-like adventure. It definitely was like being in a rollercoaster, the drops and the side turns, it was amazing how the driver was so confident. For thrill seekers, it is fun. For those afraid of rollercoasters, it might be worse due to the added being-enclosed sensation.
Your driver will stop for a 10-minute photo op at the top of one of the dunes where you get the most perfect view of the sunset. Seeing the sands turn from golden to orange to dark brown was quite an experience. Another experience you shouldn’t miss is to run around the desert! It was enjoyable and not at all about being parched and scalding cracked land, as I thought it would be. Again, fine marshmallows! Go ahead and run barefoot!
Windy and chilly, you better not forget to bring a jacket or cover up when you visit. As the sun disappeared, the temperature dropped quickly and off we went to an open space of low-rise tables and carpets. You get to feast on Arabic food whilst you enjoy henna tattoos, belly dancing, camels and Shisha, if you fancy. I highly recommend the Arabic pastry balls they dip in syrup as dessert. Yep, the most unforgettable thing for us was the dessert in the desert, haha!
The evening desert safari was 275 AED per person. The inclusions and details can be found here.