Dubai is now firmly established as one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with large numbers of people heading to the bustling Emirate city every year to take in the sights.

Whilst it isn’t hard to see why people are drawn in by the bright lights of the ultra-modern city and want to visit attractions like the Burj Khalifa and stay at hotels like the Burj Al Arab, it’s surprising to see how many people don’t take the opportunity to leave the city behind and explore further afield.

Ask those who do, and you’ll discover there is a whole other side to Dubai just waiting to be explored when you head away from the coast and pay a visit to the desert…

The huge expanses of sand that surround Dubai should arguably be a highlight of any trip to the Emirate, providing the opportunity to see what life was like before the discovery of oil changed things beyond all recognition.

There are various ways in which you can explore the desert landscapes, with various companies offering the chance to leave the bright lights behind in search of an altogether different experience.

The most authentic of those gives you the opportunity to climb onto the back of a camel to trek across the sand as people would have done in years gone by.

Often, a camel ride will be part of a wider experience that could include an overnight stay in a traditional camp, where you will be given the opportunity dine under the stars and be entertained around an open fire before spending night in a bedouin tent.

Not everyone will fancy riding on the back of a camel and if that’s true, there are a number of alternative options that might be more appealing.

Four-wheel-drive safaris are a more comfortable way in which to sample the Dubai desert, given that you can relax with the air conditioning turned up and focus on taking in the views.

At the other end of the scale however, jump onboard a quad bike or climb into a dune buggy and you’re certain of a thrilling experience as you zip across the dunes and power up and down what seem like impossible drops.

Should you wish to keep things a touch authentic, you could ensure your trip is in a Series 1 Land Rover on a high end trip that includes wildlife safaris and the chance to sample traditional bedouin cuisine.

Alternative desert activities include sandboarding - which is basically like snowboarding but on sand - and hot air balloon rides, which give you a stunning view across the vast expanses that surround the city.

If you prefer to stay in surroundings that are a little more luxurious, there are resorts within the desert that offer tented-style villas with private pool access where you can spend a longer period of time and embrace the desert landscapes - including the chance to spot native wildlife.

Should that be right up your street, then our expert team are here to help.