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Dubai - into the desert without the show?

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I will be in Dubai for the first time in October for a few days for a meeting. One day I would like to get out of the city and see some of the desert, get a feel for the dunes, that sort of thing. I'm not interested in "bashing" dunes or organized camel rides, dinner show, etc. Just a chance to see what the country was like before the construction of the cities. I'm rather a nature lover and always try to get "outside" on my trips, though I know that will be limited in the desert.

I'd rather not drive--I avoid that anytime I am in a foreign country--so I would want to hire a driver, go on a tour, or even take a local bus to/from somewhere.

Any recommendations?

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