Looking for a long weekend getaway in an exotic location, or a longer, luxurious vacation? Dubai in the United Arab Emirates certainly fits the bill. With it’s consistently sunny weather, ultramodern and futuristic architecture, excellent restaurants, white sand beaches and crystal clear water, incredible Dubai vacations await you. What better way to make the most of your precious vacation time.
How to get there.
To give you an idea of how long it takes to get there, the flight from London to Dubai is approximately 7 hours. However if you live in another part of the UK there are also daily flights from Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester.
Best time to visit
They say the weather in Dubai is either hot or hotter! At all times of the year it is much hotter than the UK. Even though the emirate has plenty of indoor air-conditioned activities to keep visitors occupied during “summer” months (May-September), it is better if you book your trip between November and March. The hottest month in Dubai is August when the average temperature is 36C and the highs get up to 50C !! The coolest month is January with a average 19C. Of course it almost goes without saying that the peak tourist season in Dubai is November-March so the flight and hotel prices will be a little higher then, and you may have more competition for space on the beach.
Things to do
The best public beaches for swimming and family fun are arguably Jumeirah Beach, Al Mamzar Park (which has large grassy picnic areas), Kite Beach (popular with kite and windsurfers), Black Palace Beach and Umm Suqeim Beach. It is a good idea to check online about the opening hours of any beach you want to go to as some weekdays are reserved for women and children only. They are all open to everyone on weekends. N.B some beaches are “private” in that they are affiliated with hotels who only allow access to their guests, or visitors for a fee.
Surfing is possible in Dubai on some days but is not a great place to surf due to hotel and man-made island developments encroaching on or blocking the swells. The best place to surf is Sunset Beach as some groynes have been built to create some point breaks.
Being a desert country one of the popular tourist attractions is going on a 4 wheel/Off road drive tour over the dunes. As well as “dune bashing” tours usually involve opportunities to ride a camel, sand board down the slope of a dune, and dine and be entertained in a Bedouin camp.
A great place to spend an evening is taking in “The Walk” at JBR Beach. Popular with tourists and locals alike this promenade along the waterfront is lined by a tremendous assortment of restaurants, casual eateries and coffee shops. It’s the spot to come for people watching and good food.
Dubai has some amazing modern architecture including the Burj al Arab, Cayan Tower and the ostentatious Atlantis, The Palms. The most famous of all is the Burj Kalifa, which is the tallest building in the world and has an observation deck for amazing views of the city.
Whether you’re a shopaholic or not, a visit to the Dubai Mall will blow your mind with it’s stunning indoor decor. A short distance away is Dubai’s most popular (and free) attraction is the Dubai Fountains which dance to music and run every 30 mins.
The Jumeirah Mosque is a wonderful example of Islamic Architecture and non-muslims are welcome. A the tour of the mosque (10 am Saturday through Thursday, 20 Dirham per person) is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Muslim religion. Scarves are provided for free to cover up if you need them.
Be respectful of the fact that Dubai is a predominantly Muslim country and dress more conservatively outside your resort or hotel complex area. During the month of Ramadan (the date of which varies each year) Muslims fast and don’t smoke between dawn and dusk. Again, outside of your resort or hotel complex, it is respectful to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking in public places during these hours.
Image by Piotr Chrobot via Unsplash