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Aerial view of skyscrapers in Dubai

Exploring Abu Dhabi on a Budget – Here’s How

Save, don’t splurge, in the capital.

Fit for Royalty

This hotel needs no introduction – anyone who has spent some time in the UAE is sure to have heard of Emirates Palace. Featuring over a hundred domes, chandeliers, and meticulous architectural craftsmanship, it is an ode to an ornate past and a symbol of Arab hospitality. While booking a room and dining at the hotel is likely to leave a dent in your wallet, the actual hotel is open to visitors free of charge, so get your phone and start clicking!

Cost: Free

Est Corniche Road, 02 690 9000, Emirates Palace

Family Matters

Take a walk in the green gardens of Umm Al Emarat Park after a long week of work for some budget R&R. The park boasts several gardens, a promenade, and even a shade house for when it’s too hot – all for AED 10! Aside from being a great space to de-stress, the park frequently hosts al fresco markets, has dedicated children’s gardens, and houses an animal barn and petting zoo with animals such as camels, ponies, and emu birds, making it perfect for the whole family.

Cost: AED 10

15th Street, Mushrif Area, 02 666 9559, Umm Al Emarat Park

Cheap Eats

You can find some of the UAE’s oldest cafeterias in the city’s capital, so enjoy a late night AED 7 shawarma and an AED 4 juice named after a landmark of Abu Dhabi. Immerse yourself in local culture and rub shoulders with a melting pot of different nationalities as you all enjoy some cheap eats. 

Cost: Starting at AED 4 

Cafeterias are located around Abu Dhabi, check out Google reviews to see local favourites

All That Jazz

Whether you’re a huge fan of jazz or couldn’t name a single jazz song, Jazz & Fizz Bar is the place to be from 8pm to midnight on Wednesdays. Ladies get three free drinks and 50 percent off food while listening to the best live jazz that Abu Dhabi has to offer. 

Cost: 3 free drinks and 50 percent off food

Jazz & Fizz Bar, Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, Capital Plaza, 02 813 7777

You Grow, Girl

Living in the UAE, you sometimes crave lush greenery, right? And thanks to Al Ain Oasis, you can get your forest fix – all without leaving Abu Dhabi. Al Ain Oasis offers shaded pathways with a thick canopy of over 147,000 date palms and other trees.

Cost: Free entry 

Al Ain Oasis, Central District, near Al Ain Palace Museum, 03 711 8251

Shape Up

Gym memberships can be pricey and doing a couple of spin classes a week can really add up! So why not take care of your body and your bank account with Vogue Fitness? It’s offering a three-day free membership for all new sign-ups. The best part: it has a ladies-only gym at Yas Marina! Sign up here for a three-day free trial.

Cost: 3 days free 

Vogue Fitness, Yas Marina, Khalifa City & Al Raha, vfuae.com 

Back to Nature

A wetland reserve might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the UAE, but the Al Wathba reserve is here to prove you wrong. This biodiversity hotspot is home to several species of birds, plants, and aquatic life, with the most popular being the iconic pink flamingos.  Spanning five kilometres with walking trails, bird-watching hides, a visitors centre – and most importantly – a thriving ecosystem, it is a unique green jewel in Abu Dhabi.

Cost: Free 

E30 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road

Art for Art’s Sake 

Get in with the local art scene at Manarat al Saadiyat, the go-to space in Abu Dhabi for all things cultural and creative! Make sure to check out their various (free) exhibitions showcasing innovative art projects and local diversity, and the MAS space, where you can relax and do everything from hone your skating skills to read that book you’ve been meaning to get around to. Plus, if you’re willing to fork out a little more, there are a plethora of workshops and other enriching programmes that are organised year round.

Cost: Free

Al Saadiyat Island, 02 6575 800, manaratalsaadiyat.ae

Dreamy Desertscapes

Wonder where all the celebrities take those majestic desert shots when they visit Abu Dhabi? The Empty Quarter is the perfect backdrop for any photo op. With its shimmering sands at sunset, this mesmerising landscape is the perfect place to bring your out-of-town visitors and for any Instaworthy photoshoot.

Cost: Free

The Empty Quarter, Rub’ al Khali desert,

Cup of Karak

Best Tea Café isn’t called Best Tea Café for nothing! It’s famed for having the best karak in town, so visit this Abu Dhabi institution to find out why everyone raves about its karak.

Cost: Drinks starting from AED 3 

Best Tea Café, near Sahara Hotel Apartments, Defense Road, Al Nahyan, 02 641 8515

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Best Places to Travel in 2023

Your 2023 Travel Plans Will Change After This

All hail Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel guide.

The travel gurus at Lonely Planet have released their annual Best in Travel report, detailing their top picks for tourists in 2023. This time around, however, they’ve done things a little differently. Instead of simply sharing their recommendations on where we should be travelling, they’ve sorted 30 must-visit destinations by trip type – Eat, Journey, Unwind, Connect, and Learn – to help you find your next adventure. 

Offering a comprehensive set of itineraries to help travellers explore the world, the new edit is sure to help you navigate the world in the way that’s most meaningful to you – through recommendations from the local voices who know these places best. Cities in Canada, Germany, Japan, Peru, and Malaysia made the cut. How many are on your bucket list?

Eat

This category features destinations that boast exciting culinary scenes ranging from dynamic street food to fine-dining experiences – each perfect for the travelling foodie. Lima, the capital of Peru, is on the list owing to its famed cevicherías and Pisco cocktails, while Umbria in Italy was chosen as its culinary delights are complemented by art and old-world traditions. Further east, both the Japanese city of Fukuoka and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur made the cut owing to internationally renowned Hakata ramen and food stall-lined streets respectively.

Over in South America, improved airlinks will make access to Montevideo – the capital and largest city of Uruguay – much easier, paving the way for tourists to explore its laidback beaches and under-the-radar food and wine scene. Lastly, complementing its internationally known (and loved) vineyards, South Africa’s new generation of chefs is propelling the country’s culinary scene forward, making it a destination to visit not just for wine, but food as well.

2023 travel plans

Journey

This category is all about those journeys that are transformative, trips that truly move a traveller. Nova Scotia in Canada was selected owing to its postcard-perfect communities that dot its shores and call for a journey of driving between seaside villages. And with the fully restored Trans Bhutan Trail reopening to visitors in September, Bhutan is also on this list, the 250 miles of scenic footpath offering visitors a unique perspective of this Asian country. Elsewhere, Colombia’s 59 protected natural areas – Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia – have been dubbed a must for nature lovers. Along with protecting some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, 26 of these areas are also inhabited by indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

Unsurprisingly, a train journey is also on the list – the recently restored overnight service between Sofia and Istanbul whirls two adventures into one, leaving the place where east meets west in Istanbul and depositing travellers in Bulgaria’s laidback capital city 11 hours later. And with Australia now open to the world, the mind-blowingly large region of Western Australia comes highly recommended. Looking to swim on the ledge of a mighty waterfall? Spot wildlife? It’s surprising that Zambia is less visited than other spots on the continent of Africa, and Lonely Planet is ready to remedy that.

best travel destinations 2023

Unwind

Sometimes, you need a trip where you can unwind and reconnect with yourself, your partner, your family or just the world around you. As for the destinations where you will relax and rebalance, according to team Lonely Planet? Jordan, a place where you can experience the buzz of Amman before unwinding in places like Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. Dominica, a lesser-visited island in the Caribbean and also known as Nature Island. Another lesser-known region on the list? Northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula, which stretches into the Aegean Sea and offers blissful beaches that are an idyllic setting to relax and unwind.

Back in the Caribbean, Jamaica wins the hearts of travel experts thanks to its beautiful white sand beaches, scenic mountain peaks, waterfalls, and rivers, making it the perfect spot to unwind. Malta in Europe is also expected to increase in popularity come 2023, beckoning visitors with its prehistoric temples, fantastic scuba diving, and buzzy capital of Valletta. Lastly, Raja Ampat is a great alternative to better-known Indonesian islands – the best way to see its coral reefs, excellent diving, and beautiful beaches is by chartering a ‘liveaboard’ dive boat and heading out to sea for several days.

best destinations to discover in 2023

Connect

The energy of the destinations in this category will take you on an adventure, connecting you to both culture and community. In Accra, Ghana, await bustling markets, new community spaces like skate parks, and creative spaces for artists plus a nightlife set to great music. The natural beauty of Albania will take your breath away – it’s one of the few places where you can start your day in the mountains and end it at the sea. Back in Australia, a destination that international visitors have missed during the pandemic, new Indigenous tours over the bridge make Sydney worth returning to.

Culturally connected to the Caribbean, Guyana is an under-the-radar South American country that is 90% rainforest and a great place to see unspoiled nature and incredible waterfalls. Alternatively, you can head to Alaska for not only spectacular wildlife, but also an opportunity to learn about native culture and witness indigenous groups managing authentic tourism experiences that also embrace sustainability. Boise, a mid-sized city in America, beckons adventure travellers. Between water rafting in the summer, skiing in the winter, and a rich culinary scene, it is a great place for connection.

best destinations to discover

Learn

Travel always opens us up to new experiences, and Lonely Planet has shortlisted six places where your best souvenir is what you learn, starting with the state of New Mexico. Home to 23 native tribes, this is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art, and music while enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest. Further south, El Salvador is quietly becoming the place where those in the know come to catch waves and hone their surfing skills owing to its idyllic beaches.

Over in Germany, Dresden’s urban renewal continues in 2023 with the second phase of renovations of the Altmarkt (central square) to include more accessibility and climate protection measures. Just over three hours away, Marseille is both beachy and urban, French and Mediterranean, modern and historic. Go for the beach, but linger for its diverse neighbourhoods, street art, and architectural tours. Finally, Manchester and Southern Scotland round off this edit. The former will welcome the return of Manchester Museum and the opening of Factory International arts space in 2023. The latter is a great region in which to learn more about the country’s history and famous residents like writer Robert Burns.

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European Cities to Visit in Winter

5 European Capitals That Are Better in Winter

Winter layers at the ready.

Just as we are celebrating the long-awaited return of cooler temperatures, we’re faced with the question that inevitably returns: where will I travel over the upcoming holidays? And while getaways to Oman, Sri Lanka, and Zanzibar are always a good idea, this year, we suggest packing a couple of layers and heading to Europe instead. For starters, Dubai residents tend to visit European cities exclusively in the summer, thereby missing out on the charm that comes with scenic snowy landscapes and bustling Christmas markets. And let’s not forget the joys of exploring a new city when fewer crowds and lower hotel rates are a given. Let the planning begin.

Amsterdam, Holland

Everyone and their mother wants to be in Amsterdam come summer – and for good reason. But the Dutch capital is equally appealing during winter. It’s less crowded, thereby giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate its vibrant cultural scene, third wave cafés, and obscure antique stores in peace. And with Christmas celebrations spanning the month of December, the festive cheer in the air is palpable. Bonus: the historic canals sometimes freeze, giving lucky locals and visitors alike a chance to walk or ice-skate on a veritable symbol of the city.

Stay at: Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam for its storied setting, a 100-year-old building that served as the headquarters for a number of shipping companies and is now a national monument.

Amsterdam, Holland

Berlin, Germany

The German capital translates to one thing in December: the very best Christmas markets on the planet. With nearly 80 markets in Berlin alone – and an estimated 2,000 across Germany as a whole – this city is a no-brainer if you’re looking to travel over the holiday season. Elsewhere, the city is known for its progressive vibe, dark past, audacious art and culture scene, anything-goes approach to nightlife, and diverse dining scene – none of which are hampered by lower temperatures.

Stay at: Hotel Bikini for its urban jungle ambiance, quirky-colourful guestrooms, and unexpected extras – all guests can borrow the hotel’s resident Mini Cooper for free.

Berlin, Germany

Prague, Czech Republic

There’s just something so charming about the Czech capital during winter – its distinct landscape of brick-red roofs church spires coated in powdery white snow, the nostalgia of a lamplighter clad in period clothing manually lighting up the gas lamps on Charles Bridge, endless opportunities for ice-skating amongst Baroque-style buildings, and nightly performances of The Nutcracker at National Theater in December. As for the hot and hearty dishes of Czech cuisine? The perfect accompaniment to chilly weather.

Stay at: Golden Well Hotel for a journey back to simpler times, courtesy of art deco touches, masterful reproductions of centuries old furniture, and location below the walls of Prague Castle.

Prague, Czech Republic, Best Winter Destination in Europe

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik earns a spot on this list for several reasons. Not only is it the northernmost country capital in the world, but it’s also well-versed in hosting visitors over winter. Here, you can bathe in the instantly recognisable Blue Lagoon, explore a glacier by snowmobile, go whale watching, or even chase the Northern Lights. Bonus: the Golden Circle – an easily explored route between three of Iceland’s most visited attractions – is accessible during colder months.

Stay at: 101 Hotel for its designer amenities, Instagrammable décor, central location, on-site art gallery, and – wait for it – underfloor heating.

Reykjavik, Iceland, Best Winter Destination in Europe

Vienna, Austria

Time and time again, the Austrian capital is voted as Europe’s best city, and lower temperatures do nothing to deter tourists. The city’s most famous attractions – think: St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Schönbrunn Palace, the iconic ferris wheel built-in 1897, the Museum of Natural History, and more – are all up and running come winter. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the famous Magic of Advent Christmas market that transforms City Hall Square into a whimsical winter wonderland can easily compete with the best of the best in Berlin.

Stay at: 25hours Hotel for a stay that blurs the line between imagination and reality thanks to touches of surrealism throughout – a bath on the balcony, swings instead of chairs, a saucepan instead of a washbasin.

Vienna, Austria
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Unique Outdoor Activities in the UAE

5 Unique Outdoor Activities to Try This Winter

Wake up from summer hibernation already!

With temperatures falling and winter approaching, it’s time to step out of the air conditioning and head outside. Here, we’ve compiled a list of five unique outdoor activities that you can try this winter in the UAE.

1. Freediving

Freediving

We’ve all heard of scuba diving, and you might have even tried it at some point. But what about freediving – a.k.a. diving without an oxygen tank? Sound impossible? You might be surprised. Anyone can learn to freedive and hold their breath for longer periods of time with the appropriate training. After all, humans have been doing it for centuries. Not only can you get closer to marine life without scaring them off with the bubbles from an oxygen tank, but you can also delve into a journey of personal exploration and learn to push your limits. Diving centres like Nemo Diving Center, Freediving UAE, and Deep Dive Dubai offer introductory courses for beginners.

2. Stargazing

Stargazing

Whether you’re into astronomy or merely want to try something new, stargazing is an exciting activity that can humble you to the grandeur of the universe. Observatories such as Al Thuraya Astronomy Center offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn more about the cosmos through guided night sky observations and various shows. On the other hand, if you wish to venture into the wild – and have the expertise to do so – you can always head out to the vast swath of desert that is the Rub’ al Khali (otherwise called The Empty Quarter), where light pollution is minimal and stars are visible to the naked eye. You can also visit Al Quaa desert in Abu Dhabi, which is famous for being one of the best places in the country to view the Milky Way.

3. Dinner in the Sky

Dinner in the Sky

If you have a fear of heights, this one might not be for you. Located in Al Sufoh, Dinner in the Sky is one of the most unique restaurants in Dubai – if not the whole country. The experience involves being lifted 50 metres from the ground by a crane, after which you will be served a three-course meal with a view that’s hard to beat. Guests are secured with safety belts, and standing presenters and crews are attached to safety harnesses. The whole event lasts for 90 minutes, and 22 guests can be seated at once for a meal of a lifetime. 

4. Falconry

Falconry

Falconry is strongly intertwined with the UAE’s culture, so you can get a glimpse of this ancient tradition through a falconry show. Here, you can get up and close with these majestic birds and learn about various falconry techniques, watch displays of these birds in action, and handle the birds directly – all in a beautiful desert location. Head out to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, Wild Flight (which also offers a falconry course!), or any other centre that offers visitors a chance to interact with these unique creatures. 

5. Photo Walks

Photo Walks

Have a camera that’s collecting dust in some corner of your house? It’s time to put it to good use. Guided photo walks in the UAE take you through scenic or historic parts of the country with experts who can advise you on how to get the perfect shot. Not only will you get a chance to improve your camera skills, but you will also learn to look at familiar sights through a new lens (pun intended) – and maybe even make a few friends along the way! Check out Gulf Photo Plus and Aperture Tours to book a photo walk or head to meetup.com to find walks organised by shutterbugs in your community.

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Jet Ski Companies in Dubai

The 10 Best Jet Ski Companies in Dubai

Dubai is one of the best places in the world to jet ski because of the inviting Arabian Sea and iconic buildings in the background. Stay with us as we reveal the top 10 best places to jet ski in the city, allowing you to make the most of its famous landmarks while protecting both your wallet and your safety.

Ride in Dubai

With its array of packages on offer, Ride in Dubai is guaranteed to be one of the best jet ski services in Dubai. They also offer a sizable selection of jet ski and fly board combo sessions that last for an exhilarating two hours. Only professional-grade jet skis, fly board, and other equipment are used by Ride In Dubai, alongside an upgraded Kawasaki 1500cc 310r edition, in accordance with a quality service policy. TripAdvisor has awarded Ride in Dubai with a Certificate of Excellence. Additionally, this is the best jet ski service according to travelers as of 2021. Ride in Dubai also prides itself in offering the best equipment on the market, professional and experienced jetski & Flyboard teams and instructors, and quality service to its clients. Their flyboard sessions can be customized to suit your personal level. And has experienced Flyboard instructors that can assist and teach a first-timer, beginner, intermediate, or professional Flyboarder. They are indeed versatile in all water sports activities in Dubai and will make you enjoy your time at Ride In Dubai.

Ride in Dubai, Po Marinas Harbor, Jumeirah 4, Al Fintaas St, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, www.rideindubai.com

Hydro Water Sports

From The Walk, you can rent a jet ski and capture the natural coastline of Jumeirah Beach with its many fantastic hotels, Bluewaters Island (home to the world’s largest ferris wheel), and Palm Jumeirah. Additionally, it is especially stunning at night, when jetpacks illuminate the water.

Hydro Water Sports, Oceana Palm, Jumeirah, 054 598 5353, www.hydro-watersports.com

Jet Ski Dubai Adventures

In Dubai Marina, Jet Ski Dubai Adventures provides premium guided tours on the newest Yamaha Jet Skis. Jet skiing in Dubai Marina or in the Arabian Sea off of Jumeirah Beach are both options nearby at the Marina Byblos Hotel. Views of Atlantis The Palm, Burj Al Arab, and other opulent Dubai coastline landmarks can be seen during the jet ski tours.

Jet Ski Dubai, JBR, 052 708 3946, jetskidubai.ae

First Yacht

La Mer Beach – which has a large number of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues – is one of Dubai’s distinctive beaches. La Mer’s water sports by First Yacht is the best choice for a memorable jet ski experience. Along with other water sports, it also provides kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and flyboarding.

First Yacht, La Mer, Jumeirah 1, 058 884 9240, www.firstyacht-me.com

Sun and Fun

Close to Umm Suqeim 2’s fishing harbor, Sun and Fun’s offerings are some of the best water sports in Dubai, and the prices and packages are unique because you can choose between three different tours: a jet ski tour of Burj Al Arab, a jet ski tour of Dubai Marina, or a jet ski tour of Atlantis The Palm and Palm Jumeirah island.

Sun and Fun Water Sports Dubai, 78 2 C St, 054 303 5799, sunandfun.ae/en/home

Popeye Jetski

Experience Dubai from a unique vantage point with Popeye Jetski, which will introduce you to the pleasure of jet skiing on the newest model of powerful jet skis while posing for photos at the foot of the most recognisable hotel in the world: Burj Al Arab.

Popeye Jet Ski, Fishing Harbour 2, Umm Suqueim 1, Jumeirah 4, 055 285 1012, www.popeyejetski.com

Nemo WaterSports

As one of the top jet ski rental companies in Dubai, Nemo WaterSports allows you to have an unforgettable vacation filled with the best marine activities. You can go on a jet ski tour as a family, a couple, a group of friends, or by yourself. You have the option to ride further to Jumeirah Beach Residence, the Dubai Marina skyline, the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis The Palm, and Burj Khalifa. The tour circles around Dubai’s top attractions and skyscrapers.

Nemo WaterSports, Umm Suqeim Fishing Harbour, Umm Suqueim 2, Jumeirah Road, 050 471 7002, www.dubai-jetski.com

Sea Ride Dubai

Sea Ride Dubai has been in the jet ski scene for more than eight years, so you know that they are experienced. Additionally, they provide cutting-edge experiences with the newest jet ski models in complete safety. All necessary certifications are included with their safety equipment, so a memorable experience is guaranteed.

Sea Ride Dubai, Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah, Jumeirah 1, www.searide-dubai.com

Aqua Blue Jetski

One of the top jet ski companies in the city is Aqua Blue Jetski. From here, you can rent the renowned 1800cc Yamaha jet ski. Boasting a team with extensive training, expertise, and years of experience, they also offer kayaking, fishing excursions, and yacht rentals. Additionally, you can combine your jet ski tour with a flyboarding lesson.

Aqua Blue Jet Ski, Jumeirah 1, P & O Marinas Fishing Harbour, www.aquabluejetski.com

Beach Riders Dubai

The yacht excursions offered by Beach Riders Dubai are what they do best. However, they also offer fantastic deals on jet skiing and other adventure sports. They are one of the most well-known adventure activity companies in Dubai.

Beach Riders Dubai, Arabian Gulf Street, Dubai Marina, www.beachridersdubai.com

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Places To Visit in Al Ain

6 Must-See Attractions in the Garden City

There’s more to Al Ain than palm trees.

Between its natural springs and palm groves, Al Ain offers endless appeal to those deprived of nature and desperate to escape city life for a few hours – especially with the return of cooler temperatures. But a closer look reveals that the capital’s garden city also boasts hidden gems, historical forts, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an impressive showcase of wildlife, and plenty more. Here, we delve into six attractions worth visiting and who they’re best suited to.

Al Ain Oasis

for the nature enthusiast

Al Ain Oasis
Courtesy: Visit Abu Dhabi

We’d be remiss not to start with Al Ain Oasis, arguably known as garden city’s ultimate attraction owing to its tranquillity. Spread across 1,200 hectares and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site certified in the UAE, this oasis is famed for offering insights into the ancient ‘falaj’ irrigation system that brings water from the mountains via a complex system of underground and surface channels, and continues to nourish it today. It’s also our favourite place to immerse in nature; the many pathways within Al Ain Oasis are shaded by towering fruit trees (mango, orange, and fig among others) and more than 147,000 date palms. Bonus: you can explore the premises on foot, on horseback, or by bicycle.

Al Ain Camel Market

for the UAE newbie

Al Ain Camel Market

While it’s not entirely kind to the senses – dust, noise, and funky smells are admittedly a given – a trip to Al Ain Camel Market is the perfect way for new expats to immerse in the country’s true culture – camels have always been at the centre of life in the GCC, after all. The sheer spectacle of haggling and trading (these hoofed mammals are either suited to racing or purchased for breeding purposes) takes place early in the morning and is a sight worth catching, especially if a complete departure from life in Dubai is what you’re after.

Al Qattara Arts Centre

for the artsy type

Al Qattara Arts Centre

Housed within a traditional mudbrick residence and home to permanent exhibitions, archaeological findings, and classes (everything from painting and drawing to handicrafts and music sessions are on offer), Al Qattara Arts Centre has single-handedly elevated the arts scene of Al Ain. It’s also one of Al Ain’s leading events venues – this cultural landmark often marks milestones by showcasing the works of local artists or screening films by Emirati talent. The programming changes according to season, but regardless of what’s on the agenda, there’s plenty to while away a couple of hours.

Jebel Hafeet Beehive Tombs

for the adventurer

Jebel Hafeet Beehive Tombs
Courtesy: Alexander McNabb

Own a four-wheel drive and up for a little off-roading? The tombs at the base of Jebel Hafeet beckon. Believed to be 5,000 years old, these remnants of an ancient cemetery still contain the skeletal remains of Al Ain’s earliest inhabitants. Hundreds of dome-shaped tombs have been found in this area, with artefacts suggesting trade links with Iran, the Indus Valley (modern-day Pakistan and India), and ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Getting here is half the adventure – a bumpy ride and a complete absence of facilities follows soon after you exit the roundabout when following Google Maps towards Jebel Hafeet National Park near the Mezyad Border Post.

Hili Archaeological Park

for the history buff 

Hili Archaeological Park
Courtesy: Sunil Kumar Nair

For a slice of history that’s more easily accessible – and recognised by UNESCO – Hili Archaeological Park is both family-friendly and furnished with extras like go-karts and tennis courts that accent the earliest known evidence of an agricultural village dating back to 3000 BCE. Elsewhere, the likes of tombs, strongholds, old dwellings, and irrigation systems also offer a glimpse into Al Ain’s Bronze Age and Iron Age past. Incidentally, the circular Hili Grand Tomb is considered the crown jewel of this sprawling park as it’s over 4,000 years old and the largest monument of its kind in terms of the size of stones used. Tip: be sure to linger by the two entrances until you spot the engravings depicting human and animal figures.

Al Ain Safari

for the animal lover

Al Ain Safari
Courtesy: Visit Abu Dhabi

While Al Ain Zoo needs no introduction (the beloved attraction has been operating since 1968), this 217-hectare park is yet to be discovered by many. Home to one of the world’s largest man-made safaris, it houses a range of African animals and closes to 2,500 plants. Adding a sense of place to the overall safari experience, meanwhile, are the Emirati guides who steer the SUVs – they have extensive knowledge of the vicinity’s flora and fauna (white rhinos and African lions included). And while activities like feeding the giraffes and dining at the edge of the park’s lion territory make for a memorable outing with the kids, it’s the conservation efforts that animal lovers will value most; critically endangered or locally extinct species such as the addax and scimitar oryx roam free in the wild here.

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Countries to Visit from Dubai

Wandermust: 6 Travel Experiences Easily Accessible from Dubai

Add to bucket list – stat.

Today marks World Tourism Day, highlighting the shift towards tourism being recognised as a crucial pillar of development, especially as the global tourism sector slowly recovers from the impact of Covid-19. Luckily for us, we reside in an air travel hub, giving us easy access to some of the world’s most popular destinations. In fact, there are six travel experiences that not only belong on any bucket list, but are also easily accessible from Dubai – each is only five hours or less from the UAE, eliminating the additional stress that comes with layovers and stopovers. Let the planning begin!

Cruise Down the Nile

Egypt 

Cruise Down the Nile

Just as a visit to the pyramids is practically obligatory, a cruise along the Nile River is, too. But don’t just book a trip with any cruise ship because the Steam Ship Sudan – or SS Sudan – is truly special. Built in 1885 as a gift for King Fouad and launched as a cruise vessel in 1921, this historic paddle steamer retains the Belle Époque grace that inspired Agatha Christie to write her famous 1937 novel, Death on the Nile. Today, the ship regularly traverses the Nile on five-night cruises that launch from either Luxor or Aswan, chugging along at a relaxed eight kilometres an hour.

Float in the Dead Sea

Jordan

Float in the Dead Sea

The ancient city of Petra is what attracts hordes of tourists to Jordan, but a dip in the Dead Sea is seriously underrated. Formed three million years ago, this super-salty lake is the lowest point on land (423 metres below sea level) and the world’s oldest natural health resort – its mineral-rich waters are loaded with healing properties for several skin conditions, making it a prized ingredient in the world of beauty. Besides, effortlessly floating in the Dead Sea is just plain fun! But the time to visit this natural wonder is now; the Dead Sea is shrinking at an alarming rate, with experts estimating that its surface level is falling by more than a metre each year.

Sleep in a Yurt

Kyrgyzstan

Sleep in a Yurt

A longstanding symbol of nomadic culture, yurts have been around for thousands of years. This circular dwelling is not only portable, but also steeped in tradition as it is made of animal skin or felt and serves as the primary style of home across Central Asian countries such as Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. In Kyrgyzstan, the concept has been taken up a notch, pairing glamping with yurt life at Supara Chunkurchak ethnoresort. Located just 37 kilometres south of the capital Bishkek, it’s immersed in untouched rural beauty, yet offers creature comforts, cultural activities aplenty, and even an onsite spa – because why not?

Fly Through the Mountains

Nepal

A visit to Nepal from Dubai

The average adventurer will tell you that Everest Base Camp deserves a spot in your bucket list, but let’s face it – this once-in-a-lifetime trek isn’t exactly accessible to all. Yes, it requires no mountaineering skills nor technical expertise, but altitude sickness can strike as Everest Base Camp sits at 5,364 metres above sea level. Now factor in that you’ll be walking for somewhere between 12 and 15 days, and you’re looking at a bucket list experience that’s not for everyone. Enter: the mountain flight. This shortcut to Mount Everest by domestic airlines such as Yeti Airlines offers passengers a front-row seat to the breathtaking, snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, bringing them back to Kathmandu in an hour.

Take a Scenic Train Ride

Sri Lanka

A visit to Sri Lanka from Dubai

Considering its bounty of natural beauty, Sri Lanka boasts some of the most scenic train rides in the world – at a bargain price, too. Arguably the most spectacular route is the seven-hour ride from the centrally located city of Kandy to the small town of Ella. In fact, it’s even been dubbed “Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist attraction” as the vistas comprise everything from rolling rice fields and lush forests to towering mountains, sweeping tea plantations, waterfalls, and more. A word to the wise: avoid taking this train ride midday or on a weekend as it’s extremely popular with locals and tourists alike (read: uncomfortably crowded). 

See the Whirling Dervishes

Turkey

A visit to Turkey from Dubai

The phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ comes to mind when it comes to bucket list musts in Istanbul – taking a ferry across the Bosphorus, getting scrubbed at a traditional hammam, gorging on a kumpir with countless toppings in Ortaköy. But if a truly cultural experience is what you’re after, head straight to Hodjapasha Culture Centre, home of the famous whirling dervishes. Declared a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity, the mystical Mevlevi Sema ceremony depicts a journey of man’s spiritual ascent to “perfection” through mind and love, making it an unmissable blend of music and moves. For the uninitiated, the Mevleviye is an ascetic Sufi order founded in 1273 and renowned for their whirling dances.

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Places to Celebrate Diwali in Dubai

5 Places to Celebrate Diwali in Dubai

Let the festivities begin!

One of the world’s grandest festive occasions is right around the corner. Diwali, meaning “row of light”, marks five days of joyous cheer celebrated by friends and family. It is during this period that Hindus adorn their homes with blossoming marigolds and a wide variety of candles to commemorate the return of the Hindu god Rama to his kingdom after being exiled for 14 years. Dubai, being home to nationalities and religions from far and wide, offers a wide range of dining and entertainment options suitable for all cultural and traditional celebrations. Want to make Diwali a little extra special this year? Here are our picks of the best dining destinations for the occasion.  

Bombay Brasserie

In addition to its spirited murals and unobstructed views of the Burj Khalifa, Bombay Brasserie at Taj Dubai offers a lavish blend of traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine. Enjoy the breathtaking fireworks display this festive season while you indulge in rich, aromatic flavours. Each dish promises to deliver an authentic Indian experience that’s well-suited for this joyous occasion.

Bombay Brasserie, Taj Dubai, Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, 04 438 3222, eatapp.co

Basanti & Co.

Celebrate Diwali in style at Basanti & Co. at Bluewaters Island. It’s the prime location to enjoy the astonishing fireworks display and the magnificent Bluewaters Street Festival while feasting on classic Indian fare. Top off your evening with a craft cocktail from the in-house lounge or a delightful gulab jamun from the dessert menu.

Basanti & Co., Bluewaters Island, 04 557 6947, [email protected]

Farzi Café

Located at City Walk in Al Safa, this beloved spot offers an elevated gourmet experience that will take your culinary journey to new heights. The gastronomic array of traditional classics fused with global delights at Farzi Café reinterprets Indian cuisine in the most unexpected ways. Additionally, the restaurant shines with the glow of diyas and fairy lights during Diwali to truly pay tribute to this major holiday.  

Farzi Café, Dubai City Walk II, Al Safa St., 04 394 2556, [email protected]

farzi cafe

Source: @khyberdubai

Khyber

This award-winning restaurant situated in the heart of Palm Jumeirah stays true to its Indian identity through awe-inspiring murals, vibrant décor, and unmatched North Indian food and beverages. Share the festive spirit with company at Khyber by treating yourselves to scrumptious vegetarian delights such as the paneer tikka and makai ki tikki.

Khyber, Dukes The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, 04 455 1101, [email protected]

Patiala

No matter which special occasion calls for a splurge, this elegant spot at Souk Al Bahar has you covered. Patiala’s sophisticated setting and relaxed ambiance is just the right choice if you prefer a more laidback celebration. Sit back and take pleasure in well-loved Punjabi classics accompanied by service that reflects exuberant Indian hospitality. Take your taste buds on a sensory experience this festive season with the signature vegetarian delicacies such as the dum ke khumb and garbar falooda.

Patiala, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, 04 451 9151, [email protected]

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Gaggler Kyrgyztan Travel Guide

The Definitive Guide to Kyrgyzstan

This first-timer’s itinerary has it all.

Landlocked in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a magnet for trekkers owing to its alpine wilderness. Bordering Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and China, it remains untouched by mass tourism (for now), making it the ideal destination if a little adventure is in order. September is widely considered the best month to visit Kyrgyzstan as the crowds start to dissipate, and the weather is still warm enough for hiking and horse riding. But Kyrgyzstan doesn’t just cater to outdoorsy types – it’s also a land where Silk Road sites, a crumbling Soviet legacy, and a rich nomadic culture coexist. Here’s how to take in a bit of everything.

Bishkek

You’ll likely fly into Kyrgyzstan via Manas International Airport, and soon see why a jaunt in this often-overlooked capital is mandatory. For starters, Bishkek is set in the foothills of Tien Shan, so it won’t be long until your first sighting of this majestic mountain range. Moments of beauty also await at its public parks and wide, tree-lined avenues – a legacy of the Soviet era. Russophile or not, you’ll also appreciate its architectural oddities and their equally curious backstories, many of which are clustered together.

Built-in 1976, the UFO-like Kyrgyz State Circus welcomed performers from around the world and functions to this day. It’s a testimony to the role played by the circus in the Soviet Union – the first stationary circus of Russia opened back in 1877, adapting street entertainment to the aristocracy’s tastes. Nearby, the Wedding Palace stands as a reminder of the days when religion (“the opium of the masses”) was banned. Pointy and pompous, this glass-and-marble venue was designed as a compromise between communist authorities and those furious about not being able to wed in religious establishments like mosques and cathedrals. Victory Square, tame in comparison and dedicated to the victory over Nazi Germany, is also in the vicinity.

Travel Guide To Kyrgyzstan

Prefer to join a guided walk? With themes spanning the likes of ‘Mosaics of Bishkek’, ‘Soviet Architecture of Bishkek’, and ‘The Making of Industrial Bishkek’, opt for those led by Bishkek Walks. All that walking will inevitably work up an appetite, and a meal at Navat or Faiza makes for a great introduction to Kyrgyz cuisine – think: fist-sized dumplings stuffed with mutton (manti), homemade noodles with a meaty stew (laghman), and fermented mare’s milk (kumis). Admittedly, the latter – foamy and uniquely sour – is an acquired taste. And if you’re looking to sample Kyrgyz snacks like kurut and samsa while immersed in local life, Osh Bazaar is the one to beat.

Incidentally, Bishkek is also ideally placed to explore a few of Kyrgyzstan’s most popular spots. Less than an hour away, Ala Archa National Park contains trails that accommodate varying fitness levels and is beloved for its striking gorge and array of juniper trees. Burana Tower and Konorchek Canyon, meanwhile, are commonly paired by tour operators, accenting a trip to the ancient city of Balasagun’s remains with a landscape of red rock formations. As for those with a penchant for the unusual? Catch a marshrutka to Issyk-Ata, where the 131-year-old Issyk-Ata Sanatorium feels like a time capsule, but is still very much operational – strange therapies and all. On the menu is everything from radon baths to full-body massages and even mud electrocution, but visitors can simply walk around the premises to get off the beaten track, Soviet-style.

Issyk-Kul

A complete contrast to the odd, angular, brutalist architecture of Bishkek are the felt-and-wool yurts anchored with the help of birch wood poles. They’re a vital part of nomadic culture, so a trip to Kyrgyzstan without at least a night of yurt camping would be incomplete. The southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake – the world’s second largest saline lake – offers plenty in terms of natural wonders, many of which are easily accessed following a stay at Bel-Tam Yurt Camp.

Here, you can sunbathe by the lake, catch a folklore show around the nightly bonfire, or take a horseback ride – with creature comforts like hot showers and eco-friendly toilets to boot. The definitive experience, however, has to be the Salbuurun demonstration. Recalling the days when golden eagles, taigan dogs, and bows and arrows were utilised to capture animals for food, it depicts authentic hunting traditions (so be warned that a sacrificial rabbit is involved).

A beginner's guide to Kyrgyzstan

The city of Karakol is under three hours away from the camp, so you can cross off a couple of key attractions in only a matter of hours, starting with the dramatic Fairy Tale Canyon. A mere 30 minutes away is the small settlement of Barskoon, where both a towering waterfall and a giant boulder carved into the head of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin make for great photography subjects. From here, it’s just over an hour until you reach the unique Seven Bulls rock formation – and inevitably hear the related legend about a man’s infatuation gone awry – before calling it a night in Karakol.

Karakol

Is Karakol the most underrated city of Kyrgyzstan? Hint: yes. Most travellers merely view it as a gateway to conquer the mountains or take a rest from them, hightailing it out of the city as fast as possible – much to their detriment. Easily explored on foot and full of unexpected discoveries, Karakol boasts an unmissable dining experience: the Dungan Village Visit & Family Dinner. The ancestors of the Dungan (Chinese-Muslim) community fled persecution in China back in the 1800s, escaping to Kyrgyzstan via the Tien Shan mountains in brutal conditions. 

Karakol

Today, a visit to the home of a local family entails a veritable feast (including ashlan-fu, a spicy noodle dish that’s served cold and absolutely delicious) alongside insights into their way of life in modern-day Kyrgyzstan. While you’re around, make the time to visit the architecturally ambiguous Dungan Mosque, too. Built by Chinese artisans between 1907 and 1910 for the local Dungan community, it is entirely constructed without any nails and reflects their Buddhist roots – a pagoda in place of a minaret, for example. And while the exhibits within Karakol History Museum aren’t quite as interesting, it’s worth a visit as it houses a permanent photography exhibition of Swiss adventurer Ella Maillart’s work. 

As Europe’s first documented solo female traveller in Central Asia, her black-and-white photos depict the minutiae of everyday life during her 1932 expedition, back before the region fell under the Soviet Union’s reign. Elsewhere, the past is also alive and well at the aptly named Antique Shop, the definitive pit stop for anyone looking to secure a piece of communist kitsch. A word to the wise: owner-collector Alexandr Korablev knows the story behind every item, so linger and get a better sense of your finds. More conventional souvenirs can be purchased at EthnoMir (embroidered slippers and locally made chocolate) and One Village One Product (felt toys, organic soaps, and a wide selection of jam and honey).

TRAVEL to KYRGYZSTAN

Arguably, the country’s most fascinating day trip originates in Karakol, taking visitors through the mountainous Chon-Ashuu pass (3,822m) to the eerie ghost town of Engilchek. This once-thriving mining town was home to 5,000 inhabitants, but quickly forgotten with the Soviet Union’s collapse. A handful of residents remain, living amongst debris and decay. You’ll need a permit to visit Engilchek as it’s in a buffer zone close to the border with China, but don’t let that deter you – the team at Visit Karakol can facilitate your journey to this truly remote corner of Kyrgyzstan.

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New Openings in Dubai Summer

9 New Openings You (Likely) Missed Over Summer

Your Dubai bucket list, updated.


If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s referring to summers in Dubai as “slow and sleepy”. Whether it’s the green season of Salalah, the vibrant cultural scene of London, or the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Baku, residents hightail it out of the city as soon as the mercury rises, travelling far and wide in search of respite. This summer, however, was surprisingly eventful, bringing with it a whole host of new openings across dining, fitness, hospitality, entertainment, and more. Let’s catch you up.

1. Margaux

Dubai got a little sweeter over the summer, courtesy of Margaux’s arrival. The intimate new pastry boutique at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam offers a decadent selection of tarts, millefeuille, and more – all of which can all be ordered online and delivered to your home. It’s located just off the hotel’s main lobby, and accented with the likes of feminine detailing, ornate mirrors, and soft lighting. As for its elegant shopfront? Adorned with delicate pastries and desserts collectively transporting guests to the heart of Paris, where the cobblestone streets are paved with chic bakeries and chocolatiers. Expect to indulge in the likes of tiramisu, pistachio flan, button cake, and chocolate eclairs.

Margaux

2. Horror Cinema

While we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cinematic experiences (Cinema Akil for leading foreign films, Theatre by Rhodes for films with a side of fine dining), there was never a space dedicated to those with an appetite for horror movies – until now. Aptly named Horror Cinema, this new opening in Indigo Sky building screens cult favourites from the genre (IT, Rings, Insidious, and Insidious: Chapter 2) in an intimate environment. But you’ll have to brace yourself as the experience is designed to immerse visitors in a world of scares at every turn, starting with a scary check-in and a seating area reminiscent of a haunted house. Expect a series of flashes, splashes, and high-tech special effects for an evening like no other in Dubai.

3. Blended Wellness

Our growing quest for wellness brings with it the launch of Blended Wellness. Located at Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, it is an innovative, all-encompassing collective of purpose-built health, fitness, and beauty experiences, pioneering a new way of thinking that challenges the ideology of perfection. The lifestyle concept not only caters to both mental and physical health, but also introduces the country’s first traditional Russian banya. An innovative interpretation of a traditional Russian bathhouse, Dubanya brings the tradition to today, blending ancient cleansing and detoxifying practices with new-age health and wellness rituals. Elsewhere, a spa, a salon, an aesthetic clinic, a fitness centre, and a space dedicated to mental wellness collectively ensure a picture of holistic health.

4. Bedrock

Located at Pier 7, Bedrock is a new sports bar that’s here to redefine the face of sports bars in Dubai. A change of pace from the typical dark and dingy options, it pairs a fresh and stylish interior with a warm and friendly atmosphere, incredible food, high-tech indoor sports, and the perfect view of every unmissable sporting moment. Bedrock features 20 TV screens, the latest technology in darts, and the region’s best indoor golf simulator for the ultimate competitive socialising. Bedrock is also home to five state-of-the-art darts boards with digital scoring and game options, challenging traditional notions and bringing darts to a new generation.

Bedrock

5. Studio 14

While several gyms made their debut in recent months, Studio 14 in Umm Al Sheif stands out for its eco-friendly space inspired by nature. Catering to both children and adults, it houses high-tech machines that are not only effective, but also powered by the users themselves – thereby using zero electricity. As for the good news if you prefer to join workout classes? Each is limited to only six people in order to provide a more personalised experience. Studio 14’s eco-friendly outlook, meanwhile, is reflected in details such as green walls, recycled woods, and a retail selection that includes sustainable items like recyclable bags.

6. Roxy Xtreme

Not a fan of catching horror flicks in indie cinemas? Meet Roxy Xtreme, home to the biggest screen in the MENA region. Spanning 423 square metres, its screen is a whopping 60% bigger than a tennis court. Combine that with state-of-the-art laser projection, DOLBY ATMOS surround sound technology, and absurdly comfortable seats, and you’re looking at every cinephile’s dream destination. Not only will Roxy Xtreme screen an array of blockbusters, but also unmissable sporting events like the FIFA World Cup. Incidentally, the auditorium features 382 premium reclining seats in total, but those in the Director’s Boxes tier promise pure luxury; they’re fitted with heated seats, wireless phone chargers, shopping bag storage, and a personal swivel table.

7. Eva Beach House

In a case of culinary déjà vu, the line-up of restaurants at Palm West Beach continues to grow, catering to just about every occasion and palate possible. Case in point: Eva Beach House, a beachside destination celebrating the bliss of Tulum-style seaside dining. The aesthetics of this new venue feature airy and draped elements in shades of clotted cream and earthy brown, complemented by wooden accents and all manner of cacti, creating a spot of escape from the city’s frenzy. Bathed in natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows, it also allows the breathtaking skyline views to steal the spotlight. Meanwhile, a rich selection of the day’s catch, dry-aged meat, and a menu rooted in diversity promise a treat for the taste buds.

Eva Beach House

8. 53

Between the likes of Dream, Papillon, and The Theater, the city’s nocturnal landscape now offers more than simply bars and nightclubs. 53 joined the line-up over the summer, and it’s officially the highest dinner show in the region. Pairing a refined culinary approach with world-class nightlife and entertainment, it promises to redefine the experiential dining experience in Dubai as it’s the brainchild of a team of innovators and experts in event production. With its stunning interiors with views over the skyline from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, patrons are invited to enjoy sundowners from an early evening that will evolve into a night to remember. Incidentally, the dinner shows take place across a multitude of elevated stages, giving the opportunity to all guests to immerse in all the elements of the venue without taking focus away from the dining experience.

9. Salmon Guru

It hails from Madrid and boasts the #24 spot on the World’s Best Bars list – and there isn’t a hint of salmon on the menu. Meet Salmon Guru, a quirky new concept located at The Opus by OMNIYAT. Named to express the ability of going upstream and against the flow, it was brought to the region thanks to legendary bar industry figurehead, Diego Cabrera. His vision? To recreate the intimate-yet-casual European experience of the original outpost in Dubai. To that end, he has personally designed this venue, infusing all his creativity into his first project outside of Spain. Here, guests can immerse themselves in the unique drinks execution by sitting in or behind the detailed open bar stations. The venue itself, while intimate, combines three distinct vibes: a ’60s Tropical Speakeasy section, an Asian Night Market, and a Comic Book themed area. In short, an evening riddled with escapism is promised.

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A woman smilling

Exploring Dubai on a Budget – Here’s How

Frugal fun in the city of gold? Yes, really.

Something Fishy 

If you’re into cooking, exploring, or just enjoy a fish-out-of-water adventure(pun intended), Waterfront Market is a great place to spend an early morning. While away the hours checking out the different types of locally caught fish and meeting the melting pot of people who catch your fish in Dubai.

Cost: Free (fish not included)

Waterfront Market, Al Khaleej Road, 800 627 538

Street Eats

O’Pao is the definitive hidden gem in Karama, known for serving wallet-friendly sliders from the streets of Mumbai – a.k.a. O’ Vada Pao – at a bargain price of only AED 7 each! A literal treat for your taste buds, this vegetarian delight is made of a spiced potato dumpling, garnished with chutney, and sandwiched in a homemade bun. 

Cost: AED 7 

O’Pao, ground floor, behind Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Karama, 04 349 6726

Old-School Cruising

Hop on board a traditional abra and explore Dubai’s original downtown through the creek that cuts right through it. Did we mention that it only costs AED 1? Head out at sunset for the perfect Instagram picture, or take the time to reflect on Dubai’s evolution as you pass by the historic buildings of Al Fahidi and Al Seef. And if you rather cruise through the creek, you can even book an abra as a private charter for AED 120 per hour. 

Cost: AED 1

Various abra stations across the creek

Make a Splash

With access to some hotel pools in Dubai costing up to a whopping AED 250, Barasti Beach pool is a perfect frugal hack. And trust us when we say the early bird definitely gets the worm – or a sun lounger in this case. Ladies, make sure to also look out for their ladies days to get an extra (sometimes, even free) bang for the  buck!

Cost: Free

Barasti Beach, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, 04 318 1313

But First, Coffee

Take a trip down memory lane in Old Dubai, courtesy of The Coffee Museum. What better way to celebrate the city than learning all about coffee and the rich history it has in Arabic culture? 

Cost: Free entry

The Coffee Museum, Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood, 04 353 8777

The Cool Factor

If you’re looking for the perfect place to people-watch (we have spied the major artists, designers, and all-round cool kids of Dubai) then Dubai Design District is the place to see – and be seen. Stroll through this concrete and glass jungle, passing stunning art installations, homegrown designer boutiques, a skate park, and some of the best homegrown restaurants and bars along the way. Our favourites? The beloved One Life Kitchen and contemporary Indian eatery Mohalla.

Cost: Free

Dubai Design District, adjacent to Business Bay 

Blast from the Past

Located by the banks of Dubai Creek, Al Shindagha Museum offers fascinating insights into the UAE’s rich past. Step inside and discover various facets of Emirati culture and heritage from traditional remedies and food to the history of trade in the Dubai Creek. Bring friends or family along and avail the group ticket price of just AED 10 per person!

Cost: AED 5 for children, AED 15 for adults, AED 10 for a group of five

Al Shindagha Museum, near House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, 04 515 5336

Free as a Bird

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, or those just looking for an epic photography site! This wetland reserve is home to several species like the grey heron, flamingo, and cormorant. A visit to the sanctuary also features the famous salt flats, mangroves, and lagoons. Our tip? Pack water, snacks, and sunscreen as this really is the perfect all-day adventure.

Cost: Free 

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Ras Al Khor Road, 800 900

Social Media Star

You’ll never look at Starbucks the same way after visiting the iconic branch in Al Seef. Located in the heart of the city, this one-of-a kind outpost has become one of the most talked about Starbucks locations thanks to TikTok and Instagram. Trust us, seeing is believing. 

Cost: Free/Your Starbucks order

Starbucks, Al Seef, 04 419 0014

Another Woman’s Trash 

If shopping is a sport, then a trip to Dubai Flea Market is an all-out war! Arm yourself with small notes (store holders love change) and make sure you get to the markets as soon as they open. We’ve picked up designer shoes for as little as AED 10 – true story!

Cost: Free entry 

Dubai Flea Market, various locations across Dubai, click here for schedule of upcoming events

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