What is a typical weekend in Dubai? For most Dubai dwellers there are great parties, lovely beaches, swimming pools and spas, luxurious malls–but little do many know of the great wealth of interesting attractions just a few hours outside of the city. Plan a weekend getaway and discover a new place as well as explore the region’s hidden treasures with the following destinations.
The capital of the neighboring country of Oman is a favorite destination for both locals and expatriates. A place of history, the country is shaped by Persian, Indian, Arabian, and modern Western influences. Stay at one of the finest hotels in the city such as the Grand Hyatt, the Chedi or the Shangri-la. Explore the Muttraq Souk in Muscat especially if you love antiques and Arabic perfumes. You can also visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which has the largest Persian Carpet in the world woven by a reported 600 women. The beaches of Oman are breathtaking, clean and largely public except for a few adjoining the beach resort hotels. The many coves are perfect for snorkeling. You can easily drive or fly to Oman for a wonderful weekend escape from Dubai.
Often called “Paradise on Earth,” the Emirate of Fujairah is exceptionally beautiful. Full of pristine beaches, oases, palm orchards, and a rich traditional past, it is a wonderful weekend getaway for residents of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Many escape to this magical place for the sun and marine sports. You can camp along the undeveloped coastline, go fishing, windsurfing, and scuba diving. For a more luxurious stay treat yourself to a few nights at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort located between the azure Indian Ocean and the Hajar Mountains. Fujairah is a must for any UAE resident. It will calm, restore, and enchant.
One of the closest places to home is Hatta Fort, a small town located in the Hajar Mountains. It is a magical spot and a perfect place for camping or having a picnic. Nearby waterfalls and rock pools make Hatta really enchanting. You can even swim in the pools although the lack of rainfall means that the water is never very high. With low humidity levels it is also the perfect place to retreat to during the summer months. While there you can visit the Hatta Heritage Village which will allow you to explore Bedouin life and culture. The five-star Hatta Fort Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you don’t want to go camping. Complete with 80 acres of well-manicured gardens, fine dining, and various leisure activities including a wonderful spa and wellness center, this mountain retreat is for rest and rejuvenation.You can easily get to Hatta by car from either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
Just two and a half hours away by plane, Kathmandu is a more adventurous getaway from the UAE. Faraway from the bling culture of the UAE, this is a place to come to for spiritual enlightenment, Far Eastern cultural appreciation, and natural beauty. While there, jump a charter flight to the Himalayas just 10-minutes from the Kathmandu International airport and enjoy the exceptional views. Stay at the luxurious old Al Dwarikas Hotel. Designed with 15th-century carved wooden doors and pillars as well as intimate courtyards, the hotel holds many Nepalese artifacts collected since the 1950s. An enlightening journey, Kathmandu is worth the trip and contrast to UAE life.
Why wouldn’t you travel to Istanbul? Just three and a half hours by plane, the city was once the cornerstone of two the greatest world empires. With a ton of cultural activities to do such as a visit to 16th-century Byzantine church Hagia Sophia, you will easily be amazed at the amount of history and beauty that this Eastern city holds. You can also travel down the Bosphorus and see firsthand where Asia and Europe meet. The nightlife is also welcoming. Istanbul boasts some great clubs and restaurants that will certainly make you want to prolong your stay.