11 wicked fun things to add to your winter wishlist in the UAE
The cooler climes mean camping, BBQs, and the return of our favourite attractions…
We don’t want to speak too soon, but it feels like summer is on its way out. You can safely stand outdoors in the mornings without taking an involuntary second shower (minus the water) and the breeze doesn’t feel like a practical prank. With all this evidence in front of us, we’d like to make an informed call, and say the winter season is on the way.
As we say goodbye to summer and hello to our favourite season in the UAE, here’s 11 wicked fun things to ensure you make the most of the winter.
Camp in the big wide outdoors of Hatta
Cooler temperatures mean more time that you can spend outdoors. There’s so much natural beauty to discover in the UAE, a major landmark of which is the region of Hatta. With majestic mountain ranges and breathtaking views of valleys, wadis and rare greenery, it’s the perfect place to pitch your tent, get a bonfire going and savour the weather, which of course, will be even cooler up there. Luckily for us, Hatta’s glamping experiences are reopening for the new season on September 15. All you have to do is kick back and have a good time. Make your reservations here.
For more information, visit visithatta.com
Staycation amongst the dunes at Bab Al Shams
Located about an hour away from Dubai, just off the Al Qudra Road, Bab Al Shams is as picturesque of old-world desert charm as can be. This luxurious resort destination will transport you away to an oasis surrounded by endless dunes, nature reserves, man-made lakes and wildlife specific to this region, like gazelles and oryx. For the adventure junkies, the resort offers a whole host of exciting activities, like fat biking, desert safari, archery, horse riding, and more. It’s the complete desert experience.
Bab Al Shams, Al Qudra Road, Dubai, rates from Dhs1,500. Tel: (0)4 809 6100, babalshams.com/
Witness incredible views with a hot air balloon ride
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Not only is a hot air balloon the perfect date idea, but it is also a great way to appreciate the beauty of the desert, which we might miss when we’re right in the middle of it. Nothing can beat bird’s eye aerial views of not just the dunes and the wildlife that inhabits them, but also a spectacular sunrise. The winter is the time to enjoy every bit of it. Try Balloon Flights – Dubai’s newest hot air balloon experience which takes you to 4,000 feet in the air over the desert. Rates start from Dhs879.
Book via 04 208 7222, or purchase your tickets and get more information on balloonflights.ae
Get the complete family fun experience at Global Village Dubai
Everyone’s favourite family fun destination closes every year for summer before reopening as the cooler months roll around. This year is no different. Global Village Dubai is officially slated to reopen on Wednesday, October 18. As always, it will be open for six months, meaning you have half a year to shop, play and dine on delicacies from around the world. But there’s always something new going on – so multiple visits are a must.
Frolic among the flowers at Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is one of Dubai’s most popular attractions. It is, after all, the world’s largest natural flower garden. It is quite the spectacle featuring 150 million flowers in full bloom spanning over 72,000 square metres. The colourful heart-shaped arches that we’ve all seen all over social media will once again become the backdrop for Instagram photoshoots galore. The garden usually opens between late October and early November, so stay tuned for the updates and we will let you know as soon we get word on the opening date.
Get up close and personal with nature at Dubai Safari Park
An outdoor space like no other, Dubai Safari Park gives you a chance to get up close and personal with an incredible variety of wildlife. The 119-hectare site houses 3,000 animals. 78 species of mammals, 50 types of reptiles, 111 kinds of birds, as well as amphibians and invertebrates. It’s divided into four different villages and offers numerous experiences for you to get into the field. The date of reopening is yet to be confirmed, but this animal-tastic attraction always returns with the winter weather.
Take a seaward trip to Musandam
The mountainous peninsula of Musandam is all clear blue waters, dolphins and dhow trips. Those looking for history can head to the capital of Khasab for museum displays and forts that date back to the 17th century. Hop aboard a traditional dhow and sail through the majestic fjords, spotting the local pods of dolphins as you go. Companies like Musandam Sea Adventure offer full and half-day dhow cruises, or options to create multi-day packages for those looking to maximise their adventure time.
Get grilling at outdoor barbecues
Now is the time to get those grilling stands, dad polos and Reebok trainers out: It’s barbecue season. With lovely weather, the outdoor barbecue experience will be that much more enjoyable and you can get your meats and your corn on the cob and all that good stuff and have a gala food time. There are plenty of spots in the country for an outdoor barbecue including a number of parks, but if you want to put some distance between you and the cityscape, head to Khorfakkan, Kalba and even Al Qudra.
Warm your soul with some hotpot
The hotpot experience is built for the winter, with hot soup loaded up with delicious meats, vegetables and other ingredients of your choice. It’s quite a communal experience, really, shared between a large group of people with love and memories on the side. Since the beginning of time, soup has been a comfort food, and if that doesn’t scream winter vibes, we don’t know what does. Head over to one of the many hotpot restaurants in the city and beyond to get your hotpot fix.
Sip on a pumpkin spice latte (and other fall/winter-themed drinks)
The good old pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is turning 20 this year, and the drink is much-needed for every Pinterest gal. We don’t really have a fall season here, but who says we can’t pretend as if we do? Starbucks UAE has released its highly anticipated collection of seasonally themed drinks and it is available in all its coffee shops across the UAE. You best believe we’re going to be first in line for the OG drink.
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Grab a bite at a food truck at Last Exit
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A food truck park of sorts, Last Exit is one of those places you go to for a road trip that won’t kill the joy. There are many locations in and outside the city and they all feature meals on wheels of an impressive variety. The themed concept is open to the public round the clock, so you can indulge in some street food whenever your heart desires.