Dubai has earned a reputation as the world’s most luxurious and tourist-friendly city, thanks to its record-breaking skyscrapers, modern shopping malls, impressive skyline as well as world-class restaurants, bars, clubs and spas. Put a little distance between yourself and the city; and you will be faced with largely unexplored attractions, ones that still retain the essence of the UAE and provide a stark contrast to the commercialised offerings of the Dubai city.
For those looking to explore all facets of Dubai tourism, here are top five options for taking a day trip from Dubai:
The garden city of Al Ain is a top choice for tourists looking to get away from the golden Emirati to a slower, languid and more culturally intact part of the UAE. Jebel Hafeet, the second highest peak in the UAE is the top attraction in Al Ain, located just 140 kilometres away from Dubai. The scenic routes leading to the top of the peak and the splendid vistas of the Al Ain and Oman from there are much sought after. The Al Ain Camel Market gives visitors a chance to meet and photograph a large variety of camels, an animal bearing great importance to the UAE’s history and culture.
Ras Al Khaimah
Though it is best to dedicate at least a couple of days for exploration of Ras Al Khaimah, it is common for tourists to visit UAE’s northernmost emirate on a day trip from Dubai, given the close proximity. Offering the desirable combination of rich cultural heritage and a laidback vibe, Ras Al Khaimah appeases the lovers of gorgeous mountain scenery; long, sandy coastlines as well as rugged deserts. Among the top attractions that can be visited here are the National Museum of Ras- Al- Khaimah, Khatt Hot Springs, Saqr Park, Iceland Water Park, Dhayah Fort as well as Hajar Mountains.
Travel an hour from Dubai on E311 towards the east coast of the Masundam Peninsula to reach Dibba, a small mountainous town in Oman. The town’s stunning beaches are one of its major draws as is the quaint Dibba Fort. Spend a languid day exploring the town on a traditional dhow cruise and say hello to dozens of dolphins that swim in the waters here. The adventure seekers will have ample chances of indulging in hiking, kayaking, camping, diving, rock climbing and snorkelling. Be mindful, however, that you will need a pre-arranged permit to cross border to Dibba.
Jebel Al Jais
Take some time off the heat in Dubai and travel to Jebel Al Jais, the highest peak in the UAE, known for its sweeping winds that bring the temperature down. The hair-pin turns leading to the top of the peak stimulate an adventure junkie’s soul whereas the panoramic views of the valley from there are blissful for all kinds of travellers. We’d suggest that you take a guided tour of Jebel Al Jais with RAK tourism and explore an abandoned village, a few historic houses in the region and learn about the history of the region on your way.
For travellers used to commercialised Emirate experiences commonplace in larger and more popular Emirati cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Liwa Oasis is going to be revelation. Just four hours away from the Golden Emirati, Liwa Oasis refers to a collection of villages and farms forming an arc around Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, namely the majestic Rub’ al-Khali. To say that you will be stunned at witnessing the undulating sand dunes is to underestimate their beauty; Tal Mireb is the one to look out for. Stuck in time away from the tourist chatter, Liwa Oasis is the Middle East at its authentic best.