Dubai: The United Arab Emirates is home to an abundance of natural beauty and plenty of things to do, especially during the winter months. Each of the seven emirates has their own unique gems, whether they are beaches, mountains, desserts or century-old forts.
Here’s where to go in Dubai for your dose of nature or history. Make sure you are well prepared in terms of equipment and / or clothing before heading to these locations. Also, remember to strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines wherever you decide to go.
Big Red – Offroad in Dubai
Why you should visit: Big Red is located right on the border between Sharjah and Dubai, via Hatta Road (E44). It is a magnificent open dessert, open and accessible to all. You will notice that the further away you are from the city, the darker the red color of the dessert becomes. Then you will arrive at Big Red, a fairly popular spot for dunes, but a beautiful and scenic wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. It is one of the most popular dune bashing sites in the United Arab Emirates. This place is always filled with those looking for an adrenaline rush. This desert has the easiest dunes to maneuver for both amateurs and professionals. On weekends and holidays, the area is teeming with motorists looking to show off the latest tips on motorcycles, buggies, quads and jeeps.
Location: Dubai, 24.969919230283388, 55.72327668101903
Hatta – Hiking, Sightseeing & Scenic Drive
Why you should visit: Hatta is the perfect getaway from the city lights, providing an opportunity to get back to nature as well as experience a wide range of activities. You can go mountain biking or trekking in the Hajar Mountains – also known for their stunning views – or enjoy wadi-bashing in the river beds and even kayaking in the Hatta Dam. The Hatta Wadi Hub offers visitors experiences such as a 10 meter high climbing wall that features five lanes, a slingshot that propels those seeking adventure, fun and suspense to a height 50 meters, and paragliding.
Where: Dubai, 24.789697065050316, 56.119514087516066
Lahbab – Desert camping and dune bashing
Why You Should Visit: Known for its spectacular red sand beaches, Lahbab is a popular nightlife haunt for new campers. Many start near the familiar fossil rock, which is also a great place for stargazing. Barbecuing in this weather is the best thing to do while trying the “Big Red,” a 300 foot high sand dune, is a dune lover’s delight. You can also head to Madame’s sleepy village just before the Hatta border post for more camping sites where you can have stray camels from local farms for company.
Location: Dubai, 25.050124501814, 55.59266294671861
Al Ahmadiya School – History
Why should you visit: Al Ahmadiya School which was established in 1912 and remained active until 1962. It is located in Al Ras district in Dubai, this museum can be explored in a few hours. This heritage site is owned by the wealthy pearl merchant, Sheikh Ahmad Bin Dalmouk, and exhibits life-size creations from the country in the 1970s. It is worth taking a look to get a feel for what it was like. education before the introduction of a foreign program. It was the first regular school in Dubai, which was attended by famous students including the father of Dubai – Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Built around a large courtyard, the school is a beauty with scalloped arcades with intricate detail.
Location: Dubai, Al Ahmadiya Street in Deira, near Al Ras metro station, behind Dubai Public Libraries
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Dubai Museum – History and Culture
Why You Should Visit: Opened in Dubai in 1971, the Dubai Museum aims to showcase the traditional Bedouin way of life. Located in Fort Al Fahidi, built in 1787, the Dubai Museum housed life-size dioramas from the pre-oil era, several galleries with ancient maps, and historical finds as old as 3000 BC. It also has a video room that shows the development of Dubai from the discovery of oil to the present day. Visitors to Dubai Museum’s ‘Fort Al Fahidi’ have the opportunity to gain a rich, comprehensive and integral knowledge of the very ancient history of Dubai which has interacted with different people and civilizations throughout history. Visitors will learn about the different environments of urban and rural life in Dubai, whether marine, coastal, desert, mountainous or agricultural.
Location: Dubai, opposite the Grand Mosque on Al Fahidi Street
Cost: Dh3 per adult; Dh1 for children under 12
Hours: Saturday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Dubai Coffee Museum – Coffee and History
Why You Should Visit: Located in the Al Fahidi district, Dubai is home to the UAE’s first museum dedicated to coffee. The museum opened in September 2014 to mark International Coffee Day, which takes place on September 29. The museum is a showcase that connects the past and the present of the coffee world. The ground floor of the museum is made up of 6 different rooms featuring the different styles of roasting and brewing from various countries, which are shown live. The first floor of the museum offers a wide selection of books on the history of coffee as well as documentaries that visitors can view in the media room. Coffee lovers can also sit and enjoy delicious coffee in their intimate and comfortable coffee lounge, as well as shop for related items in the museum’s gift shop.
Location: Dubai, Villa 44, Al Fahidi Historic District
Hours: Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Friday
Al Oqaili Museum – Poetic History
Why You Should Visit: Built in 1923, this museum was the home of Emirati poet Mubarak Al Oqaili. Built over two floors, the ground floor contains information about his life, poems and other manuscripts while the second floor presents his cultural and social life. In 2010, the house was renovated using the original building materials and construction techniques to preserve the life and work of one of the UAE’s great poets.
Location: Dubai, Bani Yas, near the spice souk, Deira
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kite Beach – Food, sea and sun
Why You Should Visit: From paddle boarding, jet skiing and kitesurfing to lazing on the beach with a selection of restaurants nearby, there is no shortage of things to do at this free beach to enter Dubai. Children and adults can also enjoy the activities of the water park and a trampoline park.
Location: Dubai, Umm Suqeim district of Dubai in Jumeirah
– With contributions from Dona Cherian, online assistant editor