With the UAE National Day long weekend just around the corner, it’s time to think ADVENTURE. Many expats are considering flying out to magical destinations nearby like Amman, Beirut or Goa. If you’re one of them, bon voyage! The rest of us intend to celebrate the UAE National Day by travelling the UAE. After all, we’ve got all the ingredients to satisfy both our FOMO and our YOLO pangs right here under our nose. So, let’s get those tires on the road, the wind in our hair and the spirit of the UAE high in the ether with any of the following road trip destinations in UAE.
1. Jebel Hafeet Mountain, Al Ain
The second highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates (1,249 m), Jebel Hafeet is truly a hidden gem of the UAE, positioned on the far inland near the border with Oman. Whether you’re driving or cycling atop its craggy limestone, rest assured that the view will be spectacular!
If you aim to arrive at either sunset or sunrise, you’ll have the most beautiful experience (not to mention the best Instagram snaps!). There’s a cafe at the top of Jebel Hafeet, although we suggest doing things the DIY way. Picnic, rest, take in the view.
When in Al Ain: Visit the Al Ain Zoo, the Al Ain National Museum or the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum.
2. Doubletree by Hilton, Ras Al Khaimah
Not looking to exert yourself? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Doubletree by Hilton in Ras Al Khaimah is just an hour away from Dubai, yet represents an excellent opportunity to relax and unwind completely.
Think 450 m long pristine sand beach, calm turquoise waters, access to a rooftop pool, spa treatment rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and all the meditation-friendly silence you could ever need. It’s fabulous with a capital F (and, there’s a bar with a capital B).
When in Ras Al Khaimah: If you get bored of lazying around and reading, the concierge can organise a tour of the nearby mountains or dunes for you. Never taken a seaplane tour before? Also an option.
3. Ja Hatta Fort Hotel by JA Resorts & Hotels, Dubai
Just look at that stunning mountainscape! Do we really need to elaborate this one? Okay, we will, but only because you might be wholly unfamiliar with Hatta, the inland enclave of Dubai.
At Hatta Dam Green Lake, you can hike, rent a mountain bike (via Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre ) or glide down the calm, crystal-clear water surface in a rented kayak. Whatever option you go with, you’re bound to have a lovely time – especially if you book a stay at the charming JA Hatta Fort Hotel by JA Resorts & Hotels. Book in advance, and you can probably get a room with a full view of the Hatta Mountains!
When in Hatta: Visit the nearby Hatta Heritage Village. There are huts, houses, a watchtower and a mosque that’s hundreds of years old. A perfect contrast to the glitz and glamour of Dubai.
4. Jebel Jais Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah
Overshadowing even the Jebel Hafeet, the Jebel Jais is the highest peak of the UAE (1,892 m, albeit 1,911 m tall on the Omani side) and, therefore, a must-visit for adventurers and explorers amongst you. You can take a joyride up the winding roads and soak in the spectacular scenery, or you can ride a bike and have a picnic at one of the many rest stops.
Probably the most exciting option is to book a mountain climb with Via Ferrata. For AED 400, you and up to six of your friends can enjoy four full hours of mountain climbing, as well as zip lining! Unforgettable.
When in RAK: Visit the Dhayah Fort dating from the 19th century. According to the RAK heritage website, ‘Dhayah Fort played a major role as the last point of resistance during the British attacks in 1819 against the tribes of Ras Al Khaimah’.
5. Khasab, Musandam Oman
The only downside of taking a road trip to Khasab, Oman is having to wait an hour or so at Passport Control. Once you’re past that, there is some truly stunning Mother Nature’s magic waiting for you. By ‘magic’ we mean a one-of-a-kind creation of seemingly neverending crystal blue waters mirroring a stunning mountainscape. That pretty much describes the geographical gem of Khasab in a nutshell.
If you’d like us to go into detail, how’s this – colourful tropical fish, dolphins, sleeping in a tent with a campfire nearby? Well, all of that is possible with a broad range of Musandam Dhow tours providers.
When in Khasab: Find time to pay a visit to the lovely Khasab Fort.
6. Snoopy Island, Fujairah
We adore east coast’s Snoopy Island, and we’re a 100% certain you will too! First of all, it’s an island in the shape of Snoopy, and who doesn’t like the adorable pet beagle? Secondly, swimming around it is hundreds of colourful fish and turtles that make something as inexpensive as snorkelling a wholly unforgettable experience.
Lastly, right opposite Snoopy Island is Sandy Beach – a charming hotel with a pool, a buffet, and comfortable chalets with the dramatic Al Hajar Mountains as the backdrop.
When in Fujairah: Why stop at snorkelling? The Fujairah side of the Indian Ocean is perfect for taking diving lessons.
And that concludes our roundup of suggestions for the UAE National Day staycation. If you’re looking to move to somewhere that offers a more adventurous, nature-embracing lifestyle, consider moving to Ras Al Khaimah. If you’re scouting more places to visit in UAE, here are some suggestions for things to do in Sharjah.
Wherever you go, have a very Happy National Day!