This post is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove project.
You might have lingered in the glamorous shopping malls, marveled at the aesthetics of Dubai’s skyline from the observation deck at the Burj Khalifa, befriended dolphins at the Atlantis, enjoyed pampering spa sessions at the nicest hotels in Dubai, partied with the city’s fashionable crowd and even had your fair share of market hopping in the old neighborhoods of Deira, but Dubai’s still got a lot more up its sleeve to surprise you.
If you thought that you could cram a visit to the city in a stopover, then make no mistake–you will be missing the chance to enjoy the great outdoors. These day trips from Dubai present to you an interesting mix of nature, wildlife and heritage and are not to be missed if you want to peel back the layers a little and travel deeper.
Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain
At 1,240 meters above sea level, Jabeel Hafeet, 140 kms away from Dubai, is not only the U.A.E’s second highest peak, it’s also one of the most scenic routes in the country. Located in the garden city of Al Ain, the road trip is very popular with local residents looking to escape the buzz of the city on weekends, especially in the cooler months. At the top, enjoy the magnificent views of Al Ain and Oman. On your way back, stop at Green Mubazzarah at the base of the mountain to dip your toes in the hot water springs that are believed to be therapeutic.
Ras Al Khaimah
A one and a half hour drive from Dubai, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is a popular day trip for residents and tourists, providing a pleasant change from Dubai’s urban cityscape with its raw and rugged landscape. You can even go on a safari to explore the desert. If you are more of a history buff, you will love to explore the 16th century Dhayah Fort and the mid-18th century National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah that served as the former residence of the ruling Al Qawasim family. Don’t forget the ghost town of Jazirat Al Hamra, one of the country’s oldest historical sites, a traditional fishing town that was abandoned by its residents around 40 years ago. Noteworthy is the coral stone architecture and the features of the township such as a fortress, school, market, houses, wind towers, mosques and courtyards.
While in RAK, you can also visit the relaxing Khatt Hot Springs and spend some time in the mineral pools at the base of the scenic Hajar Mountains. Locals believe the springs have therapeutic qualities and you can ever book some time in a private pool.
A one hour drive away from Dubai, Dibba on the east coast of the Musandam Peninsula makes for an ideal getaway. Nestled in the picturesque mountainous landscape of Oman, with its towering cliffs and fjords, Dibba is best and most conveniently experienced by a Dhow Cruise in a traditional boat.
Active travelers will enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving and kayaking in the pristine Arabian waters. You’re also likely to see dolphins and rich marine life. The town itself is very simple and the pace of life is slow as is usually the case outside cities. All visitors must bring their passports as you will be crossing into Omani territory.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series with other cool day trips from Dubai.
If you’re visiting Dubai on a budget, check out my tips for traveling in Dubai on the cheap.
For general information to help you plan your trip to the UAE or Dubai in particular and recommendations for culture in Abu Dhabi, cool hotels, or popular places of interest such as the Dubai Miracle Garden and At The Top Burj Khalifa, check out my UAE Travel Blog.