Attractions Nearby Dubai, Day Trips and Excursions
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE)
All around Dubai are quality attractions making worthwhile day trips and Arabian excursions. Many tourists looking for something away from the skyscrapers of Dubai will appreciate desert safaris onboard a 4X4 jeep or even a camel (the 'ship' of the desert), while the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah warrants a visit and its attractions are often very much overlooked by tourists, although do note that alcohol is illegal here.
Serving as the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the city of Abu Dhabi
offers a completely different set of attractions to those available within Dubai and lies around 150 km / 93 miles the south-west, being less than two hours away by road. Also close by is Ajman, Al Ain, Mina Jebel Ali and the Island of Kish, as well as the enticing East Coast.
Those prepared for an early-morning start will be able to enjoy a day trip to Abu Dhabi, although there really are just so many attractions to see here that a longer excursion is always preferable. Desert safaris with 4X4 vehicles are always popular here, although will usually need to be booked in advance. Also worth a look are the market traders within the Old Souk District
, the exotics animals at the Al Ain Zoo
, the reconstructed buildings at the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, the roller coasters at Hili Fun City, and the watchtowers of the city's Eastern Fort
Ajman is actually the smallest of all the seven emirates that make up the UAE and is to be found to the north-east of Dubai. Just 10 km / 6 miles away and also close to both Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. The attractions of Ajman are perfect for a day trip and the 16th-century fortress within the central square is home to a particularly interesting museum, reconstructing aspects of local life. Ajman Beach is something of a tourist hotspot and its white sands are perfect for sunbathing, while in the warm water, dolphins can often be spotted swimming and jumping.
Located within the Buraimi Oasis, the town of Al Ain is close to the border with Oman and directly south-east of Dubai. Al Ain is an appealing garden city, with a number of impressive date-palm plantations, a historical fortress and mosque, and several museums. Other attractions within Al Ain include the colourful camel and livestock market (souq), the Al Jimi Shopping Mall, the Arabia Centre and the Jebel Hafeet, which is the country's second-highest mountain and stands at some 1,350 metres / 4,430 feet in height.
Many people wishing to escape from Dubai for a day or longer find that a trip to the East Coast is one to remember. Facing the scenic Indian Ocean, the East Coast is lined with quality attractions and greatly contrasts with the towering skyscrapers of Dubai. As you drive along the road towards the coast and Al Dhaid, you will pass innumerable pretty beaches, rocky headlands, areas of sandy desert and even the occasional lone camel. Dibba is one if the most northerly and inviting towns on the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates and contains a stunning bay, flanked with tiny fishing villages. To the south of Dibba is Al-Aqqa, where the Le Meridien Al-Aqah Beach Resort comes highly recommended. Nearby, the Snoopy Island is famed for its scuba diving and snorkelling, while a little further to the south, the Bidiya Mosque is also often of interest and is actually the oldest within the whole of the United Arab Emirates.
Island of Kish
Kish Island has become a leading tourist resort and is to be found within easy reach of Dubai, and on the north-easterly shoreline of the Persian Gulf, where it actually belongs to Iran. Located roughly 17 km / 11 miles from the Iranian mainland, the Island of Kish boasts a number of quality attractions and beautiful beaches, where snorkelling conditions are exceptional. Always a crowd-puller is the island's Kish Dolphin Park, where dolphin shows are a particular highlight. Further creatures are housed within the Mysteries of the World Zoo, and for a little Middle Eastern respite, the Green Tree Park is on hand. Tourists planning a day trip to Kish will not require a visa.
Mina Jebel Ali
The port town of Jebel Ali is a mere 35 km / 22 miles to the south-west of Dubai and is therefore an extremely popular day trip. Tourists often take an excursion to Jebel Ali, to explore the enormous man-made harbour and spectacular coastline, which remains quite undeveloped and stretches for 15 km / 9 miles. Many parts of the beach feature good facilities, including showers and cafes. Barbecues are permitted on the beachfront at Jebel Ali.
Holiday makers in Dubai will find an endless array of entertainment, restaurants and shopping options, although for museums and culture, many find that a day trip to nearby Sharjah is especially rewarding. Sharjah is a city within the emirate of the same name and is home to a selection of very pleasant beach resorts. The Blue Souq shopping centre contains around 600 different shops and is another draw card, as are the historical sites spread around the aptly named Heritage District. Museum-goers will enjoy spending time at the Sharjah Fort Museum, the Sharjah Islamic Museum or the Archaeology Museum, while tourists looking for a little more excitement may like to jet-ski around the Khalid Lagoon.