Sports and Activities in Dubai (VII)

Tag: Dubai

Sports and Activities in Dubai (VII)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Rugby Sevens – The magnificent sevens


Part of the IRB Sevens World Series tournament, this is one of the highlights of the international rugby sevens calendar, featuring top international teams, with recent winners including England, South Africa and New Zealand. Also provides an excuse for some of the city’s most raucous expat partying. 


Matches are played at the purpose-built The Sevens stadium, one the edge of the city next to the road to Al Ain. Tickets go for around 200dh.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Diving – Take the plunge in the Gulf

Dubai itself has only limited diving opportunities: the offshore marine environment has been significantly damaged by development and there are no natural reefs, although a number of wrecks can be dived reasonably close to the shore. The city does, however, lie within easy striking distance of numerous outstanding dive sites off the UAE’s east coast in Fujairah, and off the Musandam Peninsula in Oman, both of which are only a couple of hours’ drive away. 

There are a couple of good diving operators in Dubai. The Pavilion Dive Centre at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel offers a range of on-site PADI courses and introductory dives, plus dives to nearby wrecks and one- to three-day excursions to Musandam. Al Boom Diving operates dive centres at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa in the far south of the city, and at the Al Aqah Méridien hotel in Fujairah, offering a range of PADI courses and dives, plus Musandam excursions.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Wild Wadi – Wild and watery thrills and spills


One of the city's most enduringly popular attractions, Wild Wadi waterpark boasts a wide range of attractions to suit all ages. Younger kids can inner-tube around Lazy River or splash about in Juha's Dhow and Lagoon play area, while older children and grown-ups can try the various master-blaster tube rides or have a crack at surfing the Wipe-Out and Rip Tide Flowriders. Confirmed adrenalin-junkies should head up to the Jumeirah Sceirah speed slide, during which you'll hit around 80kph and experience temporary weightlessness.


Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (VI)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Arabian Ranches Golf Club – Desert links, Dubai style


Out on the edge of the city in the Dubailand development, this striking modern course was designed by former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch in emulation of the desert-style courses found at places like Scottsdale, Arizona and Palm Springs, California. The par 72 course consists of 18 links-style holes set in the middle of natural desert – miss the fairway and you end up in the “sandy waste”, covered in indigenous shrubs and plant life. 


The Spanish colonial-style clubhouse is a nice place to hang out, with food and drink from Ranches restaurant and fine views over the course from the restaurant’s panoramic terrace.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dhow Dinner Cruises – Dubai from the water


Touristy but fun, an evening dinner cruise up and down the Creek aboard a traditional Arabian dhow remains one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city, offering superlative night-time views over the old city. 


Dinner cruises usually last a couple of hours, departing at around 8pm from various points in either Deira or Bur Dubai, after which you’ll sail up and down the Creek, whilst some kind of Arabian or International-style buffet dinner, perhaps with a live musician or belly-dancer thrown in for good measure. 


Dinner cruises can cost anything from 100dh to 350dh depending on whom you go with. It’s usually easiest to book a cruise directly through your hotel, although they can also be booked through any of the city’s myriad tour operators including the reputable Arabian Adventures, or, usually slightly more cheaply, through operators such as Alpha Tours and Orient Tours. 


Other independent cruise operators include Rikks Cruises, which offers some of the cheapest cruises in town, and the more upmarket Al Mansour Dhow, operated by the Radisson Blu hotel. For a more modern alternative to the traditional dhow, Bateaux Dubai runs cruises in its state-of-the-art glass-sided modern boat, offering a touch more luxury than other operators, plus above-average food. .

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (V)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Creek Golf Club – Landmark club house and floodlit greens


The DCGC is best known for its landmark club house, while the Thomas Bjorn-designed championship course also boasts a superb Creekside setting and beautiful landscaping throughout – the Creek itself comes into play on at least four holes, while a number of other artificial water-features dot the course. 


The adjacent nine-hole par-3 course is good for beginners developing their basic skills and more experienced players who want to work on their short game; it’s also floodlit, meaning you can play after dark (daily until 10pm). The attached Golf Academy has an excellent array of training facilities including digital swing technology, plus driving range and chipping and bunker greens.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Tennis Championships – Top tennis players slug it out in Garhoud


Held at the homely little Dubai Tennis Stadium in Garhoud, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is a well-established fixture on the international ATP and WTA tennis calendar, offering the chance to see many of the world’s leading players in action. Past winners include Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and four-time champion Roger Federer. 


The championships are staged over two weeks, with ladies singles and doubles held during the first week, followed by men during week two. Tickets are a bargain, from at little as 50dh for early rounds, rising to 250dh for the finals.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai World Cup – The world’s richest horse race


Now relocated to the spectacular new Meydan Racecourse, the Dubai World Cup is the climax of the city’s annual racing calendar and the world’s richest horse race, with a massive $10 million in prize money. 


World Cup race night is also one of the city’s biggest social events, attracting a lively crowd of dressed-up Emiratis and expats sporting unusual hats. There’s free admission to part of the grandstand, otherwise tickets cost around 350dh.


Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (IV)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Emirates Golf Club – Dubai’s most prestigious club


The oldest all-grass championship course in the Gulf, yet still the most prestigious, serves as the current home of the Dubai Desert Classic, one of the region’s major golfing events, as well as the Dubai Ladies Masters.


There are actually two courses here: The Majlis course (which is where the Dubai Desert Classic is held) and The Faldo course, both offering challenging, championship-standard golfing amidst beautifully landscapes, featuring plenty of indigenous flora and a string of fresh- and saltwater lakes. The Faldo course is floodlit throughout, making it the UAE’s only 18-hole championship-standard course which is playable after dark. 


Excellent leisure amenities are provided in the striking clubhouse, designed to resemble a postmodern cluster of Bedouin tents.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Ferrari World


Looking like an enormous bright red spaceship unexpectedly crash-landed on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi (just over an hour's drive down the coast from Dubai), Ferrari World is the blockbuster attraction at the shiny new Yas Island, sitting right next to Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 race track.


Billed as the “world’s biggest indoor theme park”, Ferrari World is heaven for petrol heads of all ages, with load of Ferrari-themed rides and displays likely to appeal both to kids and grown-ups.


Try your hand at driving an F1 simulator, take a ride aboard the Formula Rosso rollercoaster (the fastest in the world) or find out what F1 race-day acceleration really feels like in the G Force “tower of speed”.


There are plenty of gentler family-oriented rides as well, while motorsports enthusiasts will enjoy the various exhibitions, including a virtual tour of the firm’s famous Maranello factory and displays of vintage and contemporary Ferraris.


Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (III)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Al Badia Golf Club – Breezy Creekside course at Festival City


Just south of the new Festival City development, this striking modern course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, makes the most of its natural location close to the Creek, with lots of water features (including 11 lakes) and an environmentally sensitive use of modern shrubs and plants. 


The course itself incorporates a variety of teeing angles and hole lengths to suit both serious and recreational players (offering an overall course length of between 5398 and 7303 yards), while the various water features and sometimes windy conditions offer a further challenge. 


The eye-catching modern clubhouse is also home to various state-of-the-art practice facilities and specialized golfing clinics including the TaylorMade Performance Lab and SAM PuttLab.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Aquaventure – Watery thrills and spills at this state-of-the-art waterpark


Located at the vast Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah, the spectacular Aquaventure waterpark is the newest and most state-of-the-art in the city, featuring all sorts of unusual and exciting ways of getting wet. 


Centrepiece of the park is the dramatic “Ziggurat”, featuring the stomach-churning “Leap of Faith” waterslide, 27.5m tall and 61m long, at the bottom of which you're deposited into a transparent underwater tunnel surrounded by a lagoon full of sharks. Other attractions include assorted master-blasters, water-coasters, speed slides, inner-tube rides and power-jets, all guaranteed to get the heart pounding. 


Less adrenaline-hungry visitors will enjoy the park's assortment of gentler rivers and rapids, and there's also a well-equipped children’s play area. Entrance prices also include use of the impressive stretch of adjacent private beach. 


Admission costs 200dh (165dh for children under 1.2m; or 250/200dh adults / children including The Lost Chambers; free to in-house guests; plus exorbitant locker rental at 40dh).

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (II)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Desert Classic – World-class golf in the Gulf


Held at the Emirates Golf Club, this is the region's leading golfing event, first held in 1993 and now established as a major fixture on the PGA European Tour. Past winners feature a virtual who’s who of golfing greats, including Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and Seve Ballesteros.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Ice Rink – Cool off with a spin on the ice


Located in the Dubai Mall, this state-of-the-art, Olympic-size ice rink offers a range of activities, including open-to-all public sessions, plus “disco sessions” and learn-to-skate classes – a pleasant way to cool off from the heat of the desert outside.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Marathon – Go the distance in Dubai


Running (as it were) since 2006, this leading international marathon attracts top distance athletes like three-time champion Haile Gebrselassie. The race starts and finishes in the Marina, with runners heading all the way up the coastal Jumeirah Road, and then turning around and running all the way back down again.


Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (I)

Sports and activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Abi Dhabi Desert Challenge – Rallying and racing in the desert


Formerly known as the UAE Desert Challenge, this is one of the Middle East’s leading motorsports events (doubling as the opening round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup), with rally drivers, bikers and quad-bikers racing through the deserts of Abu Dhabi emirate.



Sports and activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix


The single biggest event in the Middle Eastern sporting calendar, first held in 2009. The inaugural race was the first ever day–night race in F1 history, while the second race provided a dramatic conclusion to the F1 2010 season when Sebastian Vettel snatched victory in the drivers’ championship from Fernando Alonso.


The race is held at the spectacular new Yas Marina Circuit outside Abu Dhabi on the road to Dubai – a stunning location, although tickets are predictably expensive, from around US$400.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: DP World Tour Championship – European Tour's season-ending finale


First held in 2009, this is one of the world’s richest golfing events. The championships forms the grand finale to the season-long European Tour, with the tour’s sixty top players battling it out for $7.5 million in prize money at the spectacular new Greg Norman-designed “Earth” course in Dubailand. Lee Westwood won the inaugural championship in 2009, while Rory McIlroy won the 2012 event.



Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Els Golf Club – Something Els


Located in Dubai Sports City in Dubailand, this so-called “desert links” course was opened in 2008 to a design by Ernie Els. The course makes the most of its setting in the hinterlands of the city, with greens and fairways surrounded by rolling dunes and untouched desert scenery. The course features four different sets of teeing areas and hole lengths to suit different abilities, offering a total playing length of 7538 yards.


Day Trips in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (I)

Day Trips in Dubai: Abu Dhabi – The UAE’s cultured capital

Some two hours’ drive down the coast from Dubai lies Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE. Even more than Dubai, Abu Dhabi is a product of the age of petroleum, having been built up in the last fifty years virtually from scratch using profits from the emirate’s vast oil reserves. Like Dubai, it’s a modern, multi-cultural city, with a large expat community ranging from European and American professionals through to Indian and Pakistani laborers. 


The similarities between the two cities are plain to see, although nearly as obvious are the differences. Abu Dhabi remains a smaller and much more sedate place than its freewheeling neighbor, having largely eschewed the vast landmark mega-projects which are such a feature of the Dubai landscape and skyline. 


Culturally, the city has clung more firmly to its traditional roots. There are plenty of bars, and a decent smattering of nightlife, although none of Dubai’s huge party scene and general sense of free-for-all. Fittingly enough, whereas Dubai’s most iconic landmark is a luxurious “seven-star” hotel, Abu Dhabi’s is a mosque. 


For visitors, the city’s leading attractions are the vast Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the sprawling Emirates Palace hotel. More low-key attractions include the attractive Emirates Heritage Village, the old Qasr al Hosn fort and adjacent Cultural Foundation, and the nearby Etihad Square, strewn with enormous sculptures.


Day Trips in Dubai: Al Ain – Oasis city at the heart of the UAE

The fourth largest city in the UAE (and the country's only major inland settlement), Al Ain makes for a pleasant day-trip from Dubai, offering the chance to escape the full-on pace of life on the coast and experience a more laid-back and traditional version of local life. 


Al Ain grew up around the large string of oases, which dot the desert here. The sprawling main oasis, right in the heart of the city, survives amidst the modern development and offers a beautiful retreat from the modern world, with dozens of little roads twisting between the dense forest of palms. 


Elsewhere, the most notable reminders of Al Ain's past are the string of mud-brick forts, which dot the city. These include the fine Al Jahili fort and the Al Ain Palace, both recently reopened as low-key museums, and the quaint Eastern Fort. The interesting Al Ain National Museum, next door to the Eastern Fort, is also worth a look, as are the colorful livestock and food markets nearby. 


Buses for Al Ain leave hourly from Al Ghubaiba station in Bur Dubai (just behind the Shindagha Tower). The journey takes around 90 minutes to 2hr, depending on traffic.


Best Tourist Attractions in Dubai (I)

Dubai is a city of superlatives: the best, the biggest, the newest, the most luxurious or unique are constantly recurring adjectives. In this article we will cover some of the best tourist attractions in Dubai. A quarter of all the construction cranes in the world are in Dubai – there is only one constant in the desert metropolis: change.


1. Best Tourist Attractions in Dubai: Al Fahidi Fort / Dubai Museum

The one-time fortification, which was built at the end of the 18th century to protect against attacks, is the oldest intact building in Dubai. The Dubai Museum is also housed here. In a concise and appealing manner it offers a good introduction into the history of this rapidly developing country. Multi-media presentations, life-size dolls and the opportunity to take a tour of an original Bedouin house make any visit very interesting.


2. Best Tourist Attractions in Dubai: Jumeirah Mosque

The Jumeirah Mosque is the largest mosque in Dubai. It is particularly beautiful at night when lit up by spotlights. Its elegant appearance is highly enhanced by the 5 domes and the 2 minarets. A visit is only possible as part of a guided tour but there is no need to register beforehand. The tour is aimed at increasing understanding between religions and it is important to observe the laws of Islam, particularly in regard to clothing.


3. Best Tourist Attractions in Dubai: Emirates Tower

These Twin Towers are located right on the large motorway. The two adjoining skyscrapers incorporate offices and the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. They are both triangular and are comprised of concrete and glass. A unique feature is the glass lift, the speed of which had to be reduced after the opening. At 355 m and 310 m in height, they rank among the 30 highest buildings in the world. The lower floor is home to a luxury shopping center and several restaurants.


4. Best Tourist Attractions in Dubai: Dubai Grand Mosque

45 small and nine large domes, as well as the highest minaret in the city at 70 meters in height: These impressive numbers define the largest mosque in Dubai. This cultural and religious center was first opened in 1996. However a mosque has stood at this site since 1900. The glass windows, the wooden blinds and the blue mosaic ceiling in the interior are truly impressive. Visits by non-Muslims are not permitted but the minaret and the exterior façade are certainly worth seeing.