23

W – Weekend Getaway to Fujairah | #AtoZChallenge

W – Weekend Getaway to Fujairah | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Fujairah is the only Emirate, which has a complete coastline on the Gulf of Oman. The new Sheikh Khalifa Highway connects Dubai and Fujairah and is only two hours drive away. It is the best place for a relaxing weekend getaway. It is famous for its luxurious resorts facing the Gulf of Oman with the mountains in the backdrop. It is the perfect place to catch mountains and beaches in a single place.

Kids play area

It is home to the oldest mosque in UAE, Al Badiyah mosque built in 1446. Other places of importance include Fujairah fort, Al Bithanh Fort, Fujairah Museum, Al Hayl Castle, Awhlah Fort and Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs.

We decided to spend a leisurely weekend at Rotana Fujairah. In Fujairah, there are two hotels that are a part of the Rotana group – Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa and Nour Arjaan by Rotana. Rotana group is a major hospitality chain in the Gulf region with resorts and hotels in almost every country of the middle.

We were going there to celebrate the anniversary of an elder brother. I along with my sister and brother-in-law was in one car and the elder brother’s family was in their SUV. We started around noon from Dubai and reached around 2pm. The road is beautiful to drive on with sand dunes on both sides. On the way, there are multiple fuel stations that will definitely have a restaurant or a supermarket on its premises. We took coffee and some snacks as a takeaway from one of the supermarkets at the fuel station.

The humansize chessboard

Once you reach Dibba Al Fujairah, head towards the Al Aqah beach. It is a very famous beach and is home to most of the resorts and large hospitality chains including names like Radisson Blu Fujairah, Le Meridien Al Aqah beach resort, Intercontinental Fujairah Resort and so on. There is a section of the Al Aqah beach where one can go for an overnight camp right next to the ocean.

We were staying at the Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa. It is a luxurious lavish property facing the ocean and a picturesque mountain in the background. We were greeted with welcome drinks and the check-in formalities were being completed while I was scanning the huge reception area. I could locate a little alley where they had shops for souvenirs and gifts inside the resort itself.

View from Room

The resort has about 250 guest rooms and suites that have colonial designs that blend local architecture with a graceful palazzo-style estate. All rooms of this

Beachfront resorts have a private terrace or balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean. The rooms start from AED 1000. To my surprise, the resort was completely booked.

After completing the formalities at the reception we headed for our rooms. On our way, we crossed their massive swimming pool. It had a separate section for kids and its size reminded me of a water park – it was so huge. Since the resort was completely booked it was logical that the pool will be crowded too. I was amazed to see so many people already in the pool. For a moment I thought people directly checked into the pool or what!

Moving further ahead there was a giant human size chessboard drawn on the floor with all the pawns taking a nap. I wondered who would play that.

The Beach

Once in the room we ordered some food and played cards. The room was huge and one could see the ocean through the wall like a glass window. It was luxury at its very best.

Around 5 pm when the sun decided to be calmer, I decided to go for a swim, in fact, all of us went swimming in the turquoise blue water of the massive pool. What’s the point when you pay so much and don’t enjoy all the facilities? Well! Diving in a swimming pool is my favorite. There was a bar right in the middle of the pool and the seats were underwater. It definitely added extravagance to the ambiance.

We all were starving once out of the pool and decided to go out to some restaurant to try out some local cuisine. Luckily we found a decent restaurant near to the resort. The restaurant was serving Arabic and Afghani cuisine. The bread was so big that it would not even fit in our regular plates. On occasions, I can gorge on a decent quantity of food but that day I was also full in one ‘roti’ or I should say ‘Rota’.

The huge swimming pool

After the meal, we headed back to the resort. There was some amazing creativity on display – many showpieces made of colorful bottles with neon lights gracing them. We had ordered a cake that was a surprise for my elder brother and sister-in-law. We cut the cake and celebrated their anniversary, partied, laughed, shouted and danced till the wee hours.

I woke up early and went for a morning walk on the calm beach. There is no better feeling than to experience the tranquility of the misty morning ocean with birds chirping and no humanity in sight. I took a dip before heading back to the room. Everybody was awake by then and were planning to head to the buffet breakfast.

After the breakfast everybody was exploring the property, the ladies went for their pampering spa session while the men strolled around gazing at beauties at poolside. 😀

We checked out around 12 pm and headed back to Dubai – It was a well-deserved break full of luxury and fun. The resort is a perfect amalgamation of modern facilities and design right in the lap of nature.

For all those who like to swim,

For all those who love the ocean,

For all those who adore beaches,

And

For all those who love this combo of nature and man-made marvels…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 23th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘X’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

15

V – Visit to Al Ain Zoo & Jebel Hafeet | #AtoZChallenge

V – Visit to Al Ain Zoo & Jebel Hafeet | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Papa got his passport done after he retired from his government job. There is some clause regarding NOCs and hence it is difficult to get it made during your official tenure. Just after that we sat together and decided what should be his first international trip. Given his strict daily routines or I should say extremely disciplined way of living the only option I could suggest was a trip to Dubai.

His daughter…I mean…my sister was staying there so all his nitpicking about the food and daily stuff would be taken care of by her. Since he was traveling outside for the first time it was best that we chose this location.

The first trip that we planned to take from Dubai was to the Al Ain Zoo and Jebel Hafeet because of its serene natural beauty and proximity to Dubai.

Al Ain Zoo

Al Ain Zoo is also known as Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort or Al Ain Wildlife Park. It is about one and a half drive from Dubai and situated in the foothills of Jebel Hafeet. Although it is a part of Abu Dhabi to get to Al Ain you don’t have to go through it and there is a separate way altogether.

The 400-hectare zoo was founded in 1968 by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late Ruler of Abu Dhabi, out of his sheer love for the land’s wildlife. He was particularly fond of the Arabian Oryx. We left post breakfast and reached around 11am.

Al Ain zoo is home to many of the regions peculiar species including Ungulates and herbivores such as Arabian antelopes and oryx, eland, gazelle, lechwe. It is also home to the rare white lion. The area is huge and you will have to do a lot of walking. It is not like a regular zoo where the animals are usually caged instead every animal has a huge barn-like space for it with the natural interiors kept intact. Keep a water bottle and a map of the zoo handy.

The zoo also hosts a big cathouse – Lions, cougars, jaguars, and black and spotted leopards are found here. A reptile house, monkey compounds, aquarium, and aviary also add to the attraction. You will fall in love with the natural landscape, the cool breeze from Jebel Hafeet and some beautiful animals in the background.

The Al Ain wildlife park also has residential facilities and if you are looking to spend the weekend then you can stay there as well. There is a bird show featuring predatory birds and night birds that lasts 30 minutes starting at 7 pm. The dinosaur trail is open until 8 pm. There are over 4,000 animals in the zoo, with at least 30% of its 180 species considered endangered.

Tickets: The normal tickets are priced at only AED 30 and AED 10 for kids. If you want to do a safari inside the zoo, then it will cost you around AED 200.

We almost visited every nook and corner, and with Papa along, we didn’t want to exhaust him. It was around 4pm that we left for the summit at Jebel Hafeet. If you depart later than this then you might miss the surreal tranquil view from the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jebel Hafeet

Jebel Hafeet is the second highest mountain in UAE and the only mountain range in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is located on the border of Oman and UAE and is considered an extension of the Hajjar Mountains that we discussed during Hatta.

It is also of archaeological importance as many Bronze Age beehive tombs were discovered at its foothills. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations because of windy winding roads. Since the rock is mainly made up of limestone, over the years, the speedy winds have created a natural cave system.

The 7.3-mile (11.7 km) mountain road to the top is considered one of the greatest driving roads in the world. With it two lanes meandering through the craggy limestone rocks it is an experience to behold. There are a couple of viewpoints with parking spaces where you can get mesmerized by the sublime desert and its winds.

Once you reach the top there are ample parking spaces. Avoid parking on the side of the roads, firstly because of inconvenience to others and secondly because of strict rules. It may get really cold while returning so please don’t forget to carry warm clothing.

At the top, the summit is grilled with huge metallic bars, as the fall is steep. Some stupid people, including me, still try to crossover and take pictures from that side. Please, it is highly inadvisable and risky.

There are a couple of basic restaurants within the complex at the top but I will suggest carrying your own food. The queues are long and the quality of food not that great. We were graced with some royal scolding from Papa and hence this will stick to my memory forever.

You will find many fitness freaks and lovers of endurance sports cycling their way to the top. I know…I know…that thought in itself is pretty fatiguing. One can also opt for the public transport buses from Al Ain city center.

It gets dark really quickly once the sun sets like always in the mountains. Plan accordingly as you will have to maneuver through huge traffic.

It is a truly majestic experience and a welcome climate change to visit Jebel Hafeet and Al Ain Zoo. Take your whole family and have safe fun.

For all those who love the zoo,

For all those who love driving,

For all those who love mountains,

And

For all those who love Jebel Hafeet…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 22th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘W’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

19

N – Nightlife in Dubai | #AtoZChallenge

N – Nightlife in Dubai | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Dubai is the party capital of the Middle East and no party capital can be happening without its Nightlife. Every major metropolitan hub around the globe never sleeps – if endless corporate meetings mark the days and never-ending traffic jams then the nights never sleep because of their buzzing and exotic nightlife.

There is a reason why Dubai is known as the sin city of the Middle East and it truly lives up to that name. Dubai’s nightlife is not only about clubs and discotheques but there are amazing experiences that one can relish.

Play Golf in the night

No, I am not joking! One can literally play golf in the night at Faldo Golf Club. It is an 18-hole golf course that tests your golfing skills under the stars. Open on all days one can experience the grassy terrains from 4:00 pm until midnight and that makes it one of the best places to visit in Dubai at night. The bunkers, salt water and fresh water lakes make for an authentic golfing experience.

Timings: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am

Cost: Start from 230 AED

A Horse Ride in Full Moon

Ride a white horse for about 90 minutes in the moonlight through shrubby wildlife and sandy forests. It is an amazing and unique experience. You can take the ride at Mushrif Equestrian Club, Mushrif Park where an instructor will always accompany you. You don’t need to be an expert to soak in this experience.

Timings: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Cost for Two: AED 600

Full Moon Yoga Session

Who said nightlife was only about unhealthy options. One can rejuvenate their mind and soul by going for a full moon yoga session. This is the latest trend and usually, is conducted at one of the public beaches. In a 90 min session experience blissful tranquility as you try asanas, soaking in the sea breeze of the Arabian Gulf with the magnificent Burj Al Arab in the backdrop.

Where: Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah

Timings: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Charges: 119 AED onwards.

Twinkle Twinkle Stars

If you are a stargazer and a lover of the universe then Dubai Astronomy Group is a heaven for you. For astronomy enthusiasts, this is among the most delightful things to do in Dubai at night. This is absolutely free of cost and the gathering is usually on the outskirts of the city. All you need to do is a register using an email. Don’t forget to bring your telescope if you have one.

Experience the festivities

If you are travelling during the month of Ramadan then you are in for a different experience altogether. The days might be slow and quiet but the nights definitely make up for it that last till the wee hours of the morning. At the JBR there is a month-long event that exhibits the culture and tradition through different zones – food, art, and lifestyle. Go to the Ramadan night markets for food, handicrafts and other fun options.

Take a deep dive into marine life

This is an activity that professional divers (PADI certified advanced divers) who have taken a dive within the last six months can experience. Diving deep in the sea that too at night is not for the faint-hearted. The east coast of Dubai near Fujairah is used for these 45-50 min dives. It requires participants to carry/wear their own swimwear, however, the diving kit is provided in most cases.

Nightclubs

The best thing about Dubai’s hot spots is that their usual closing hours are around 3am. They generally start filling around 10pm so you have all the time to dress up in your best and burn the dance floor.

Best nightclubs in Dubai:

Club 360 – from my own experience, this is the best place simply because of its location – right in the middle of the sea next to Burj Al Arab. It is the home to the biggest parties of the region.

Timings: Sunday to Saturday from 5:00 PM to 03:00 AM

Cost for Two: AED 345

Barasti – It is a perfect place whether you are going in a group or as a couple. You can view the skyline as well as the Persian Gulf from the same spot.

Timings: 10:00 AM – 1:30 AM

Cost for Two: AED 470

Nasimi Beach – I had been to a foam party once at Nasimi beach – all I can say is it is like an ‘American Pie’ experience. Nasimi Beach lets you enjoy the clubbing experience on a 7 km long beach with the Atlantis in the background.

Some of the other popular party places include Chi@The Lodge, N’Dulge, Bar 44, Stereo Arcade, Buhayra Lounge, At.mosphere, Trilogy, Boudoir, and People by Crystal.

I have previously discussed experiences like the Dhow Cruise that you can take from the Dubai Creek or go on an overnight Desert Safari and camping. One can always head to the viewing deck at Burj Khalifa and get mesmerized by the Dubai Skyline.

Feeling hungry! Don’t worry you can always grab a late night Shawarma. Any trip to Dubai is incomplete without trying their lip-smacking Shawarmas. Some of the nicest places open late at night are Aroos Damascus and Al Shami Restaurant (Al Muraqqabat Road, Deira), Al Mallah (Satwa) and Reem al Bawadi (Jumeirah Road). You can always find one at the roadside for just AED 5 in areas like Bur Dubai and Karama.

Important things to remember

The weekend is Friday and Saturday, so try to go clubbing on Thursday and Friday nights.

‘Drink and Drive’ is strictly prohibited and one can end up paying really hefty fines leading to the cancellation of driving licenses. Always take a cab.

Don’t be caught with liquor without a license – best is to enjoy and have drinks in pubs and bars.

Don’t get involved in a brawl – again the fines and repercussions are severe.

Be careful about the dressing. Try to go for proper footwear as many of the lounges might not allow you to enter.

Always keep an ID handy – passports in case you are travelling from outside, for locals emirates ID is the best option.

For all those who are club hoppers,

For all those who are stargazers,

For all those who are adventure enthusiasts,

And

For all those who love nightlife…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 14th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘O’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

7

K – Kite & Kids | #AtoZChallenge

K – Kite & Kids

Dubai is famous for its sandy beaches and mesmerizing skyscrapers. Dubai is also famous for its endless theme parks and multiple attractions for kids. I have previously discussed many of the adventure lands; this post will highlight other kids friendly places where they can have a joyous time.

Kite Beach

Yesterday we discussed extensively the Jumeirah district, well Kite beach is an extension of the Jumeirah beach itself. It is situated between the Jumeirah beach and the Jumeirah public beach. One look at kite beach and you will know it is all about kids.

It has a Skate Park, outdoor trampolines, an adventure gym and a dedicated play area for the little ones. Kite beach also offers multiple activities like wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, beach tennis, beach volleyball and kayaking. Its pristine stretch of white sand and a 14 km joggers track is a perfect place for you to enjoy with your kids.

Dubai Dolphinarium

If you are looking for a location to take your kids to, Dubai Dolphinarium is a must visit. It is a 5000 sq mt dolphinarium that is home to bottlenose dolphins and fur seals who are the real stars of the show. They will perform all sorts of fun activities including dancing, singing, jump through hoops, ball play and they will even paint. I found the host of the show very interactive and engaging with the audience.

You can also get up-close and personal with the Dolphins and seals and get yourself clicked while playing and swimming with them. This, of course, comes at an extra cost. Watch out for the splash of water if you are occupying the front rows.

You can also watch a bird show which showcases about 20 exquisite rare species from across the globe. The huge Brazilian eagle is the showstopper of the show.

Open Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10:00 AM-7:00 PM, Sunday – Closed.

Dubai Glow Gardens

If you want to teach your kids and make them aware of the environment, then this is the place to be in. There is a special edutainment zone where kids can have interactive fun. Their tagline is ‘It’s a wonderful world’ and it literally transports you through many wonders of the world through its 10 dedicated zones – Ice Park, Dinosaur Park, Art Park, Glow Park, Flower wally, Colorful World, Happiness Street, My Dubai, Glowing Safari and Happy Forest.

Timing: Daily, 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM. Tickets – 65 AED.

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Bounce Dubai

It is the biggest indoor trampoline park in Dubai with more than 100 interconnected trampolines. It is a popular adventure destination for kids, athletes, and the general public alike. They are certainly living up to their mission of ‘inspire movement, creative expression and human connection’. Take your kids to this wonderful location and watch them bounce with excitement.

Kidzania

Remember how we used to do role-plays of doctors, firemen, and a police officer when we were kids, KidZania is exactly that. It is an activity-packed interactive indoor city where kids learn and grow while playing and having fun. There are more than 80 role-plays on offer. It is situated inside the Dubai Mall.

Ice Rink

While you are still inside the Dubai Mall there is another attraction that the kids will love. The adults too become kids for a day, when they try their hands at ice-skating at this Olympic sized ice-rink. It recently launched a full coaching program that teaches basics as well as advanced skating techniques. There is a dancing session with disco lights and tunes, which the older kids will definitely enjoy.

LegoLand Dubai

Playing with Legos is one of the cherished memories of every child. Legoland is an adventure theme park, brought to you by the most popular toy manufacturers in the world, which takes you in the world of Legos. There are over 40 thrilling rides including Lego Factory, Lego City, Lego Kingdoms, Lego Miniland, and Lego Technic Twisters. It is a part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, where you can also visit Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Park.

Timings: Operates daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Tickets: Starts at 145 to 285 AED

Ski Dubai

Snow in the middle of the desert? Don’t worry! Dubai has it covered. Located in the Mall of the Emirates, it is spread over a 3,000 square meter area and with temperatures being maintained -2° C – it is covered in snow all the year round. One can enjoy a plethora of chilling activities like snowboarding, tobogganing, skiing and watch penguins.

Note: kids below the age of 3 years are not allowed to visit Ski Dubai.

Jumble – the Urban Maze

It is the world’s first urban indoor maze where kids over the age of 12 can visit and tickle their brains by solving brainteasers. It not only tests your mental skills but physical skills as well. It elevates the concept of escape rooms that are spread over 3,500 sqm space, with twists and turns.

Tickets start from 175 AED and the maze is open daily.

Multiple Parks and waterparks

There are various public parks spread all across Dubai where the entire family can go and have a fun-filled picnic. There are multiple waterparks also in Dubai that will be discussed at length in the subsequent posts.

For all those who love kites,

For all those who love parks,

For all those who like snow,

And

For all those who love kids…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 11th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with the letter ‘L’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.