12 places Dubai residents should visit before the year's up
There's less than two months left till Dubai's summer holiday season comes to an end... take advantage of the last few weeks of summer by going on an adventure.
To help narrow it down, we've shortlisted 12 great holiday destinations.
1. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Emirates launched its first ever flight to Cambodia’s capital just four days ago. The city is known for its café culture, bustling nightlife scene and award-winning food, and it’s now the airline’s only flight destination in Cambodia.
Several must-see destinations include the Royal Palace which, as its name suggests, houses the members of the royal family, and Wat Phnom which is a temple that was built in 1372. You should also check out the Silver Pagoda temple, which gets its name because the floor is made with five tons of silver.
Flight time: 7.15 hrs
Price: From AED1,725 with Emirates Airline*
2. Colombo, Sri Lanka
It’s a popular choice for UAE travellers for a good reason – the tiny island in the Indian Ocean is simply beautiful. The vast greenery of the rugged rainforest means that its packed with wildlife and it has the highest density of leopards in the world. You’ll find elephants, wild buffaloes and sloth bears amongst the 91 species that call Sri Lanka home. It’s also got plenty of surf, beautiful historical sites and pristine beaches.
Flight time: 4.30 hrs
Price: From AED1,659 with flydubai*
3. Hanoi, Vietnam
Located on the banks of the Red River, this destination is incredibly popular with beach lovers and avid fisherman. It has an entire theatre dedicated to nothing but puppets – the Water Puppet Theatre pays homage to one of the nation’s famed past-times. Aside from temples – the Perfume Pagoda is a must see – the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long are two sights that you to visit.
Flight time: 6.35 hrs
Price: From AED1,815 with Emirates Airline*
4. Zagreb, Croatia
Known for its Austro-Hungarian architecture, permanently full street cafes and museums, Zagreb is the perfect destination for aspiring architects, coffee connoisseurs and culture vultures.
If contemporary and historic art isn’t your thing, head down to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Founded by Croatian film producer Olinka Vištica and sculptor Dražen Grubišić in 2010, the museum tells the tale of true failed relationships by exhibiting the personal belongings of ex-lovers. Each item is donated anonymously and is accompanied by a brief description or message. The concept proved so successful that a branch of the museum opened in Los Angeles, US in 2016.
Flight time: 6.5 hrs
Price: From AED1,575 with Emirates Airline*
5. Mumbai, India
Mumbai is so densely populated that it’s packed full of all walks of life. Artists, workers, fishermen and Bollywood stars call this place home, making it full of energy. If you fly overnight, try to get to the Sassoon docks at 7am for sunrise and you’ll see local fishermen haul in their catch of the day. Take a boat trip to Elephanta Island from the Gateway’s wharf and wander around the ancient archaeological remains and Indian rock art that make up the islands famous “city of caves”.
Flight time: 2.40 hrs
Price: From AED1,090 with Emirates Airline*
6. Cebu, Philippines
Often referred to as mini-Manila, Cebu offers travellers the best of both worlds. Its pristine white sand beaches are perfect for those looking to unwind and relax, while the markets make it an ideal location for shopping enthusiasts. Spots like the Sirao Garden and the Tops Lookout are well-worth a visit.
Flight time: 9.25 hrs
Price: From AED1,335 with Emirates Airline*
7. Muscat, Oman
Surrounded by brown and burnt orange mountains, Muscat is an impressive place to watch the sunset. As Oman’s capital city you’ll find plenty of history blended with modern living. The beautiful coastline is scattered with five-star hotels, with fancy restaurants nearby. It’s also a great place for shopping, but if glitz and glam isn’t your thing, you can check out the cultural sites. Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace is a must-see - even though visitors aren’t allowed inside, it’s a great photo opportunity. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and is open to non-Muslim visitors. There are also plenty of museums that give a snapshot of Oman’s history.
Flight time: 1.10 hrs
Price: From AED723 with Swiss International Air Lines*
8. Baku, Azerbaijan
Although thousands of years old, Baku city centre has been busy rebranding itself as a mini version of Dubai in recent years, with five-star hotels popping up (530 in total), designer stores, modern shopping malls and a skyline of futuristic architecture. Take a walking tour through the old town’s maze of narrow crumbling lanes via the Maiden Tower (Giz Galasi) built in the 12th century and Baku’s Mini Book Museum, which houses a private collection of 3,600 miniature tomes in languages from Russian to Vietnamese – you can feel big and clever all at the same time. The Nizami Museum of Literature offers a walk-through history via the works of local poets and scribes.
Flight time: 2.30 hrs
Price: From AED1,637 with flydubai*
9. Beirut, Lebanon
Madame Bleu is a simple but luxe city central pool area overlooking the ocean with a great menu of light bites and a chilled but fun atmosphere – with the requisite collection of Beirut socialites. After a day lounging, book Liza Beirut on Doumani Street, Achrafieh, for dinner. It’s another old Lebanese house that’s been converted into a restaurant to add to the list – joining the likes of Frida, Enab, Seze, Julia’s – but this place strikes a beautiful balance between grand and quirky and you’ll enjoy Lebanese dishes under high ceilings and surrounded by candles and plants. Make sure you order the off-the-menu apple tabbouleh. Afterwards, stroll up Mar Mikhaël and dip in and out of its hotchpotch of venues (you’ll get a big haired smiley welcome from the guys in Vivian’s) until the early hours.
Flight Time: 3.55 hrs
Price: From AED1,068 with flydubai*
10. Petra, Jordan
Trust us when we say that you should visit Petra. The edge has just been taken off the summer in Jordan, so the temperature is mild enough to enjoy the famous archaeological site. While you’re there, make some time to head to the Dead Sea which offers the requisite blend of landscape, luminosity and luxury for which Jordan has become famed.
Flight time: 2.40 hrs
Price: From AED1,339 with flydubai to Amman, Jordan*
11. Phuket, Thailand
There isn’t much that Phuket doesn’t have. Rainforest, mountains and the Andaman Sea pull in masses of tourists every year. It’s so large that you’d easily forget that its an island, meaning that there are plenty of bars and restaurants to explore. Out top tip is to pick a luxury resort away from the crowds if you fancy some r&r.
Flight time: 6 hrs
Price: From AED3,673 with Emirates Airline*
12. Bali, Indonesia
Bali’s lush green mountains and rice paddies make it one of the most Instagrammable locations on the planet. Swiss-Bellinn Legian is a four-minute walk from Legian beach and five-minutes from the nightlife of Jalan Legian, making it a popular hotel. The pool also offers a pretty cool view of the surrounding terracotta rooftops.
Flight time: 9.5 hrs
Price: From AED1,995 with Emirates Airline*
*Prices are a guide and fluctuate based on dates.