5 great value Eid getaways
There are several places in the UAE that are ideal for a staycation but the intense summer heat, and one of the highest hotel costs in the world (check these prices), means that the two Eid periods are a great time to escape.
When it comes to travel option, we’re pretty lucky to live in this part of the world; there’s so much to see within two to six hours of flying time. We’ve picked five trips that won’t break the bank and shouldn’t take you too long to reach – whether you’re after beach, culture or something more adventurous, the location of our home town means nothing is too far away.
Flight time: 2 hours
Air fare: starts from AED995 on FlyDubai
Oman’s southern-most city is popular with people from across the region – especially during the summer as it’s monsoon-like “khareef” season keeps temperatures cool and the rivers and waterfalls full. There are many plenty of things to see, including Sultan Qaboos’ Palace (His Highness was born in Salalah), the many ancient ruins associated with the town’s prominence in the frankincense trade 2,000 years ago, and there are numerous markets and bazaars. Salalah is quiet, peaceful and has some great beaches. the Hilton Salalah and the new Rotana are excellent options.
Tip: You can still buy frankincense in the town’s markets. Don’t pay more than $25 a kilo.
Flight time: 3 hours
Air fare: starts from AED1,305 on FlyDubai
The capital of Jordan is eclectic, bohemian and full of life. The city has a really developed café culture as well as fantastic art galleries and historical sites. If you’re in the mood for shopping, visit al-Balad which sells a little bit of everything and enjoys a bustling “real-world” feel that the UAE lacks. Amman is also a fantastic base for the start of a longer trip to the rest of Jordan – Petra, Jerash and, just 35 minutes away, the Dead Sea ought to need no introduction. It’s hot in July, around 35 degrees, but lacks the Gulf’s humidity.
Tip: For the ideal hangout, head to Rainbow Street, a long strip of shops, cafes and bars in elegant villas dating to the 1930s and 1940s, with some incredible viewpoints.
Flight time: 5 hours
Air fare: starts from AED1,555 on WizzAir
With the increase of low-cost carriers operating from the UAE, notably from DWC, we’re seeing a real surge in trips to Eastern Europe and the city previously known as “The Little Paris” is a great place to start. Like most former Communist countries, Bucharest has some dark history and it’s well worth learning a little bit about this before you go. These days, the city boasts fantastic nightlife and makes a brilliant getaway for a group of friends.
Tip: Want to have a great view? Climb the Arcul de Triumf to have a fantastic viewpoint over Bucharest.
Flight time: 6 hours
Air fare: starts from AED1,375 on FlyDubai
Whilst Zanzibar has always been a popular beach destination, it’s relatively unknown in these parts due to a lack of flights. Now, with both Kenyan Airways and Fly Dubai operating to the island, visitors from the UAE are finding it a perfect time to explore the azure seas and soft white sands of the island. Don’t forget to bring home cloves and cinnamon.
Tip: Check out the Langi Langi Beach Bungalows for something a little different.
Flight time: 4 hours
Air fare: starts from AED1,545 on FlyDubai
Deeply affected by the recent Nepal earthquake, Kathmandu faces a really tough period yet the city has tried very hard to keep its famous smile on its face. It’s a destination that really allows you to do a little soul-searching and self-reflection; the numerous temples and religious sites offer quiet in the heart of what is a burgeoning metropolis. There’s fantastic day trips to be had in the Kathmandu Valley/Himalayas as well.
Tip: Legend has it that nailing a coin to the Toothache Tree will solve any dental dilemmas!
* Prices listed are “starting from” return economy air fares and will always be subject to availability.
Daniel Evans is a corporate travel management professional and 15-year resident of the UAE.