06 November 2018
The UAE celebrates National Day on 2 December. Wave a flag, absorb a little Emirati culture, snag a bargain or savour a feast; there’s a multitude of things to do over the long weekend in Dubai from 30 November to 3 December. Here are the best places to go during the vibrant annual celebration ...
Check out the Dubai Camel Race Track
Deep in the Dubai desert sands at Al Marmoom Camel Race Track, you can find a modern day version of the old tradition of camel racing.
The sport is a pastime that originates in the region and has a whole community of avid local followers. Dubai’s biggest camel race track is located next to Al Marmoom Heritage Village and the Al Lisaili area.
From the grandstand, you can be a part of this heart-pumping, crowd-cheering sport that has been integral to Emirati life for centuries.
Once the gates open, the race is on, and so is an experience like no other. Watch as 60 camels flood from the gates, legs flying in all directions, making their way as fast as they can down the track. Trainers follow in 4X4s, yelling for their jockeys to pick up the pace and be the first across the finish line.
The excitement is contagious and something you must see to believe. Our only preparation advice is to bring binoculars, as you’re not going to want to miss a thing.
Although the races start fairly early from 7am to 9am, it’s well worth your while to pay this unique sport a visit. You’ll notice plenty of tourists making their way to Al Marmoom to experience this must-see attraction showcasing Arabian culture and heritage.
The race track is based at the Dubai Camel Racing Club, which is next to the camel hospital and camel laboratory. Drop in early, and you’ll have the opportunity to pet the camels and take photos with them before they compete.
Witness the contemporary history of the UAE
Discover the contemporary history of the United Arab Emirates at Dubai’s latest cultural offering – the Etihad Museum.
In a magnificent new building located in Jumeirah, the museum offers a series of interactive pavilions where visitors can explore the UAE’s history.
Through photos, films and more, see how the country has developed throughout time, especially between 1968 and 1974.
At Etihad Museum, visitors can discover the UAE’s rich heritage about life before the treaty that unified the seven emirates. There’s no better place to gain insight into the UAE’s extraordinary economic development since its independence as the first federation in the Arab world.
Spread over 25,000sqm, the museum is located on the same historical site of the Union House, the very place where the constitution was signed in 1971.
Designed by Canadian architects Moriyama and Teshima, the unique curved white roof of the museum was inspired by the shape of the constitution. It’s also adorned with seven columns, which symbolise the pens used to sign the agreement.
Etihad Museum is equipped with a library, an education centre, a temporary exhibition hall and a restaurant.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood - Over a century of history on show
See what traditional life in Old Dubai was like during the mid-19th century at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Located along the Dubai Creek, this district is a key heritage site which has preserved much of the original infrastructure.
The traditional wind towers constructed from stone, teak, gypsum, palm wood and sandalwood represent only a small part of Al Fahidi’s history. Each alley, twisting pathway and breezy tower tells a story of a life before the Emirates.
Social life, cultural development and trade were prominent throughout this period. And you can still experience what life was like within these same streets – a must when visiting Dubai.
Follow the winding streets in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to discover a plethora of cultural activities, museums, art galleries, special events and traditional food.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is located here, where you can take a tour of all the different aspects of this district. Keep an eye out for the Sikka Art Fair, Artists-in-Residence Programme, Heritage Week, holiday events and religious celebrations like Ramadan.
Escape the skyscrapers and take a glimpse into how Emiratis from past generations lived their lives in this historical district.
A spot of tea in the old district
If you fancy a spot of tea while wondering around the historic Al Fahidi district, look no further.
Arabian Tea House offers more than 150 different types of tea, including mint lemonade or a house blend of black tea with herbs and fruit. There are so many to choose from, you’ll have to come back more than once to get a taste of all the exotic blends.
Find a selection of sandwiches, pastries, salads and desserts to go with your tea of choice, as you soak up the sounds of rustling trees and birds in this leafy courtyard.
The atmosphere alone is amazing enough to draw you into this quaint little café, where you can still see the heritage of the old district away from the buzz of the city.
Extending Dubai's waterfront - Dubai Canal
Dubai Water Canal is a 3.2km long waterway which extends from the Creek in Old Dubai through Business Bay, before finding its way to the Arabian Gulf.
The canal, which opened in 2016, meanders through the centre of the city, transforming the face of Downtown Dubai and turning prime hotels like the W Hotel and the St Regis into magnificent waterfront properties.
Visitors can run, walk and cycle along the 6.4km waterfront on either side of the canal. Hop aboard one of the many ferry and abra rides that make their way across the canal's calm waters for a particularly leisurely afternoon.
Also adorning the waterway are five pedestrian bridges, offering key vantage points to take in Dubai’s glimmering skyline. One of these, known for its distinctive purple-hued archway, was renamed Tolerance Bridge in November 2017 - in honour of the 22nd International Day of Tolerance.
There are even more plans to develop the public space surrounding the canal with retail shops, a marina, a boardwalk and recreational areas, making the lifestyle development a flurry of new activity.
New hangouts at the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk
The Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk is a walkway hugging the coastline behind Atlantis, The Palm and built over the rocks of the Palm’s breakwater.
Running from the Rixos Hotel on the crescent’s east side to One&Only The Palm on the west, the boardwalk is fast developing a reputation as a hot spot for socialising with friends.
Six metres wide and stretching for 11 kilometres, it’s loaded with several dozen food trucks, refreshment stands and souvenir vendors.
Four new extensions are on the way, each stretching for 1.6 kilometres off the centre trunk. Each one will boast glass-encased cafes and restaurants so you can enjoy the sun and views over the Arabian Gulf.
Expect to see new retail promenades on the boardwalk as part of ongoing expansion plans. It’s currently a lovely place for a stroll alongside the water.
There are also more than 350 car spaces available to help you get there easily.
To find out many more activities to do this National weekend, check Visit Dubai website.
Blog courtesy of Visit Dubai