Five insider secrets to making the most of the Dubai winter

With winter finally upon us, the city emerges from its indoor hidey-holes to embrace the great outdoors.

While we’re not quite at ‘break out the jumper’ levels, with temperatures all but halved, a whole new host of activities have now turned from all-out sweatfests into legitimate consideration.

So without further ado, here are some things you should be checking out now that the weather’s a bit cooler…

1. Spend a night under the stars

With outdoor season upon us, spending a night in the desert is the perfect way to tap into your inner Bear Grylls.

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Dubai is rife with desert safari tour companies, offering up luxe, all-inclusive ventures into the desert, involving dune bashing and BBQ dinners complete with belly dancers, shisha and camel rides.

If you choose to hop in your car and go it alone, you’ll have the choice of one of the UAE’s many camping hotspots. From the nearby and beginner-friendly Al Qudra Lakes, to the slightly further out Liwa Desert (where they filmed scenes from the latest Star Wars movie).


2. Indulge your inner foodie at Global Village

If you’re in the mood for food, we’ve got just the place. Each year, from November to April, Dubai’s Global Village opens its doors – serving as a portal into a park where each nation is represented by their own food stalls, restaurants and shops.

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Expect everything from Thai food to tacos, as well as a small (but rather impressive) theme park, complete with haunted house, Ferris wheel and all the classic carnival games.

On top of all that, Global Village regularly hosts concerts, stunt shows, stage shows and more.

With ticket prices at Dhs15, what’s stopping you?


3. Get wild at the new Dubai Safari

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be pleased to hear that the highly-anticipated Dubai Safari is set to open its doors this December.

Playing home to more than 3,500 animals, the 119-hectare, Dhs1 billion park will be split up into four ‘villages’ – African, Arabian, Asian and an open Safari Village.

For reference, 119-hectares is twice the size of the Vatican City.

Oh, and if you go, you’ll get to meet these two cuties…


Keeping in line with its eco-friendly policies, visitors can move around the park via trams, bicycles and electric cars.

As far as ticket prices go, adults can expect to pay anywhere from Dhs50 to 85, with ticket prices for children ranging from Dhs20 to Dhs30. Children below three, adults above 60 and those with disabilities can enter for free.


4. Hit up Local, Barsha Heights’ latest funky diner

TRYP hotel in Barsha Heights is ringing in the new age with their eclectic, quirky cafe Local.

With decor zapped straight out of the future, this new opening serves up everything from light lunches to full spreads, with delicious coffee to top it all off.

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Their outdoor seating patio comes equipped with comfy seating and parasols – perfect for the winter months – as you sit back and tuck into a delicious camel saj burger, with a banana brownie split for dessert.

On the weekends, you’ll be able to enjoy Local’s ‘Lazy Breakfast’, which consists of an extended breakfast throughout the morning and early afternoon, complete with live cooking stations, buffet spreads, cereal, pastries and delicious international fare. Oh, and don’t forget to try the fancy coffees.

The best part? You can even bring your pup along.


5. See the city from a new perspective in a hot air balloon

Tap into your inner adventurer with a sunrise sail over the Dubai desert, soaring over breathtaking desert landscapes, spotting native Arabian animals such as the oryx, gazelles and camels in their natural habitat.

Oh, and to take the  experience up a notch, you’ll even be treated to a falconry show from 3,000 feet up.

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After the flight, you’ll be driven in a 1950s vintage Land Rover to a Bedouin camp to enjoy a gourmet breakfast, with the whole experience lasting four to six hours.

Tickets are a little pricey at Dhs1,195 for adults and Dhs1,045 for children, but it’s well worth it for a high-flying experience you won’t forget in a hurry.