Dubai at a distance (social, that is!)

by United Arab Emirates

Dubai, the futuristic city in the desert, was one of the first countries in the world to open for tourism safely…

Early on, the United Arab Emirates set about to test as much of the population as possible for Covid-19. So far, the country has carried out more than five million tests. As a result, health authorities are always aware of existing and emerging hotspots, helping them to act swiftly to contain the virus. This, along with other initiatives, led Dubai to reopen to tourism, with confidence, from the beginning of July.

Most bars, restaurants, beaches, shopping malls and cultural sites have reopened; and hotels have ramped up health and safety measures to ensure tourists feel safe. There are incredible discounts to be had – in the hotels and the shopping malls. And Emirates Airlines has even announced it will cover your medical expenses should you be diagnosed with COVID-19 during your travel!

So what else makes Dubai the ideal place for a socially distanced escape?

Secluded sands …

Camel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Where better for social distancing than in the stunning desert – surrounded by wide expanses of sand, captivating dunes and the occasional camel? And it’s right on the doorstep.

Book a safari to fully explore the glorious endless desert and to experience Emirati culture. Raise the adrenaline with an exhilarating roller coaster ride over the sand dunes on a quad bike or in a 4×4 vehicle. Take fun photos on a camel. Get an Arabic henna tattoo. As the night sets in, indulge in a delicious barbeque dinner under the stars while belly dancers keep you entertained along with a traditional tanoura dance.

Pristine peninsulas …

Musandam Peninsula, Oman, Dubai

Want to really get away from civilisation? Just a few hours’ drive from Dubai, precariously perched at the end of the Arabian peninsula, is the remote and little-visited Musandam Peninsula. This unexplored and magical part of the coastline boasts a jagged coastline whose gentle waters are home to a vast array of marine life.

Board a boat for a scenic cruise through the breath-taking fjords that have seen the area often nicknamed “the Norway of Oman” or “Norway of Arabia”. Sail past ancient villages set between towering mountains, snorkel in crystal clear coves, and maybe even spot dolphins jumping out of the turquoise waters.

Beach buffering …

Burj Al Arab, Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

There’s plenty of beach in Dubai for everyone – literally miles and miles of snowy-white, fine-sand beaches on the warm, aqua-blue Persian Gulf.

Kite Beach and the various beaches on either side of it, stretch for almost seven kilometres. Even on the busier parts, you won’t be too close to your neighbour, as social distancing is in place even on the sand. There’s food trucks, small restaurants and cafes, and a whole array of socially-distanced watersports such as paddle-boarding, kite surfing and kayaks.

If the water is not your thing, then take a walk or jog along the seven-kilometre beach track that stretches all the way from Jumeirah 1, passing through Kite Beach and ending at the Burj Al Arab where you can snap a selfie. The track has a soft-surface, distance markers and that all-important sea breeze.

Contactless sport …

Tiger Woods, golf, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Golf really is a sport made for social distancing and our sudden ‘new normal’. Groups are limited to a maximum of four, and players have no reason to ever be within six feet of one another, if they don’t want to be.

Dubai is home to world-class golf courses. Many claim that it was the iconic shots of Tiger Woods driving golf balls off the helipad of the Burj Al Arab in the early 2000s that caused Dubai to reach new heights in the golf world. Whatever the reason – famous golf courses have risen out of the desert with signature names like Montgomerie, Norman, Faldo, Woods and Els. Golfers flock here for year-round warm weather, incredibly well-kept playing surfaces, and industry leading service standards.

Sensible shopping …

Burj Khalifa, fountains, Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates

With temperature checks on entering, masks to be worn at all times, and strict cleaning methods within the malls, you can still take advantage of the multitude of sales that Dubai offers.

Located in the heart of the prestigious downtown area is The Dubai Mall with over 1,300 retail stores and over 200 food and beverage outlets. Dubai Fountains – the music, light and water performance that takes place in front of the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa – is the world’s largest performing fountain. Again, temperature checks are taken on entering and in order to maintain social distancing while watching the show, yellow markers have been placed on the ground, demonstrating exactly where viewers should stand. The Dubai Fountain comes to life every night of the week, on the hour from 6pm to 10pm.

Spaced out shows …

La Perle, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It’s showtime! La Perle by Dragone, Dubai’s most captivating show, has reopened with all the required precautions in place. The 270-degree seating has been spaced out – although groups of friends that have booked together will still be able to sit next to each other. The entire theatre gets sanitised and disinfected before and after each show; hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed; and contactless payment is encouraged.

The show features a breathtaking fusion of immersive artistic performances, imagery and technology. Witness the stage flood with water and drain in a matter of seconds as the artists perform mind-blowing aqua and aerial feats, such as diving from 25 metres high.

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