10 Quick Getaways from Dubai

Got a long weekend coming up and thinking of getting away? Traveling to Dubai and looking for a new country to hit? For those living or traveling to the United Arab Emirates, there’s plenty of options for quick getaways less than a 5 hour flight away! Try out some of these locales on your next break!

Mideast Jordan Petra Ecotourism

1. Amman, Jordan

Why go? This Jordanian city is one of the oldest in the world.
Tourist musts: The Dead Sea and Petra.
Insider tip: The hilltop citadel offers amazing views of the city.
Stay: The Four Seasons Amman (+962 6 550 5555) may be pricier than most hotels (rates start at Dhs1,090), but it’s worth it.
Get there: Fly Dubai flies five days a week. Prices start from Dhs750.
Visa info: Consulate (04 397 0500).
Journey from DXB: Four hours.

giza2. Cairo, Egypt

Why go? To experience Egypt’s overcrowded metropolis, with a population of 6.8 million – the city hangs onto its saniy by the skin of its teeth.
Tourist musts: The Pyramids, Old Cairo and the National Museum.
Insider tip: Try the Turkish coffee at Feshawi’s café, and fuul (fava bean stew) from most restaurants.
Stay: Intercontinental Semiramis (+20 2 2795 7171;www.ichotelsgroup.com) is in the downtown district with views over the Nile and a great steakhouse inside. Rates start from Dhs753.
Get there: Emirates flies to Cairo daily. Prices start from Dhs1,600.
Visa info: Consulate (04 397 1122; egyptian_consulate@yahoo.com).
Journey from DXB: Three hours.

chennai india3. Chennai, India

Why go? To taste India’s laid-back vibe, friendly people and beach-side relaxation.
Tourist musts: Chennai is home to some spectacular temples, including the towering, brightly coloured Mylapore Temple.
Insider tip: Prepare for humid weather and little air-conditioning. Also, dress modestly on the beaches.
Stay: Try the centrally located GRT Grand (+91 0 44 2815 050;www.grthotels.com). Rates from Dhs400.
Get there: Kingfisher flies to Chennai daily. Prices start from Dhs995.
Visa info: Embassy (04 397 1222, www.cgidubai.com).
Journey from DXB: Three and a half hours.

colombo sri lanka

4. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Why go? The Sri Lankan capital is one of the most vivid cities on earth.
Tourist must: A tour of the coastal villages in the south.
Insider tip: Head inland to visit the Pinawalla elephant orphanage.
Stay: Mirissa Hills (+94 773 290 999; www.mirissahills.com) is a boutique hotel on a working cinnamon plantation. Rates start from Dhs350.
Get there: Mihin Lanka Airlines flies to Colombo three times a week. Prices start from Dhs1,098.
Visa info: Consulate (04 398 6535; www.srilankanconsul.org.ae).
Journey from DXB: Four hours.

doha qatar

5. Doha, Qatar

Why go? For sports events, Qatar is the next big destination.
Tourist musts: The Museum of Islamic Art is an amazing building that showcases some breathtaking displays.
Insider tip: Head to the Pearl Qatar, where the outdoor restaurants look back over the city skyline.
Stay: Try the Grand Hyatt Doha (+974 448 1234;www.doha.grand.hyatt.com). Rates start from Dhs767.
Get there: Fly Dubai flies to Doha daily. Prices start from Dhs890.
Visa info: Consulate (04 345 6888; dubai@mofa.gov.qa). Note that entry laws for Qatar are changing from May 1, so check whether you require a visa before you travel.
Journey from DXB: 45 minutes

6. Goa, Indiagoa india

Why go? For beautiful beaches and an active, if laid-back, nightlife scene.
Tourist musts: Try the tat-tastic Anjuna Flea Market every Wednesday. It has some great finds – you just have to trawl for them.
Insider tip: After beach-hopping in the super-touristy (but no less fun) north, head to quieter Palolem in the south. The beach is pretty as a postcard.
Stay: Budget travellers should try Shalom Guest House (+91 227 3166), near Vagator beach. Rooms start at Dhs50 per night.
Eat: Shore Bar (+91 982 238 3795) is situated on Anjuna beach and is headed by an award-winning chef. The seafood is top notch and the beach views are to die for.
Get there: Air Arabia flies to Goa from Sharjah three times a week. Prices start from Dhs1,271.
Visa info: Consulate (04 397 4167; www.cgidubai.com;cgidubai@emirates.net.ae).
Journey from Sharjah: Four hours.


7. Istanbul, Turkey

Why go? It was the cornerstone of two of the world’s largest empires.
Tourist musts: See the Hagia Sophia, then sweat it out in a 16th-century hammam.
Insider tip: Travel down the Bosphorus river to see where Asia and Europe meet.
Stay: The Osmanhan Hotel (+90 21 2458 7702,www.osmanhanhotel.com) is charming and clean. Rates from Dhs225.
Get there: Air Arabia flies to Istanbul once a week. Prices start from Dhs1,154.
Visa info: Consulate (04 349 0200).
Journey from Sharjah: Three and a half hours.

8. Kathmandu, Nepalkathmandu

Why go? It puts you only a bus ride away from the world’s highest peaks.
Tourist must: A tour of the Himalayas.
Insider tip: Beware the simians at the Monkey Temple. It’s their temple and they do as they please.
Stay: The Radisson (+977 1 441 1818,www.radisson.com/kathmandune) is an upscale and reasonable option. Rooms start from Dhs380.
Get there: Air Arabia flies daily from Sharjah Airport. Prices start from Dhs1,028.
Visa info: Embassy (02 634 4385; www.nepembassyuae.ae).
Journey from Sharjah: Four hours.

9. Mumbai, Indiamumbai

Why go? India’s answer to New York, Mumbai is a melting pot of hip artists, musicians and actors.
Tourist musts: The Prithvi Theatre shows English-language plays from India’s best playwrights.
Insider tip: Avoid the trains around 6pm, when the system descends into jostling madness.
Stay: Check into the clean, plush Residency Hotel (+91 0 22 6667 0555,www.residencyhotel.com). Rates start from Dhs198.
Get there: Gulf Air flies daily to Mumbai. Prices start from Dhs822.
Visa info: Embassy (04 397 1222, www.cgidubai.com).
Journey from DXB: Two and a half hours.

salalah oman

10. Salalah, Oman

Why go? For lush Omani landscapes, pristine beaches and lower temperatures than Dubai.
Tourist musts: Drive along Salalah’s coastal road, with palm trees and fruit shacks.
Insider tip: Hotel prices tend to rise in khareef season (June to September), when there is an influx of GCC tourists.
Stay: Hilton Salalah Resort (+968 23 211 234). Rates from Dhs601.
Get there: Fly Dubai flies to Muscat, with prices from Dhs470, then Oman Air flies from Muscat to Salalah, with prices from Dhs570.
Visa info: Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02 463 333).
Journey from DXB: Two hours

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