The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has plenty to offer tourists and locals alike. From the shopping to the spas, cuisines to cars, there is plenty to keep you busy and stimulated. However, no matter how long you will be staying in the UAE whether it’s just over a weekend or for years you need to ensure that you dedicate some time to the water that surrounds it.
The country is an excellent spot for “h2O experiences” as the water is generally quite flat. Whether you are a culture vulture or an adventure seeker, on a romantic honeymoon or an all-ages family vacation, there is certainly something for you on this list.
From waterparks to dhow cruises, waterfront restaurants to stand-up paddleboarding, read on for six fun ways to experience water in UAE.
1. Visit a Waterpark
One of the most exciting ways to experience water in the UAE is to ride the waves at Laguna Waterpark. Perfect for the whole family, you can spend hours riding the various thrilling slides and splashing around in the Aqua Play, before surfing the WaveOz 180 FlowRider – one of only three in the world. For only AED 69, the Sundowner Pass gives you three hours of fun from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday to Thursday.
What’s more, the Laguna Waterpark boasts panoramic views of the Dubai skyline, which you can enjoy while dining on the roof-top balcony. Other eating options include the main restaurant and a chilled-out surf club. When you are ready for some relaxation time, there are waterpark cabanas for rent, as well as an infinity pool and a lazy river.
2. Rent a Kayak
The UAE is an ideal place to go sea kayaking. From your kayak, you can take in the scenic coastline, deserted beaches, coral reefs, and towering cliffs, not to mention see many beautiful marine animals. To beat the extreme heat, opt to take your kayak out either early morning or late afternoon. It is highly recommended that you join a guided expedition that will take you on a supervised paddle.
In Abu Dhabi, consider kayaking through the coastal channels and mangrove forests, or along the Umm Al-Quwain coastline. Alternatively, you could do a day-trip to Khor Kalba Nature Reserve in Sharjah. In Dubai, many beach clubs offer kayak rentals; however, these don’t include instruction or supervision.
3. Take a Paddleboarding or Wake Surfing Class
In Dubai, stand-up paddleboarding is one of the most beloved watersports, with most people heading to the calm waters of Sunset Beach. Rent a board, listen to a quick tutorial, and then get out on the water to practice your paddling. While stand-up paddleboarding is a lot of fun, it is also a fantastic workout, with many individuals burning around 350 calories an hour.
The UAE has flat water, which makes it perfect for wake surfing, a sport that entails riding a short surfboard behind a wave-creating boat. While it may take a few tries before you are able to stand up, once you have mastered that, you can then move on to doing flips, turns, and maybe even board yoga.
For the best conditions, opt to go wake surfing during the early morning in the Mangroves in Abu Dhabi. Afterwards, you can stroll the nearby promenade for breakfast and see beautiful waterfront views of the marina.
4. Dine by the Water
Of course, one of the best ways to experience water in the UAE is to dine right next to it! In Abu Dhabi, some of the most beloved waterfront dining restaurants include Byblos Sur Mer, Catch, Finz, and Sambusek. Additionally, the Yas Marina is filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs, all of which boast waterfront views.
In Dubai, you have plenty of options ranging from beachfront to Creekside, fountain views to canal-side. Consider dining at Fish Market, Sea Fu, Jameela Floating Restaurant, or Paluto. Wherever you go, you are sure to have a memorable evening of fun, fantastic food, and fabulous views.
5. Relax on a Luxury Yacht Cruise
Of course, while in the UAE, you have to experience some of the renowned luxury activities. You can privately charter a yacht for a day on the water. This option will provide you with your crew who will be at your beck and call to ensure you have the experience of a lifetime. On your cruise, you will see some of the UAE’s most well-known sights.
For example, a Dubai yacht cruise will take you past the Burj Al Arab, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah. Alternatively, you can speak with the yacht company to design the perfect itinerary for your group.
No yacht cruise is complete without lunch prepared by the on-board chef. After lunch, the crew will drop the anchor into the depths of the Arabian Gulf, enabling you to go swimming, snorkeling, or fishing. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses!
6. Experience History
Water routes have played an essential role in the development of the UAE, so why not dedicate some time to learning about the history? Dubai is well-known for its dhow boats that have been utilized for many years for transportation purposes. Initially, these ships were used to transport goods to and from other countries. In fact, most of Dubai’s wealth comes from its role as a port.
Today, you can experience being on the most authentic UAE boat, while also enjoying sightseeing, music, and traditional cuisine. For something extra special, opt for a dhow dinner cruise, where you can spend time with loved ones under a moonlit sky.
Alternatively, in Abu Dhabi, you can take a morning dhow pearl tour. During this boat ride, a local guide will explain to you the long history of pearl diving in the region and demonstrate how to open a pearl. While you are sailing among the city’s lush mangroves, you can sip tea, eat dates, and try to find your own souvenir pearls.
Where do you like to go to experience water in the UAE? Do you have any other favorite spots that weren’t listed here? Are some of these new to you? Let us know your thoughts and insights in the comments below!