“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” John Steinbeck
With Eid al-Fitr fast approaching it’s time to think about maximising those extra days off with a trip. The UAE is a great travel hub so it’s easy to get to many different countries within a few hours flight or drive. The upcoming Eid holiday is an ideal time to explore a new destination, revisit an old favourite or book at staycation.
Here are a few of my favourite places that I’ve visited so far on my expat travels and some hotel recommendations too. Some destinations are in this region while others are a short (ish) flight away (click HERE for for some long haul ideas).
Ditch the airport queues for a scenic road trip from the UAE through the mountains of Oman. Discover Muscat or escape to the mountains for a slower pace of life and cooler temperatures. Visit Musandam, the separate peninsula for some diving or a snorkelling trip on a traditional dhow. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking mountainous scenery atop Jebel Akhdar, go for a hike and discover abandoned villages and wadis. Test yourself with a one of a kind Via Ferrata cave experience.
My hotel pick Alila Jabal Akhdar – This mountain top resort offers the most spectacular views and is beautifully designed inside and out. In addition it reflects its unique location and embraces the local culture, it’s where luxury meets tradition. The facilities and cuisine are first-rate, the service is impeccable and the hotel is fully committed to sustainability and eco-tourism. Read more here anexpatabroad.com/alila-jabal-akhdar-oman/. Read more about Oman HERE
Fancy staying nearer to home? You are certainly spoilt for choice with so many fantastic hotels and resorts across all the Emirates. Here’s my top picks for Eid staycations in the UAE this year.
If you are seeking some R & R then Sir Bani Yas Island is just the spot. Take a short boat ride from the mainland and choose to stay at one of three Anantara resorts. The beach villas at Al Yamm, the Al Sahel thatched villas in the grasslands or the main hotel, Desert Islands Resort. Take a wildlife drive, cycle around the island, partake in some water sports or just chill by the pool. My hotel pick Al Yamm Villas – read more anexpatabroad.com/sir+bani+yas+island
Sample a stay at a desert oasis, experience the UAE’s heritage with traditional architecture filled with courtyards, narrow alleyways and plenty of regional artefacts. My hotel pick – Bab Al Shams aka ‘Gateway to the Sun’ is located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It’s inspired by a traditional Arabic fort, the rooms are adorned with authentic textiles and lanterns. There’s a large pool with swim up bar and outdoor rain style showers. Arabic and international cuisine is offered in the restaurants. Read more anexpatabroad.com/2015/05/31/eid-getaways/
Nestled between the Hajar Mountains and the Indian Ocean, Fujairah is the only emirate that’s located on the eastern coast of the UAE. Located in close proximity to Musandam, you can spend the day cruising along the jagged coastline on a traditional Dhow with an Arabic style lunch, dolphin spotting, snorkelling and even diving with a pre-arranged trip. My hotel pick – Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort is a large, family-friendly resort in itself with plenty of restaurants, activities for all ages, spa, pools and a long stretch of private beach.
SHORT HAUL (under 5 hours flight)
A place of tolerance in a region filled with conflict, Jordan is filled with so much history. Float in the dead salt, head to the rose city of Petra and check out the capital city, Amman. Take a road trip from the dead sea to the River Jordan where Jesus was baptised, after that stop off at Mount Nebo where Prophet Moses died. Enjoy the wonder that is Petra, an UNESCO site and one off the new Seven Wonders of the World. Sample traditional Jordanian cuisine and hospitality in Amman and visit Jerash, the world’s largest remaining Roman ruins site.
My hotel pick The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea – Located on the shore of the famous salt lake opposite the West Bank, this large resort has nine swimming pools, lagoons, waterfalls and pool bars. Check out the circular infinity pool that’s stunning at sunset. Book a spacious Ishtar Suite that’s comfortable, traditionally decorated and offers great views across the resort and beyond. Read more here anexpatabroad.com/jordan
Seen as one of the world’s most desired holiday destinations the Maldives is another country under five hours from the UAE. Velavaru (Turtle) is a 40-minute seaplane flight from the capital Malé, enjoy the thrill of flying over atolls and landing on the water. Relax on the beach, check out the marine life, drink cocktails and get pampered in the spa. Take a stroll around this secluded island lined with Angsana trees that can be circumnavigated in 20-minutes.
My hotel pick Angsana Velavaru – Part of the Banyan Tree group, Angsana Velavaru offers guests a choice of luxury accommodation. Choose from beachfront villas with an outdoor bathrooms or water villas with private infinity pools overlooking the coral reef. Sample Maldivian cuisine, take a diving trip or go snorkelling. Enjoy plenty of watersports including kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and fishing. The Angsana spa offers a range of treatments, there’s a fitness centre and beach yoga classes. Read more here anexpatabroad.com/maldives
Mother Nature has blessed the Seychelles with jaw-dropping natural beauty, the perfect picture postcard spot. Tropical climate, clear turquoise waters, pristine deserted beaches and lush greenery. This island is quite simply paradise found just under five hours flight from the UAE.
Go island hopping to visit La Digue, where you encounter the Aldabra giant tortoises and the world’s most photographed beach (trip highlight). See the unique Coco de Mer and black parrots on Praslin. Get a glimpse into the island’s British Heritage in the capital Victoria. No trip would be complete without a visit to the Takamaka Rum Distillery.
My hotel pick The H Resort Beau Vallon Beach – A modern hotel located in Beau Vallon that offers guests a collection of beachfront villas and suites. There’s seven bars and restaurants, swimming pools, water sports, gym, beach yoga and pilates. The beautiful Sesel Spa offers a range of treatments. Read more here anexpatabroad.com/the-h-resort-beau-vallon-beach-seychelles/
For more travel and hotel ideas visit the TRAVEL and STAY sections of anexpatabroad.com. Whether you decide to have a staycation in the UAE or travel further afield this coming Eid Al Fitr, I wish you safe and happy travels
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved.