Dubai Beach Break

Dubai is probably best known for being rather grand and ostentatious - and pricey with it - but it doesn't have to be. And with all that sand and sun it doesn't take much to put one and one together to equal beach break. 

There are two main things to remember when considering a beach break to Dubai:

1. In Dubai Thursday and Friday are the weekend, so this is when the malls, souks, streets and beaches are busiest. They're also late night shopping nights and things are open until about 10pm. So time your itinerary accordingly!

2.  It's an understatement to say that the middle of the day is hot. The souks are open between 7am and midday, and then they close until about 5pm when they reopen for their evening session. If you think you're going to be able to spend all day on the beach without any protection then good luck, but the General Medical Council wouldn't advise it. The best thing to do is to plan to have a rest in the middle of the day. Usually a hotel is just a place to lay your head, but not so much with Dubai Hotels, it's worth choosing a nice one to make sure you have somewhere pleasant to come back to and rest up – but don't worry there are plenty of good hotels in Dubai!

Now you know the basics it's time to work out which beaches you're going to visit on your Dubai beach break – and what else you're going to get up to.

Jumeriah Beach is Dubai's deluxe beach, very conveniently located if you're staying at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel - which is the one that looks like the fin of a great big sea creature, not the one that looks like the sail of an America's Cup Yacht: that's the Burj Al Arab Hotel. What makes it deluxe is the entry fee of 5dhms, it's not that much, but it's what they do with it that counts, they use the money to keep everything clean and pristine, from the pert and perfectly proportioned palm trees swishing softly in any stray breezes, to the boardwalks between the bright blue water of the man made, white, sandy beach and the hazy grey-green of the gulf.

Mamzar Beach is about 25 minutes drive out of the city in the opposite direction from Jumeriah. In this case the soft sandy beach itself is free but you have to pay to use the park between the road and the beach – this is where they have barbecues and little chalets for guests. If you're sporty, or interested in trying something new, then Kite Beach is the one for you. It's also good for people who just like to sunbathe – the water here is full of people kitesurfing or learning to kitesurf, so there's plenty of space on the sand. Khorfakkan Beach is where the snorkellers, surfers and windsurfers go – it might not seem like an obvious combination, but the surf is so good because of the beautiful coral reefs below the surface.

Once you've done the beaches in the day you'll want to do the souks in the evening. The Gold Souk – or Midas' heaven – is probably the most famous, but there's also the wonderfully smelling Spice Souk and Perfume Souk.

No trip to Dubai is really complete without a bit of shopping – even if it's only in the consumerist mecca that is the airport's duty free mall. The Mall of the Emirates is the one with the ski slope in it, and the art gallery; the Ibn Battuta Mall is the one with the Egyptian temple, Spanish fountain and the elephant with the clock inside him; and the BurJurman Centre is the one with 300 stores.

Virgin does package holidays to Dubai, and if you're looking for some off-the-tourist-trail experiences check out this Guardian article or keep searching WR for inspiration. 

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Photo by flickr user Sarah_Ackerman
Photo by flickr user Sarah_Ackerman

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