There is a litany of reasons why living in the UAE as an expat can be incredibly entertaining and life-affirming. From the endless sunshine to the tax-free income, it isn’t hard to see why so many people from all over the world choose to make this country home.
But the melting pot created by this diversity has had other additional benefits, as the UAE has grown, so too has its concept of lifestyle, leisure and community. Hundreds and thousands of different restaurants, entertainment venues, activities, groups, hobbies and a whole lot of fun have sprung up throughout all of the Emirates so that no matter your personality, there is always something to do and people to see! Here are just some of the things you can get up to in your free time:
Are you sporty?
There are numerous gyms around offering classes, personal training and first-rate facilities, but sometimes you can’t beat the camaraderie of group sports and the thrill of racing down the pitch. If you have a hankering to be part of a team, from netball to cricket, football to rugby, golf to ultimate Frisbee, there are an endless array of clubs, groups, competitions and tournaments to get involved in. It’s a great way to be sociable and stay healthy.
Are you adventurous?
The UAE is all about innovation and that passion is never more evident than in the toys that are available to you here! If you have a budding sense of adventure there is plenty of adrenaline options to keep your blood pumping. Love a zip line? Why not do one over the Dubai Marina or do the longest one in the world in Ras Al Khaimah. More of a water baby? Try your hand at fly boarding and soar through the sky or try the new Shark inspired Seabreacher. Of course there is even more options from sky diving to helicopter tours, swimming with sting rays, riding roller coasters, driving an F1 car, camping in the desert and skiing indoors.
Are you animal-friendly?
Help to preserve the survival of vital species by taking part in a Biosphere Expedition with the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and spend time monitoring Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat, sand fox, mountain and sand gazelles. Looking for something closer to home? Volunteer as a walker or sponsor at one of the animal shelters in the cities, with so many abandoned and forgotten animals, they need all the help they can get.
Are you a culture-loving, book-worm?
Like exploring quiet spaces and learning more about history and culture? Visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Dubai for a traditional meal and a lively discussion. Take a trip to the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation or explore the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Fit in the whole world at Global Village or lose yourself in a book at a public Library.
Are you up for quirky times with friends?
How about branching out and trying something different with your friends? You can get together and try your hand at a new skill in the Jam Jar painting studio or have a hot chocolate in a -6 degree bar. How about some moonlight drumming in the desert? Visit the new Museum of Illusions or take in tea at the new Unicorn Café. Have a group day out at Bounce or test your skills at the Escape Rooms. From neon mini-golf to inflatable obstacle courses in the sea, you will never run out of things to do.
What have you found the most fun since you arrived? What is your favourite way to spend your weekends? Is there anything you are dying to try or would never want to experience? Tell us what you love and we can share it far and wide.