Despite the recent fun of World Book Day, the hit-and-miss weather has got most of us feeling a little blue, especially if you are also in the middle of inspection season!
We might be lucky with the sunshine of Dubai, but if you have acclimatised to the overall annual temperature, you might find yourself longing for the less chilly evenings of spring and even the humidity jump of April. Whether you have been using every school break as a chance to explore the region or you like to spend your hard-earned cash heading back to family and friends, travelling is a pretty regular thing for those of us who live in Dubai. Its geographical location certainly lends itself to wanderlust potential, particularly in the Middle East and MENA region, where interesting countries and exciting cities can be accessed in a matter of hours. All of this means that teachers in the UAE do have a unique opportunity to explore parts of the world during their holidays, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you have been searching for ideas on where to start your adventure this spring break, we have some great options to consider.
There is so much to see and to do in Sri Lanka. Located in the Indian Ocean and under just five hours flight from Dubai, this is the ideal location for an affordable and relaxing spring vacation. From visiting scared temples to caring for elephants, taking in the mesmerizing views on morning hikes to snoozing on the beach before your indulgent supper of fresh seafood, you can build your dream holiday. Must visit attractions include the UNESCO’S World Heritage sites Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock) and Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (just a two hour drive from Colombo) and the medieval city of Polonnaruwa.
Situated on the banks of the Jordan River, Jordan can be reached from Dubai in under four hours flight time. This intoxicating country is filled with ancient monuments, seaside resorts and nature reserves, not to mention the famed archaeological site of Petra. Nicknamed the ‘Rose City’, Petra dates to around 300 B.C and was the Nabatean Capital, as well as one of the most recognisable film locations from Indiana Jones. As well as a horse trek to Petra, you also need to include a float in the Dead Sea on your Jordan bucket list (although get there early to avoid crowds!). Other not to be missed spots include Mount Nebo, the incredible mosaics of Madaba and the unforgettable Dana Biosphere Reserve.
Intersecting Europe and Asia, Georgia has become somewhat of a hotspot for tourist in recent years. Accessible in under four hours from Dubai and offering up a wide range of activities and vistas from excellent skiing to stunningly diverse architecture, it isn’t hard to see why. From the Black Sea to the Caucasus Mountain Range, this is a country filled with a beautiful fusion between man and nature, old and new. Don’t miss the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Jvari Monastery at Mtskheta, another UNESCO world heritage site. Hikers and campers would be blown away by the landscapes offered up by Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Lagodekhi National Park including a hiking trail to the Black Rock Lake, and Vashlovani. Budding historians and archaeologist enthusiasts will be transfixed by Vardzia, a 13th-century cave town with 13 levels and more than 6,000 apartments, a large church, a throne room, wine cellars and a bell tower.
Now that the tumult of the failed Trump/Kim summit has subsided, Vietnam is back to welcoming more inclusive and less dictatorial tourists to their shores. With Hanoi a non-stop six hour flight from Dubai and Ho Chi Minh City just under seven, it is still a very accessible location for even short breaks away. With some of the most stunning vistas and hidden gems in the world, this is an amazing place to discover the wonder and magnificence of Asian culture. If you are heading, make sure to include excursions and experiences that help you see the real Vietnam and what life is like for the people that call it home. A little pre-holiday reading into its history will also be an eye-opener and help you avoid cultural faux-pas. Must visit spots include an overnight cruise to the extraordinarily beautiful Halong Bay (which might just change your life), ‘graming the lush green valleys of Sapa or marvelling at the array of goods available at the colourful floating markets of Cai Be and Cai Rang in southern Vietnam.
Non-stop flights from Dubai to Croatia take a little over six hours, and it is well worth the trip. Its coastal border on the Adriatic Sea offers some of the most beautiful sailing courses in the world and a yachting trip here should be on every water-lovers bucket list. There is so much to see and do in Croatia, including several stunning historical sites, hundreds of pristine islands, white sandy beaches and breath-taking waterfalls. Foodies should definitely make sure to check out Istria, well known for its delicious truffles and a favourite of the late Anthony Bourdain. Other must-see places and activities include scuba diving to the wreck of the Baron Gautsch, walking the white limestone streets of Dubrovnik and taking the ferry to the majestic old fortress at Hvar; you can even explore the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb!