This summer one of the budget airlines – Air Arabia started flying direct from Antalya to Sharjah (UAE). For those of you unfamiliar with the Sharjah, it is located about 20 km from Dubai. Sharjah airport serves mainly budget airlines and hotels tend to be cheaper as they cater for the budget traveller. During the late spring, summer and early autumn you can get some really fantastic bargains as far as prices are concerned. 5 star hotels can cost you as little as 80 dollars a night, 3 star hotels 40 dollars, but this is of course because it is low season. Beware, temperatures are in the mid 40s at this time of year!
When we visited UAE it was in October. We booked our hotel through asiatravel as they tended to have cheaper prices than other agencies, having an office in Dubai.
When many people think of Dubai they think of shopping malls, however, there is much more to Dubai. We would recommend the following:
Day 1: Visit the old area of Dubai known as Bastakiya located on the Dubai creek in Bur Dubai. Wander along the back streets and explore the buildings, coin museums and galleries. In the middle of Bastakiya you will find the Dubai museum located in the oldest building in the city – a fort. The museum costs only 3 AED and is well worth a visit. Walk along the side of the creek and visit the heritage village and the old palace. Then take an abra which is a taxi boat to cross the creek – this is an unbelievable experience – 1 AED. If you do this during the day, you should return in the evening as it is a cheap way to have a boat trip! On the other side of the creek – Deira is the gold and spice souk.
Day 2: Why not hire a car for the day or take the local bus to the oasis city inland – a 2 hour drive through the desert? Al Ain is very different from Dubai with low buildings, green parks and souks. You can walk around the city oasis in the centre of town, visit the Al Ain museum and explore Jahilii park and fort. If you have a car, go up the highest mountain – Jebel Hafeet and visit the hot water springs. If your still have time, the wildlife park is worth a visit as it is the best in the region.
Day 3: Take a ride on the Dubai metro so you can have some great views of the tall buildings of Sheikh Zayed road. There are three major shopping malls on the metro route: Emirates mall, Dubai Mall and Ibn battuta. Malls in the Emirates are more than malls as they are centres of entertainment. Ibn Battuta was my favourite as each section of the mall has been designed in the architecture of one of the countries that was visited by Ibn battutta: Spain, Persia, India, China, and Tunisia. Mall of the Emirates is famous for its indoor ski slope and of course The Dubai Mall has an indoor aquarium and zoo. Don’t forget to visit the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa (book tickets online beforehand to save a lot of money). The fountain show next to the Dubai malll is worth a visit in the evening.
Day 4: If you fee like chilling out on your last day, then a trip to creek side park is a great way to unwind.You can stroll along the creek side walk, take a picnic or even go on the cable car! Looking for more things to do then explore Sharjah. There is the blue souk, lots of parks and museums, such as the calligraphy museum, wildlife museum, art museum and maritime museum. Looking for other suggestions; desert safaris and creek side tour evening boat trips are also on many itineraries. If you check out the Internet there are often groupon tickets for theses types of trips at a reduced rate.
You will find you can have an action packed break in the UAE as there is a lot more to do than you may have originally thought.