Eid escapes: 12 places to go from Dubai this year

With Eid al-Fitr expected to fall in mid-June (Friday June 15), it's the perfect time to have a little adventure abroad and experience a different culture. So we've rounded up 12 amazing Eid escapes for you tomake the most of the long weekend.
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1 Educate yourself with the historical sights of Georgia

A crossroads of Asia and Europe, Russia and the Middle East, lies Georgia. And there’s a special Eid trip with Musafir to try next month. Your trip covers hearty breakfasts and gives you the option of taking in the days by yourself or going tours to Kakheti or Mtskheta. But you’ll first be exploring Tbilisi, with its sulphur baths, mosques and Glass Bridge of Peace. The place is full of ancient stone towers and villages, along with medieval-like old buildings and museums. Staying at the Cron Palace hotel, which is well-known for its top spa and outstanding views of the city, you’ll be experiencing Georgia at its best. While it may be rich in culture and history, don’t be fooled by the country’s old style as the city has a modern vibe, too. Food is delicious and wallet-friendly, with Georgia’s signature dish of chicken dumplings along with pimento cheese sure to please. With temperatures going as low as 18°C, you may want to bring a jacket. It may not actually be cold, but it may well be a shock to the system when coming from the searing heat of Dubai.

What to do: Prepare for a jam-packed trip, as you’ll be seeing a load of what the country has to offer. Take it gently on the first day, with some exploration around Tbilisi, including Rustaveli Avenue, Liberty Square and the stunning Glass Bridge of Peace, which stretches 150m across Kura River and is designed to look like a marine animal, to admire. Its then off to Kakheti or Mtskheta (or neither, if you want a day to yourself). The former is a mountainous province you can enjoy nature in, while in Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia, you can walk along the ancient streets towards the stunning Aragvi river. There is also an ancient fortress just outside the city, too.

Details: Flight time (from Sharjah), three hours, 30 minutes, flights included in package.

Hotel: Dhs2,699 per person (twin room, including flights), Dhs3,299 (single room, including flights). June 14-18. www.musafir.com.

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2 Enjoy a mix of cultures in Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Located in the South of Vietnam along the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is a fast-growing tourist destination known for its long, sweeping beaches, rich coral reefs, fresh seafood, pearl farms, and dense, tropical rainforest. Made up of 28 islands, most of which are uninhabited, expect unspoilt beaches to enjoy. Brand-new hotel Dusit Princess Moonrise Beach Resort overlooks the stunning Bai Truong beach, AKA Long Beach, which stretches for 20km along the coast. Half the island is a protected national park, too, so expect plenty of beautiful plants, flowers and wildlife close to the hotel.

What to do: Guests can easily arrange to visit popular local attractions such as Phu Quoc National Park, part of the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, which takes up around 50 percent of the island, the secluded Bai Sao beach, the quirky Dinh Cau night market featuring fresh seafood and plenty of shopping, along with various historical landmarks. Although, if you fancy just chilling at the hotel, that’s possible too, and the cuisine is worth a try, with the kitchens serving Thai and Vietnamese dishes that puts a spin on street food favourites from both countries. Or, just laze around in the hotel’s infinity pool. The choice is yours.

Details: Flights from Dhs3,000 (per person, return). Flight time, 11 hours, 45 minutes.

Hotel: From Dhs402 per night. July 14-18. www.dusit.com/dusitprincess/moonrisebeachresort.

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3 Experience the land of fire in Baku, Azerbaijan

The last place you want to go to escape the sizzling heat in Dubai is a place labelled the “Land of Fire”, but temperatures in June in the pleasant mid-twenties in Baku. Being the capital and biggest city in Azerbaijan, Baku is a beautiful place to explore. It sits right along the Caspian Sea, and is filled with plenty of high peaks for the trekkers out there, including the great Caucus Mountains. Take a stroll just outside the city limits and you’ll find mud volcanoes, along with rural villages. If you’re looking for a place that blends ancient historical attractions, stunning 21st century buildings and lush greenery, Baku is the place for you.

What to do: Azerbaijan puts on a big festival for Eid, celebrating it with roasted lamb and giving meals to the community, so make sure you tag along with the festivities. Aside from that, visit Fountain Square and the Maiden’s Tower, believed to date back to the 12th century. There’s also the chance to see a village in the mountains named Xinaluq, offering stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding Caucasus. Get in quick though, as these deals are for limited numbers of travellers only.

Details: Flight time, two hours, 55 minutes.

Hotel: Dhs4,187 (twin room or double room per two people, flights included). July 14-16.

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4 Explore the stunning sights of Jordan

Taking place over three days, this is an exceptional Eid trip to one of the Middle East’s most historic countries with Escape Travels. Get ready for some sightseeing as you explore thousand-year-old ruins of Roman architecture throughout Amman, the capital of Jordan,and the lost city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Your trip will include two nights stay at the Toledo Hotel with all meals included, transport to all the locations, a tour guide at all the attractions and an exquisite buffet and day passes to a private beach at a five star resort near the Dead Sea. You’ll come back from this Eid trip with a wealth of history under your belt and with a bunch of selfies floating in the Dead Sea.

What to do: This trip has been planned from beginning to end, so no need to worry about what needs to be done next. You’ll start off exploring the historically rich ruins in the largest city in Jordon on day one, full of Roman monuments and collapsed buildings to rummage around. The next day, you’ll be able to put a large tick on the list of wonders of the world to see, as you’ll get to delve into Petra, the ancient Nabatean city, known for its tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs. Lastly, you’ll discover the lowest point on earth which also harbours the Dead Sea, the perfect place to whip out a book to read while you float along the surface. This is the perfect mix of chill-out and culture.

Details: Flight time, three hours, 15 minutes. Flights from Dhs1,350, www.flydubai.com.

Hotel: Dhs2,571 (twin and double sharing room, including flights). June 14-16. www.escape-travels.com.

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5 Get on track with some elephants in Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka

What better way to celebrate Eid abroad than with some elephants in Sri Lanka? As soon as you land on this trip, you’ll be heading straight to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage to hang out with the lumbering beasts before going on to Kandy. Sri Lanka is steeped in culture, showcasing everything from the traditional dance routines of Kandyan dancing to fire walking. The trip also takes you all the way to Colombo, the capital of the country, where you can check out the malls.

What to do: Feast your eyes on the huge yet gentle creatures at the elephant orphanage, where you’ll be able to watch the caretakers feed, bathe and play with the elephants. The place is a breeding ground for wild Asian elephants that opened in 1975 to house abandoned and wounded elephants, and today has the world’s largest herd of captive elephants. Afterwards, stroll around the Royal Botanical Gardens to see some beautiful greenery, and head over to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a century-old place hidden in the rock. On the final day, you’ll head over to Colombo and get the chance to visit popular places such as the busy Fort District, the colourful Pettah bazaar, beautifully smelling Cinnamon Gardens, Galle Face Green and Viharamahadevi Park.

Details: Flight time (from Sharjah) four hours, 30 minutes. Flights included.

Hotel: Dhs2,399 per person (twin room, with flights), Dhs2,999 (single room, with flight). June 14-18.

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6 Head south of the equator to tropical Seminyak, Bali

Brimming with beautiful vegetation and greenery, Bali is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. And there are plenty of sandy beaches to chill out on, too. This Indonesian island isn’t all about sun, sand and scrumptious street eats, though, as tucked away in the southern end of the country are luxurious resorts, high-end shopping and spas that are guaranteed to help you unwind. Seminyak is one of the most popular tourist spots in Indonesia, and after recently being refurbished, the Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa has some great deals on stays. If you book for four nights you’ll get a fifth night free, including breakfast and afternoon tea. You’ll also get a transfer to or from the airport.

What to do: You may not want to leave the resort, with its spacious pool area featuring an infinity pool to watch the sunset in. If you love food, then try the Balinese dishes in the Sanje restaurant and Santan restaurant, and you can relax at the luxurious Kahyangan Spa, too. If you do happen to venture out, the resort is located next to some of Bali’s top destinations, including aquapark Waterbom Bali and Bali Zoo, which is home to more than 350 types of animals and tropical birds. Feeling even more adventurous? Head towards the historic site of Uluwatu, perched right on a cliff in the Bukit peninsula, or meet the monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest. It may be a bit of a journey and very expensive, but it will be worth it. We hope.

Details: Flight times are around nine hours. Flights from Dhs1,400 (per person, return).

Hotel: Dhs2,986 per night for a one-bedroom ocean pool villa. June 14-19.

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7 Jump across the border to Salalah, Oman

When we think of Oman, Muscat immediately comes to our minds, purely because of its lush mountains by the sea and in the deserts. But what about the country’s second largest and most fun to say city, Salalah? If you love fruit and veg, including coconuts and bananas, it’s a top place to visit seeing as the region’s temperatures are perfect for growing them. Eid couldn’t be more of a perfect time to go, as Musafir has set up a perfect deal for long weekend retreats. Stay two nights at Hotel Al Jabal for just Dhs1,500, which also includes return flights.

What to do: The city is full of souks, such as the Al Husn Souk spread over a number of different alleyways. Expect a load of frankincense filling your nose with each turn. If you can’t get enough of that, The Frankincense Land Museum will give you quite a few more exotic scents, along with stories of the city’s maritime history and role in the spice trade. If you’re aching for a bit of rain, stay a little longer and you may catch a glimpse of Khareef, Oman’s monsoon.

Details: Flight time (from Sharjah), one hour, 55 minutes. Flights included.

Hotel: Dhs1,500 per person, two nights (booking with two or three people, flights included). Ongoing. www.musafir.com.

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8 Snap a picture of the tropical island of Zanzibar

For picture-perfect views, Zanibar is the one. In this exclusive Eid dnata travel deal, holidaymakers will stay at the five-star Sea Cliff Resort and Spa, tucked away in the Northern-West coast of Zanzibar. The resort is enclosed in a sea of emerald green palm trees, and is perched right along the Indian Ocean. And the Sea Cliff resort offers its guests the only golf course on the island. There is also the Mali Spa, complimentary horse riding on the beach and bikes for people to explore their surroundings at their leisure. Just 25 minutes from the hotel is the historically rich Stone Town and plenty of fishing villages along the golden beaches. The deal includes a Garden Room that opens out to the hotel’s tropical gardens, along with daily breakfast and dinner for three nights and a night for free.

What to do: Head over to Stone Town, the older part of Zanzibar, and take a stroll through the winding alleyways of the town to embrace the historical culture of the place. From its elaborately carved and huge Zanzibar doors to discovering the local food bazaars such as the sprawling Darajani Market, you could walk around the town for days. If you make your way to Prison Island, not only will you find a chilling history, but giant tortoises. There are also fruit plantations to visit and try freshly picked treats. Or, just sit and chill on the beach.

Details: Flight time, five hours. 50 minutes.Flights included in package.

Hotel: Dhs3,645 (per person, flights included). June 14-18. dnatatravel.com (800 36282).

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9 Soak up the sun on a private island in Baros, Maldives

Picture this: walking along the white sands of a peaceful island back to your overwater or beachside villa, and diving into beautifully clear blue sea. Hop on a plane for a mere four hours and head to the Maldives. With its sprawling aquatic life and stunning scenery of the big blue sea, this is a perfect Eid escape for beach lovers, especially with Baros giving away a special offer. The deal includes a stay at either the beach villa or the overwater villa, with a daily breakfast of your choice and dinner in Lime restaurant.

What to do: It may be a small island, but you’ll find plenty to do, aside from soaking up the sun on the beach. Try your hand at a fishing by twilight experience, where you can catch your own dinner and learn the traditional Maldivian method of fishing using nothing but your hands and a line. The package also includes a guided nature walk and a marine biology presentation to learn about the fish. Leave time for plenty of snorkelling, too.

Details: Flights from Dhs1,900 (return). Flight time four hours.

Hotel: Dhs3,669 (per night beach villa), Dhs5,509 (per night overwater villa). June 14-20. www.baros.com.

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10 Take a break in Seychelles

With sun-soaked beaches, granite cliffs, green forests and stunning ocean, the Seychelles is a must visit. Being the world’s only granite island in mid-oceans and having 115 small islands placed throughout the region, it is beautiful, especially Anse Intendance in Mahe, where this Eid trip will take place. If you want another hideaway in one of the coral and granite islands of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is an ideal beach escape for those who crave some privacy.

What to do: Being right by countless beaches, you can be sure to expect a host of water-based activities, including parasailing, snorkelling, windsurfing and diving. The place is also a haven for foodies, where you can try Seychelles creole cuisine, influenced by African, Chinese, French and Indian flavours. You can look forward to a platter of seafood from local restaurants, with coconut curries topped with a mixture of spices. If you’re looking for relaxation, look no further.

Details: Flight time (from Sharjah), four hours 35 minutes. Flights included in package.

Hotel: Dhs3,849 per person (twin room including flights), Dhs4,999 (single room and flights). June 14-18.

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11 Take in the rich heritage of Alila Fort Bishangarh, India

Looking for a getaway for the family steeped in history and culture? Tucked away in Northern India is the Alia Fort Bishangarh, a 230-year-old warrior fortress that’s now been turned into a luxury resort. Showcasing the grand architecture of Jaipur Gharana – influenced by both the Mughals and the British – it also boasts a panoramic view of the rustic and impressive Rajasthani landscape. Perfect for families, kids below 12 get to stay for free, and your visit will also include breakfast, three-course lunch or dinner at Amarsar, afternoon movies with popcorn and a historical photo tour of the fort.

What to do: Alila offers its visitors a taste of the rural life at Dhs162, where they can try a hand at household chores such as milking a buffalo or goat, and cooking in the rasoi – traditional kitchen. For Dhs216, people can stroll the streets of Bishangarh and explore its local traditions in the resort’s exclusive tour. There is also an indoor kids club, face painting, treasure hunts and plenty of movies to watch in the afternoon. Parents, if you’re after something more relaxing head to the spa. Guests are given Dhs54 of credit to use on their trip, so spend the day relaxing.

Details: Flight time, three hours, 20 minutes. Flights from Dhs1,165 return (various airlines including Spice Jet).

Hotel: From Dhs854 per night. Until July 31. Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur, Northern India, www.alilahotels.com.

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12 Travel to Disneyland in Hong Kong

From the towering skyline overlooking the Kowloon Bay to the brilliant bargaining to be done throughout the city’s street markets, Hong Kong has loads to see and do. With Musafir’s special Eid getaway deal, not only will you be exploring Hong Kong and Macau, you’ll get to try out the rides and meet the characters at Disneyland.

What to do: The four-day trip is jam-packed so make sure to fuel up with the daily breakfast buffet at the Reginal Oriental. As soon as you land, you’ll start a guided tour, kicking off by visiting the statue of Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee at the Avenue of Stars. Snap some pictures of Victoria Harbour, and then it’s on over to Victoria Peak to view the city’s skyline. Macau will be waiting the next day, with a tour of the city including historical sites and Fisherman’s Wharf, which showcases some of the best dining and activities in the city. Day three means Disneyland. Split up into seven theme parks, this is sure to please all ages. Say hi to Mickey from us.

Details: Flight time (from Sharjah), seven hours, 20 minutes. Flights included in package.

Hotels: Dhs3,199 per person per trip (twin room, including flights), Dhs4,199 (single room, including flights). Jun 14-Jun 15. www.musafir.com.

Wed 13 Jun 2018 11:52 AM GST
Last Updated: Wed 13 Jun 2018 12:20 PM GST