Make the most of public holiday to celebrate Lailat al Miraj
Companies across Dubai are likely to announce a public holiday on either June 28, 29 or 30, with the date confirmed a couple of days beforehand (it’s based on the sighting of the moon). The festival celebrates one of the main events in the Islamic calendar: the date that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took a physical and spiritual journey. In the year 621 he travelled on a mythological creature to ‘the farthest mosque’ and led prophets in prayer, before ascending to heaven; there, he spoke to Allah, who told him to share a message with people on Earth, asking them to pray five times a day. Many mosques tell children this story, called ‘Isra and Mi’raj’, on the day.
If you’re not Muslim, a great way to soak up the atmosphere is to watch families go to the mosque and listen to the melodic call to prayer. But what to do with the rest of your day? Here’s our pick of the activities to keep you busy.
Feast on unlimited curry - Tuesday 28 Every Tuesday, Aussie bar Bidi Bondi serves a choice of three curries with rice, chapatis and poppadoms, plus two house drinks, for Dhs95 per person. Al Manhal Building, Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah (04 427 0515).
Watch Green Lantern - Tuesday 28 The new superhero flick, based on the DC comics series, stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard. It features mystical green rings that give the wearers superhuman powers. At cinemas across Dubai.
Try dragon boating - Tuesday 28 Enjoy the cool morning air by joining Dubai Dawn Patrol’s training session. The boats are big enough for 10 people, and your first session is free. 6am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, www.dubaidragonboat.com (050 708 7238).
Take three mates to Azur spa - Tuesday 28 Groups of four get 20 per cent off, meaning treatments start from Dhs80. Choose everything from cupping to hot stone massages, a curious fire tummy-tucking treatment and several coffee-related options. Until June 30. International City, www.azurspa.com (04 447 5284).
Shoot a gun or arrow - Tuesday 28 Opt for a real gun, or choose the more traditional bow and arrow. Shooting sessions start from Dhs50, depending on what gun you choose. Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club (04 548 7777).
Sample sushi at Toshi - Tuesday 28 Japanese venue Toshi boasts traditional Asian decor and incredible views over Dubai’s coastline and the Palm. We recommend the mango salad, which has a mildly spicy tingle to kick your taste buds into gear. The deal costs Dhs159 for unlimited sushi with soft drinks and one house beverage. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha (04 427 0515).
Beat your mates at pool - Tuesday 28 Emirates Billiards Centre has 11 tables on which you can battle it out against a group of friends. Prices start at Dhs30 an hour after 7pm, and it’s open until 4am. Near Ramada Continental, Deira (04 262 4499).
Show off your musical talents - Wednesday 29 Try this weekly amateur music night and jam session – take along whatever musical instrument you play (or your great singing voice) and meet other musicians. The action kicks off at 8pm and, best of all, it’s free. Bert’s Café, The Greens (04 361 9292).
Play a game of indoor hockey - Wednesday 29 Not for the dainty, Dubai Hockey Club has practice sessions on Wednesdays at 8pm, as well as regular matches. Play well and you may get picked for the team. IAT School, Al Qusais, www.dubaihockeyclub.com.
Get skinny without exercising - Wednesday 29 Yes, really! Try this nifty new NASA-tested vibrating platform, which can apparently shake you slim. Get 15 sessions for Dhs1,000. Rebecca Treston Aesthetics, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 394 5422).
Enjoy a strawberry afternoon tea - Wednesday 29 Try strawberry pâté de fruit, strawberry panna cotta, savoury balsamic strawberry tarts and plenty more fruity options for Dhs90 per person, served 3pm-6pm. Kambaa Lounge, The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
Watch Kung Fu Panda 2 - Wednesday 29 The sequel to the hugely successful animated film packs a hefty punch with its slick action sequences. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman provide the voices. At cinemas across Dubai.
Dive for free at Al Boom - Wednesday 29 Every Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm, local dive centre Al Boom offers free trial dives in its swimming pool, so you can see what it’s like breathing underwater with all the necessary scuba gear. If you like it, you can sign up for a PADI course, which will enable you to dive in the sea and experience Dubai’s ocean life (think turtles and reef sharks). Al Boom Diving, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (04 342 2993).
Try a round of golf - Wednesday 29 Hone your skills at Emirates Golf Club’s two courses. The Majlis was the first grass course in the Middle East, and the Faldo is floodlit so you can play from 6.45am right through until 10pm. Pay-and-play prices start at Dhs400. Emirates Hills (04 380 2222).
Go hot air ballooning - Thursday 30 It’s an early start, but if you can drag yourself out of bed you’ll experience an incredible vista over the desert. Flights take place daily at 5am and cost from Dhs950 per person. Amigos Balloons, Dubai Festival City, www.amigos-balloons.com.
Eat a cultural breakfast - Thursday 30 This unique meal offers an insight into Emirati culture, and after you’ve eaten you’ll get a tour through the lanes of Bastakiya. It’s Dhs60 per person, but check page 125 for a two-for-one voucher. Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, Bastakiya (04 353 6666).
Visit the park and beach - Thursday 30 Jumeirah Beach Park is perfect early in the morning or late in the evening for cooler temperatures. Laze on the sand or stroll through the gardens – there’s enough to occupy you all day. Entry is Dhs5. Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 349 2555).
Brave the Wild Wadi slides - Thursday 30 Thursday nights are for women only, giving more modest ladies a chance to let their hair down. Entry is Dhs150, and the park is open 8pm-1pm. Wild Wadi, Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 348 4444).
Go wakeboarding at sunrise -Thursday 30 There’s no better way to start the day than zipping along behind a speedboat. Book a 15-minute session for Dhs150. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Club (04 399 3333).
Eat a seafood barbecue beside the pool - Thursday 30 Watch the chefs slap fresh shrimp on the barbie, and don’t stop until you’re utterly full. Dhs165 for unlimited food and soft drinks. Club Olympus, Hyatt Regency Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
Tour the city by Bus - Thursday 30 You’ll see all the main sights, including the Palm, Burj Al Arab and the souks in Deira. Prices start at Dhs220 for a day tour. The Big Bus Company, www.bigbustours.com (020 7233 9533).
See Transformers 3 in 3D - Thursday 30 Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel kick butt in new flick Dark of the Moon as they battle the autobots once more. IMAX at Grand Megaplex, Ibn Battuta (04 366 9898).
Get your eyebrows shaped - Thursday 30 The Dynamic Brows treatment (Dhs195) involves both dyeing and plucking. Goodbye monobrow. Al Asalla Spa, Dubai Ladies Club, Beach Road (04 344 9445).
Relax at a beach club - Thursday 30 The Ritz-Carlton’s Dhs350 deal includes pool and beach access, plus use of the spa facilities and fitness centre. Thirsty? Try the beach bar for great mocktails. The Ritz-Carlton, JBR (04 399 4000).
Learn Arabic - Thursday 30 Honour the Muslim festival by learning some of the language. Sign up for a 30-hour course for Dhs1,950. Arabic Language Centre, World Trade Centre (04 331 5600).