March is one of the best months to soak up the great outdoors
1 Have a toff-tastic day out at the polo
The KBL Dubai Polo Gold Cup 2012 reaches its climax this week on Friday March 9, when the crowds will descend on Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club for a full day of matches starring some of the UAE’s finest players. Horses won’t be the only four-legged creatures on parade, however, as there will also be a camel show to enjoy, as well as live entertainment and a picnic in the sun. Can’t make it this weekend? The President’s Polo Cup runs from Sunday March 18 to Friday 30 at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, with all games open and free to the public. There will be VIP hospitality tickets available for the Grand Final on Friday March 30 for Dhs495 including food and alcoholic beverages. www.presidentpolocup.ae. Dubai Polo Gold Cup Dhs150 per person. Noon-midnight. Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches, www.timeouttickets.com
2 Attend the Dubai International Boat Show Continue your week in lavish fashion by taking a trip to the boat show, which is on for the 20th consecutive year. Last year saw the biggest sale in the show’s history, with a 40-metre Sunseeker superyacht sold for a whopping Dhs100 million (recession? What recession?). Even if you can’t afford to pick yourself up a plaything, it’s a great opportunity for boating enthusiasts to clap eyes on world launches before anyone else. If you prefer to keep your feet on land, there will also be a Supercar Promenade for the second year running, featuring four-wheel models from supercar specialists around the world. Dhs60. Open daily 3pm-9.30pm from Tuesday March 13 to Saturday March 17. Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai Marina, www.timeouttickets.com
3 Train for a half marathon in Emirates Hills Get training for the Hills Half Marathon 2012 on Friday March 23. The route (21.1km to the uninitiated) will take you on a scenic, meandering route around the Emirates Hills community. Most of the route follows footpaths around the artificial lakes in the area, and there are plenty of family-friendly grassed, shady spots for spectators. The half marathon is Dhs175 per person, and includes a cooked breakfast. From 6.30am. Emirates Golf Club, www.premiermarathons.com.
4 Jump aboard an electric pedalo around The Palm Head over to Atlantis for a weekend staycation and you can hop on a Gray Cat, aka an electric pedalo, above (or should we be calling it motorlo?). It’s the first time we’ve seen them here in Dubai, and frankly it all looks very James Bond to us. You’ll get a tan much quicker, unless you put the little sunroof up, and it’s heaps more fun than sitting on the beach for hours on end. From Dhs185 for 30 minutes. Hotel guests only: rooms from Dhs1,440 per night until March 22, subject to availability. Atlantis The Palm, www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 0000).
5 Visit an old-school theme park We’ve been to Aquaventure and Wild Wadi, but have you ever spared a thought for Wonderland? This quirky theme park sits adjacent to the creek, and has been keeping families entertained since it open in 1996. As well as a swinging pirate ship, roller coasters, bumper cars and more, Wonderland also has a waterpark with a lazy river and a surf hill. Book online and get a 20 per cent discount on ticket prices. Dhs125 combo ticket, Dhs115 theme park entry only, Dhs105 waterpark entry only. Waterpark open daily 10am-6pm, theme park open daily 10am-9pm. Oud Metha, behind Grand Hyatt (04 324 1222).
6 Make your own kite and fly it on Sunset Beach The windy season isn’t over yet, so make the most of it and take a kite down to the beach – it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got kids, we’ve seen plenty of adults boastfully showing off their kiting skills here. To make your own kite, all you need is a flying line (available from Amazon for Dhs22), two-ply plastic bags (large trash bags in most supermarkets), a hard wood dowel (ACE stores or similar) and some electrical insulation tape, plus a ruler, scissors, marker pen and a cheap saw. Choose from one of three simple designs online and get to work. www.my-best-kite.com.
7 Shoot hoops and play football in Al Sufouh Park This park off Al Sufouh Road is always empty, so whether you’re into five-a-side football or playing pick-up ball with a few friends, you shouldn’t have to tussle for the court or pitch. There is also exercise equipment and a playground for the kids (juvenile adults will enjoy the swings), and with Emirates Co-op around the corner, you can pick up a cheap lunch on the way. Free. Behind Emirates Co-op, Al Sufouh Road.
8 Play soapy soccer on Kite Beach Unleash your inner kid with a game of soapy soccer on Kite Beach. Not a clue what we’re talking about? It’s a medium-sized plastic pitch, which is covered in slippery soap and water and edged with bouncy walls so players have something soft to inevitably collide into. We recommend wearing more than just your swimmers, so come dressed in clothes you don’t mind getting wet. Free. Corner of 2d and 35a street, behind Saga World, Umm Suqeim 1.
9 Spend the day at The Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort Try a hair-raising ride on the Fly Fish – a large sideways-E-shaped inflatable pulled by a speedboat that has you flying through the air along JBR beach. If that sounds too dramatic, try a yoga session in the gardens on Saturdays. Yoga Dhs70 non-members, Dhs60 for members and hotel guests (no need to pay beach access fees for classes). Saturdays at 9am. Fly Fish Dhs200 minimum two people for 15 minutes, day beach access Dhs100 Sun-Thu, Dhs180 Fri-Sat. The Walk, JBR (04 399 5533).
10 Amble through ‘Little India’ alley in Bur Dubai A charming, incredibly narrow little street near the Hindu temple in Bastikiya, towards the creek from Dubai Museum, there are dozens of shops selling mostly religious wares. Here you can pick up everything from potted curry leaf plants for Dhs4, Om keyrings from the vendor with six fingers, aromatic Indian sweets and even enormous kitsch plastic mouldings of Ganesh. Free. Taxi to Dubai Museum, Bur Dubai.
11 Take in a Burj view with drinks deals The terrace at The Agency in Madinat Jumeirah is too often forgotten. Watch abras ferry guests between hotels below and catch the Burj Al Arab changing from purple to green, all while enjoying one of the bar’s nightly drink promotions. Sunday and Wednesday nights have our favourite deal, with five selected glasses of grape from its special Vintners Selection for just Dhs100. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-1am, Thu-Fri 6pm-2am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
12 Wander Al Serkal Avenue and spot the new galleries Make your way to the circular Al Quoz art hub and take a stroll around the warehouses to spot the five new galleries that are due to open on Monday March 19, days before culture fair Art Dubai grips the city. Newcomers include La Galerie Nationale from Paris, South Asia-centric Grey Noise, Fayez Barakat, the relocated Showcase Gallery, Lammtara Pictures and FN Designs by HH Sheikha Wafa Al Maktoum. Al Serkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz.
13 Set up a stall at Dubai Flea Market to boost your holiday savings Get saving for your next holiday by collecting your unwanted furniture, clothes and knick knacks and setting up your own stall at the outdoor Dubai Flea Market. If you want to attract the crowds, consider making tasteful boutique-style tags, offering unbeatable discounts to those buying more than one item, and injecting your stall with personality, such as tongue-in-cheek signage. Friday March 9. From Dhs230 for one stand. Register online at www.dubai-fleamarket.com. 3pm-8pm. Dubai Flea Market, Promenade Courtyard, Uptown Mirdif (055 452 60 30).
14 Shop for fresh, locally produced fruit and veg Head outside while the weather’s cool and stock up on fresh produce grown especially for you (and anyone else heading to Souk Al Bahar) by the UAE’s local farmers. Not only can you feel good about yourself for having a fridge-full of organic fruit and veg, but there’s a welcome sense of community at the market. Those who can’t make Fridays should head to the new ‘Market on the Terrace’ in Dubai Marina, which launches on Saturday March 10. Free. 9am-3pm. Baker & Spice, Souk Al Bahar; The Market on the Terrace runs the same hours behind Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina (04 362 4686).
15 Read a book in Al Quoz Pond Park If you need a little ‘me’ time or you’re finding it hard to get stuck into that book with all the construction going on next door, then pack a lunch and an equally chilled friend and head to Al Quoz Park. It’s a little off the beaten track and is comparatively quiet to most parks in the city, especially on week days. The weekends may be busier, but if you arrive before 10.30am, you can nab the best spot under one of the shaded areas. Open Sun-Thu 8am-11pm; Fri-Sat 8am-11.30pm; public holidays 8am-midnight. Take the Nad Al Sheba exit from Sheikh Zayed Road, continue along the overpass and the park is on the sharp right.
16 Join a photo expedition to Musandam in Oman If your photography skills involve little more than point and shoot, this is the adventure for you. Polish your skills and take in one of Oman’s most beautiful natural sights while you’re at it. This one-day field trip will focus on landscape photography and includes a half-day dhow cruise, refreshments, ground transportation, as well as the workshop itself. Dhs300. 9am-7pm Friday March 9. Edventure Travel (050 715 9457).
17 Get started on growing your own veggie patch Going organic doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. With a little knowledge and basic materials (we’re not talking about the next Bio-Dome here), you can grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs at home. If you’re not the most experienced of green-fingers, head down to plant haven Al Hudaiba St in Satwa, otherwise known as Plant Street. You’ll stumble upon a number of stores (try National Flowers, 04 344 2217) selling tomato, asparagus, rock melon and watermelon seeds, that will also offer great advice on how to get started and what tools you will need. Happy planting. Al Hudaiba Street, (Plant Street), near Iranian Hospital, Satwa (no number).
18 Go to the driving range at Emirates Golf Club Round up some friends one evening and get competitive at the driving range. Though there’s not much call for it, why not have a golf fashion-off too and see who can turn up in the most garish polo shirt and tailored shorts combination? Winner gets a drink bought for them at Spike Bar afterwards. Dhs30 for 50 balls, Dhs15 per club. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 380 1234).
19 Try out an arty skate park in Nad Al Sheba Dubai’s newest skatepark is also an art installation. Designed in the shapes of traditional Arabic calligraphy, the Skate Biladi park was initially part of an experimental art project, but is now a fully-functioning skate spot. Want to learn to skate? Have a lesson first at the Rage Bowl in The Dubai Mall. Group lessons Dhs85 weekdays, Dhs125 weekends, private lessons Dhs150 weekdays, Dhs250 weekends. Timings vary. Rage, Dubai Mall (04 434 1549). Entry to Skate Biladi is free. Open daily 8am-10pm. Nad Al Sheba, www.tashkeel.org (no number).
20 Check out free gigs at the du World Music Festival A wealth of talent from many corners of the globe is arriving in Dubai for 10 days of open-air music. Musicians playing free evening gigs on the Burj Steps beside the fountains include US jazz masters Stanley Clarke (Thursday March 8) and Pat Martino (Friday March 9), Indian guitar/sitar player Amit Chatterjee (Saturday March 10) and Malian singer Imar Khairat (Thursday March 15, all gigs 7pm).
21 Go oryx spotting in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve The Arabian oryx was only saved from extinction through a captive breeding programme – but you can glimpse hundreds of the horned, sand-treading goat-like beasts at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. An area of protected desert 45km south-east of Dubai, all the oryx present come from the private collection of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the UAE. It’s only accessible on a private tour, and we recommend Arabian Adventures, where a ‘Nature Trail’ tour costs Dhs260. www.arabian-adventures.com (04 303 4888).
22 Soak up the vibrant Deira streets Get the metro to Al Ghubaiba and indulge in a classic dhow ride in time for sunset. Then stroll the buzzing souks as they wrap up trade for the day; from Deira Old Souk abra station cross to Spice Souk and soak up the exotic smells. At the souk’s exit on Al Abra Street turn right and walk to the end of the street, turning left into Al Ras Street, and continuing until Al Hadd Street. Head right into Al Ahmadiya Street and turn right into Old Baladiya Street. Then continue along Sikkat al Khail Street and keep walking into the neon glow.
23 Grab friends and load up the cool box for a dhow trip Spend the weekend cruising along the coast of Musandam and sleeping on deck under the stars. Set off from Dibba Harbour bright and early on a Friday morning, and make it your own private party by chartering the whole boat for you and a group of friends (you can even take your own music). Overnight private charter of an open dhow from Dhs6,000 for up to 15 people, Dhs125 per person thereafter. Sheesa Beach, Dibba, www.sheesabeach.com (02 638 6551).
24 See Snow Patrol, The Gipsy Kings or Duran Duran This week Dubai is lucky enough to host three big open-air pop gigs a day apart. On Thursday March 8, classic ’80s Brit pop group Duran Duran are bringing their collection of hits to The Sevens Stadium, while back in the city The Gipsy Kings play Burj Park. A day later, Irish indie band Snow Patrol top a Sandance line-up at Atlantis The Palm, which also features a DJ set from Scottish electro king Calvin Harris, Colombian house DJ Erick Morillo and reformed Brit soul-house group M People. Tickets Dhs300-500 (Duran Duran), Dhs250-325 (The Gipsy Kings), Dhs250 (Sandance). www.timeouttickets.com
25 Rent a Harley Davidson and ride into the desert Admit it – we’ve all wanted to live out Easy Rider. No, not the tragic ending – the cruising through the desert with the wind in your hair part. Sound like a dream? You need a valid UAE licence with motorcycle classification (Emirates Driving Institute offers lessons from Dhs65 for 30 minutes: www.edi-uae.com (04 263 1100). Dhs400 will buy you 24 hours and 250km of cruising on a low-end Harley, or splash out Dhs700 on the top model. www.harley-davidson.ae.
26 Watch films under the stars Enjoy al-fresco cinema at Lakeview in Deira before the heat forces this regular Monday night event indoors. On Monday 12, movie buffs can catch The Addams Family at 7pm or Little Nicky at 9pm. Alternatively, head to Wafi on Sunday 11 for The Karate Kid at 8.30pm. Lakeview, Dhs75 (food only). 7pm and 9pm. Dubai Creek & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000). Wafi Rooftop, free. 8.30pm. Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).
27 Buy a kayak and take to the seas Well, why not? Pop down to Go Sports at Ibn Battuta and invest in a Malibu one-person kayak for Dhs2,900 or a Feel Free two-person kayak for Dhs2,100 (inexplicably cheaper) and you’ve invested in a fun way to keep fit, as well as explore Dubai’s waterways and the coastline. Just remember to stay safe. Go Sports, Ibn Battuta Mall (04 368 5344).
28 Go horse-riding at Jebel Ali Jebel Ali Resort & Spa boasts fantastic stable facilities and offers lessons for beginners and advanced riders alike. Classes start at Dhs200 for a private 30-minute lesson or Dhs150 per person in a two-person 30-minute class. Tue-Sun 7am-noon, 4pm-7pm. Jebel Ali Resort & Spa (04 814 5555).
29 Enjoy a picnic with friends on the lawns Head to Safa Park and take advantage of the barbecue stations. Alternatively, if you’re not one to prepare food yourself (perish the thought!) head to the posh picnic brunch at Al Badia every Saturday. Dhs225 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (selected house beverages), Dhs550 (premium bubbly), Dhs895 (premium rosé bubbly). Noon-4pm. Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
30 Walk your dog after 7am without giving it heatstroke When the heat is on, you remember the everyday activities you took for granted – like walking back with groceries or taking your dog for a nice walk after 7am. Head over to the new Baker & Spice at Dubai Marina or in Souk Al Bahar where dogs are welcome, providing they’re well-behaved and kept on a leash. Dubai Marina (04 362 4686); Souk Al Bahar (04 425 2240).
31 Get a resident’s discount at Wild Wadi Until Monday March 19, save Dhs55 on entry to Wild Wadi waterpark if you’re a UAE resident. The infamous Jumeirah Sceirah may be closed, but there is still plenty to do, from drifting in a rubber ring along the winding Juha’s Journey to pelting round Tantrum Alley. Dhs160 (normally Dh215). Open daily 10am-7pm. Umm Suqeim (04 348 4444).