Are you afraid of the dark? You’d better not be. Because on Saturday March 29 at 8.30pm, businesses across Dubai will turn their lights out for 60 minutes to mark Earth Hour. Our emirate is not alone – around the world, people will be doing the same thing as part of an annual global initiative to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. To help get you in the environmentally friendly mood, we reveal a few of our favourite things to do in the dark in this city, all year round.
High-speed thrills at the Kartdrome A cool, fast-paced alternative to a night out on the tiles, taking on your friends (or anyone – who cares as long as you’re winning?) at the Dubai Kartdrome’s 1.2km outdoor track can be a truly hair-raising pursuit after dark. Open until midnight between Tuesday and Saturday and until 11.30pm on Sundays and Mondays, it’s a good idea to turn up an hour ahead of the time you’d like to set off, as there’s no booking and 15-minute track slots (Dhs110 per person, plus Dhs10 registration fee) are allocated first come, first served. Motor City, www.dubaiautordrome.com (04 367 8744).
Shop at Hollister Yes, you read that right. If you’ve never set foot in one of these stores, let us tell you – the experience can certainly be disorientating. Imagine shopping in a nightclub. As well as navigating loud music and an atmosphere thick with strong, pervasive perfumes, you will be browsing the rails in near darkness. The style of clothes on sale is Southern Californian teen (the brand is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch), and it’s best to pick your buys for their cut and shape, since it’s hard to be sure what the actual colour is until you leave. On the upside (and outside), the rolling ocean waves that light up the store’s exterior certainly make it the coolest-looking store in town. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 385 1947).
Go on a night dive If you’ve already got at least your PADI advanced open water diving licence, why not try braving the underwater world after dark? The variety and appearance of marine life can vary dramatically once the sun has gone down. Dubai’s Al Boom Diving company runs regular night dives at fascinating sites off the city’s coast for those with the right training, while over in Fujairah you can also do a full night dive along rockier coastline with the likes of Scuba 2000, headquartered at the Miramar Al Aqah hotel (though it also operates at Riva Beach Club in Dubai). Al Boom Diving, Dubai (04 342 2993), Scuba 2000, Fujairah (09 237 0299).
Play golf – indoors or outdoors Regardless of whether you can par a full nine holes or don’t even know what a par is, everyone can blow off a bit of steam by hitting a few balls at The Montgomerie Golf Club’s driving range, which is open every night until 9pm (last check-in 8.30pm) and costs Dhs135. Alternatively, head down to Wafi for a round of crazy, glow-in-the-dark golf at Tee & Putt’s indoor facility, which features astronauts, asteroids and even aliens as obstacles. The Mongtomerie Golf Club, Emirates Hills (04 390 5600), Tee & Putt, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha (04 357 3290).
Star-gaze on a night safari Once the sun goes down and the air gets cooler, nocturnal animals in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve emerge from their daylight hiding spots to wander the dunes and weave between the shrubs. With its heritage night safari and stargazing package (Dhs395 per person), Dubai’s poshest desert safari company, Platinum Heritage provides guests with high-tech night-vision binoculars to spot these creatures from the open-air, retro Land Rovers they’re riding in. Once you’ve explored the dunes, it’s off to the tranquil camp to have a snack and study the stars. Pick-up from locations across Dubai, www.platinum-heritage.com (04 388 4044).
Enjoy the full moon on horseback Spend a relaxing evening enjoying the cool weather with a horse ride under the stars. Mushrif Equestrian & Polo Club runs monthly full moon rides around Mushrif Park, which are 90-minute guided treks open to all abilities, costing Dhs300 per person. Kicking off at 8pm sharp, these rides are one of the few outdoor activities to continue taking place in Dubai even during the peak of summer. Mushrif Park, Al Khawaneej Road, www.mushrifequestrianclub.wordpress.com (04 427 1256).
Eat at Spectrum on One’s Noire night You’d be forgiven for assuming Spectrum on One had forgotten to pay the DEWA bill, but Noire is in fact part of a worldwide trend for eating your dinner in total darkness, served by waiters wearing night vision goggles. The ideas is to awaken your other senses (smell, taste, and even sound) to appreciate your food to its fullest. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).