Secret UAE beaches

We're familiar with Dubai, but what about the beaches in the rest of the UAE? Here's what we found 11 Comments

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Abu Dhabi

Lulu is the most accessible of all Abu Dhabi’s man-made islands, stretching practically the length of Abu Dhabi’s corniche. Regular boat trips used to run to and from the mainland for a minimum fee; alas these were stopped last year after plans for the island’s redevelopment were announced.

But for the time being you can still enjoy its pristine sands if you want to charter a boat. However, unlike some of the other islands, you can’t camp here and you will be asked to leave after 8pm.

One of the larger of Abu Dhabi’s islands, Bahraini Island (aka Al Maya Island) is also among the few that are not off limits to the public. At 7km in length there are plenty of peaceful spots to be found here, which is handy as its surrounding waters tend to fill up quickly from Friday morning onwards.

Charter companies like Belvari Marine (050 661 2176) will happily drop you off overnight should you wish to extend your stay. Camping and barbecues are allowed, but sadly many of the visitors abuse this and the island’s beaches are all too often used as a dumping ground, so be sure to take any rubbish with you.

Occasional island dance events are also becoming more common, so be warned: a couple of hundred clubbers could quickly descend on your oasis of tranquillity depending on which evening you choose.

Admittedly, Al Futaisi Island is more of a structured resort than a desert island, but unlike Sir Bani Yas Island, which requires that you stay in the hotel, Al Futaisi has no such requirement and a Dhs100 fee per person is all that is required in order to get a ferry across from its office opposite Al Bateen Marina (02 666 6601).

This entitles you to use its private beach and swimming pool, but bear in mind boats run at 10.30am and 5.30pm with nothing in between so be sure to arrive promptly or you’ll literally miss the boat. The obligatory sports (beach volleyball, football, Jet Ski hire) can all be found here and the resort offers tours (Dhs200 per person) as well as horse and cycling trips around the island.
Gareth Clark

Belevari Marine offers chartered boat hire to both Lulu and Bahraini Island for Dhs300 per hour. Contact Captain Berend van Rijn on 050 661 2176. Boats are available from Al Bateen Marina, or visit A weekday stay at the chalet costs Dhs1,000; weekends Dhs1,200.

By Jeremy Lawrence
Time Out Dubai,

User reviews:

Posted by: Jyotika on 10 Nov ' 14 at 08:31

Dear All, Would you be able to recommend any resorts/chalets around the Emirates that are pet-friendly? We have a small dog and would really like to take him along with us on a family trip.
Thanks :)

Posted by: Dennis on 05 Mar ' 13 at 04:12

Dear All,

the best (virgin) beach we have been on is called Belevari Island. There is a huge catamaran that leaves every Friday and Saturday for a 4 hour island cruise. It is run by Belevari Marine very professionally with european management. (

The beach is actually a sandbar and apprears every medium to low tide. Softest sand my feet ever touched...even after been to maldives...

It is located roughly 45 min sailing in west direction starting from Emirates Palace marina,

Would recomend it to all residents and tourists.

I cant wait to go again....


Posted by: shaik on 07 Jan ' 12 at 17:36

i am alookimg a lifeguard job

Posted by: visitor on 12 Mar ' 10 at 18:41

Dear Chris Lord,
just read your description about the hidden beach in RAK. This area is actually one of the few remaining more or less intact natural wetland areas in RAK and habitat and breeding place for many rare species. The local environmental agency is having a hard time to keep this area protected and unspoiled. Your article is probably helping very much to attract more people to go there and leave their rubbish. Thanks for that. There are plenty of beaches for tourists and expats to go in whole the UAE. Would be nice to leave some places undisturbed for natural conversation.

Posted by: Sean on 30 Jan ' 10 at 08:49

Visited Heart Beach with a few friends in Dec 09. Not in the best of shape, lots of rubbish along the beach, that and the huge port directly across spoiled the view. It didnt get much better in the water. We had taken snorkeling gear but the visibility was hampered by an abundance of tiny jellyfish swimming everywhere. We moved up to Sandy Beach after about 20 minutes where the marine life was more diverse and the visibility much better. However, if you want privacy, it's certainly hard to beat.

Posted by: Lavs on 12 Jul ' 09 at 06:46

In April 16th TOD you’ve published an excellent report on hidden beaches and mentioned the possibility to negotiate the ride to Mussandam beaches in the local Omani Dibba port. That’s exactly what we did: we negotiated a price of the trip to Haffah Bay with local boat guy named Fahid one day in advance, just to be sure to get the best deal. The port petrol station guy who speaks some English helped with the negotiations. We agreed on 100 Dhs, which seemed to be reasonable for relatively short trip. Once we got back, the boat guy Fahid asked for 800 Dhs and wouldn’t let us off the boat unless we paid! After a very unpleasant half an hour or more of arguing we eventually paid 400 Dhs just to get off the boat!
Our advice: do not attempt to negotiate with locals if it’s obvious that you’re a western expat from Dubai and you don’t speak Arabic. They will deny whatever was agreed before and raise the price at their will, stopping you from leaving the boat unless you pay!
As for the Mussandam beaches, it’s just blazing sun, sand, sea and goats, you’d better use one of the better equipped hotel beaches nearby. With summer promotions on right now, you can stay 2 nights in a hotel and use all their beach facilities for the price of one single boat trip!
Hopefully our experiences will help other expats to avoid such a rip off.

Posted by: Mohamed on 22 Apr ' 09 at 14:49

Have you guys done this lately? I was talking to a tour operator here in Dubai and they told me they stopped taking campers to remote beaches as the fishermen give them a hard time.

Can you guys confirm? We want to go this weekend.

Posted by: James W on 16 Apr ' 09 at 06:20

The fishermen in Musandam deal with tourists regularly and will usually find you someone who can speak English well. When paying, negotiate and confirm a fee and give half upfront and half when you return to the docks.

Posted by: chellapermal christophe on 15 Apr ' 09 at 11:47

actually the best thing to do in the mussamdan is to take a dhow that will cruise you to remote beaches in creeks, its comfortable , cheap and a unique experience.

Posted by: Manisha on 15 Apr ' 09 at 09:22

I just wanted to mention that Nomad Ocean Adventures also runs a lovely and incredibly reasonable bed and breakfast type guest house - 250 dhs per person per night inclusive of an excellent dinner, breakfast and lunch. Its just accross from the beach and about a 2 minute drive from the harbor.

Also, just a note to people visiting any of the beaches mentioned above, increasingly we are seeing trash being left behind by people or thrown in the sea. Please, please out of respect for the residents of the areas (including the fish and coral in the sea) make sure that you take something with you to collect your trash and throw it in an appropriate place when you leave.

Other than that, this is a really informative article! Thank you!

Posted by: Neal on 15 Apr ' 09 at 06:03

How do you get back from the secluded beach at the Mussendam? Do you make a deal and hope that the fisherman will come back and collect you? Given the language barrier this might be quite risky.

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