Dubai is a favourite destination for adventurous SA seniors,
many of whom rate this beautiful and unusual Middle East City high on their bucket list
Why is Dubai a dream destination
Dubai has become a favourite destination for millions of travellers. Other than being a beautiful and unusual Middle East City, it happens to be one of the only cities in the world where everything is the longest, the greatest, and the tallest – something completely different for the adventurous SA senior who is busy compiling their bucket list. Plus Dubai is reputed to be the safest city on earth with zero crime and a super-watchful policeforce. The feeling of being in the safest city in the world is an incredible experience – who wouldn’t want to visit Dubai?
Senior citizens are top priority with Dubai Government
It is very gratifying to learn that the Dubai Government has a clear emphasis on welfare for elderly citizens. Their aim is to give elderly Emiratis a sense of physical and psychological security and social adaptation. Dubai recently launched the UAE’s first senior citizen card for Emiratis aged 60+, which entitles them to extensive discounts and priority treatment for social clubs, health services and government services, such as public transport which includes buses and the metro at a whopping 50% discount in fares. Age certainly comes with great privileges for Dubai’s senior citizens, and all of this means that international senior travellers are treated with great respect when visiting this dream destination.
With different interests and tastes, plan your Dubai trip so that you feel that you have had an incredible adventure rather than only seeing Dubai from the inside of a shopping mall. A Guide to Dubai is a necessity to research and sift through the myriad of unique attractions in Dubai, but here is a selection of fun activities highly recommended by YEI:
Visit Dubai’s superlatives
Most of these amazing places will make your jaw drop –
- The tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa where the observation deck on the 144th floor is indescribable.
- The largest shopping mall in the world – the Mall of Dubai – exceeds the annual footfall giving you every reason in the world to shop.
- The world’s largest man-made island – The Palm Islands – it’s even visible from space!
- The best place to buy gold in the world! The Gold Souk is Dubai’s most famous and visited souk, made up of a labyrinth of covered walkways, and offering you a huge selection of gold jewellery, silver, diamonds and other precious metals and stones. Plus good prices!
Al Wasl Dhow Cruise
Dubai Marina is the world’s largest man-made marina. It is surrounded by futuristic skyscrapers. Al Wasl Dhow Cruise, the biggest dhow cruise in Dubai Marina, gets you into the Middle Eastern mood on its trip from the Dubai Marina Waterfront all the way to the Palm Islands. Let’s set the scene – Arabic music playing in the background, romantic views, magical atmosphere, a variety of culinary delights plus a hearty dinner including sweets and traditional Arabic tea. This 2-hour memorable Arabian Night experience culminates in the Tanora Dance (a form of folkloric dance famous in Egypt and Turkey).
Tip: Sit downstairs to avoid the heat. However the open upper deck has much better views.
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
A great opportunity to find out all about UAE culture and religion while chatting to a local Emirati, and simultaneously enjoying a traditional Emirati breakfast.
The Dubai Spice Souk
The Dubai Spice Souk or the Old Souk is a traditional market in Dubai, selling a variety of fragrances and spices from frankincense and shisha to the many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food.
Tip: Try and take the 1 dirham boat ferry near the market – you will be in for an amazing experience!
Drive to the desert
If dune-bashing is a little too adventurous, enjoy a trip to the desert and drive out to the Hatta Fort Hotel. The drive will have you marvelling at the ever-changing landscape from white sand to red sand and the Hajar Mountain Range.
Tip: don’t forget to take your passport with you as you cross into Oman temporarily.
Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack
This is going to be an experience like no other! Camel racing is one of the traditional sports of the UAE. Be a part of this heart-pumping, crowd-cheering, camel-racing sport that has been integral to Emirati life for centuries. Watch 60 camels flood from the gates and fly down the track. Excitement is contagious, and an experience that you have to see to believe!
Tip: take binoculars with you, as you will not want to miss a moment of this incredible race!
Take a visit to the stunning Jumeirah Mosque, one of the few mosques that is open to visitors who are not of the Muslim faith. It was built entirely from white stone in the mediaeval Fatimid tradition. Photography is allowed, and after the talk is over there’s time for questions and answers and you can have a wander around to see the Ladies Prayer Room.
Tip: Ladies will be asked to wear a scarf when visiting.
Don’t forget, Dubai is foodie heaven. From camel meat to exotic vegetarian dishes, you can eat from almost every nation’s kitchen in Dubai. So be adventurous, and dine in true Dubai style!
What to think about
Best to travel in winter when the temperatures are cooler. Dubai is a senior citizen friendly city and facilities are provided right across the tourist attractions, hotels, transport and various malls – all contributing to make this a great experience.
Don’t forget to procure a good travel insurance with medical cover. Although medical care, including care provided by the government hospitals, is excellent, you need to be covered for medical expenses.
Tip: No more thinking, just do it!!
Written by YEI in collaboration with Hippo.co.za