There’s nothing quite like getting out of the city for a couple of days and hitting the road with some good friends and great music. Here, discover our guide to road tripping in the Emirates.
1. Divide and conquer.
Be sure to task each person in the car to do research before coming together to decide the must-visit spots to work into your route. A good place to start is to decide on key hotels where you’ll spend each of the two nights before determining what you can fit in between Dubai and the first hotel, the first and second hotel, and the second hotel and Dubai.
2. Pack snacks.
From vegetables to chips to lots of water, prepare the car accordingly. Don’t be afraid to stop and buy amazing fresh fruits from truck salesmen along the route.
3. Prepare for photos.
Packing a selfie stick is a great idea, because you’re not going to find anyone to take a photo of the group in most of these places.
4. Create a playlist.
Ask everyone to submit ten of their favorite songs or just assign this task to the person with the best taste in music. Alternatively, you could download Savoir Flair’s #TheNewSF playlist here.
Activity: Leave Dubai and head to Al Ain to the Qattara Souq
Driving time: 1.5 hours
Activity: Next, drive to the Mubazzarah Hot Springs
Driving time: 40 mins
Insider Tip: The Mubazzarah hot springs are a big park with lots of people enjoying picnics and barbecuing on the weekend. The springs come out of the rock and there’s a long creek that runs down the side of the mountain. It’s a lot harder to locate than you think, and Google Maps won’t take you to the exact location of the springs, so ask for directions along the way; all the locals know where to find it. Once you have, sit on the sides of the creek and dip your feet in the water. The water is surprisingly hot; it’s almost a shock at the beginning, but it’s very soothing and therapeutic. People believe that the water has special healing properties. You’ll get bored quickly, unless you’ve planned a picnic or some kind of activity.
Insider Tip: The hotel is very old, but the views are beautiful. We recommend eating at the foot of the mountain as opposed to in the hotel itself, as options are very limited.
Activity: Check out and drive to the Hatta Pools (Wadi Ray, Wadi Al Qahfi)
Driving time: 2.5 hours
Insider Tip: The correct border crossing is the small one on E44. If you’re looking on Google Maps, look for the blue illustration on the map indicating water. About five minutes into Oman, there will be a slip road on your left that goes down the side of the mountain. That’s the way to the pools. After that is a series of turns and swerves in between the rock formations to find them. Ask the Omani border police for directions. If they’re unable to help, you’re on your own… The pools are beautiful though, so it’s worth it in our opinion. Make sure to check whether or not you need a visa to cross into Oman before you leave.
Activity: Explore Hatta Heritage Village
Driving time: 15 minutes
Activity: Drive to The Cove RAK
Driving time: 2 hours
Activity: Spend time relaxing at The Cove pool
Activity: Ashuk Ice Cream RAK
Driving time: 20 mins
Insider Tip: Ashuk Ice Cream in RAK is highly recommended. It only has two flavors of ice cream, the pink and the white. You can add fruit coulis, nuts, and fruit chunks, and you eat it in a cup. It’s an old institution in a very old neighborhood by the port – it’s been there since 1975.
Activity: Late lunch at Umm Al Quwain Beach Hotel and Restaurant
Driving time: 45 minutes
Insider Tip: Although people flock from across the Emirates to visit Wadi Al Neel, we recommend the lesser-known Umm Al Quwain Beach Hotel and Restaurant, a traditional Lebanese mezza restaurant with an Arabic band and a belly dancer. After lunch, everyone in the restaurant takes part in a traditional dabkeh and dances until the early evening. It’s a gem.
Activity: Drive back to Dubai
Driving time: 1 hour