Are you guilty of complaining when you need to make the trek from Marina to Downtown? Have you cancelled plans because you live on the other end of Jumeirah Beach Road? Does a trip to Abu Dhabi feel like a transatlantic flight that you need to prepare weeks in advance for?
If you’ve lived in Dubai for longer than a year, chances are you’ve answered “yes” to these questions. Savoir Flair’s Noor Tehini and four of her closest friends did too, which led to their decision to get out of Dubai and spend three days on the road, discovering what this beautiful country had to offer (yes, even past Deira – gasp!).
Browse through the gallery to follow them on their journey through the seven emirates.
Adjacent to the market is the Qattara Arts Center, which was built over an old archeological site that has been preserved and is accessible through the basement of the art center.
Before we hit the road again, we stopped to watch a showcase of traditional Emirati singing and dancing.
From the market, it’s only a 30-minute drive to the foot of Jabal Hafeet. We raced the sunset to make it to the Mubazzarah hot springs before nightfall. The springs are a must-visit if you’re around the area. The locals believe in the healing powers of the hot water than runs from the mountain.
We spent the first night at the Mercure hotel at the top of Jabal Hafeet. What the hotel lacks in terms of luxury it more than makes up for in sweeping views of the city below. If you decide to spend the night here, which I suggest you do, I strongly recommend a quick stop at the Hilton’s Toki Japanese restaurant for dinner before you check in, as the F&B options here are really limited.
If you’re road tripping through the Emirates, don’t miss out on a roadside breakfast. We made a quick stop at a small cafeteria off the highway for some karak tea and delicious parathas. You can choose to have the Indian flatbread with different fillings, like cheese or eggs.
Karak tea – or chai karak and masala chai – is a blend of black tea, milk, sugar, cardamom, and sometimes condensed milk. Make a note to pack some pants with elastic waistbands; you’re going to need them.
Lunch on Day 2 was a selection of delicious, fresh, locally grown vegetables bought from the back of a pickup truck. These roadside salesmen are pretty common around the Emirates, and their produce is usually really fresh and seasonal.
After three long hours of driving from one border checkpoint to another, a series of bizarre events, a phone call to a tour guide, and a chance encounter with a really helpful local, we finally found the Hatta Pools. These picturesque rock pools, a few kilometers into Oman, gather rain water in winter. Note: If you’re planning a trip there, make sure to pack your passport.
We left Oman at nightfall and drove North to Ras Al Khaimah’s The Cove Rotana Resort. By the time we got there, we were starving and devoured a delicious Italian spread at the hotel’s Basilico restaurant, including this chocolate fondant ordered for my friend Samar’s birthday.
This ice-cream parlor has been around since 1975 and serves really delicious and unique ice cream combinations with pistachios, fruit chunks, and freshly made fruit juice.
Our last stop on the road trip was Umm al-Quwain, where we had a late lunch at the legendary Wadi Al Neel.
Whatever you do, don’t be too quick to judge this restaurant. If you can bear with its sights and smells, you’ll have some of the best grilled fish you’ve ever tried. The shark powder with curry is a must-try too. With too much food in our bellies and an innumerable amount of new memories, it was time to head back to Dubai.