Just a few days from now, you could be relaxing in one of several exciting holiday destinations not far from the UAE. The Eid Al Adha holidays will officially begin on Saturday 10th August (9th of Zul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar), with Eid falling on 11th, 12th and 13th of August (10th, 11th and 12th of Zul Hijjah). This means that UAE residents will enjoy a five day break (including the weekend). If you want to escape the UAE summers, then the following countries can be a good option for a quick and relaxing getaway:
Tbilisi, the capital city of George, is only a 3.5 hour flight from Dubai. UAE expats with a valid residence visa can receive a visa on arrival in this country located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Apart from the scenic beauty, the country has several tourist attractions such mineral springs and historical and cultural monuments.
Located on the border of Georgia and Russia, Azerbaijan is only about 2.5 hours away from Dubai (by air) and offers visa on arrival to UAE residents. The country experiences 9 of the 11 climates around the world and its capital city and commercial hub, Baku, comprises the Old City which is a Unesco World Heritage site and great for a walking tour. Baku has many other tourist attractions and has been dubbed “the architectural love child of Paris and Dubai” by Lonely Planet.
Armenia, a country in Western Asia, is only three hours away by plane. The country is ideal for outdoor activities, sightseeing and nature tourism, and is also home to many beautiful monasteries. Tourists may face some language barriers, unless they speak Armenian or Russian, but the country has a rich and unique culture. UAE residents of some nationalities, such as Indian, can get a visa on arrival in the country while others need to apply in advance.
In a little more than 4 hours, a flight can take you to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, which has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath, he Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Tourists who enjoy adventourous activities can also go for zip flying or paragliding. Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal while Pakistanis can get a visa on arrival.
Istanbul, one of the main cities of Turkey, hardly needs any introduction due to its rich culutral and historical significance. It is a top tourist destination and is around a 5-hour flight from Dubai. Visitors can spend time in the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s biggest undercover markets, and enjoy the local cuisine. They can also visit famous historical sites such as the Hagia Sophia Museum and The Blue Mosque, or head to a Turkish hammam for relaxation.
Zanzibar is another popular destination. A semi-autonomous region in Tanzania, it is five hours away from Dubai and consists of many exotic islands. Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja, has a historic centre, Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site and offers a glimpe of the Arabic, Indian, African and European influences in the architecture. Other attractions include snorkelling, diving or kite surfing at Nungwi beach, and a visit to Cheetah’s Rock, a private animal reserve. Most UAE residents will need to apply for a visa in advance in order to visit Zanzibar.
These destinations are good for solo travellers as well for people travelling with a group of friends or family. Even if you have less time on your hands to plan an exciting getaway, it is pretty much doable. Many tourism companies in the UAE offer great holiday deals and packages -- including flight costs, hotel stay, tours, etc. -- to visit these six and other popular destinations. They also help UAE residents plan their itinerary to make the most of four to five day break. Dubai’s location and multiple flight options also make it easy and convenient for residents to make spontaneous travel plans to satisfy your wanderlust.