If you’re a short-term visitor to Dubai or a holidaymaker, you’ll probably be shocked by the very idea that you could ever be bored in Dubai.
However, for the expat resident, after the initial rush, the culture shock, and the gradual adjustment to living in Dubai are over, you might just find your self drumming your fingers on the first day of your weekend as you wonder if there are really any better things to do than another Dubai Friday Brunch.
And how long does this “boredom with Dubai” take to kick in? Of course it varies individually, but I would guess that after a year, there would be a certain degree of “been there, done that, do we have to do it again?” ennui for most residents.
So, let’s look at a few ideas that might help you to rekindle that initial excitement and energy.
Do something new
Feel like a real adrenaline rush? Take a Zipline ride across the Dubai Mall Fountain. Better hurry though, because most of the publicity says this is only a temporary installation.
Personally, I think it will prove just too popular (and probably too much of a money-spinner). Anyway, it’s still there as of January 2016!
Go somewhere new
No, I don’t mean go to Ibn Battuta Mall or the Al Ghurair Centre instead of Dubai Mall. I mean actually make the effort to go somewhere you’ve never been before.
Come on, you long-term expats: how many of you have actually been out on the waters of the Gulf? Visited the Hatta Pools? Gone to Fossil Rock to actually find some fossils, not just lark about in a Four Wheel Drive?
Take a visit to a part of Dubai Emirate (or even Dubai City) that you’re not familiar with and experience that thrill of “first time” again.
Eat somewhere new
There are so many choices in Dubai, you can’t possibly tell me that you’ve tried them all. I suspect one symptom of Dubai boredom is that you keep going back to the same limited range of places for your dining nights out.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being loyal to the tried and true, but maybe you could resolve that every third eat-out be at a new place.
How to find what’s currently hot? Word of mouth is always a good guide, but you probably don’t need to look too much further than Dubai Time Out. DTO has writers and gourmands constantly trying and reviewing new eating possibilities.
For something really different, try the Gourmet Food Trail. You will get to eat in a selection of interesting places that you would otherwise have overlooked under the care of a serious foodie. I’ve tried it, and it is the most authentic food experience available in Dubai.
Join something new
There’s no shortage of groups and activities. I have extraordinarily good memories of the Dubai Natural History Group back in 2000. Now, I was only a member for about two years, but the weekend outings opened my eyes to an awful lot connected with the landscape, the birds, the insects, the fossils, the sea-life, and you name it.
DNHG had people who voluntarily gave their time and enthusiasm to fellow Dubai residents. I give this just as an example – there are so many more groups now.
Some are free, some you pay a fee to join. Again, Dubai Time Out is probably the single best resource to find out what, where, and how often.
Cast your eyes along the banner immediately underneath the “Time Out Dubai” box at the top of the home page. Better still, this might be a case for actually buying the print copy and checking out all the special interest groups, activities, and things to do.
Drive something extraordinary
You’ll see some pretty amazing cars on the streets of Dubai. Now I live in Italy, but I’ve seen more Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Maseratis in Dubai than I ever have on Italian roads.
Trouble is, they cost a lot. Getting a little more metaphysical, I truly believe that some things are better left in the realms of dreams – dream of a 488 Spider, but drive a Toyota.
Well, for a fraction of the cost and possible heartbreak of owning a supercar, why not treat yourself to one and then give it back. Be a hero just for one day – as the late David Bowie suggested many years ago!
A day’s rental for a Ferrari or a Lamborghini might seem a huge extravagance, but it’s a pittance compared to the cost of owning, insuring, and maintaining one. My guess is that a good day behind the wheel will keep your ownership desires under wraps for another six months to a year.
At the end of the day, Porsches and Bentleys still get stuck in Dubai traffic too.
Flip the safety, take aim, then squeeze, don’t pull…
No, I haven’t gone mad. I actually harbor quite fond memories of an afternoon, many years ago when I was a fresh expat, at the Umm Al Quwain Gun Club.
It’s gone now and maybe that’s a good thing too. Safety standards were commendably high, but there was an array of ordinance there to make the average bloke gape like a fool.
Still, there’s the Jebel Ali Shooting Club, which is an awful lot closer – and shooting is, after all, an Olympic sport. It is quite therapeutic too apparently, as this article would have us believe.
Really get away for the weekend
You have probably the world’s best international airport right at your doorstep. Actually, you have two, now that Dubai World Central is operating.
Allow two hours at the airport and a maximum of three hours’ flying time, then the same coming back – and for a cost of ten hours out of your weekend, you can have a whole day and a half away.
It’s not as mad as it sounds, but you will need to plan and organize carefully. Try to get night flights on Thursday evening and Saturday evening. Ok, you’ll probably be a bit under par at work on Sunday morning, but maybe not an awful lot more than if you had spent a boring weekend at home.
What’s available within a 3-hour flight from Dubai? India, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman – quite a lot really. The Maldives are little outside the 3-hour frame, but doable with two night flights, so a weekend getaway is still possible.
Stay in Dubai, but pamper yourself big time
Spend a day at one of Dubai’s most extravagant spas! There are couple’s treatments, so it can be a real togetherness thing. Check into a really good hotel just for a night, but organize a late checkout for the next day!