Things to Do

This, Not That: 7 Ways to Shake Up Your Weekend Plans

These outdoor activities are a (welcome) departure from the norm.

Year after year, March in the UAE marks our collective attempt to relish cooler temperatures before a preview of summer weather strikes in April. Luckily, there’s a whole host of outdoor activities – be they hidden gems or brand-new attractions – on offer if you’re looking to try something a little more unexpected. Here are seven ideas to get you started. 


Nad AlSheiba Mini Forest Trail

instead of running on your local track

An unnamed road in Nad Al Sheba has aptly been dubbed the ‘Nad AlSheiba Mini Forest Trail’ on Google Maps, steering the curious in the direction of a long stretch of towering trees and unexpected greenery. Not only is this hidden gem unbelievably serene, but it’s also a great place to go for a run, walk your dog, or upgrade your Instagram feed with snaps of nature. 

 GO: Follow directions for Nad AlSheiba Mini Forest Trail on Google Maps.


Jais Sledder

instead of braving a roller coaster

Everyone’s talking about Ras Al Khaimah’s latest attraction – and for good reason. Located at Jais Adventure Park and entitled Jais Sledder, the longest toboggan ride in the region reaches speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour as it descends the super scenic Hajar mountain range. The exhilarating ride takes roughly eight minutes to cover 1,885 exhilarating metres of hairpin curves and undulating whirls, with sleds designed to comfortably seat two people.

 GO: Visit www.visitjebeljais.com for more information.


RAK Animal Welfare Centre

instead of taking a trip to the zoo

Calling all parents – we suggest spending an afternoon with your kids at Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre, using the opportunity to teach them about the growing need for animal welfare. Here, you can assist the relentlessly dedicated staff by exploring the idea of fostering or adoption, sponsoring the centre’s efforts, or simply socialising with the adorable animals onsite.

 GO: Visit www.rakawc.com for more information.


Desert Bliss

instead of dune bashing in the desert

By now, you’ve probably done the obligatory dune-bashing experience and even ridden a quad bike or two. But to truly absorb the serenity of the desert, the Desert Bliss weekend escape by Yoga House comes highly recommended. Here awaits an evening of sunset yoga, sound healing, stargazing, and a highly memorable cacao ceremony. The latter is an ancient practice long celebrated for releasing what no longer serves you and helping you reconnect with what’s important owing to the theobromine in cacao, which increases blood flow throughout the body, thereby evoking a heart-opening sensation of sorts.

 GO: Visit www.yogahouse.ae for more information.


UAE Cactus Farm

instead of lounging in the park

Fujairah is a second home for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts, but a discreetly located farm in Wadi Asimah proves that there’s so much to discover. Located close to the vibrantly hued UAE Flower Farm, the privately owned UAE Cactus Farm boasts a fascinating array of cacti, perfectly illustrating how this prickly plant can thrive in the desert. Bonus: entry is free.

 GO: Follow directions for UAE Cactus Farm on Google Maps.


Link by Mara

instead of dining on a terrace

Because any excuse to escape the frenzy of the city is a good one, winter pop-ups – 2022’s dining trend du jour – have earned a spot on this list. Our favourite? Link by Mara. This Sharjah-based pop-up is located deep in the desert and serves delicious fusion street food. The seating (everything from bean bags to sunken sofas accompanied by fire pits) and nightly entertainment (fire shows and live instrumental music) is just the cherry on top.

GO: Follow @linkbymara on Instagram for more information.


Sky Views Edge Walk

instead of visiting an observation deck

Why take in views from a conventional observation deck when you can walk the ledge of the city’s highest full circle without any windows and other protective barriers in place? Perched 219.5 metres above ground level, Sky Views Edge Walk takes adrenaline junkies to the very top of a skyscraper in Downtown Dubai, thereby promising truly unbeatable (read: bird’s eye) views of Burj Khalifa and its vicinity.

GO: Visit www.skyviewsdubai.com for more information.


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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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