While over 260,000 people have flocked to Salalah to enjoy the cool khareef so far this year, Dubai has been busy promoting itself as the region's other summer destination with its Dubai Summer Surprises event. Just a 45-minute flight, or 4 to 5 hour drive from Muscat, Dubai is easily accessible from Oman.
With endless shopping sales, festivals, concerts and other entertainment, it's easy to fill your days during the Dubai Summer Surprises and forget about the hot temperatures.
Once in Dubai, the summer deals on hotels abound, whether it's a budget-priced hotel apartment or beach front property such as the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, where every room overlooks the Arabian Gulf and there are 15 different places for food and drink to enjoy. There are numerous deals to be found on hotels in Dubai this summer, too. For example, the Citymax Hotels have rates starting at just OMR21 a night, including breakfast and free Wifi.
When people in Oman think of Dubai, one of the first things that comes to mind is shopping. The city, recently named the top shopping destination by TripAdvisor, is one of the shopping capitals of the world and home to the world's biggest shopping centre, Dubai Mall, with its aquarium, 1,200 shops, skating rink, and outdoor fountain, and more than 20 other malls. The Mall of the Emirates, for example, has a wide range of shops and restaurants, but is also known for its wintry attraction, Ski Dubai, where visitors can rent skis and snowboards, play with the penguins, and frolic in the snow, even when the temperature outside is nearing 50°C.
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For an international adventure, the Ibn Battuta Mall offers shoppers a taste of the legendary explorer's route, with different parts of the mall decorated to resemble Andalusia, China, Egypt, India, Persia and Tunisia. BurJuman, located in the historical neighbourhood of Bur Dubai, is one of the oldest malls, but it's also home to very high-end shops, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Prada, Dior and DKNY. It's a must-visit for fashion-minded shoppers. Mercato, on Jumeirah Beach Road, is a classy Italian-styled mall. Though not as big as other malls in Dubai, it has a lovely atmosphere and a good range of retail and food outlets.
Dubai's malls offer all one could want in terms of shopping, and in the summer they offer even more. When it's too hot to spend the days outside, the malls provide indoor entertainment such as concerts and family shows. This summer there are many fun events for people of all ages featuring characters from Hello Kitty, the Transformers, and the Angry Birds, musicians doing flash mobs in the malls, street theatre with circus performers and clowns, concerts and education but entertaining science shows.
Families will also want to stop at Modhesh World at the Dubai World Trade Centre, one of the largest "edutainment" facilities in the Middle East. The attractions include the Angry Birds Universe, a hands-on adventure that explores the art and science behind the game, a Lego Duplo Zone for budding architects and designers, the Transformers Interactive Experience that challenges hand-eye coordination, motor skills and logic, the Hello Kitty and Friends Around the World Zone, where visitors can learn about different cities, and many rides, games, shopping and food.
Summer in Dubai is also a great time to cool off in the water. The Wild Wadi Waterpark and the Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium all have discounted summer prices, so the whole family can afford to splash around, race down the waterslides, and admire the sea creatures.
Sailing, water skiing, and dhow cruises are also a great way to enjoy both the waves and the sights. To really cool off, several companies offer deep-sea fishing and pearl diving.
For a more relaxing side of Dubai, visit of the city's many spas. Over 30 spas and wellness centres are participating in the Dubai Summer Surprises and many of them are offering great savings, including two for one packages, discounts of up to 50 per cent, and complementary treatments. Some of the most alluring spas that offer something a little different include the Chocolat Salon and Mobile Spa, where coffee and chocolate add a delicious twist to the massages and scrubs, and Spadunya, which uses organic products. Dubai also has a number of art galleries that are well worth exploring. Most of the city's 50 galleries are located in Bastakiya and the Al Quoz Industrial Area.
The city's multicultural population has led to a lot of exciting new art venue such as the Pro Art Gallery at the Palm Strip Mall which has artists from 20 different countries and Green Art Gallery in Al Quoz that showcases work by arts from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Turkey.
Whether your holiday is for family fun, shopping, or relaxation, summertime is proving to be a wonderful time to visit Dubai, especially to catch the Dubai Summer Surprises.
There's still time to catch some of the Dubai Summer Surprises events:
Angry Birds Universe
Modhesh World, Dubai World Trade Centre
Until September 8
Skylands Spryo's Adventure
City Centre Deira
August 21 – 30
Disney on Ice Skating Master Classes
The Dubai Mall
August 27 – 28
Disney on Ice Meet the Stars The Dubai Mall
Sheyaab (Kuwaiti youtube comedians)
City Centre Mirdif
Modhesh Celebration Show
Adventure Times Live on Stage
Ibn Battuta Mall
August 28 – September 3
For more information, visit www.dubaisummersurprises.ae or check out #MYDSS