On the beach in Dubai
In this emirate, some beaches are open to the general public, and others are private, set in clubs and hotels. The oceanfront has grown into a tourist destination in its own right.
Dubai – Hitting the beach is not the main reason 15 million foreigners flock to Dubai every year. Still, the emirate’s seaside is a tourist spot, and seeing the ocean has become a mainstay of tourist routes.
But can one enjoy the beach in Dubai? Yes, and virtually every day. In January, one of the coldest months of the year, the maximum temperature is 24 degrees Celsius. In the hottest month, usually August, it gets as hot as 40 degrees. That means that even in January, you can hit the sand when the sun’s at its hottest and enjoy yourself.
But you’ll need to throw away your preconceptions and what it means to go to the beach in Brazil before you put on your bikinis, your speedos, your abaya, or just plain old everyday clothing. Here you’ll find no one selling cheese or peanuts, no popsicle carts rolling by, no samba playing under the parasol next to yours. Speaking of which, on most Dubai beaches you won’t find any parasols to speak of.
In this emirate you have your public beaches, which any local or tourist can go to at no cost at all, and then you have your private ones, which are near hotels or clubs and are guests or members only. Here you’ll find more in the way of amenities.
On a February morning with mild weather, tourists seemed to regard Jumeirah public beach, next to the Burj Al Arab, as something to be seen, more so than experienced, sort of like a beautiful picture. Many people took photographs with the hotel in the background, but few dared to venture into the ocean. The water was quite cold, although the day wasn’t.
In public beaches, anything goes. There are women in tiny bikinis next to women clad in the abaya, the Muslim outfit that covers the entire body. There are men in speedos and men in tunics. Many wear plain clothes, though more on the relaxed side: a pair of shorts, an overcoat, a short blouse.
Most beachgoers will contemplate the sea, sit down for a while, snap a picture and then leave. Those in beach outfits stay longer, sunbathe and take dips. Some do sports, like kayaking in dedicated areas. Surfing? The waves aren’t big. The beauty of the ocean here is precisely its calm.
A peek into Dubai’s private beaches reveals beach chairs and loungers on the sand, tents and coconut trees create the perfect setting to enjoy and relax as you bite on snacks. Here, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s not in a bathing suit. Most private beaches are set in luxury hotels.
Got a trip scheduled to Dubai? It’s worth it to check out the beach. Just the sight of the clear blue ocean alone is worth the visit.
*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum