Top five places to visit in the UAE

Shereen Shabnam

As a Lifestyle, Travel and Motoring journalist, I spend a substantial amount of time on the road and recently, I decided to do my test drives with a purpose and with the aim of getting to a new or attraction around the different Emirates. Below are some of my favourite places in the different Emirates.

Al Khor Kayak – Al Rafisah Dam

During a recent test drive with the Nissan Xterra, I stopped at the Al Rafisah Dam in Khor Fakkan with my daughter and enjoyed kayaking amidst stunning hilly landscapes complete with a mini waterfall followed by spending time watching kids enjoying the playground and parents enjoying a cup of coffee at the cafe.

The Al Khor Kayak is near Khor Fakkan and it costs only AED30/- for a double kayak rental. There are also restrooms and a terrace with gorgeous views across the water and surrounding mountains.

IMG Resorts

Situated along Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest temperature controlled indoor themed entertainment destination in the world is another favourite spot for us to visit as it offers four epic adventure zones in one location.

After a leisurely drive in the new Ford Explorer, it seemed like a perfect place to stop for a dose of adventure with Cartoon Network, MARVEL, IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zones.

Here you can enjoy adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, thrill rides, attractions based on Cartoon Network characters, iconic MARVEL Super Heroes and dinosaurs. We loved the variety of themed retail stores, the various dining venues and the 12-screen state-of-the-art cinema.

Yas Island

We ventured to Yas Waterworld while I tested the Honda Odyssey as it is a car for the family but you can fit in two small families for family fun at a venue that comes complete with three award-winning theme parks and a mall.

We were able to have some splashing excitement at Yas Waterworld that comes with an adventure playground and did a photoshoot with the kids. Then we moved on to speed and thrills at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi trying to fit in the many rides and attractions.

This left us with not much time to meet the live characters at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi but thankfully we had another full day to do it all over again with a bit of retail therapy at the mall and exhilarating rides, live shows and sampling different cuisine in the restaurants on the Island.

Shees Park

We stopped at Shees Park on the way back to Dubai from Fujairah for a bit of desert nature and a coffee at the Gerard Cafe after a Nissan SUV experience.

The recreational park is near the village of Shis in Khor Fakkan and features a 25-meter-high artificial waterfall as well as 506 meters of walkways across three mountain terraces connected by stone stairs leading to the main viewing platform.

The viewing area on the top elevates is about 30 meters above the main park level.It includes a children’s play area, 32 shaded seating areas for families, an outdoor theater and a barbecue area. We spent some time on the swings before heading back to Dubai.

Al Ain Zoo

This is an old favourite. I headed to Al Ain in the new BMW 4 series which was a comfortable ride from Dubai to the Garden City.  While I love driving up to Jebel Hafeet, the Al Ain Zoo is also a great family destination.

Set within in a natural outdoor environment, the Al Ain Zoo has a large animal collection of over 4000 animals. Here you can see endangered species as well as the successful breeding of desert antelopes, gazelles and Arabian Oryx. You need to give yourself at least half a day to do justice to this venue.

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