This National Day weekend, take a break. Fly away from the tired old routine and indulge your senses in beautiful and pristine locales. You can choose to go to some of the best beaches in the world, visit the most famous pyramids on the planet, swim with giant fishes, or learn about the history of Islam in an absolutely stunning museum, and much more. The options for fun are virtually unlimited – that too just a short flight away and well under budget!
Time: 3.5 hours
Estimated Ticket Price: 342 AED (one-way)
Places to visit in Cairo:
Want to experience the favourite pastime of the ancient rulers of Egypt? Take a cruise on the Nile. A cruise on the longest river in the world is the best way to feel the pulse of Egypt. There are numerous cruises available for every budget.
The Pyramids of Giza. For over 4000 years, there has been nothing in the world that compares to these structures. The pyramid’s millimetre-precise structure, has given rise to theories linking its origin to Gods, and even aliens. ( Tip: Make sure you go inside )
The Cairo Jazz Club. This is a must-try for music lovers, simply because, the sound of jazz mixed with Egyptian folk, electronic and fusion music will take you to a musical heaven. Do not forget to book a table online in advance.
Enjoy a meal at Abdu’s restaurant, Egypt’s longest running restaurant located in Siwa. There is a huge menu ranging from traditional dishes to pizzas.
A visit to the small and spectacular, Agiba beach located in Marsa Matruh.
*Recommendation: Perhaps the most famous museum in the world, the Egyptian museum. The museum has routinely been placed in the middle of stories and movies owing to the overflowing presence of rich, diverse and numerous ancient Egyptian treasures. There is a lot to see in the museum; multiple visits are recommended.
Time: 4:14 hours
Estimated Ticket Price: 1,422 AED
Places to visit in Seychelles:
See the smallest national park in the world – Moyenne Islands, an island that has more species per square foot than any other national park in the world.
A visit back in time without the help of a time machine. The quaint town of ‘La Passe’ offers visitors an experience of the gentler times.
This one is for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking with the highly experienced and knowledgeable environmentalist, Jacques Barreau, through the wildlife-rich jungles of Seychelles.
The unique ‘paradise within a paradise’ – Vallee de Mai. The nature park owes its UNESCO World Heritage Site status to the exotic plants, trees, animals, and birds that call this park home.
A visit to the Anse Lazio beach, which routinely makes an appearance on the list of best beaches in the world.
*Recommendation: A slice of animal heaven, Aldabra Atoll is home to the largest number of giant turtles in the world, the largest species of crabs and a rare bird appropriately called ‘Aladabra Rail’.
Time: 4:17 hours
Estimated Ticket Price: 650 AED
Places to visit in Maldives:
Swim, snorkel, and dive in the crystal-clear water of Ari Atoll and say hello to the world’s largest fish, the whale sharks, at South Ari Atoll.
Feast on insanely-delicious seafood, cooked in the most innovative styles at Thila in Vihamanafushi.
Lounge by the Fulhadhoo beach, widely considered one of the most romantic beach in Maldives.
Sala Thai, one of the best restaurants of Maldives serves quite possibly the best Thai food you’ve ever had, in an amazing open-air setting.
Experience and see the intricate decoration on ancient coral stone, dating back to 1656, at Hukuru Miskiiy. The origins and construction of this mosque, is unrivaled in the entire Middle-East. (Tip: dress to cover your whole body)
*Recommendation: An exclusive fine-dining experience underwater at the Ithaa undersea restaurant. Savour a delicious dinner while turtles, eels, and other wonderful underwater creatures might drop in to wave a quick hello and swim away.
Time: 3:10 hours
Estimated Ticket Price: 395 AED
Places to visit in Amman:
Visit the ‘Grandmother’s House’ known locally as ‘Beit Sitti’, a traditional Jordanian mansion, where you are taught special local recipes by a family of expert cooks. Later, devour these dishes for dinner!
Travel back to the ancient times with a visit to the Roman theatre, and witness fascinating theatrical and musical shows.
Enjoy a date with history by exploring the historical site of Amman Citadel, where the temple of Hercules stands till date.
Visit the place where the rich history of Jordan is best presented – the Jordan museum. The museum houses numerous artefacts ranging from pre-historic, historic, Islamic, classical, and modern times of Jordan.
Take a bite of the scrumptious international dishes with a dash of Jordanian flavour at the Basin restaurant located in Petra.
*Recommendation: Taste the best falafel of your life at Hashem restaurant. For those who do not know, falafel is perhaps the most loved food of the Middle-East and one bite at Hashem’s will have you craving it for the rest of your life.
Time: 1 hour
Estimated Ticket Price: 493 AED
Places to visit in Doha:
Feast on a sumptuous evening meal in the relaxed settings of Al-Bandar restaurant in Doha.
An evening walk in the Doha Corniche. For company, you have the scenic ocean views on one side, and some of Doha’s biggest cultural attractions on the other.
Lose yourself and explore the traditional souqs. You have a choice among Souq Waqif, Falcon Souq, and Gold Souq. The recently renovated Souq Waqif is a favourite among locals, expats, and tourists alike.
An evening in Sheraton Doha, the hotel is the social hub of Doha and hosted numerous world conferences. Also, it helps that Sheraton has some of the best restaurants and bars in Doha.
Admire the local Qatari art and design at the Katara Art Center, a hub of art in Qatar.
*Recommendation: The Museum of Islamic Art. The priceless ancient artefacts housed in this breath-taking, one-of-its-kind, modern building, make this a place not to be missed.