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© Lonely Planet Publications

S P O R T S & AC T I V I T I E S

Camel racing (p146)
Oriental Hammam (p141)
Ski Dubai (p142)
Horse racing (p145)
Amara Spa (p140)
Wild Wadi Waterpark (p143)
Four Seasons Golf Club (p144)
UAE football match (p145)
Boating past the Burj Al Arab (p143)
Tennis at the Aviation Club (p138)

What’s your recommendation? 

Before the boom, Emiratis spent their free time watching camel races, riding horses and
boating. Now that expats have shown up, sports in Dubai have broadened to reflect the new
population. Europeans brought golf, tennis and rugby. Cricket is huge, owing to the enormous
Subcontinental communities. Emiratis have a new-found fondness for the world-popular game
of football (aka soccer). Visitors generally take it easier, sticking to the Gulf’s placid, bathtubwarm waters. You could spend an afternoon skittering across the surf on a kiteboard or diving
in the shallow gulf on a scuba expedition. If you can’t stand the sweltering heat, there’s always
Ski Dubai, the ultimate expression of Dubai excess. Or you could stay indoors; as you might
expect in such a money-rich land of tourism and luxury hotels, spas and fitness clubs are big
business. Spectator sports provide an occasional glimpse into Emirati life or the lives of expat
workers. From the lowly game of cricket played out on a sandy lot by Indian and Pakistani
labourers to the grand display of sheikhs rooting for their prize thoroughbreds, sports in Dubai
unite its various subcultures. If you want to get under the skin of one in particular, keep an eye
out for the games its people play.
pool. If you’re going to a hotel gym, get your
money’s worth by making a day of it.

rily of Western expats. While Emiratis grow
large beneath their robes, Westerners shed
the hummus at health clubs, yoga studios and
fitness centres. With so many people working so hard to continue wearing their skinny
jeans, there are lots of sore muscles in Dubai.
Consequently, massage and beauty-treatment
schedules at day spas fill up fast: book ahead. If
you prefer swimming in salt water instead of
chlorine, check out the beach listings on p78.



Nearly every hotel in Dubai has a gym, but
the equipment is sometimes chosen by people
who don’t work out. The worst have only a few
stationary bikes and a cumbersome all-in-one
machine with too many cables and pulleys that
constantly need adjusting. The best have a full
complement of top-end circui...
What’s your recommendation? www.lonelyplanet.com/ dubai
Camel racing ( p146 )
Oriental Hammam ( p141 )
Ski Dubai ( p142 )
Horse racing ( p145 )
Amara Spa ( p140 )
Wild Wadi Waterpark ( p143 )
Four Seasons Golf Club ( p144 )
UAE football match ( p145 )
Boating past the Burj Al Arab ( p143 )
Tennis at the Aviation Club ( p138 )
© Lonely Planet Publications
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