The Dubai World Cup Carnival, not to be confused with the World Cup night itself, but the build up to the big night. The Carnival is made up of 10 global race meetings, where hopefuls for the World Cup night will compete against each other to gauge how they will fair on the big day. Trainers will be taking their horses out there is the coming weeks to see if they make the cut for the big night, what most trainers do is take the horses out, race them and then if they perform well they leave them there to race again and get use to the heat etc. The trainers then fly back and forth until the big night or if they don’t perform well, they all go home and the dream is over!
The Carnival is so important because the stakes are so high, there is a total of $10 million prize money over the coming weeks. With huge prize money like this comes great horses, making for a fantastic competition, so the racing is world class with horses coming from all corners of the globe. Any horse that will run World Cup night will probably run at some point during the Carnival, so it is a great opportunity to see high class racing.
Meydan race every Thursday and five Saturdays in January- March but what many people don’t know is that Dubai has two racecourses, Jebel Ali is Dubai’s second track. Jebel Ali is much smaller and currently seats 2000 people, they race there on a Friday, which is Dubai’s Saturday. The track is often compared to a Garden Party and has a lovely feel about it. Set next to the palm with great views of Dubai. It is very green and has a feel of your local track and makes a great afternoon, it’s nice to go racing in the afternoon too and feels more like racing at home, the first race is at 2.30pm, so gives you plenty of time for a morning by the pool! Oh and did we mention the best bit, it’s FREE! So you have nothing to lose.
Best Time to go...
If you wanted to get the most out of a racing trip you can get 3 days with Thursday at Meydan, Fridays at Jebel Ali and every other Saturday back at Meydan!
This maybe a little much for you, especially when there is so much to do in Dubai! A lot of people would think you were crazy going for a long weekend, but with great night flight times, a central airport and so much to do I think it’s one of the best ways to do Dubai.
We recommend Flying on the Wednesday night and landing in Dubai Thursday morning. You can use this as your ‘lay by the pool’ day, get over travelling and enjoy a day of rest before racing Thursday night. Grab an early dinner in the Meydan hotel at either SHIBA or my personal recommendation Prime Steakhouse, which is the best steak I have ever had. I would book a 6pm dinner then you can watch the first race at 6.30pm from the restaurant before grabbing a buggy down to the track. If you fancy a night out WHITE is one of Dubai's best night clubs and is right at the track so if you want to keep the party going...you know where to head.
Friday racing is held at Jebel Ali, but the first race is not until 2.30pm so why not spend a morning on the Palm, exploring the Atlantis Hotel. There are numerous activities on the Palm including an incredible skydive experience. This is one of the best skydives in the world, and is very famous with amazing views of the palm tree shaped island in the background of your decent a once in a lifetime experience! Now after a busy day you have worked up an appetite so keeping at this end of the city, I would have to recommend Il Borro, located in the Al Naseem hotel. Hands down the best italian in Dubai, to top it of they also have a turtle sanctuary outside the restaurant which is magical at night. Now for the perfect nightcap you must head to the Flamingo Room, which is also in the hotel and does the best cocktails!
If you didn’t fancy racing on the Friday there is of course the world famous Dubai Brunch, an all you can eat and drink lunch, they pretty much have them in every hotel but we recommend- the Westin Bubbalicious, Candy Pants and Vida Downtown!
Saturday is Dubai’s Sunday and the perfect day to go to the beach, if your hotel hasn’t got a beach which many don’t there are loads to try. There is the public beach which is free and easy, just take a trip to the shops for some refreshments and away you go. For the party lover there is Nikki Beach which is amazing, super fun but very pricey so be warned. A happy medium would be cove beach which is lovely and has an amazing sushi and fish menu! Most hotels also let you pay for a bed for the day if any take your fancy, if you have children we highly recommend Le Royal Meridien Beach and spa has a great play area and facilities.
Dubai is also famous for its shopping and so you don’t have to miss any of that great sun, all the malls are open late at night. There are so many malls in Dubai but the two best ones are the Mall of the Emirates, which is famous for its ski slope, yes that’s right you can ski in Dubai. The other mall is the Dubai Mall, this one is famous for it’s huge aquarium and fountain display in front of the Burj Khalifa...oh and also being the biggest mall in the world with 1,200 shops. Both have the same shops but unless you want to go skiing the Dubai Mall is much more worthwhile for entertainment. The aquarium is amazing, you can see the penguins and even go scuba diving, and the fountain display at night is a must on the tourist list. If you wanted to head over in the afternoon, a trip up the Burj Khalifa is best at sunset, this is the most expensive time but is worth the amazing view of the city at dusk.
Depending if you want to fly home Sunday night or Monday morning, if you can wait till Monday you can’t really come to dubai without getting out to the desert. Head out to the real life miraj in the desert, Bab Al Shams. This is a fabulous hotel with a spa which is the perfect treat for anyone after a busy week sightseeing. I would plan to arrive early morning, have a treatment then a few hours by the pool before heading out on one of the wild desert safaris. You will head into the dunes for some dune bashing, stopping off for some sand dune sliding and sunset photos opportunities before arriving at the bedouin style majalis tent. It is here you will enjoy getting stuck into an Arabian style buffet with shisha, music, camel rides, henna tattoos and a belly dancing show.
Party into the evening before heading back to the city, a great way to finish off your trip!
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