Lawrence of Arabia may have famously said he was attracted to the desert because ‘it’s clean’ but if you’re feeling a little bit more ‘Jumanji’ than ‘Dune’, here are six great green escapes taking off from the UAE.
As much as we revel in the chance to take a trip to the UAE’s beaches whenever we want or escape to the iconic desert landscape, it is at this time of year, with the heat and the humidity that we also admit to a yearning for a little more greenery.
Words: Mariem Yassiri
Immerse yourself in the view of a magnificent mountain range and the river Ganges flowing through the city of Rishikesh, known to be the yoga capital of the world. You can also channel your inner peace in the forest bordering the city.
To get to this special spot, you can take a flight to Dehradun via Delhi with Jet Airways for only AED 1,843, then an hour-and-a-half car ride will get you to the city.
Visit jetairways.com for more information on ticketing and availability.
Getting your fill of lush greenery doesn’t have to mean a long trip. Enjoy cooler climes during monsoon season in Oman’s second largest city, just like we did! Visit the coast or grab your trekking gear, and a picnic, to bask near the cool waters of Wadi Darbat, which is a must-see.
With magnificent waterfalls and streams, this green paradise is just 1 hour 55 minutes away. Tickets start at AED632 with Fly Dubai. Arabia.
Visit flydubai.com, beautifulsalalah.com
Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Seriously change it up with a view of one of the greatest waterfalls in Africa, just 35km south from Bahir Dar. The Blue Nile Falls, also known as Tis-Issat meaning ‘smoky water’, is estimated to be between 37m to 45m high and 400m wide.
With captivating scenery and rich vegetation, your internal green-o-meter will be overflowing for weeks, providing you don’t mind an 8 hours flight there. Tickets start at AED1,225 with Ethiopian Airlines.
Visit ethiopianairlines.com, www.ethiopia.travel
Located high in the mountains, it’s no wonder Jermuk is viewed by some as perfection on Earth. At the foot of 3,000m high mountains and a river flowing through the city, Jermuk is a beautiful study in green. There is the grand waterfall, which locals refer to it as ‘Mermaid’s Hair’ and the Gallery of Waters believed to have medical properties.
To reach this hidden gem takes a three-hour flight to the capital Yerevan, plus a three-hour drive to Jermuk. Tickets start at AED1,717 with Fly Dubai.
Visit flydubai.com, Armenia.travel
Enjoy surroundings filled with verdant forests, shimmering springs, lovely lakes, and towering mountains. The Neelum Valley is just North of Muzaffarabad, offering you mind-blowing scenic beauty and panoramic views.
Trade the UAE’s sand dunes for mountains of greenery in just a total of six hours, by first flying to Islamabad in three hours and then continuing the journey by car for another three. Tickets start at AED1,931 with Oman Air.
Visit omanair.com, ajktourism.gov.pk
Three and a half hours away from the concrete jungle of Dubai is Tbilisi , an elegant cobblestoned old town located in the heart of Caucasus. Hike the surreally-beautiful mountains and get more connected to nature, but don’t underestimate the power of retail therapy and check out some locally-made rugs and other Georgian heritage crafts.
Indulge your taste buds and expose your senses to delicious Georgian cuisine dishes like khachapuri adjaruli and momos-lookalike khinkali. What are you waiting for? Tickets start from AED1,752.
Please note – prices were correct at time of print and we have included the most direct form of travel from the UAE