With its five-star resorts, luxury shopping and incredible attractions, Dubai is the perfect place for tourists to kick back and enjoy the treasures of the Middle East in true style. If, however, they’re looking to combine a classic city break with something a little more raw and authentic, it is also a great starting point from which to book flights to any number of far-flung festival destinations.
Indeed, with Emirates and other airlines providing routes from Dubai to over 150 different locations, the cosmopolitan U.A.E. city provides the gateway to a number of exciting adventures in the likes of India, Thailand and Bali, making it the ideal base camp for travellers who want to get out and explore. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how you can combine a relaxing Dubai stopover with something a bit more wild, enabling you to see the best of both worlds as you travel the globe.
Three festival destinations you must combine with Dubai
Dubai and India
Sound and colour
Where better to start in our round-up of festival destinations than India? Home to a number of world-renowned celebrations such as Diwali and Holi the country never ceases to amaze with its nationwide spectacles and can be reached via Emirates flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Undoubtedly the most famous of the two aforementioned events, Diwali is the most prominent Hindu festival of India and is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. Taking place between October and November, visitors can expect to find bustling markets, homes decorated with bright lights and firecrackers going off in the streets as people come together to rejoice at the return of Lord Rama.
Holi, meanwhile, is one of the most colourful public occasions in India and celebrates the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. The wildest celebrations take place in the North Indian states during March, where locals and visitors alike come together to daub themselves in paint.
Dubai and Thailand
The wetter the better
Much like India, Thailand has a rich history when it comes to public festivals, with nationwide events like Songkran and Loy Krathong proving a major draw for tourism throughout the year. With Emirates flights travelling to Bangkok and Phuket, you can enjoy both from your Dubai starting point.
Songkran is the Thai New Year Water Festival and sees the Thai people literally wash away their troubles courtesy of large-scale water fights that take place in mid-April. Though a uniquely fun event with an unmistakable party atmosphere, the occasion is steeped in Thai Buddhist tradition and symbolises the purification of the soul, with the ills of the previous year being cleansed by icy water.
Like Diwali in India, Loy Krathong is a festival of light and takes place on the full moon of the twelfth month of the traditional Thai Lunar calendar. In modern times, the celebration has come to include music and beauty pageants as well as the release of floating baskets containing candles and flowers.
Dubai and Bali, Indonesia
A feast of culture
Rounding up our list of exotic party destinations is Bali, where visitors can enjoy a selection of nationwide feasts including Gulangan and the Bali Kites Festival. With direct flights from Dubai to Ngurah Rai Airport, the island is an obvious choice for visitors wishing to get off the beaten track.
Coinciding with the wuku year, Gulangan is a ten-day feast and festival that takes place across the whole of Bali, with locals celebrating the victory of "Dharma" (virtue) over "Adharma" (evil). The festivities culminate in a special ceremony known as Kuningan on the tenth day, which is a time reserved for prayer and honouring the spirits of the Balinese’s ancestors with symbolic offerings.
The Bali Kites Festival, meanwhile, is a more modern occasion that is celebrated annually between the months of June and August. During the festival, visitors will enjoy all manner of local delicacies while kite troupes from around the island come together to showcase their colourful creations.
Beyond Dubai a wealth of cultural treasures are available
As you can see, there is a wealth of local culture that can be accessed by visitors starting in Dubai – and thanks to Emirates’ 150 flight routes, it won’t take you long to join the heart of the celebrations.