With the recent peace deal between Israel and the UAE, Dubai, and the entire UAE, is suddenly an exciting new travel destination (post-COVID).
Filled with luxurious hotels, unimaginable attractions, and minutes away from the breathtaking Arabian Desert, Dubai is sure to become a popular vacation spot within the Jewish community.
Direct flights from Israel are in the works and direct flights depart NYC for Dubai once a day, and the flight clocks in at 12hrs 45 mins – surely manageable for those who are used to flying to Israel. Once direct flights from TLV-DXB start, it will shorten what was once a 10.5 hour trip on multiple flights to about a 3 hour direct flight!
As for kosher, currently Elli’s Kosher Kitchen is the only kosher provider in the area, but the catering business conveniently offers delivery throughout the UAE and that is quickly changing with many hotels getting into the kosher game in the near future. Meals are delivered triple wrapped, and many Dubai hotels are happy to warm up the food for you, allowing you to have hot meals throughout your trip. Elli’s Kosher Kitchen is kosher certified by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the UAE, but with the OU promising certification in the near future. As Jewish tourism picks up in Dubai, expect more kosher restaurants to pop up throughout the UAE, including Abu Dhabi per their Dept of Tourism.
Elli’s Kosher Kitchen on Instagram or on her website highlights their expanding kosher services in the Gulf nation.
The KosherDubai account on Instagram posts pictures of kosher items available in Dubai’s supermarkets.
The UAE itinerary below beautifully fuses a beach and a city vacation, allowing you to enjoy the best of what Dubai has to offer.
Some of the activities/sites mentioned below may be temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Make sure to contact the place directly for the most up to date information.
Wednesday – evening arrival in Dubai. Check in to hotel and eat dinner delivered from Elli’s Kosher Kitchen. (Any hotel in the Madinat Jumeirah Complex is recommended, since you can enjoy the pool and beach at any of the hotels in the complex. It is also close to the Jewish Community of the Emirates for Shabbat)
Thursday morning – Spend the morning learning about Old Dubai, the Dubai before the discovery of oil. Dubai has been a longtime port city, and the original community was built along the Dubai Creek. Explore the Deira Gold Souk, located along the creek. Head over to the Dubai Spice Souk where you can purchase Middle Eastern spices and spice mixes. Take an Abra Taxi across the creek to the Al Ghubaiba station, and visit the Al Fahidi Souk on the way to the Dubai Museum where you will learn the history of Dubai. Enjoy a packed lunch in the plaza outside the museum, and pick up American snacks from the supermarket nearby.
Thursday afternoon and evening – Visit the Dubai Miracle Garden, filled with beautiful flower creations. For kids, there is a trampoline park within the Garden. There are also live shows weekly. Afterwards, head to the Mall of the Emirates, famous for their huge indoor ski slope. The Mall also has shopping and a family entertainment center, with an arcade, rides, bowling and a movie theatre.
Friday Day – Spent the day at one of Dubai’s popular waterparks – Atlantis Aquaventure or Wild Wadi. Wild Wadi is included for guests of the Madinat Jumeirah hotels, and Aquaventure is free for guests of the Atlantis. Aquaventure is deemed larger and nicer, and is located on the beautiful Palm Jumeirah Island. Wild Wadi’s rides however are known to be more exciting than those of Aquaventure.
Shabbat – JCE or Jewish Community of UAE for davening and lunch. Have a relaxing afternoon by the pool or walk along the beach or in CityWalk.
Saturday Night – Visit the Global Village, a massive expo full of shopping and entertainment from over 90 countries. This year’s season is from October 2020-April 2021.
Sunday – IMG Worlds of Adventure – a huge indoor amusement park with rides based off of Cartoon Network and Marvel characters. Afterwards, get picked up for your scheduled desert safari. Safaris include activities like dune bashing, sand boarding, camel rides, and an amazing Bedouin evening experience. Many tour agencies offer the desert safari.
Monday – Pool/beach in the morning. Move from the beach hotel to the city hotel. Visit the top of the Burj Khalifa at sunset, and see a fountain show in the pavilion next door. (Tickets can be bought for access to a platform on the lake with better views of the show). Optional boat ride on the Burj Khalifa artificial lake .
Tuesday – Day trip to Abu Dhabi via rental car (many rental companies will drop off the car at your hotel and pick it up at the end of your rental). Leave Dubai to arrive at Ferrari World when it opens at 11am. Ferrari World is an indoor amusement park with the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Next, visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. (Modesty rules include no short clothing, sleeveless, tight clothing, clothing with profanity or see through clothing. Head coverings are provided for women). Even if you do not want to enter the mosque, the exterior is a must see site. After the mosque, head to the Louvre Abu Dhabi (a branch of the Louvre in France). Spend sunset at Corniche, a boardwalk with play areas and walking and biking paths. Return to Dubai to visit the Dubai Mall, filled with tons of shopping and attractions.
Wednesday – Start the day with an adventure at Skydive Dubai. A gyrocopter tour is available for the non thrill seekers. Spend the afternoon relaxing at Zabeel Park. There is a jogging path, picnic areas, a boating lake, ice skating, a mini cricket and golf area, shaded seating and play areas. Visit the observation deck of the Dubai Frame for stunning views of the city. Spend the evening at the Dubai Opera where there are many types of shows (from stand up comedy to tradition Arabic musical performances). Afterwards visit the CityWalk and the Green Planet indoor rainforest.
Thursday – Depart for home, but leave extra time to explore the airport, which is complete with play areas, a pool, gym and open air gardens.
Thank you to Charles Laifer for his suggested itinerary and his helpful tips.