The Eid break is fast approaching in 2022; a celebration marking the breaking of the fast after Ramadan, and also a moment for families to spend some time together over what is usually a 5-day break in the UAE – but can last anything up to 9 days if the Government call for a longer public holiday!
Eid-al-Fitr now falls in early May, perfect spring weather for heading to the tropics. So what can you expect, and most importantly, where can you go this year for a unique family vacation?
After a long period of no travel, we’re getting ready to spread our wings beyond the UAE and the Middle East and look to international destinations abundant in sunshine and fun family activities.
Here is our pick of the top 3 beach getaways for Middle East travellers this year:
1. The Philippines
Average Temperature in May: A warm and sunny 29.5°C and 29°C in the water
Flight Time from Dubai: The fastest direct flight from DXB to Cebu is 8 hours 55 minutes
Although the best weather for the Philippines is typically over the cooler winter months, Middle East travelers will no doubt be very used to the heat and find the temperatures in the south, particularly Bohol and Boracay, pleasant still in early May.
Need to Know: All passengers at present need to obtain a One Health Pass and UAE citizens will need a Philipines eTA before they set off.
With over 7000 islands it can be hard to choose where to head on a Philippines vacation. Some of the best places to stay for a unique family beach vacation in the Philippines include:
- Boracay – The perfect place for tempting turquoise waters, scuba diving, and snorkeling through to kite surfing, the family that loves to mix a few sports and recreation activities with their relaxation will fall in love with Boracay.
- El Nido, Palawan – home to some of the whitest sand and prettiest beaches in the world, this is the perfect location to go island hopping for those who love to explore by water with utterly instagrammable vistas as far as the eye can see.
- Bantayan Island – a little less crowded than other beaches but easy to reach from Cebu, explore the saltwater lagoons and native charm of this little slice of island paradise.
2. The Maldives
Average temperature in May: Expect daytime highs around 31°C and a water temperature of 29.5°C
Flight Time from Dubai: DXB to Male is 4 hours, but don’t forget to add connection time to your resort
Although May is officially the start of the rainy season, the early dates of Eid this year make the chances of rain low and still plenty of sunshine days for your overwater bungalow dreams come true!
Need to Know: PCRs are no longer mandatory for entry and it’s Visa on arrival, but all passengers will need to complete a travellers declaration.
The choices seem almost endless when it comes to luxury resorts, but which one do you choose? The huge drawcard of resorts in the Maldives is access to sensational kids’ clubs that include all your family’s entertainment while you’re at your chosen island resort. Ones we consistently see as highly recommend for families include:
- JW Marriott Maldives Resort and Spa – from the wonderful villas to The Little Griffins kids’ club and a choice of 8 restaurants – 24/7 babysitting availability is also a massive plus, it’s easy to see why this is a popular choice with UAE travellers.
- Soneva Fushi – combining high-end luxury with rustic charm, this is one gorgeous eco-resort. Guests are invited here to enjoy the SLOW LIFE – Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness, Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences. Sound like your sort of ideal island retreat?
- Hard Rock Hotel Maldives – found on Emboodhoo Lagoon this one gets a huge thumbs up from families with older kids for the sheer variety of what’s on offer. Whether it’s diving and water sports or squeezing in some me-time at the spa, kids will be kept happy with Roxity Club and Teen Spirit.
With the Maldives, it really all comes down to budget. Those resorts that can easily be reached by boat from Male tend to be a little more pocket friendly than those you need to connect with by light plane.
Average Temperature in May: Fairly consistent year-round 28°C to 32°C
Flight time from Dubai: DXB to Mahe is 4 hours 35 minutes
Another great idea for a beach escape from the Middle East in May is Seychelles. Sitting south of the equator, May is a prime season for the Seychelles weather-wise. Winter rains have all but disappeared and days are dry and sunny.
Need to Know: You’ll need proof of vaccine plus booster and must be able to show you’re staying at accommodation certified by the Public Health Authority
When it comes to fun family things to do in Seychelles and places to stay you’re truly spoilt! You may want to split your time near the two main islands (there are over 100!) Mahé and Praslin. During your trip, some of the top things to enjoy include:
- A visit to Vallee du Mai (Mai Valley Nature Reserve). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this natural palm forest is home to the world’s largest population of endemic coco-de-mer, a species of global significance as it bears the largest seed in the plant kingdom.
- Day trip to the island of La Dingue and go cycling on this dreamy island with the famous picturesque granite boulder beach Anse Source D’Argent.
- Meet the Aldabra Giant Land Tortoise on Curieuse. These incredible gentle giants can grow to in excess of 600lb and 200 years in age! A truly memorable family travel moment.
More Beach Vacation Ideas from the Middle East
This is just a smaller taster of ideas easily accessible from the UAE on direct flights. You may also want to consider for a beach-focused vacation from the Middle East:
- Thailand – Getting towards the hot and humid season but like the Philippines, pick and choose your destinations for milder, more manageable weather in May.
- Sri Lanka – Usually one of our top family picks for a short break but with current civil unrest, its a proceed with caution in 2022 and monitor the situation before booking.
- Goa – Still a great idea in May, you’re not quite in rainy season yet so add this one to your bucket list too!
- Zanzibar – Often seen as a great budget alternate vs the other Indian Ocean beaches we’ve discussed here. Being in the southern hemisphere you’re still coming out of their wet season in May. Maybe consider this one as a great choice for Eid-al Adha in July (we are!)
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