At this time of year the question #WUDNYE (What U Doing New Year’s Eve?) is banded about with as much reckless, and quite gay abandon as the staple Dubai questions of “How long you been here?” “ Where you from?” and “What do you do?” in Dubai.
It’s obviously impossible to have a good night on New Year’s Eve, and yet we still attempt to convince ourselves that it will be the BEST. NIGHT. EVER. Which, when in Dubai, inevitably involves the Metro being shut down all night, the Palm Jumeirah being declared an emergency zone, Sheikh Zayed Road being basically more worthless than between 5pm and 8pm on a normal night, and finally of course, every human in the entire country going to the same place you are, thus meaning that instead of purchasing a few alcoholic beverages and having fun with your pals, you find yourself in a reconstruction of Hillsborough with several thousand strangers. It’s very disappointing really.
So while I usually just go from villa to villa seeing if there’s a decent sounding party I can sneak into, for the rest of the expatriate community, there is the need to discuss plans, book tickets, plan an outfit and call the Russian for a few pre-drinks at home.
So #WUDNYE? If you need a few tips and that, look no further. Here are the 10 best things you can do in Dubai on NYE 2016.
1. Get on a boat
Probably the best way to spend a New Year in Dubai is to own your own boat and go and sit alone in the middle of the sea crying with a bottle of mid-priced champagne, while watching the fireworks above one of those hotels they have that look like they are from the seventies, but which think they are 7-Star establishments.
If you’re too poor to own a boat, you and some pals can always go to one of the many charter companies offering NYE2016 deals. Google it, I can’t do everything for you. But the good news is you get no traffic, a limited amount of people, music, fresh air, probably some lukewarm, disgusting food, and a good view of stuff. It’s the best way to do it if you’re really into NYE.
2. Desert Safari
Ride a camel as the New Year comes in. Not many people will be able to say they were doing that. A Desert Safari will also include activities such as smoking shisha, getting Henna Tattoos to really commemorate the occasion, looking for Kes or other big birds, having a BBQ, watching some belly dancer exhibit her moves to a Casio keyboard rendition of a Middle Eastern classic, and other desert stuff like that. It will be cold and quite scary probably, but it’s a laugh innit?
3. Drop 2,500AED on a dinner at the Atlantis
Kim Kardashian’s fave hotel (and the fave for package holiday all-inclusive lovers from Germany, Japan and China with 12 kids each) has some Gala Night going on where you and 6,000 other people can sit outside listening to a 30-piece band play all night, drink unlimited champagne and eat food. Don’t worry about not being able to get onto or off the Palm, I’m sure it will be just fine.
The best thing is, if you’ve got kids, you can pack them off into some kind of Alice in Wonderland place which looks quite mad. I don’t have kids that I know of, but even so, I can see the value in booking some into Wonderland. When the adults get so boring you consider doing something foolish, just sneak into Wonderland with a couple of bottles of incredibly cheap champagne and have a chat with the Mad Hatter. Not a problem. NYE 2016 dealt with.
4. Do what you do every weekend
I’m a fan of this option. Just treat it like any other weekend. If we all did that then the whole thing would be so much more pleasant. Alas, it’s not ever going to be that way. Freedom to enter bars or clubs or restaurants is removed unless you’ve paid a decent amount upfront. So even if you get to where you’re going and it’s absolute shit, you ain’t going nowhere else. Khalas.
Although it’s a nice idea that we might all just be able to move around freely and not make such a big issue out of a number changing on the Christian Calendar, it’s a pipe dream. Seems a strange thing to celebrate this calendar movement so enthusiastically in Dubai. By the way, the first day of the Islamic New Year was back on 15th October. No tickets were required to celebrate this.
5. Leave the country
Quite a few already do this of course, but with so many unreal places so nearby, it’s actually quite surprising that Dubai doesn’t become a ghost town for NYE. Colombo, Goa, even Thailand all represent better value, better fun and better people than you’ll find on New Year in Dubai. Even if you got a flight to Goa, booked into a nice hotel for three nights over the New Year period, returned home and went back to work, you would only have spent about a thousand more dirhams than you would going to the Atlantis “Gala Dinner” for four hours***
***one hour after traffic
4. Go to some club, order loads of liquid, take a photo of the receipt
Not too sure why this is cool or fun but loads of people do it so I guess it must be.
3. Have a party
Hosting a party will only work out if you’re a desirable person to hang out with, and if you have a reasonable number of vaguely attractive male and female friends. You will also need to remember the following:
Party Do’s and Do Not’s
1. Do ban anyone who thinks they can play guitar (nobody wants to hear your Ed Sheeran bullshit, mate).
2. Do ban people who think they have a higher level of understanding about music (nobody cares about music anymore, everyone agrees now).
3. Do have a cleaning service on speed dial saved for the moment you wake up.
4. Do place a minimum of four puke points represented by carrier bags and buckets.
5. Do make sure you have a couple of hard friends who can manage the guests and dispose of anyone you feel is surplus to the requirements of the party (eg: guitar players, people who think they know about music).
6. Do hide anything of value you have. “No crime in Dubai though is there?” Ok then.
7. Don’t bother telling any of your neighbours. They will love it as it’s New Year!
8. Don’t make any food. Put three flavours of crisps in a bowl all mixed up. Interesting.
9. Don’t buy any alcohol, someone else will have some.
10. Don’t get caught having a party by the authorities or your landlord. Fun is frowned upon unless making a direct contribution to the recovering economy.
11. Don’t invite anyone. If you build it they will come.
12. Just don’t.
2. Stay home and draft out your “New Year, New Me” Facebook post
Last year brought so many ups and downs didn’t it? You met so many good people and waved goodbye to a bunch of assholes. Maybe you travelled to places, maybe even got a new job, had a kid, bought a dog, gave a dog away, moved six times etc, etc… It’s important you plan a statement that explains all this on social media. Because believe me, everyone cares, and nobody had a year quite like yours.
1. There’s only one night left to try
If none of my frankly absurd suggestions grabbed you, there ‘s really only one other thing to do. And that is to go out and listen to men pressing buttons on CD players in a bar or club. And there’s plenty of that happening. Here’s some examples:
Blue Marlin – Luciano and Davide Squillace
Women: 500AED (not free??)
Dubai Media City Ampitheatre – David Guetta
Regular humans: 495AED
Very Important People: 750AED
Zero Gravity – Pete Tong and Duke Dumont
Week Before: 390AED
On the night, nowhere else to go: 450AED
Massively Important Individuals: 490AED
Barasti – Jazzy Jeff
Anywhere from 190AED to 9,000AED depending on how for serious you are about it all.
All the other hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs etc… Anywhere from about 300AED upwards just to get in.
Whatever you choose to do, please be safe and enjoy! And most of all, remember to post pictures of it with the caption: “About last night….” Or “Strong squad out for NYE2016.”