Compared to many other big international cities, the entertainment scene in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi is small, but it is growing. Live music typically means cover bands, though Dubai has a small homegrown music scene. International bands usually include both cities on their international tours and large festivals often feature concerts by big-name stars. There are pretty regular international sporting events and stand-up comedy gigs too.
Camel racing is deeply rooted in the Emirati soul and attending a race is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s quite an exhilarating sight when hundreds of one-humped dromedaries fly out of their pens and onto the dirt track, jostling for position in a lumbering gallop with legs splayed out in all directions, scrambling towards the finish line at top speeds of 40km/h.
Pure-bred camels begin daily training sessions when they’re about two years old. The local Mahaliyat breed, Omaniyat camels from Oman, Sudaniyat from Sudan and interbred Muhajanat are the most common breeds used in competition.
More than 100 animals participate in a typical race. Each camel is outfitted with ‘robot jockeys’, which have remote-controlled whips operated by the owners while driving their white SUVs on a separate track alongside the animals.
Racing season runs between October and early April. There’s no fixed schedule, although two- or three-hour meets usually take place from around 7am on Friday, sometimes with a second race around 2.30pm. Training sessions can sometimes be observed at other times. For exact times, check the local newspapers or call the numbers below. Admission is free.