Saturday, June 2, 2018

Perfect Weekend Getaway - Sir Bani Yas Island

By Hamza Shafique (Instagram / Facebook)

I wanted to do something different something that would feel like travelling abroad but without leaving UAE and Sir Bani Yas Island provided just that.

Getting to the place involved 4 Hours Road trip from my place in Ajman and then a 30 minutes ferry ride to the Island. It’s a natural Island and is completely cut off from the main land? Hence the 30 minutes ferry ride. 4 hours road trip was pleasant thanks to some soulful music, tasty snacks and no traffic.

 Road network is great but landscape has nothing special to offer as you move away from Abu Dhabi towards the direction of Saudi Arabia. There is pretty much nothing once you leave Abu Dhabi but there is a small city right before you reach Sir Bani Yas island Jetty. Once we reached Jetty there was a very posh waiting lounge, where our cars were parked, baggage was taken, and Id’s were checked, thus getting our out of UAE travelling clause checked.

The Resort:

Tourism on Sir Bani Yas island is managed by Anantara and they have couple of options to select from including separate villas to rooms in a resort. The best rates are always available on their own website so avail them. I took a full onboard package in Desert Islands Resort & Spa for 1100 Dirhams per person, it included 1-night stay, 3-time meal and one activity. It may look expensive but it’s totally worth it considering the experience.

Once we reached the island we were asked to dip our shoes on some sort of sponge water tray and the sign said,”Biosecurity Measures - To protect wildlife please dip your feet before entering”. From there we boarded our bus which took close to 25 minutes to reach Desert Islands Resort & Spa. From welcome drinks to the time we checked out, we were treated with utmost luxury and everyone worked toward making our stay as comfortable as possible.

As there is not much on the island so its mandatory for the facility to have everything and to our surprise Desert Islands Resort & Spa had everything. There was a kids and teens club laced with all the activities and gadgets, Swimming pool, souvenir shop, bar and two restaurants. The only thing missing was a small convenient store as we wanted to buy some milk for our little one and couldn’t get any.

Breakfast had great range and we loved the fact that they let us box the breakfast for my little one. For Lunch we got to choose three-course meal from a very balanced Arab cuisine menu. Highlight of the stay from food perspective was the extensive Sea Food Buffet served for dinner.

Food was great, room was spacious/comfortable, easy check in/out procedures and friendly staff definitely one of the best experience we had of staying in a resort. I, for once cannot really think of any improvement point and to achieve this is amazing.

Our package as mentioned included an activity also, so we opted for Island Safari. There are tons of other activities to do on the island from water sports to archaeological tours. I opted for Island Safari as Island hosts some of the critically endangered antelopes along with free roaming Cheetahs, Giraffes and Ostriches. I am not lucky with the safaris as I never find animals, they tend to hide when I am on safari. So, I booked an early morning Safari as I was advised maximum number of animals are out for breakfast early morning.

Our guide with open top typical safari Jeep (that you usually find in African Safaris) was on time. I guess my curse of not finding animals on safaris has finally been lifted as we saw almost all the main species that Sir Bani Yas Island has to offer including the beautiful Cheetahs. 

Our guide was informative and very patient, as the photographer in me kept on asking him to move the jeep around to get the perfect light and frame. Behavior of the Safari guide is very important as the extent to which you can enjoy the experience totally depends on it. One of the best Safaris I have been on, highly recommended.

Overall all boxes of an amazing vacation including travel, food, stay and activity checked making it a perfect weekend getaway for those not concerned with budget.

Amazing Facts:

Each tree on the island had its own water supply.

For every visitor a tree is planted on the island.

This Island has few interesting archaeological sites including a 7th-century Christian church and late Stone age lithic scatters/cairns.

Herd of over 400 formerly extinct Arabian oryx roam freely on Sir Bani Yas Island thanks to the conservation efforts.

The island operates the region’s first wind turbine as well.


  1. Very informative and as always beautiful pictures.

  2. Amazing blog. Wow they plant a tree for every visitor!!!

    1. Thanks and yes they do with a dedicated water supply which is even more amazing