Guide to UAE’s Natural Thermal Springs
When talking about the United Arab Emirates, most people think of either deserts or Dubai. Very few think of hot springs in this oil-rich country in the Middle East. However, the UAE has a couple of natural springs where relaxation seekers can kick back and find their zen, so long as the rules of the Islam-adhering nation are followed.
At the foot of Jebel Hafeet Mountain, you’ll find a winding hot spring. Since it’s outdoors without shade, most people visit the hot spring in the evenings, once the temperature drops a bit. It seems most visitors don’t have a full soak. Instead, the common practice is to wade through the shallow water or dip your feet in while sitting on the surrounding rocks. This same spring runs into Green Mubazzarah, an indoor bathing center where men and women are separated for more traditional ablutions.
In the Khor Kalba hot spring, you have to first enter the ocean before you get in the spring water. The hot spring is named after the coastal city of Kalba, and it bubbles up from an underwater geyser that mixes fresh spring water with salty ocean water. If you want a more traditional bathing experience, visit Al-Madhab, where men and women have two different and individual bathing areas. The open space, where the genders mix, has an outdoor theater.
If you’re willing to skip the mineral water experience but bathe in a traditional hammam, there is an incredible array of spots for you to visit. Remember that like the hot springs where men and women have separate areas, many of the hammams either have disconnected areas for the different sexes or only cater to one gender. This is the case at AL SARAY Turkish bath for men. Men go here for the Turkish bath, which involves both steaming and exfoliation using a special glove.
A hammam aimed at ladies is Ashwina Moroccan Bath & Spa located in Dubai. Here you can have a Moroccan bath, a haircut, and a head massage. The special black soap used in the bathing process is rumored to even out skin and balance the complexion. Make sure you set aside enough time to truly enjoy and immerse yourself in the experience. Hammam treatments with Moroccan baths can take up to 80 minutes.
Visit the UAE
Go see the soaring skyscrapers in Dubai. Swim with stingrays at the Atlantis Aquaventure. Visit the manmade island of Burj Al Arab. Of course, don’t forget to either stop by a hot spring or indulge in a luxurious hammam experience. Though the UAE is a country known for its deserts and sand dunes, there’re also beautiful coasts and sulphuric hot springs.