Say Hi to Green Dubai

Be one of the first to try some of the city’s eco-tour activities recommended by Assistant Residence Manager, Ascott Park Place Dubai, Ng Kai Quan

Issue: Nov 2012

After rapid growth and development, Dubai is beginning to see the importance of conserving its natural beauty and wildlife and has embarked on sustainable economics, including eco-tourism
After rapid growth and development, Dubai is beginning to see the importance of conserving its natural beauty and wildlife and has embarked on sustainable economics, including eco-tourism

Assistant Residence Manager of Ascott Park Place Dubai at the property that practices conservation of water and energy, and re-cycling
Assistant Residence Manager of Ascott Park Place Dubai at the property that practices conservation of water and energy, and re-cycling

Having lived in Singapore, life in Dubai is not that different. The emirate city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is modern, clean, multi-national and multi-cultural. But what is different is the immense amount of space here. If city life gets too overwhelming, you can always take off to explore wide desert roads, frolic on vast expanse of beaches and discover marine life in the surrounding waters, or visit sprawling ancient villages where time seems to have stood still. Of late, the global city has embarked on a sustainability campaign having become increasingly aware of how its rapid development might threaten the natural beauty and wildlife of the place. So, eco-tourism is also increasing in popularity.

At Ascott Park Place Dubai, sustainability is a major concern as well and we have been doing our part for the Earth. We have motion-sensor lights, and taps and showers that minimise the amount of water used; and to reduce the amount of water and chemicals used in washing, we only change towels and bed linen when requested by guests. Every last Friday of the month, as part of the company-wide Ascott Earth Day, we dress in casual wear and allow indoor temperatures to be turned up; and turn off non-essential lightings for 10 hours to conserve energy.

We also encourage our guests to do their part for the Earth, by putting up recycling points within the serviced residence. Little stickers and notes are also placed in our apartments to remind them of the many simple ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. Environmentally-conscious travellers will definitely find Ascott Park Place Dubai an ideal accommodation whilst exploring the rest of Dubai.

Call of the Wild

At Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary you can see flamingos in their natural environment
IAt Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary you can see flamingos in their natural environment

Just 15 minutes away from Ascott Park Place Dubai is a nature reserve that is one of the few urban protected areas in the world. The 620-hectare Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more than 450 species of fauna and 47 species of flora. During winter, the sanctuary supports more than 20,000 water birds across 67 species and is a vital staging ground for wintering birds of the East African-West Asia Flyway. As an example of biodiversity in action, it boasts a variety of ecosystems from mangrove, mudflats and lagoons to sahkhas, reed beds and shrub lands.

Here is where I got to see hundreds of flamingos in their natural habitat. There is a short jetty leading into the marshlands where these birds rest. From the observation hut at the end, you can take shelter from the scorching Arabian sun and watch these birds in action. If you are patient, and lucky enough, you might even spot Great Spotted Eagles soaring overhead.

If you want to observe the natural beauty of the Arabian desert and its indigenous wildlife, you can visit the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The UAE’s first national park sits on the biggest piece of land Dubai has ever dedicated to a single project and protects over 33 species of mammals and reptiles including the endangered Arabian oryx. Sign up with any major operators that conduct tours to the place and they will pick you up and drop you off right at the door step of our property.

Visit the camel farm to try some camel milk chocolates
Visit the camel farm to try some camel milk chocolates

As you go on guided nature walks, desert safaris and wildlife drives, keep an eye out for mammals, reptiles, insects and spiders, and plants thriving in their natural environment. The Arabian and sand gazelles, Rüppell's fox, Arabian red fox, sand cat, Ethiopian hedgehog and Arabian toad-headed agama, as well as over 100 bird species like ospreys, falcons, owls, eagles, parakeets and crested Hoopoe can all be spotted at the reserve. You can also watch a falconry display, or go horse or camel riding. The sunset camel ride is quite a unique experience and something worth trying at least once.

Another place to visit is the camel farm. At these farms, you can sample camel milk, an acquired taste because I find it a little too salty; or dine on camel burgers. You can even take home camel milk chocolate as souvenirs for a great conversation starter with your friends and family back home.

Lure of the Dunes

Sand boarding is proof that if you have imagination, even the desert can be a playground
Sand boarding is proof that if you have imagination, even the desert can be a playground

Given that Dubai lies on the edge of the Arabian desert, there are naturally plenty of activities that revolve around the sand dunes. The best way to experience them is to sign up for desert safari packages which will take you into the desert for a taste of the life of a nomad.

If you are a thrill-seeker, give dune skiing and dune boarding a whirl. It can be exhilarating when done right. Do remember to close your mouth or you will end up with a mouthful of sand, something I am not hoping to repeat the next time I am at the dunes.

Oasis of the Sea

If it is the sea that captivates you, the waters off Dubai (and much of UAE and Oman) provide many exciting dive spots with clear waters, diverse marine life and shipwrecks to explore.

For those who wish to dive but not in open waters, you can dive at the Dubai Mall Aquarium. The aquarium sets the Guinness World Record by featuring the world’s largest viewing panel, measuring 32.8 metres wide and 8.3 metres high. It has a capacity of 10 million litres of salt water with over 33,000 creatures across 140 species, including sharks and rays.

Dubai’s eco-tourism industry may just be beginning but already there are lots of destinations the eco-conscious traveller can enjoy. So, come and say “hi” to Dubai’s green tours and enjoy its natural beauty and wildlife.

Stay with us …

Ascott Park Place Dubai
Park Place Tower,
Sheikh Zayed Road,
PO Box 117452,
United Arab Emirates,
Tel: (971-4) 310 8555
Fax: (971-4) 329 7998

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