Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
During Dubai’s cooler months (October, November, February, March and April), the monthly music festival of Sandance is the hottest ticket in town, with thousands of arms swaying in the dark to the sound of some of the world’s best DJs, while the moon glitters off the still water just yards away.
Each 12-hour festival, hosted at the opulent Atlantis hotel, attracts thousands of revellers to the long strip of beach on the manmade island of Palm Jumeirah, which faces inwards towards the mainland. In the three years since the festival has launched, past musicians have included such luminaries as Faithless, Fat Boy Slim and Snow Patrol.
“Morcheeba at sunset gave me goosebumps, Example had the whole beach bouncing, Faithless was unforgettable!” said Tim Derry, managing partner at Think, the events company that helps stage the festival.
Each Sandance kicks off at 2 pm, so there is plenty of time to hit the beach, have an afternoon swim, enjoy long lazy cocktails and make sure your shoes are tucked away as you hit the sands for a barefoot boogie until 2 am.
Unlike other areas of Dubai, the parties are relaxed when it comes to dress codes, so think flip flops, T-shirts and shorts or a beach dress for women.
The first Sandance of the season will take place on 12 October and feature musicians Krafty Kuts, Mat Kearney, The Fray, Example and DJ Wire, DJ Fresh, Frankie Knuckles, Omar Basaad and Local Legends. Tickets cost 275 dirhams (or 450 dirhams for a VIP ticket, which gives access to a VIP platform with its own bars and bathrooms) and can be bought online in advance.
Georgina Wilson-Powell is the Dubai Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes the hotel review blog sogoodtogetoutofthecity.wordpress.com