Things to do in the UAE this week, yoga in the desert and archery in the mountains

The annual Dubai Fitness Challenge also arrives

A three-day desert retreat is taking place in Abu Dhabi this week. Photo: Samadhi
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Update: The Jo Koy show that was due to take place on Saturday has been postponed to May 26

The annual Dubai Fitness Challenge kicks off this week. And, in keeping with the annual citywide exercise initiative, The National pulls together some of the many ways to keep active – as well as a couple of events for culture enthusiasts.

Here's what's on across the Emirates from October 23 to 28.


Ahead of Dubai Fitness Challenge, which starts on Saturday, residents over the age of 16 can sign up for a Les Mills x adidas class, which will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “largest high-intensity interval training class”.

The high-octane 30-minute session itself begins at 5am on November 12, led by Les Mills trainers Ben Main, Caley Jack and Kaylah Blayr, but registration is open now via the adidas app and booking is recommended to not miss out.


Take the family on an outdoor adventure at the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp in Ras Al Khaimah.

The nature-focused venue on Jebel Jais is offering a half-term package for three people, inclusive of a two-day adventure that features a survival course crafted by Bear Grylls and his team. The course covers essential survival skills in the wild, as well as activities such as high ropes and archery. The package also includes a one-night stay at the venue's cabin area.

Those who want to experience the survival course alone can sign up for the individual package at Dh290 per person (down from Dh350).

Tuesday and Wednesday; Dh950 for three people; Ras Al Khaimah; 056 501 5831


Register for the limited-capacity Dubai Run, where participants take over the 14-lane Sheikh Zayed Road for a few hours. This year's event on November 26 is free to attend and is open to participants of all ages and fitness abilities.

Participants can choose between a 5km or 10km route, with the first run starting at 4am as the event must finish by 8.30am so the roads can reopen.

Register at and then collect the Dubai Run bib, without which you will not be allowed to participate. Bibs can be collected at Fitness Village: Run and Ride Central at One Central.


World-renowned violinist David Garrett is performing at the Dubai Opera, as part of his world tour.

The German musician is known for his genre-defying artistry, pioneering the crossover trend where he blends traditional sounds with popular music. He has a long track record of multi-platinum and gold albums. He released the album Iconic this year, which is also the moniker for his world tour. Concertgoers can expect a night of tunes and virtuosic showpieces.

Thursday, from 8pm; from Dh295; Dubai Opera;


Join a wellness weekend retreat in the Liwa Desert.

Organised by Samadhi, the three-day affair will be held at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, and is designed to encourage participants to set out on “a journey of renewal” via yoga, meditation and other mindfulness practices. The retreat will be led by Estefa Pastor.

The first day focuses on self-reflection with a vinyasa flow in the afternoon and restorative yin yoga in the evening. Yoga sessions continue the next day, plus a brunch, sound bath and cacao ceremony. The last day starts with an early pranayama and vinyasa flow session, followed by brunch before checkout.

Friday to Sunday; price on request; Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, Al Mirayr, Abu Dhabi;


Filipino-American comedian Jo Koy is performing at the Etihad Arena on Saturday.

The comic is known for his funny quips about his Filipino heritage, as well as parenthood and other observations about family life and pop culture. He has a number of Netflix specials under his belt, and the Abu Dhabi show marks the stand-up's second performance in the UAE.

Saturday, 7.30pm; from Dh180; Etihad Arena, Yas Island;


Dubai Fitness Challenge, which started on Saturday, will be in full swing today. The annual event encourages residents to complete 30 minutes of exercise each day for 30 days.

While you can sign up for one-off events, there is a massive fitness village at Kite Beach, which has 24 zones, offering courts for padel, cricket, football and basketball, plus yoga sessions and circuit training.

Various fitness villages across the city, where you can rent courts for everything from padel to badminton as well as circuit training. This year these are located at places such as Danube Sports World Fitness Hub, Al Mamzar Beach Park and Inspiratus Sports District Fitness Hub.

More information about events, bookings, courts and activities can be found online.

Until November 26; 3pm-10pm from Monday to Friday; 7am-10pm on Saturday and Sunday;

Updated: October 26, 2023, 7:51 AM