Travel Deals: reach for the sky

Ballooning over the desert in Al Ain, a luxury gourmet feast in Dubai and active holidays in Turkey and China are all on offer this week.

Sign up for a hot-air balloon ride over Al Ain, organised by Arabian Adventures; don't forget to bring a camera. Courtesy of Arabian Adventures
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Al Ain

Take to the skies with Arabian Adventures' hot-air balloon ride that begins in Al Ain. Climbing to 1,000 metres, this ride offers photo opportunities of sand dunes, oases and desert flora and fauna. The half-day trip costs Dh995 per adult and Dh850 per child, including transfers. Departures daily.

The "All Points East" driving tour, which begins in Dubai, takes in the UAE's east coast and includes visits to Bidiya Mosque in Fujairah, the Fujairah Museum and a quiet fishing village in Dibba, shopping in Masafi and a drive through Sharjah. The full-day tour costs Dh215 per adult and Dh110 per child. Meals are not included. Departures on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Prices are valid until May. Call 02 691 1711 to book.


Stay at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC before January 31 and experience all the hotel's restaurants in one night with its "Anniversary Package". To mark the first anniversary of the hotel's opening, guests are greeted with a personalised welcome reception, including drinks and canapes in the Lobby Lounge & Terrace, then escorted to Blue Rain, the hotel's Thai restaurant, for an appetiser. Next stop is the Center Cut steakhouse, where guests will feast on Australian Wagyu, and to finish, pastry chef Guillaume will offer a "Tour de France" of desserts.

The package costs from Dh1,560 per night, including accommodation in a deluxe room or executive suite, meals and taxes. For reservations, visit or call 04 372 2222.


Book a week at Mandarin Boutique Hotel for guided hikes down the ancient Lycian Way in south-west Turkey's Turquoise Coast. Keen hikers will enjoy treks through the fertile Kaya Valley, a visit to a Byzantine-era monastery, an expedition to the ruined village of Kayaköy and strolls along the pristine Kabak beach.

Five guided walks cost €110 (Dh511) per person, per week, including a snack or picnic lunch, and transport. Double rooms at the hotel cost from €195 (Dh906) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast, dinner and taxes. The hotel also organises sightseeing trips as well as tour-and-stay packages around the region. Visit for more details.


This giant panda tracking holiday in Shaanxi takes visitors into two panda reserves, Foping and Changqing, for a chance to view the wild animals in their natural habitat, and to encounter traditional communities. The parks, two of eight set up in the late 1990s in the Qinling Mountains for the protection of the pandas, are home to nearly 220 species of birds and other endangered mammals, including the clouded leopard, takin, goral and tufted deer.

The 11-day trip costs from £3,585 (Dh20,173) per person, including local flights, accommodation based on two sharing, some meals, daily treks and tour leaders. Departures in March. Book through