Will I ever complete my never-ending UAE bucket list?

With exciting new openings happening across the UAE every week, it's almost impossible to keep up - but what a great problem to have

Dubai's Museum of the Future opened this week and went straight to the top of Sophie Prideaux's UAE bucket list. EPA

Right when I think I have got my UAE bucket list under control, up crop another 10 things. Next thing I know, I am rearranging plans, messaging friends and wondering how on Earth I am going to fit it all in.

It’s been three and a half years since I first stepped foot on UAE soil and my list keeps growing.

It started off how most do — a visit to the desert, a dhow ride across Dubai creek, a lift to the top of Burj Khalifa, a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I made steady progress, confident — cocky, even — that I was making the most of everything the UAE has to offer.

Sophie Prideaux visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Sophie Prideaux

But that’s the thing about the UAE: its offerings only ever grow.

In the past week alone, my bucket list has gained three things.

In Ras Al Khaimah, the region’s longest toboggan ride — the Jais Sledder — has opened, winding through the Hajar Mountains, offering riders scenic views as they go.

Then there’s Sharjah Safari Park, which has been seven years in the making. Home to more than 1,000 animals, including the rare black rhino, the park has 12 different environments and covers a space of eight square kilometres.

And of course, there’s Dubai’s Museum of the Future. Officially named as one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, it promises to take visitors on a journey like no other, with seven floors dedicated to exploring endless future possibilities.

And let’s not even get started on making my way through Expo 2020 Dubai or all the restaurants I want to visit — another part of my bucket list that was given a healthy boost recently thanks the Mena 50 Best list, which named 19 restaurants across the UAE as some of the best in the Middle East and North Africa.

Making friends in the desert. Photo: Sophie Prideaux

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice problem to have — a great one, actually. Especially considering that in the rural English town where I grew up, there is one decent restaurant, one cinema screen and one dusty museum of which the highlight is a life-size plastic model of an elephant. The nearest city is more than an hour away by train and so the luxury of choice is somewhat limited.

And now I find myself in a country in which choices feel infinite, where every day, I am lucky enough to read or write about something that piques my sense of adventure or sparks a new level of excitement, a place where I can have a new experience every weekend or try a new restaurant or cuisine every time I eat out.

I am aware of what a privilege that is.

Sure, it brings with it the admin of trying to keep my UAE bucket list up to date, but perhaps I need to accept that I may never fully complete it — or better still, make sure I stay here until I do.

Updated: February 25, 2022, 6:02 PM