Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa fireworks light up the Dubai sky to welcome New Year 2023. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: New Year’s Eve celebrations in the UAE, over the years, have become a series of record-breaking spectacles – across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. This year is no different with various destinations preparing to break records as the country counts down the seconds to the New Year.

Residents and visitors in the country have to plan, and budget, well in advance to get the full viewing experience. You could either choose to find a nice free spot to watch one of the displays, or fork out thousands of dirhams for a prized restaurant table or viewing spot.

The highest one we saw? Dh15,000 per person...

Burj Khalifa and Al Marjan Island

The most popular display in this part of the world is definitely the annual NYE fireworks at Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building. This year, Burj Khalifa's New Year's Eve display is set to be bigger than ever - with 325 strategic firing positions and 15,682 pyrotechnic elements

RAK fireworks record
In Ras Al Khaimah, Al Marjan Island is set to break even more records, according to organisers. Image Credit: Archives

In proof of just how popular the spectacle is, just over three weeks before the main event, tickets to the Burj Park (which offers uninterrupted views of the Burj) are sold out. Tickets were sold at Dh300 per person (Dh150 for children) – it is the first time that people have had to pay for access here for NYE.

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In Ras Al Khaimah, Al Marjan Island is set to break even more records, according to organisers. The display boasts new choreography elements and techniques 'never seen before'. Visitors can watch for free from a public access area which offers DJ entertainment, dedicated kids’ activities, food trucks and a separate family area. A paid event is also available. called 'Soundfest', which will feature an international artist selection, kids’ area, and a variety of F&B.

Atlantis, The Palm Fireworks1-1672380847534
There are boat companies offering on-the-water packages to view more than one display for New Year's Eve.

Dh15,000 per person for dinner and fireworks?

Residents and tourists – based on the rates we have seen – are ready to pay thousands for the perfect view to celebrate the beginning of 2024.

For instance, NYE packages at the Dubai Opera – located right next to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – are selling for prices starting at Dh2,000 per person. The packages include dinner and a performance, going up to Dh3,250 per person for the best seats in the house.

Watch fireworks in Dubai
• Burj Khalifa
• Al Seef
• Atlantis The Palm
• Dubai Parks and Resorts
• Global Village
• The Beach, JBR
• Emirates Golf Club

Most packages we saw include dinner and beverages, with premium additions offered at higher rates. A better vantage point to watch the displays means a jump in rates by thousands. One restaurant is offering prime fireworks views, bubbly and appetizers for Dh15,000 per person.

Another restaurant features live entertainment, a 13-course set menu and a choice of seats for either Dh5,000 per person (inside) or Dh7,000 per person (terrace seating). With a selection of sky-high views Aura Skypool is offering packages ranging from Dh2,500 to Dh10,000 per person depending on the view. Choices range from Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina and Ain Dubai, city skyline or the Palm views.

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All these deals are selling fast. An outdoor package ending with fireworks at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai is sold out with three weeks left – rates were over Dh1,100 per adult. You could also get a boat ride on December 31 at Dh699 per person which promises a view of all three fireworks while on the water – Burj Khalifa, Atlantis The Palm and Burj Al Arab. The ticket includes water and juice.

Yas Island fireworks.
Abu Dhabi has five fireworks displays planned to ring in the New Year

Abu Dhabi offers more deals

In Abu Dhabi, which also has many fireworks scheduled to ring in 2024, you could get away with spending under Dh500 per person for packages including appetizers, beverages and live entertainment – ending with a view of the fireworks. For example, restaurants on Yas Island have packages ranging around Dh300 to Dh450 for meal packages on December 31.

Watch fireworks in Abu Dhabi
• Abu Dhabi Corniche
• Al Maryah Island
• Yas Island
• Emirates Palace (access for paid guests)
• Sheikh Zayed Festival

Source: Visit Abu Dhabi

Staycations are available from Dh2,000 onwards specifically for the NYE weekend – residents will enjoy a long weekend as Monday, January 1, is a public holiday.

Hotels and restaurants across the country are almost full already – ahead of the peak festive season – thanks to COP28. Even holiday homes are nearly booked out for the rest of 2023 – and at exorbitant rates.