Skyline over the iconic Burj Al Arab during last year's New Year's eve fireworks. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Highlights

  • How to prepare yourself for NYE in the UAE
  • What time should you leave work?
  • Why are taxis not allowed in the Burj Khalifa areas?
  • What time should you arrive at your venue?
  • Where can you watch the fireworks?
  • What are the metro timings?

New Year’s Eve in the UAE is always a grand affair and there is a lot to see and do around the city. Here is your ultimate guide to an efficient New Year's Eve.

Where will most of the crowds be?

The most crowded places in the country will be where the firework shows are taking place.

These places include the Burj Khalifa, Um Suqqeim near Burj Al Arab, La Mer, The Beach, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Festival City and Global Village in Dubai. While Sharjah will be crowded in the Al Majaz area, Ras Al Khaimah on Al Marjan Island and Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. A lot of the pressure will be on the roads in and around Burj Khalifa. All other venues will operate relatively normally in terms of parking, transportation and traffic.

If you aren’t planning to watch the fireworks, it is best you steer clear from these areas.

If you are planning on watching the fireworks, here’s everything you need to know:


Prepare yourself

1. Leave work early (if you can)

If your office is in or around the area of Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, anything near Dubai Mall on Shaikh Zayed Road then leave work early. If you work on Yas Island, make sure you head home early as well. For the people who live and work in Sharjah, the firework show will take place in Al Majaz, so avoid the waterfront area of Sharjah if you can. 

2. Take a nap before the big day

Make sure you get home and relax before you set off on your NYE adventure. Try and sleep for around an hour, so that you can stay up for the rest of the night. Remember that you may be on your feet all night, so ensure that you aren’t sleep deprived or too exhausted.

3. Have something to eat at home

As you may know, many restaurants around the popular areas only accept reservations and might be fully booked. Make sure you eat something at home before you go out, and pack some snacks with you. Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated in case you get stuck in the crowd.

4. Be comfortable and warm

Make sure you dress for the evening. Comfortable shoes, preferably socks and closed sneakers, so your toes are protected. Cover your legs and bring a sweater with you, since it does get very chilly in the UAE in December. So all in all, dress comfortably and warmly, you might be standing for a very long time.

5. Charge your phone

Make sure your phone is on full battery. If you want to be completely safe then bring a portable charger with you and a cable so you can get your phone back on in case your battery runs out.


What will the weather be like?

New Year revellers will be able to enjoy the fireworks display in the UAE as most of the country is expected to have clear skies on Monday night but should remember to bring their jackets as the mercury level could dip to 13 degrees Celsius, ushering in a cold New Year.

The Burj Khalifa’s fireworks display will not be obstructed by fog or mist on Monday night as forecasters expect mostly clear skies. Fireworks displays at Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, Global Village, Dubai Festival City, Yas Island, and in the Guinness World Attempt fireworks display in Ras Al Khaimah should not disappoint revellers.

Temperatures in Dubai will drop from 17 to 26 degrees Celsius on Sunday to a maximum of 25 degrees and a minimum of 13 degrees on Monday. Sharjah is expected to see a similar low as well.

Abu Dhabi will enjoy a temperature range of 15 to 27 degrees Celsius on Monday.

New Year’s Day will be a pleasant day for all three coastal cities with 14 to 26 degrees Celsius. Weather will be fair to partly cloudy in general.


If you are driving

Road Closures

The RTA has announced all the road closures for Dubai on Monday December 31.

1. Al Asayel Street, from Oud Metha to the Financial Centre Road, will be closed at 4pm.

2. Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard will be closed at 5pm. Financial Center Road and Sukuk Road will be closed at 8pm.

3. Al Sa’ada Street will be closed in the following manner:

4. At 6pm closure of Al Murooj Rotana junction leading to Burj Khalifa and the tunnel area.

5. At 10pm the Emirates Towers Intersection will be closed.

6. Financial Center Road: Closed from 8pm, both upper and lower levels

7. Al Sukoot Street: Closed from 8pm

Parking

Even though public parking will be free, don’t expect it to be an easy task for you to find a spot that is close to the firework location.

Burj Khalifa has allocated 3,000 parking spaces to serve the Downtown Dubai area.

• Al Wasl Club parking - 1,000 spots

• General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs at Al Jafiliya - 500 spots

• Eid Musalla at Mankhool - 1,500 spots

Separate dedicated areas will be available for People of Determination and families.

For all other firework locations, there are no special parking specifications. You should ideally arrive early, to find a space to park.

Note: Vehicles should not be parked on the streets around the event’s venue, especially on Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road, in order to maintain traffic safety and open the way for emergency vehicles.

In Ras Al Khaimah, there will be three additional viewing areas at Al Marjan Island and Al Hamra Village including Al Shohadah Street, Al Marjan Island and Al Wasl Street between Al Marjan Island and Al Hamra Village. For easy access, the three areas to watch the fireworks on Al Marjan Island have all been equipped with special parking areas, including 27,000 parking spaces. These venues are open for free to the public and are family-friendly with the festivities going on from 5pm on December 31 to 2am on January 1.

Shuttle busses

Dubai: 170 buses will be deployed around Shaikh Zayed Road and Financial Center Road for those watching the Burj Khalifa Fireworks.

Ras Al Khaimah: There will also be extra buses from Al Hamra, Mina Al Arab and the Ras Al Khaimah city to the venues.


If you are taking the Metro

On December 31, the metro station will be operating accordingly:

The Red Line metro stations will operate on Monday 31 December 2018 from 5am to 1am on Tuesday 1 January 2019.

The Green Line metro stations will operate on Monday 31 December 2018 from 5.30am up 1am on Tuesday 1 January 2019.

The Dubai Tram will operate on Monday 31 December 2018 from 6am up to 1.30am on Wednesday 2 January 2019.

The Burj Khalifa metro station will close at 10pm on Monday until 6am. So if you want to use the red line, bear in mind that your journey will get interrupted after 10pm.


If you are taking a taxi

If you are heading down to watch the Burj Khalifa Fireworks, no taxis will be available in the Burj Khalifa area. Customers can only get dropped off, not picked up. Every year the RTA supplies more taxis on this high demand day. 18,000 taxis will be deployed during the event.

Taxis to other venues won’t be as tricky, just give yourself enough time to hail one on the street.


During the event

Dubai Police will be using social media channels to send updates and news on December 31 about crowded areas and traffic congestion. For RTA enquires, people can call their hotline 8009090.

It will look something like this:

At Burj Khalifa, 23 tents equipped with juices and water will be present to cater to the public and cooking equipment, large bags or suitcases and personal tents are prohibited and will be confiscated if found.


After the event

There are three exits for pedestrians from the Burj Khalifa area. One in front of Burj Khalifa, one in front of the Business Bay Metro Station and one near the Dubai Water Canal walkway, when you walk out, follow the designated routes. Make use of the shuttle busses.

In Ras Al Khaimah, there will also be plenty of shuttle busses taking spectators from the parking areas to the main venue.


What time should you arrive?

First of all, whatever you do, and wherever you want to go to see fireworks, make sure you arrive early.

If you have a reservations in the Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard or at the Dubai Mall have to come before 5pm. If you are going to JBR, it’s best you head early so you can get a spot to park. Dubai Festival City will be the same deal. To see the Burj Al Arab fireworks, you have an entire stretch of beach you can park at. Bear in mind that many will arrive early to park as close as possible to see the show, so try and park across the Jumeirah Beach road and just walk a small distance to save yourself the headache.

The waterfront area of Sharjah will be very busy as well, so make sure you arrive in the early evening to get a good spot and to find a close parking spot for your car.

The festivities at Ras Al Khaimah will kick off at 5 pm, so arrive by 4.30 so you can park and make your way to the venue via shuttle bus.


General tips for road users:

Use public transport to access the event venues.

Use alternative routes according to the directional signs provided.

Be patient, cooperative and follow the instructions of the road safety people and Dubai Police personnel.