'We reached home at 5am': Some UAE residents return late after all-night NYE festivities

Some revellers returned home in the wee hours, while others faced traffic congestion in popular destinations on their drive back


SM Ayaz Zakir


Nandini Sircar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 7:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 10:00 AM

New Year celebrations are all about late-night festivities, great company, good food, and breathtaking fireworks, and the majority of UAE residents did just that to ring in 2024. From camping in Wadis to taking a yacht ride, people embraced unique ways to bid farewell to 2023, creating special moments with family and friends.

However, a few revellers were late returning home as the celebrations extended past midnight and into the early hours of January 1, 2024. Meanwhile, others faced traffic congestion, experiencing gridlock on their journey back.

Lebanese expat Abdullah Yasin and his extended family drove to Hatta Dam to camp and ring in the New Year. "We had been planning for a big family get-together, and the best time we got was the last day of 2023, as all of us had time off from work. Around 25 of us, including the younger ones of the family, reached Hatta at 3 pm. We found a great spot near the Dam, with the Hatta sign just above us," said the Ajman resident.

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Abdullah Yasin and his family members
Abdullah Yasin and his family members

"It was a perfect day out to mark the end of 2023. We set up our tents, prepared food, lit the grill, and enjoyed breathtaking fireworks over the Hatta sign. By the time we cleaned up and left, it was around 2 am, and we reached home at 4.30 am," added Abdullah.

Meanwhile, for some, New Year was not just about watching the fireworks; people even embarked on a yacht ride to nearby islands and camped there. Bashar Mihyar, marketing director at the Captain's Club, was out on New Year's Eve with six others. He said, "We left from Yas Marina for a cruise to an island close to Yas Island. We started around 9-9:30 pm and reached the island around 10:30 pm. After setting up the bonfire, we started the barbecue and also set up a snack station. We ate, enjoyed the beautiful music, and watched the fireworks from afar taking place in Yas Bay."

Bashar Mihyar
Bashar Mihyar

The Jordanian expat added, "We then set off to return from the island at 1:45 am, calling it a night. But by the time we returned home, it was 3 am."

Many were struck in traffic while returning home after their celebration. Fahim Armar and his friends camped at a wadi in Ras Al Khaimah. "We wanted to do something different from the traditional way of welcoming the new year. We packed our hiking gear, tents, and all the necessary camping equipment at 11 am. After reaching the foothill of a mountain, we decided to hike and find a good place," said Armar.

Fahim Armar and his friends
Fahim Armar and his friends

"The Ras Al Khaimah fireworks looked beautiful from the hill we were camping on. It went out for quite a long time, and it was breathtaking to watch it. We welcomed the new year in natural surroundings," said Armar.

Armar and his group decided to call it a night around 1:30 am. "As we were scaling down the hill, all I could see was lights, and it was of the traffic leading to Dubai. We were sure of getting stuck. We finally reached our homes at around 5 am," said Armar.

Natalia Miranda's son
Natalia Miranda's son

American expat Natalia Miranda welcomed 2024 by cooking a grand dinner for her family and staying in her cosy home. She said, "We live in JLT, and we can see the Atlantis fireworks as well as the fireworks next to Ain Dubai. Since our flat is Marina facing, we didn't really need to venture out. It was just my husband, my son, and me. I cooked a grand meal, and we had a special dinner on New Year's Eve."

Miranda added, "Dubai is such a vibrant place that New Year's Eve becomes grand anyway. No matter where you live, these fireworks are visible everywhere. The vibe on that night is very different, with the city bustling with activities. But we slept off after watching the fireworks around 1 am.


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