Top 10 Most Expensive Hobbies In The UAE

From collecting vintage cars to jumping out of helicopters, the region’s hobbies are eclectic and extravagant.

Aarti Nagraj
December 18, 2012

1. Art collection

While the true value of art may be priceless, buying an exquisite painting is certain to make your pocket light. During Christie’s latest auction in Dubai in October, ‘Pecheurs à Rosette’, a 1941 painting by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Saïd sold for $818,500 (over Dhs3 million).

2. Car collection

Collecting vintage cars has been a hobby of the rich and famous since time immemorial. It’s no common man who can afford a classic 1937 Bugatti Type 57S worth around $4.4 million, or a1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, which costs a whopping $10.8 million.

3. Sky diving

Not one for the faint-hearted, sky-diving is a relatively new sport in the region, and it certainly doesn't come cheap. You’ll have to shell out a minimum of Dhs1,500 for a tandem jump at Skydive in Dubai.

4. Horse breeding

The Arab region’s passion for horses dates back centuries, with Dubai now hosting the world’s richest horse race every year. But breeding a horse in a country like the UAE is not easy. After you have purchased the right colt or filly, you’ll also need to pay stable, feed and grooming costs. The annual costs of maintaining a competition horse can top an estimated $30,000, Reuters reported earlier this year.

5. Yacht racing

Luxury yachts are increasingly visible along the coasts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The UAE capital was even a stopover for the popular Volvo Ocean Race 2011/2012. But if racing in a yacht is a hobby that thrills you, you’ll need to prepare to dish out some solid sums of money. While money involved in serious racing runs into millions, even renting a sail yacht like the Beneteau First 45 for an hour in Dubai will cost you Dhs1,500. You can start doing the maths from there.

6. Travelling around the world

Exploring the wonders of the mysterious world around us is a thrill that many of us enjoy. Sadly, it’s not a hobby that many can pursue regularly, especially not if you're looking to enjoy a holiday in style. For instance, a business-class return ticket from Dubai to Maldives (a four hour journey) on Emirates Airlines is currently priced at around Dhs12,640 ($3,441). And staying in a five-star luxury resort in the island country will cost you close to $2,000 per night. That's $14,000 for a week. Add to that food, underwater activities, shopping and taxes, and you could do some serious damage to your bank account.

7. Antique collection

Collectibles from the past are unique items and come packaged with exciting and mystical stories. While gazing at them and appreciating them from a distance doesn't cost you a penny, owning them will cost you a fortune. A 150-year-old Persian silk handmade carpet on has an asking price of Dhs70,000.

8. Flying an airplane

Many kids have dreamt of being pilots. And if you are one of those who whirled around your house holding a make-shift plane, flying an actual one may fulfill your lifelong desire – as long as money is not an issue. Securing a private pilot licence requires a major investment of time and money. The fees at Fujairah Aviation Academy amount to Dhs64,000 and the course consists of a minimum of 150 hours of ground training and at least 45 hours flight time.

9. Racing

Driving a racing car is sure to get your adrenaline pumping (perhaps much more than flying an airplane). But get ready to walk away much lighter after every racing experience. A 15-minute session at Dubai Autodrome’s Indoor Kart track costs Dhs100 along with an annual registration fee.

10. Keeping exotic pets

An adorable cat or a friendly dog is not everybody’s idea of a pet, especially in the UAE. Reports of endangered animals such as cheetahs, lions and bears being smuggled into the country have become commonplace. Although laws exist banning people from keeping dangerous and endangered species as pets, these animals are available for hefty sums on the black market. According to insider reports, a Cheetah cub costs up to Dhs85,000.
prev next

Hobbies are fun. And while the majority of ordinary folk stick to cooking, coin collecting and reading, here’s what people with money – lots of it – do to keep themselves amused.

Get your Free Gulf Business Newsletter