When you have to pass extended periods of time in Dubai you will run out of interesting things to see. There’s only so many times you can go the Burj Khalifa to see the light show or visit the mall and fathom that there is an indoor skiing area in the middle of the desert.
As a climber I was struggle to find a way to maintain my strength and technique during the long work hours of a consultant. Then I discovered that there is a small rock climbing gym in Dubai Industrial Park (DIP) called Rock Republic. The perfect solution to Dubai boredom.
If you’ve ever been to Dubai, you’d know that the DIP is far outside of the city center. If you’re visiting you can get there with a Careem or Uber. Careem is the Middle East’s version of Uber and they often have more cars in more places than Uber. Though most drivers use both. (FYI – In both cases, you will be picked up in a Lexus.)
You can also take a regular taxi, but it will be more expensive. The Careem Ride will cost about 90 – 110 AED (about ~$25 – 30) from Business Bay. If you are staying closer to the city center it will be less.
The ride will take about 30 – 35 minutes (again from Business Bay). So bring something nice to read and charge your phone before you get there. There is WiFi inside Rock Republic to request your return pick-up. Or you can schedule it through Careem before leaving your hotel.
This small and quaint gym has everything that you need to climb and enough space that you don’t feel closed in. They change the route regularly and the staff is friendly and helpful.
It is mostly bouldering with a small display wall that you can top rope on with an auto-belay device, but I have hardly even seen anyone use it.
How much does it cost to climb in Dubai
The weekend in Dubai falls on Friday and Saturday, so you need to change your thinking a bit when making a visit. For those early birds out there, there is a weekend morning special from 9AM to 1PM for only 50 AED (~$13,60). Otherwise a single entry will cost you 100 AED (~$27).
Friday morning are also a great time to bring kids, as there are many other for them to play with. This might be a bit stressful for adult looking to climb at this time, but I found no issue.
If you plan to stay for a longer time you can get a 10-pass for 500 AED (~$136) which works out to the same price per visit as the early bird special. A pretty good deal for Dubai.
Rock Republic also host events throughout the month to start climbing and meet other like minded people.
I particularly like that they host a ladies night. I’ve heard from friend living in Dubai, and girls I met in the gym, that it’s often hard to get to know people when you are living there. This is a great opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and find new friends.
Actually, this hits home for me as when moving to Barcelona and deciding to live here full time after my MBA, the most important way that I found new friend was by climbing. I met a great group of friend that really saved me from solitude and made me feel welcome.
Quality of the routes
For a small gym, Rock Republic is well equipped for climbers of all levels. They change the routes regularly and there are overhangs and interesting corners to train your equilibrium.
The routes are not very high, so it’s comfortable and easy to get a lot accomplished in little time. There is the right level of challenge and routes that you can easily train on.
Other important details
There are no changing rooms in this small space, so be prepared to arrive ready to climb. There is a bathroom on the other side of the passageway outside. But, remember, this is an industrial area. Don’t expect high level of cleanliness or full facilities. (I highly recommend to save your bodily urges for later.)
It’s air conditioned! As is almost everything in Dubai. And it’s absolutely necessary. Once you’ve been in 50°C (122°F) you’ll understand.
There are product available for sale (chalk, tape, etc.), so if you are missing something you can pick it up there.
I had a really good time climbing at Rock Republic. And I think you will too. So if you’re looking for something new to do in Dubai or just to stay fit, it’s an excellent destination.
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