The UAE – United Arab Emirates – is a country that consists of a federation of seven emirates, and was formed in 1971 when the British upped and left. Geographically, it’s located on the beautiful south eastern Arabian Peninsula, embracing 650 kilometres of the Persian Gulf and roughly 90 kilometres of the Gulf of Oman. The climate isn’t difficult to predict either, with variants of hot covering most of the meteorological situations. The average rainfall on the coastal area measures up to about a glassful, and when it does rain, it’s only for five minutes or so. The only slightly negative aspect to the weather is an annual gusty wind called the Sharqi that turns up around April time through to early June, possibly again in September to November, which makes the coast a bit dry and dusty. Nevertheless, the UAE is a fabulous place to visit with enough stimulating venues to beguile everyone.
At the top of every rational tourist list is a visit to the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai because it’s high – 160 storeys high. This remarkable architectural and engineering conundrum is an astonishing achievement that deservingly holds a bunch of Guinness world records. You’ll probably be able to mill around all day taking in the scale of the whole venture. Night time visits are particularly spectacular.read more
Why not discover downtown Dubai whilst you’re there, and jump on the world’s first hydrogen powered trolley bus system. Dubai is to UAE tourism what a one-stop hypermarket for tourist attractions would be like. It has every conceivable recreational activity known to man, from white sandy beaches and giant theme parks to ancient archaeological sites.read more
In contrast to the exuberance and glamour that Dubai is renowned for, the Bastakia quarter of Dubai is the last remaining flavour of the past. Gently stroll around the tiny historic lanes amongst the original Arabian style buildings where pearl and textile merchants once traded.
If you fancy a little art and culture, visit Sharjah as it’s considered to be the nation’s centre of heritage. Sharjah is just up the coast from Dubai and is the third largest state of the Emirates. The Sarcoa settlement is reckoned to date back 6000 years and was based around the ‘falaj’– a manmade underground watercourse. It’s also the perfect place to bash around the desert in a 4 x 4 or atop a camel, and even test your balance riding a surfboard down a sand dune if you can bear to be without a tube ride.
Moving over to the other side of the coast to the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah is the emirate known for its beaches and Hajar Mountains. If you can drag yourself off the stunning sandy beaches, make your way up to the Ain al-Madhab hot springs. You’ll be able to loll about with the locals in some warm sulfuric water, soothing any of those aches and pains. Diving and snorkelling sites are arguably the best in the country too, with crystal clear waters jampacked with marine life.
If archaeology is your thing, then get over to Ras Al Khaimah, the northern most emirate. Apart from the customary beaches to bake on, the ruins of Shamal are a fantastic primeval ruin dating back to 1000 BC. The fabled Queen of Sheba palace, no less. If you’re fed up with the colourful history and sensational beaches, nip back to Dubai. It’s 45 minutes away for a contemporary fix.
The Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, is the jewel in the crown of the Emirates. It’s the pinnacle of Persian magnificence.
If you have pots of money to blow, then you have arrived at the centre of the universe’s luxury retail. The Avenue at Etihad Towers houses some of the most exclusive boutique collections, and if you really must, shop in a VIP private room. The sport of kings – horse racing – is heavily supported, and Meydan Racecourse is one of the world’s largest.
Families can expect an unrivalled choice of attractions, no matter what type of entertainment they're looking for. Every itinerary should include a day at the Yas Island Waterworld, with its bespoke water slides and rides not to be found anywhere else in the world.
After the adrenaline rush of Yas Waterworld or one of the other theme parks, head over to the tranquil Al Ain Oasis, and enjoy a peaceful stroll through the delicate eco-system filled with lush palm trees that rely on the ‘aflaj’ – a traditional irrigation method. Finish off your trip with a visit to an authentic Arabian Nights Village on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, and embrace the real Emirati culture. Take away a small piece of the Arabian magic that you’ll treasure forever.
The UAE – United Arab Emirates – is located on the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf and it’s a federal absolute monarchy sovereign state, which is a bit of a mouthful if you attempt to say it.
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