Introducing United Arab Emirates
While the United Arab Emirates (UAE) these days appears to be little more than a stage for Dubai to strut its increasingly crazy stuff, there’s far more to this fabulous little federation than Disneyesque dioramas. The UAE is a contradictory destination, an Islamic state where the DJs’ turntables stop spinning just before the muezzins’ morning call to prayer can be heard, and where a traditional Bedouin lifestyle and customs continue alongside a very Western version of rampant consumerism. While many visitors marvel at the fantastic (in the true sense of the word) hotel and real estate projects, the real wonder is how the savvy sheikhs manage to harmonise such disparate and seemingly opposing forces.
For Western visitors, the UAE is a very safe Middle East destination, with the comforts of home and a taste of the exotic. Here you can max out those credit cards at designer clothes shops, laze on a gorgeous beach and sip a cocktail as you plan which fine dining restaurant to book and which international DJ to dance to until the early morning. On a less hedonistic stay, you can soak up the atmosphere of the heritage areas or the magnificent mountain scenery of Hatta, haggle over souvenirs in the souqs of Sharjah, head out to Abu Dhabi's desert sands for a camel ride under a star-filled sky, or dive the coral-filled waters of the Gulf (the beaches near Ras Al-Khaimah are as unspoilt as you'll anywhere in the region). Or simply mix up a blend of everything; after all, that’s what makes the UAE unique.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Indie shopping in Dubai
Dubai may be home to the biggest mall in the world and consumerism might possibly be in the city’s very DNA -- but there are alternatives to chain store shopping for luxury labels.
United Arab Emirates destination guides
Passengers arriving by air are transfixed by the view: futuristic skyscrapers flanked by a glittering coastline and surrounded by endless desert.
A shopper's guide to Dubai
Dubai loves to shop. The city has just about perfected the art of the mall, which is the de facto air-conditioned 'town commons', the place to go with the family, hang out with friends and take in some entertainment. So what kind of goods should you look for? We've got the lowdown. But before we go shopping, just a quick note.
4x4 Dubai Desert Safari
Travel by 4x4 across the deserts of Dubai on this exhilarating excursion! Get an adrenaline rush sandboarding on the Dubai desert, enjoy a camel ride and get a henna tattoo! Complete your experience with a delicious barbecue dinner under the Arabian stars and live folk and belly dance performances.
Dubai Hot Air Balloon Flight
Leave the glitz and glamor of Dubai behind and join this early-morning hot-air balloon expedition deep in the heart of the desert. Rising early to see the desert is something you'll never forget! Prepare for an exhilarating flight with unrivaled views as you enjoy a magic carpet ride over giant red sands, emerald green oases, gazelles and wandering camels.
Ultimate party cities
Looking to bodyswerve the predictable party cities in favour of something a little more unexpected? Right this way. Belgrade, Serbia Back in 1999, Belgraders held outdoor concerts while undergoing NATO bombardment, a feat that bewildered many outsiders.
Sights in United Arab Emirates
Activities in United Arab Emirates
Tours in United Arab Emirates
Restaurants in United Arab Emirates
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Laid-back, distinctively Arab city surrounded by enigmatic empty desert.