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Northern Emirates/United Arab Emirates

Introducing Northern Emirates

Buttoned-down Sharjah may come as a stark contrast to the bling of Dubai, but its claim at being the cultural centre of the UAE is justifiable, given its excellent museums, galleries and theatres.

In keeping with the low-key theme, Ajman, 10km away from Sharjah is the poorest and smallest of the Emirates and Umm al-Quwain is one of the best possible examples life in the UAE before the oil boom hit.

The oft overlooked town of Ras-al Khaimah is a good gateway to the Masadam Peninsula. The upside of this town missing out on most of the oil benefits is that its beautiful white beaches remain development free.

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