Welcome to Umm Al Quwain
The tiny emirate of Umm Al Quwain (pronounced 'oom-al-ku-wayn'), wrapped around an island-dotted lagoon, is in many ways the 'anti-Dubai'. Its retro feel – without a flashy international resort or mega-mall to call its own – stands in sharp contrast to the glitz going on to the south. Much of the emirate's 12km-long narrow peninsula, accessed by the busy strip-mall-lined King Faisal Rd, feels a bit desolate, though the handful of resorts on the peninsula tip are all well-maintained. The complete lack of razzmatazz is because the emirate has no notable energy deposits to call its own. For an idea of how the entire UAE might have looked if oil hadn't been struck, head here.
Across the creek, uninhabited Al Sinniyah Island is noted for its mangroves and large colony of Socotra cormorants. It's also a stopover for migrating birds, including flamingos, gulls and terns.