Things to do in the UAE
Rather than a collective destination, the 7 emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates each have their own distinct history and attractions for a different holiday experience. Tour the dunes, beaches, souks, shops and manmade structures of the UAE.
With some of the world’s tallest structures and largest retail offerings, Dubai is a popular stopover offering unparalleled shopping, entertainment and R’n’R opportunities. The world’s tallest hotel and tallest freestanding structure will hold your gaze skyward with the requisite panoramic views, but look down to check out the blinding Gold Souk, the awe-inspiring manmade feat that is the Palm islands, and cross the creek by abra from Bur Dubai to Deira.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi is lucky to have 700 kilometres of coastline and 200 islands. Connected to the mainland, Yas Island is an entertainment mecca with massive event venues, the huge Yas Marina Circuit and plenty of dining and leisure options, while Saadinyat Island is scheduled to be a cultural destination with a concentration of museums, galleries and more. Sir Bani Yas is a natural island uniquely inhabited by a variety of introduced animals and birdlife allowed to roam free amid carefully conserved reserves. Most animals are indigenous to the region with some species flourishing that were extinct in the wild.
Of course, outside of the cities most of the emirates are desert so you can take to the dunes for an epic adventure by camel, sandboard or 4WD under a star-filled sky. The mountainous areas of Hatta, the souks of Sharjah and Dubai, diving in the Gulf and the pristine beaches of Ajman are another way to enjoy the delights of the UAE without maxing out the credit card. Throughout the emirates, stunning mosques and ancient forts offer an insight into the culture and traditions of this multi-faceted area. Want more sightseeing tips? Read on.
The world's tallest all-suite hotel may also be the most opulent. The 5-star Luxe-rated hotel soars like a dhow sail over the Dubai skyline with its distinctive curved exterior. Inside, no expense has been spared for a truly extravagant and indulgent holiday or dining experience.
In a city of mega structures and engineering marvels like Dubai, Burj Khalifa towers over them all - literally. Take a trip up to the observation deck of the world's tallest building/structure/freestanding structure at a whopping 828 metres high for a view that's out of this world.
Home to the Yas Marina Circuit and the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as well as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island is not just a mecca for men and motorsports enthusiasts. The picturesque island is also an entertainment destination with theme parks and concert arenas.
One of the largest mosques in the world, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is also a national gem and not just because of the precious stones, gilded 24ct gold embellishments and opulence within its dazzling white, multi-domed marble exterior.
Housed in an 18th-century fort, Ajman Museum contains an intriguing collection of ancient artifacts from the Mowaihat tomb site on the outskirts of town, as well as curious lifesize replicas of coastal Bedouin culture and lifestyle.
A must for visitors to Ajman, the renowned Dhow Yard is where you can see dhow wooden sail boats being constructed as they have been for centuries from knowledge passed down by oral tradition from generation to generation and without construction plans!