The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a heady mix of Arab traditions and western consumerism, with sparkling modern cities lapped by the ocean and remote desert oases shaded by date palms. Admire ingenious skyscraper architecture in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For leisure, hunt for bargains in the souks of Sharjah and laze on remote beaches in Umm al Qaiwain.
Oil transformed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from a land of pearlers and fishermen into one of the most westernised countries in the Middle East. Seven independent emirates make up the UAE, with the cultural and political capital in Abu Dhabi. Ajman is the smallest emirate and a visit to Fujairah takes you to the picturesquely hilly east coast. Ras al Khaimah appears like an oasis amid the desert, and you'll discover cultural treasures in Sharjah. Small-scale Umm al Qaiwain offers a taste of life before the discovery of oil. And then there's Dubai, the UAE's commercial and tourist focal point.
Visit Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) sparkling modern capital, to stroll along the seafront promenade and visit the vibrant Dhow Wharf. Cool off in the UAE's garden city, Al Ain, an oasis of verdant date palms bordering Oman. North along the coast, Dubai's tax-free shopping and terrific nightlife make the city your destination for cosmopolitan highlife in the UAE. You'll find the traditional city of Sharjah nearby is a treasure trove of souks, heritage museums and the brilliantly restored Al Hisn Fort.
Take a desert safari to Liwa oasis, on the edge of the Empty Quarter stretching to Saudi Arabia. Nestled in the Hatar Mountains, the date-palm oasis town of Hatta gives you a taste of traditional rural life on Dubai's doorstep. On the coast north of Sharjah, you'll discover unfussy Ajman, a far-flung beach delight with white sand and fringed palms. Fujairah's scenic east coast is dotted with tranquil fishing villages like Dibba. A visit to tiny Umm al Qaiwain rewards you with long empty beaches and the mountain market town of Masafi. There's also camel racing at Al Labsa, outside Falaj al-Mullah oasis.