WHY VISIT THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Apart from their oil reserves and their reputation as a chic destination, the UAE offers a real tourist interest, mainly for the amazing contrasts they present to the travelers: mountains and deserts, beaches and oases, ‘Avant-garde architecture, picturesque traditional markets, the 21st-century borders on ancient history and sometimes destabilizes the tourist. There are a few must-see attractions that you can not miss: Dubai to start with, the wealth of glamor, the vibrant nightlife, where you will visit the museum in Fort Al-Fahaldi, and its exhibits on the history of the city, or the souks, including that of gold, the largest of all Arabia, not to mention shopping centers that grow like mushrooms. Another lighthouse town in Abu Dhabi, a former fishing village that has become the most modern and richest city in the UAE.
You will see the Al-Hosn Palace (or Fort Blanc), now a documentation center, the Cultural Foundation, with its library and temporary exhibitions, the fish market, and the old souk. You can also discover Al Ain in the oasis of Buraimi, some remains of which date from the 4th millennium BC, its museum and fort, the cattle market, the camel market, and even attend a race of these camels precisely, If you go there in winter, unless you prefer to go on a camel safari and spend a night under a traditional tent. Sharjah and its great mosque, Ras Al-Khaimah, and its green landscapes surrounded by mountains and sea, Shimal and the palace of the Queen of Sheba. Regarding the flora and fauna, you will mainly see wild goats and dromedaries, despite the presence of leopards in certain areas.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Top destinations in the UAE are:
- Abu Dhabi
- Hajar Mountains
- Jebel Hafeet
- Ras Al Khaimah
- Al Ain
- Al Gharbia
- Umm Al Quwain
- Sir Bani Yas Island
- Al Aqah
- Liwa Oasis
- Khor Fakkan
WHEN TO GO TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The best period to visit the UAE is from October to April.
It is hot most of the year, and the small size of the country means that climate changes are virtually non-existent, except for a slight temperature difference between the cities, all clustered on the coast, and the interior Land, which is desert.
The most pleasant season, which can be described as winter, is between October and April, and the weather is fairly mild, which can be as low as 10° C on the coolest mornings, but reach 28° C in the afternoon. It can even rain sometimes during this season… sporadically enough because the country knows only about 10 days of rain over a full year! On the other hand, from June to September, the summer season is torrid, with temperatures between 30 and 40° C, and sometimes exceeding 50° C. To this is added an important humidity difficult to support, greatly limiting the activities outside.
Following a list of typical festivals and celebrations of UAE.
- Dubai Marathon: In January, the Dubai Marathon takes center stage. There are 1.8 miles (three km), 6.2 miles (10 km), and 31 miles (50 km) races, with the winners receiving large sums of money. Thousands of participants come to the UAE to join, with an increasing number of runners every year.
- Dubai Shopping Festival: Shopaholics need to remember to breathe because the Dubai Shopping Festival is a month-long event. Every mall in the city reduces its prices during January and February, attracting thousands from around the globe. There are concerts and entertainment as a backdrop.
- Dubai Desert Classic: Every year, the best golfers from around the world make their way to Dubai, where the Desert Classic takes place. The prize money allures the best of the best and the spectators if they can get a hold of the highly coveted tickets. The tournament is held at the Emirates Golf Club in March.
- Emirates World Series Horse Race: The Emirates World Series of Horse Racing concludes in Dubai, where the world’s richest race takes place. Held in April, the Dubai World Cup Horse Race welcomes thousands of spectators, along with the best jockeys, trainers, and horses from the world over. The event is run from the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, which provides memorable entertainment and a social atmosphere in the UAE.
- Abu Dhabi International Jazz Festival: Huge crowds flock to the most-populated city in the UAE for Abu Dhabi’s International Jazz Festival. This beloved May event lures thousands of music lovers, where amazing performances are given by some of the world’s leading jazz artists. The festival began as a two-day event, but now spans more than a week.
- Eid: At the end of Ramadan, the cities of the UAE celebrate with parties and feasts. Both visitors and locals can share in the spoils as Dubai and Abu Dhabi throw social events for several days to mark the end of the Islamic fasting period in September.
- International Film Festival Dubai: The Dubai film festival takes place in November and attracts not only thousands of cinema enthusiasts from across the Middle East and Europe but famous producers and Hollywood stars for screenings all over the city.
- National Day Festival: Commemorating the formation of the UAE and the independence of the region from Britain, National Day is celebrated across the country in December with performances and events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Accommodations are hard to come by at this time, so book well in advance.
- Abu Dhabi classical music festival: The first musical event in the Arab world which introduces a series of art performance throughout the year.
- Woomad festival: The first art festival of its kind to link east and west arts in a globally unique show.
- Abu Dhabi art: Abu Dhabi art gallery which replaced art Paris Abu Dhabi aims to encourage dialogue between different cultures and attract top artists and distinguished contemporary exhibition galleries from all over the world.
- Dubai cinema festival: The pioneer cinema festival in the middle east which represent a platform for the Arab cinematic to present their creativity to international and Arab audiences who contribute greatly to the cinema industry in the region.
- Dubai summer surprises: The most important exceptional event which attracts the big facilities hosted by Dubai and attracts visitors from the UAE and abroad.
- Sharjah water festival: A first-class family recreational festival that attracts families to entertainment and recreation in an educational promotional way. The festival promotes Sharjah as a family tourist attraction destination.
- Sharjah lights festival: An international festival that relies on drawing-using-light where light and music meet in a unique harmony to draw a creative show on the Islamic style unique buildings that distinguish Sharjah.
- Sharjah Biennial: An international fine art aims to support and guide the Arabic fine art movement. Held every two years in the Emirate of Sharjah with a contribution by Arab and foreign countries. The aim of the festival is to introduce the civilized and cultural role of the Arab artist, engage in an effective dialogue with international art, and to establish good links with artist individuals, corporations, and establishments.
- Fujairah shopping festival: Fujairah shopping festival aims at leading the tourism, economical, cultural, and social tourism face of the Emirate of Fujairah and to make it a tourism investment center in the region.
- Fujairah international monodrama festival: A theatre demonstration introduced by the Emirate of Fujairah every two years to celebrate theatre role which improves people’s awareness and improves their taste for art away from the usual glory of prizes and competitions.
- Ajman shopping festival: A recreational and cultural demonstration attracts many visitors. The festival introduces several religious and cultural competitions which add glory to the festival.
- RAK Arabian camel festival: Camel racing is considered the most popular pan-gulf region sport and particularly in the UAE. RAK festival attracts many of this traditional Arabian sport. It is considered one of the top festivals hosted by RAK every year.
Umm Al Quwain shopping festival: It is distinguished by its cultural, shopping style and traditional diversity which represents the way of life of this beautiful Emirate.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The most convenient to get around is the car, especially since the rental is quite cheap and the gasoline is very inexpensive. Be very careful, however, accidents are frequent.
by plane, the main airports are:
- Abu Dhabi
- Al Ain
- Ras Al Khaimah
GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
health tips & vaccination: none
local currency: UAE Dirham
local time zone: GMT+4
electricity: type D, and type G (220 V, 50 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
typical food in the UAE
- Hummus: chickpea and sesame paste
- Tabbouleh: bulghur wheat with mint and parsley
- Khuzi or Ghuzi: roast lamb with rice and nuts
- Warak enab: stuffed vine leaves
- Shawarma: spit cooked meat in pitta bread with thick garlic sauce
- Khamir: local bread is often eaten for breakfast with eggs
- Falafel: fried or grilled balls of herby chickpeas
- Hamour: local grouper fished in Gulf waters
- Luqaimat: Crispy deep-fried batter dumpling balls served with syrup
- Ayran: a refreshing yogurt drink
- Al Jabab: flatbread used for sweet things such as honey, treacle, and sugar.
- Al Harees: a dish of slowly cooked meat and wheat
- Kabsa: a dish made of a mix of rice, vegetables, and meat
- Maqluba: a dish of meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served
- Thareed: stewed meat or vegetables served on flatbread
- Mehalbiya: a dessert made of milk thickened with corn starch and rose water
- Shuwaa: a dish of slow-cooked lamb, roasted nuts, raisins, served over rice
- Stuffed Camel: broiled camel, well stuffed with lamb which in turn is stuffed with one or more than one chicken which is well stuffed with eggs rice and at times even with fish
- Khabees: sweet, toasted flour concoction
- Harees: a dish of boiled, cracked, or coarsely-ground wheat, mixed with meat
- Esh Asarya: a cheesecake-like dessert made of toasted bread, sugar syrup, rose water, orange water, caramel, cream, and nuts
- Machboos: a dish of rice, meat, onion, and dried lemon
souvenirs from UAE
- leather goods
- gold and silver jewels
- silk pashminas shawls
- spices, coffee, dates
- rugs and carpets
- prayer mats
- coffee pot
- shisha pipe
- camel products
- traditional dagger
- Oudh (an expensive fragrance oil derived from agarwood resin) or Bakhoor (agarwood chips that are burned to produce an aroma that permeates an entire room)
- Mabkharas, oudh burner
- Attar essential oils derived from plant sources
- Abayas or Kaftans
- antiques (Arabic chests and swords, old maps of the local area, trinkets)
Hello: مرحبا (marhba)
Goodbye: وداعا (wadaeaan)
How are you?: كيف حالك؟ (kayf halk?)
Thank you: شكرا (shukraan)
What is your name?: ما اسمك؟ (ma asmak)
How much is it?: كم سعره؟ (kam saerha?)
Sorry: معذرة (maedhira)