2. General Info
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The UAE consists of seven states, termed emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Its coast stretches for more than 650 kilometers along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf. Most of the coast consists of salt pans that extend far inland. The largest natural harbor is at Dubai, although other ports have been dredged at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and elsewhere.
South and west of Abu Dhabi, vast, rolling sand dunes merge into the Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter) of Saudi Arabia. The desert area of Abu Dhabi includes two important oases with adequate underground water for permanent settlements and cultivation. The extensive Liwa Oasis is in the south near the undefined border with Saudi Arabia. About 100 kilometers to the northeast of Liwa is the Al-Buraimi oasis, which extends on both sides of the Abu Dhabi-Oman border.
The United Arab Emirates has the world's seventh largest oil reserves and possesses one of the most developed economies in the Middle East.
3. City Guide
What to do, what to see?
Beyond the ‘international' skyline, the visitor quickly senses that this is a city with a Bedouin past. The smell of spices from the souks, wooden dhows plying the creek, the wind towers of the restored Shindagha Waterfront establish the Arab pedigree of Dubai's pearling origins. The city centre is marked by the Dubai Creek
which is flanked by the two main sightseeing areas of Deira and Bur Dubai.
is the most atmospheric part of Dubai for a spot of aimless wandering, with rambling streets bustling with the city's cosmopolitan residents and visitors. Across the creek, the quieter but more historic Bur Dubai
is home to Dubai Museum, Grand Mosque and Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum's House.
West of Dubai Creek lies Jumeirah
, marked at its northern end by the beautiful, rose-tinted Jumeirah Mosque. Jumeirah is famous for its beach - a long strip of sand fringed by the calm waters of the Arabian Gulf - and a growing number of luxury hotels.
Where to eat?
The touristic areas of Jameirah
, Bur Dubai
are full of international and traditional restaurants, it’s the place to go for a taste of the arabic cuisine.
, one of the residential areas of Dubai located close to the bustling old city is home to many restaurants.
For great views over the city while dining, head towards the Satwa
area where you’ll find international cuisine for all tastes.
Where to shop?
will have you feel part of the community, experience scents in the spice market, find gold jewels or stainless steel cooking pots as well as gadgets and decorative items to bring a piece of Dubai back home with you.
Dubai is also famous for its malls. More than shopping spots, they are socializing spaces where you can go for a coffee, or even a theatre performance, and they will give you a break from the heat of Dubai’s streets. If you have to shop in one of them, go to the Mall of the Emirates
with its large avenues and its wide selection of stores.
The Dubai Shopping Festival
(held in January and February) has become much more than a festival of shopping. Sure, it’s the huge discounts, crazy promotions, citywide sales, and raffles with Porsches as the prize, that get us excited, but there’s also street fairs with food stalls, nightly fireworks, and traditional performances and cultural activities.