Little did anyone think that a mass of land once encompassed with fishing villages, old ruined forts and long stretches of deserts and sand dunes would now be a cosmopolitan and wealthy federation comprised of seven emirates, collectively known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Even though it's economy mainly comes from it's vast oil reserves, this country is a thriving hub for tourism with it's sprawling and spacious resorts, upscale hotels and restaurants and umpteen entertainment options. UAE is that unique destination which is overflowing with futuristic skyscrapers dotting the city scape and stylish man-made archipelagos but it's traditional Arab culture and tradition is very much prevalent.
Each of the seven Emirates bring a unique and distinct trait to the table. Dubai's glitz and flamboyance, Abu Dhabi's imposing steel-and-glass towers piercing the sky, Sharjah's culture, Ajman's plam-lined beaches, Umm Al Qwain's charming old town vibe, Ras-al-Khaimah's breathtaking landscape and Fujairah's sandy coastline together make UAE a dynamic and diverse country. Although the other Emirates are slowly developing into a tourist hub of it's own, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two world-famous destinations visited by millions of people from all over the globe every year.
When you're in Dubai, be sure to visit the monumental and incredible Burj Kalifa, man-made island Palm Jumeirah and the magnificent Dubai Aquarium. Shopaholics can delight themselves with the renowned Dubai Shopping festival that occurs every January and February and the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival in July and August. With it's world-class fine dining options, upscale restaurants, luxurious hotels and glittering shopping complexes such as the Dubai Mall housing every international label under the sun, it is not a surprise why Dubai is such a favorite with the tourists.
Abu Dhabi may not posses the same panache and swagger as Dubai but it is no doubt a cosmopolitan city with it's stylish high-rise blocks, green boulevards lining the streets and opulent hotel chains. The capital of UAE boasts of an array of remarkable attractions such as the 6th largest mosque in the planet - Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Heritage Village, Zayed Centre museum, Yas Island - Yas Waterworld and Ferari World. Even with all the modernity and progression dotting the city scape, Abu Dhabi is proud of retaining it's strong Islamic heritage and enjoys a traditional cultural legacy dating back to around 3,000 B.C.
If you're looking for some quiet after a night of partying in Dubai, then head over to subdued Sharjah, third-largest city of UAE. Having been bestowed the honor of being the 'Arab Capital of Culture' in 1998 from UNESCO, the city is no doubt culturally very rich with several ancient structures and world-class museums housed in the metropolis. If you're looking for a destination to relax, head over to the white sandy beaches of Ajman for some sun-n-sand. The rugged Hajjar Mountains surrounding Ras Al-Khamiah provides excellent hiking opportunities. For exceptional scuba diving experiences, head over to the emirate of Fujairah and finally drop by at Umm Al Qwain if you're the kind who want to soak in the old-school vibe of a bygone Arab town.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two emirates which offer cuisines from all over the planet including delicious Emirati and Middle-Eastern fare. So be sure to dig into local delicacies from any of the restaurants scattered around the country for they are scrumptious and appetizing. The stay options in UAE are abundant and the richie rich would be pleased to book into the best luxury hotels and private apartments that suit their lavish lifestyle as well as provide cheap and modest accommodations to budget travelers.
UAE experiences subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The best time to visit the country would be during the winter months - November to February when the temperatures are relatively pleasant.