UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates, often referred to as the Emirates or the UAE, is an Arabian Peninsula nation located mainly along the Persian Gulf. For most people the United Arab Emirates means just one place: Dubai, home to the spectacular Burj Khalifa tower, luxurious shopping malls, palm-shaped islands and glamorous beach resorts. However, the country is a federation of 6 more emirates, each with their own character and allure. Abu Dhabi, the island’s capital, is home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which has room for 40,000 worshipers. Then there’s Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
UAE TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Burj Khalifa is the tallest tower in the world and therefore one of the top attractions to visit when in Dubai. This world famous skyscraper has redefined what is possible in the design and engineering of super-tall buildings. With a total height of 829.8 m and a roof height of 828 m, the Burj Khalifa is a great place to visit for the extravagant luxurious opulence and the panoramic views at the top.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi’s star attraction, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is also one of the world’s favorite landmarks. Located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates and the largest mosque in the country, during Eid, it may be visited by more than 41,000 people. This is the key place of worship for daily, Friday and Eid prayers.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
More than just a stunning hotel, the Burj Al Arab is a symbol of modern Dubai and has gained a reputation as “the world’s most luxurious hotel.” Set on a man-made island, the Burj Al Arab is famous for its striking sail-shape design, and the lavish suite, which is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, with an average price tag of $24,000 a night.
Jabal Hafeet is a mountain in the region of Tawam, on the border of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which may be considered an outlier of Al Hajar Mountains in Eastern Arabia. Rising 1,240 metres, Jebel Hafit is the emirate’s highest peak, and UAE’s second. This towering rocky height, which stands guard over Al Ain and borders Oman, is forged out of craggy limestone that has been weathered over millions of years. Over 500 ancient burial tombs dating back 5,000 years have been found in the Jebel Hafeet foothills. A smooth 12 km road leads to the majestic Jabeel Hafeet and a few cafes that sit on its summit.
The Arabian Desert, also known as the “Empty Quarter”, lies in the south-western portion of the UAE, within the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Go on dune-buggy journeys and four-wheel drives, try sand-boarding, camel trekking or hiking. The majority of the UAE’s desert trips leave from Dubai, but Fujairah and Abu Dhabi also provide a great base for exploring the Arabian desert. A must for any desert adventure is a Bedouin-style dinner under the stars.
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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Abu Dhabi Festival
Calling all music, theatre, and poetry-lovers; this festival was made for you. Founded in 2004 and organized by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, the annual multidisciplinary Festival is the largest cultural celebration in the entire region. Abu Dhabi Festival commissions new works across the spectrum of art forms and each year new work is brought to audiences in Abu Dhabi and across the world.
Taste of Dubai Festival
For three days each year, Dubai’s gourmets, gourmands and connoisseurs head to Taste of Dubai, the City’s favorite food, drink & music festival. Attend this festival in Dubai for exciting foodie events, promotions, and it’s world-class dining experiences.
Dubai World Cup
The world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup! It’s “where the world’s best meet, from far and near,” according to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This thoroughbred horse race is held annually since 1996 and contested at the Meydan Racecourse.
Language: The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic although many Emiratis also speak English. Still an Arabic phrase book is well worth bringing along with you.
Visa: For most passport holders a visa is available upon arrival so simply disembark from your flight and proceed to Immigration, where your passport will be stamped with a 30-day visa, free of charge. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for the United Arab Emirates is required (which will depend on the country you are from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In the United Arab Emirates the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet United Arab Emirates: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN SAUDI ARABIA
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in the United Arab Emirates are listed below. Get ready to drool!
Harees: Harees is the traditional dish in UAE and most Arab countries. The recipe is especially popular during Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr and special occasions. Harees are a dish of boiled, cracked, or coarsely-ground wheat, mixed with meat and seasoned. Its consistency varies between a porridge and a dumpling.
Shawarma: A chicken shawarma usually comes with pickles and thoom, a fluffy garlic paste, and a smattering of fries. Today Shawarma is famous worldwide and is similar to Greek gyros or Turkish doner kebabs.
Thareed: Thareed can be made with lamb, chicken, and also with just vegetables and is basically crispy flat bread layered with a meat soup. It is very common to eat Thareed for Iftar (breaking of the fast) during Ramadan because it is light on the stomach.
Machboos: Machboos is one of the most popular Emirati dishes and is the national delicacy of Qatar but it is also popular in other countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE. It consists of rice and can be made with chicken, lamb, or seafood.
Falafel: Falafels are considered a side dish and are the french fries of the UAE. Light, tasty and fresh; usually a mix of chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley and coriander are deep-fried to perfection.
WHERE TO STAY
The UAE is a generally affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in the United Arab Emirates is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to the United Arab Emirates affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, the UAE will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in the UAE can cost less than $100.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Whatever month you choose to visit the United Arab Emirates, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. The United Arab Emirates is a very popular year-round destination with business travelers and sight-seeing tourists alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in the United Arab Emirates. However, if you are backpacking in the UAE or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in the United Arab Emirates very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates is a year-round vacation destination although the summer months can be extremely hot with high humidity. For this reason the best time to visit the UAE, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi is during the months of October to April. Also there is no rainy season, so this makes the weather in the winter very pleasant.
UAE TRAVEL BUDGET
The United Arab Emirates is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to the UAE really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $40 to $80 per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $80 to $200 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least $200 to $500+ per day.
IS THE UAE SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
The crime rate in the United Arab Emirates is generally very low with petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing prevalent in some big cities. Based on my own travel experiences in the UAE I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination is considered. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. Check out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your UAE trip.
UAE VISA CHECKER
UAE FLIGHT DEALS
UAE TOURS & ACTIVITIES
UAE PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to the United Arab Emirates, like most other places in the Middle-East is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to the UAE.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting the United Arab Emirates during the Summer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. As a female traveler visiting the UAE make sure you dress appropriately in order to respect your host countries customs and traditions.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to the United Arab Emirates include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.