The United Arab Emirates is the most dynamically developing country in the Middle East. Oil revenues at the first stage of development and also very intelligent and clever people made this country a great touristic as well as trade and logistics center. Dependence on oil at the moment is very small, compare yearly shares of oil exports in the country's GDP: 1980 - 73%, 1998 - 32%, in 2012 - 6%, 2018 - 5%. Tourism in 2018 gave 20% of GDP.
The country consists of seven emirates (autonomous regions). Each emirate manages its natural resources apart from the others, so there is a great contrast. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are much richer than other four emirates. However, the sheikhs (rulers of the UAE) always help each other in solving financial problems.
The population is small, about 5 million, 70% of which are workers from South Asia and South-East Asia. They like working here, so all of them behave quietly and decently. The UAE is one of the safest countries in the world. It is second among the countries with the lowest number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The laws are very strict, you may have read about tourists arrested for drugs or sex in public places.
Despite the abundance of laws, most tourists should pay attention only to three major ones regarding public places: do not drink alcohol, do not kiss and hug your spouse; girls and women should have proper clothes (do not wear a dress or skirt with bare legs above knees, dresses with open abdomen, shoulders or back). We saw how police asked two Russian-speaking tourists in open shirts to leave Dubai Mall. Here is an example of normal clothes:
|Correct clothes in the UAE ©Yuriy Buriak|
The prices are very high. If you want to see the country, better rent a car, because even simple group tours are expensive. Just keep in mind that automatic cameras watch for traffic.
Visit the Emirates from November to March inclusively. In summer the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. Tourists stay only in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Fujairah. We recommend the first two, because Abu Dhabi is not developed as well as Dubai. As for Fujairah, it is quite far and there's nothing to do there apart from the beach (with jellyfish). Please note that prices in Dubai beach hotels are sky-high. Therefore, if you are looking just for a beach holiday, then stop in Sharjah and use hotell shuttles or taxis to get to Dubai.
There is very little natural vegetation - 90% of the green territory is watered with a huge irrigation system. It costs billions of dollars a year. Fresh water is produced by desalination with the price comparable to the price of oil.
Hotel prices are quite high. So, even if you travel without an agency, just compare prices for a specific hotel on booking.com and in the travel agency. Very often agencies can offer 50% lower prices.
To save time at Dubai airport, don't forget to pass a retinal scan and then the passport control. Both queues are pretty impressive.
If you take a trip to Abu Dhabi, then it should be before noon, otherwise you will not get to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Taxi drivers can pretend that they have no change for you, or may use a longer way to drive, so be careful.
If you go to the desert before noon and want to walk on the sand, then wear sneakers because the sand is very hot. Or better visit the desert in the late afternoon.
Carry a map if you decide to take a walk of 2 and more kilometers.
It is best to visit Burj Khalifa at the sunset, so you can see Dubai both in the afternoon and in the evening. This advice applies to any high-rise viewing points.
|Dubai Map ©@|
Tourist map of Dubai
Dubai metro map
Must-See Places in the UAE:
1. The tallest building in the world - Burj Khalifa
|Burj Khalifa ©Yuriy Buriak|
2. One of the most unusual and luxurious hotels in the world - Burj Al Arab
|Burj Al Arab hotel ©Yuriy Buriak|
3. Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
|Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi ©Yuriy Buriak|
4. Second hotel in the world by construction cost - Emirates Palace
|Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi ©Yuriy Buriak|
5. Aquarium with the world's largest glass in Dubai Mall
|The world's largest aquarium glass in Dubai Mall ©Yuriy Buriak|
6. Miracle of engineering, the biggest in the world - Dubai Fountain
|Dubai Fountain ©Yuriy Buriak|
7. City within a city, Dubai Venice - Madinat Jumeirah
|Burj Al Arab view from Madinat Jumeirah ©Yuriy Buriak|
8. Take a ride on the longest automated metro in the world
|Metro stations in Dubai look like this one. ©Yuriy Buriak|
9. Take a ride on the monorail on the artificial island Palm Jumeirah and visit The Lost Chambers aquarium in the Atlantis hotel
|View of the Atlantis hotel from the monorail ©Yuriy Buriak|
10. Hot springs of Al Ain and mount Jebel Hafeet
|Hot springs of Al Ain ©Yuriy Buriak|
11. Dubai Marina
|Dubai Marina ©Yuriy Buriak|
http://www.dubaicityguide.com - Dubai
http://www.rta.ae - transport of Dubia
http://www.rta.ae/dubai_metro/english/index.html - metro of Dubai
http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/ - building Burj Khalifa
http://www.dubaiicerink.com/en/ - skating rink in Dubai
http://www.abudhabi.com - Abu Dhabi
http://www.dreamlanduae.com - Dreamland waterpark
http://www.wildwadi.com - Wildwadi waterpark
http://www.wonderlanduae.com - Waterland waterpark
http://www.malloftheemirates.com - Mall of Emirates
http://www.skidxb.com - indoor ski center
http://eng.bigbustours.com/dubai/home.html - tourist bus in Dubai
Some movies in which you can see the UAE:
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2009) - Tom Cruise hangs outside the Burj Khalifa, that's cool (video).
City of Life (2009) - a film about the fate of different people living in Dubai (video).