United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 2023
Welcome to the United Arab Emirates, a captivating destination where ancient traditions meet modern marvels. In this comprehensive travel guide, we invite you to discover the main features of this extraordinary country, from the futuristic skyline of Dubai to the cultural treasures of Abu Dhabi, the pristine beaches of Fujairah, and the timeless charm of Sharjah. Prepare to be enthralled by the UAE’s opulent hospitality, world-class shopping, iconic landmarks, and a captivating blend of Arabian heritage and contemporary innovation.
The United Arab Emirates offers an ideal year-round destination with its desert climate and diverse landscape encompassing sandy deserts, stunning coastlines, and rugged mountains. From thrilling adventures like dune bashing and camel trekking to engaging in water sports, there are ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The UAE’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa ensures easy accessibility, supported by world-class airports and efficient transportation systems.
Delve into the country’s rich history through ancient falaj irrigation systems, historic forts, and preserved heritage villages, providing insights into the customs and traditions of the Bedouin people. Embracing a multicultural society, the UAE’s vibrant atmosphere comes alive through its diverse culinary scene, cultural festivals, and artistic endeavours, such as the renowned Dubai Shopping Festival and the colourful National Day celebrations.
Using the Travala.com United Arab Emirates travel guide, our discounted prices, and the Best Price Guarantee, you’ll have almost everything you need to plan and book your United Arab Emirates trip.
With this guide, you’ll know when to go, where to visit and where to stay in the United Arab Emirates. We’ll help you plan the best things to do during your holiday and will equip you with all the essential information on tourism in the United Arab Emirates, including its culture, language, cuisine and customs.
What Travellers Say About the United Arab Emirates
“The UAE surpassed all my expectations! From mesmerising landscapes to warm hospitality, I was captivated at every turn. Exploring the rich heritage, indulging in delicious cuisine, and immersing myself in the vibrant atmosphere left me with unforgettable memories. Can’t wait to return and experience more of this captivating country!”
“Travelling through the UAE was an extraordinary journey of contrasts, from modern skyscrapers to serene deserts. The blend of tradition and contemporary elements, along with warm hospitality, created a unique cultural tapestry. Exploring ancient forts, savouring Emirati cuisine, and indulging in desert adventures made this trip unforgettable.”
Cities to Visit in the United Arab Emirates
Everything You Need to Know About the United Arab Emirates
The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates is during the winter months from November to March when the weather is pleasantly mild and comfortable for outdoor activities. This period allows for optimal exploration of the country’s attractions without the extreme heat of the summer months. However, the UAE offers year-round tourism opportunities, and each season has its own unique charm and events to experience.
The United Arab Emirates boasts a rich history and culture, blending ancient traditions with modern influences. Emirati culture thrives on values of respect, community, and a strong connection to Bedouin traditions, providing a welcoming environment for visitors.
In the UAE, a harmonious coexistence of old and new is evident, with a modern and cosmopolitan lifestyle complementing traditional practices. The country’s cultural fabric is interwoven with traditional arts, music, and dance, which are proudly showcased during festivals and events. The Dubai Shopping Festival offers a vibrant immersion into Emirati culture, featuring extravagant shopping experiences, captivating performances, and a celebration of local traditions. National Day celebrations further highlight Emirati pride, with traditional dances, music, and breathtaking fireworks displays.
Throughout the United Arab Emirates, visitors have the opportunity to witness the captivating tapestry of Emirati history and culture. From exploring historical sites to engaging in traditional practices and attending cultural events, the UAE provides an enriching and authentic experience that deepens one’s understanding of the country’s unique identity.
Traditional food in the United Arab Emirates is a delicious blend of Arabian, Persian, and Indian influences. Emirati cuisine showcases dishes like Machbous, a spiced rice dish with meat, and Harees, a slow-cooked wheat and meat porridge.
Seafood, including grilled hammour and kingfish, features prominently due to the country’s coastal location. Emirati culture embraces hospitality with the tradition of serving Arabic coffee and dates. Exploring traditional Emirati cuisine offers a delightful culinary journey, showcasing the flavours and spices of the region with a touch of Arabian warmth.
Getting around the United Arab Emirates is convenient and efficient, thanks to its modern transportation infrastructure. Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber and Careem are readily available in major cities, providing a reliable and transparent way to travel. For those on a budget, public buses offer cost-effective transportation with well-connected routes. Generally, bus fares range from around AED 2 to AED 6 for short to medium distances within a city.
The UAE’s well-maintained road network makes self-driving a popular option, allowing travellers to explore at their own pace. Car rental services are easily accessible, and clear English signage facilitates navigation. Additionally, the country has a modern public transportation system, including domestic flights and world-class airports, making intercity and international travel seamless and convenient. With a range of transportation options, getting around the United Arab Emirates is a breeze, ensuring smooth exploration of the country’s diverse regions and attractions.
The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic, specifically the Gulf Arabic dialect. Arabic is widely spoken and used in government, business, and everyday communication. However, due to the multicultural nature of the UAE, English is widely spoken and understood, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. Additionally, many road signs, menus, and information boards are displayed in both Arabic and English.
The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the UAE dirham (AED). Cash can be easily exchanged at airports, banks, and exchange offices. Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are readily available. Tipping is customary, and it’s important to practise standard precautions with cash and personal belongings.
- DO dress modestly, especially in public places, by avoiding revealing or tight-fitting clothing.
- DO respect local customs and traditions, such as refraining from public displays of affection.
- DO greet people with a polite “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you) and respond to greetings with “Wa alaykum as-salam” (and upon you be peace).
- DON’T consume alcohol in public places outside designated areas like hotels and licensed restaurants.
- DON’T engage in offensive or disrespectful behaviour towards Islam or any religious beliefs.
- DON’T use offensive language or gestures, as it is considered disrespectful and can result in legal consequences.
United Arab Emirates FAQs
Do I need a visa for the United Arab Emirates?
Visitors to the United Arab Emirates typically require a visa, and the specific requirements depend on nationality and the purpose and duration of the visit. It is advisable to check with the nearest UAE embassy or consulate for accurate and up-to-date information on visa requirements.
Is the United Arab Emirates safe to visit?
Yes, the United Arab Emirates is generally considered a safe country to visit. It maintains a low crime rate and has stringent security measures in place. The UAE places a strong emphasis on ensuring the safety and well-being of residents and visitors. However, like any destination, it is recommended to exercise common travel precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, keeping valuables secure, and following local laws and customs. It is always a good idea to stay informed about the current situation by checking travel advisories from your home country before planning your trip.
What is the best time to travel to the United Arab Emirates?
The best time to travel to the United Arab Emirates is during the winter months from November to March when temperatures are pleasant for outdoor activities. It is advisable to avoid the hot summer months of July and August when temperatures can be extremely high.
What to pack for the United Arab Emirates?
When packing for the United Arab Emirates, it is recommended to include lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for warm weather. Opt for modest attire, such as loose-fitting tops, long pants or skirts, and dresses that cover the shoulders and knees, to respect local customs.
Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are essential for sun protection, and it’s advisable to pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Additionally, comfortable walking shoes, a light jacket or shawl for air-conditioned environments, and swimwear for beach or pool activities are recommended. Don’t forget to pack any necessary travel documents, adapters for electronic devices, and a travel guide or map for exploring the country.
What are the best places to visit in the United Arab Emirates?
The United Arab Emirates offers an abundance of captivating destinations to explore. In Dubai, marvel at the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and visit the stunning man-made island of Palm Jumeirah. Abu Dhabi is home to the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the opulent Emirates Palace.
Immerse yourself in culture in Sharjah by visiting the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and strolling along the picturesque Al Qasba waterfront. In Fujairah, unwind on the pristine beaches of Dibba Bay and explore the historical Al Bidyah Mosque.
Ras Al Khaimah beckons with adventurous activities like ziplining through the Jebel Jais mountain range and relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Al Hamra.
Finally, in Al Ain, discover the enchanting Al Ain Oasis and admire the panoramic views from the top of Jebel Hafeet. With these diverse and remarkable destinations, the United Arab Emirates offers an unforgettable travel experience.
Top Booked Hotels in the United Arab Emirates
Meliá Desert Palm Dubai
Meliá Desert Palm resort in Dubai offers a luxurious oasis nestled amidst lush polo fields, combining elegant accommodations, fine dining, and lush greenery for a truly unique escape in the country’s capital.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khamiah
The Ritz-Carlton resort in Ras Al Khaimah presents a luxurious escape where guests can indulge in breathtaking views, exquisite accommodations, and unrivalled hospitality.
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers resort offers a sophisticated and contemporary retreat with stunning panoramic views, luxurious accommodations, and exceptional culinary experiences.
InterContinental Fujairah Resort
InterContinental Fujairah Resort provides a beachfront escape where guests can unwind in luxurious surroundings, savour exquisite dining options, and be immersed in natural beauty.
Top 10 Things To Do in the United Arab Emirates
Visit the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and enjoy breathtaking views from the observation deck, soaring high above the city and capturing the stunning skyline of Dubai.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Explore the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a stunning architectural masterpiece adorned with intricate details, including marble domes and stunning chandeliers, providing a serene and awe-inspiring experience.
Take a desert safari in the vast sand dunes of the UAE, experiencing thrilling activities like dune bashing in 4×4 vehicles, camel riding across the golden landscape, and trying your hand at sandboarding for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
Enjoy a day of luxury and relaxation at the pristine beaches of Ras Al Khaimah or Fujairah, where you can unwind on soft sands, soak up the sun, and indulge in water sports like snorkelling, kayaking, or paddleboarding.
Discover the rich Emirati heritage at the Dubai Museum, located in the historic Al Fahidi Fort, where you can explore fascinating exhibits and artefacts that showcase the country’s history and culture.
Experience the thrilling rides and attractions at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, home to Ferrari World, an indoor theme park with record-breaking roller coasters, Yas Waterworld, an exhilarating water park, and Warner Bros. World, where you can meet your favourite cartoon characters.
Embark on a traditional dhow cruise along the Dubai Creek or Abu Dhabi Corniche, enjoying a leisurely sail on a wooden boat, while taking in the picturesque views of the city’s skyline and enjoying a delicious dinner.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a magnificent museum that houses a collection of diverse art and artefacts from around the world, featuring masterpieces spanning centuries and cultures.
Al Ain Oasis
Explore the Al Ain Oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can wander through the serene palm groves, experience the ancient falaj irrigation system, and learn about the traditional agricultural practices of the region.
Indulge in world-class shopping at Dubai’s famous malls like The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, where you can shop for luxury brands, enjoy incredible dining options, and immerse yourself in entertainment experiences like indoor skiing or a visit to an aquarium or an ice rink.
5 Reasons to Visit the United Arab Emirates
- The United Arab Emirates offers a captivating blend of modern marvels and rich cultural heritage, providing a unique and diverse travel experience.
- With stunning architectural wonders, pristine beaches, and luxurious resorts, the United Arab Emirates promises an unforgettable vacation in a paradise of opulence.
- Immerse yourself in the warm Arabian hospitality, indulge in world-class shopping, and embark on exhilarating desert adventures in the United Arab Emirates.
- From exploring the futuristic cityscapes of Dubai to discovering the cultural gems of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates offers a perfect combination of excitement and cultural immersion.
- Experience the ultimate blend of tradition and innovation, from historic forts and vibrant souks to luxurious resorts and thrilling theme parks, making the United Arab Emirates a destination of endless possibilities.