United Arab Emirates Holidays – How is it Like?
The United Arab Emirates has so much to offer. There’s the glittering towers of Dubai, the long stretches of beach, the fine restaurants of Abu Dhabi, the deserts beautiful oases, large organic farms, and more. Anyone who has the chance to explore this stunning Arabian Gulf landscape should do it at least once in their lifetime.
Due to the United Arab Emirates very high standard of living and success in growth and trade, people have come from all over the globe to live and work here. There are roughly 4.4 million people living in the United Arab Emirates, with only about 15 to 20% of them actually being UAE citizens, and 96% being muslim. The United Arab Emirates main holidays include National Day (December 2) which is when the UAE was formed, Eid Al Fitr, which follows Ramadan, and Eid Al Adha, which comes after Al Hajj season. The Emirati culture is made up of Islam and the Bedouin, Arab culture and you’ll see this reflected in the country’s music, architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle.
If you’ve never been to the United Arab Emirates before, you might have a few preconceived notions about the country. As fantastic as Dubai is (and it definitely is a must-see, with many different tremendous attractions) there’s more to the United Arab Emirates than Dubai – or Abu Dhabi for that matter. These places are almost always what comes to mind when envisioning the United Arab Emirates – tall buildings, shopping, and magnificent mosques. These are, of course, incredible parts of the UAE and should be seen during your United Arab Emirates holidays, but you would be remiss if you traveled all the way to this glorious part of the world and didn’t take the UAE up on all of the little things that make this country so spectacular.
Starting off with the obvious, there is Dubai. Dubai is a wonderland destination, boasting the tallest towers in the world, the most incredible shopping experiences, and exciting night life. One look at the Burj al-Arab and you’ll understand what makes Dubai special. This enormous hotel built on a man-made island stands off the coast of the city, sparkling in the sunlight. It’s shaped like a traditional sailing ship used in the region, and a “simple” room here costs upwards of ten thousand dollars per night. Not tall enough for you?? The Burj Khalifa is the world famous tower, standing a whopping eight hundred and thirty meters tall. This makes it the tallest building in the entire world, making all the rest of the surrounding sky scrapers look like toys in comparison. A visit to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without checking out the Dubai Mall and all of the interesting attractions it has within – there’s the SEGA Republic games room where you can while away the heat of the summer enjoying the arcade style fun. If you really want to beat the heat, why not hit the slopes? Indoors, that is. Strap on your skis, because the Mall of the Emirates has the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, and it’s really quite impressive.
Another one of big time holiday destinations within the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi, home of the elaborate Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This United Arab Emirates city is high up on the itinerary of most travelers to the country, due to its capital city status and it’s endless upscale shopping opportunities, Ferrari World amusement park, and heritage village. The enormous Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the iconic structure of Abu Dhabi, featuring eighty two domes, more than one thousand columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the largest hand knotted carpet in the world. While in Abu Dhabi, see the Women’s Craft Centre. Showcasing the local women’s traditional skills, the centre features a variety of weaving, embroidery and basketry. It’s the perfect spot to get yourself an unusual and authentic souvenir from the United Arab Emirates, which also supports the local community. Bags, shawls, slippers, carpets and textiles, trays and baskets are all featured here.
Falcons are important in the United Arab Emirates, and highly skilled falconers are esteemed sportsmen. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is a working veterinary hospital that takes care of ill or injured falcons, as well as offering fascinating guided tours for interested visitors to the UAE. The tours provided by the facility allow visitors to be able to get up close and personal with these beautiful birds of prey, and even get the chance to hold them.
For a different kind of falconry experience in the United Arab Emirates, you can witness the beauty of the UAE’s falcons on a this 5 hour tour into the desert. Starting in Dubai, you will travel to a desert retreat to enjoy a phenomenal falconry display, and even try your hand at flying a falcon yourself. This tour is a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse of this treasured ancient Bedouin practice. After the falconry display you’ll embark on a wildlife tour through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve while you’re sitting comfortable in a vintage Land Rover – or you can upgrade to a luxurious Mercedes G-Wagon. Keep an eye out for the Arabian oryx, gazelle and other animals during this safari, which will finish with a ride on a camel and some snacks. The tours groups are kept to smaller numbers, in order to allow for a more personalized experience. Part of the cost of your ticket is donated to local animal conservation, which is a great way to help out the animals as well as the tourism industry in this area of the United Arab Emirates.
Aside from falconry tours, there’s a wide range of different desert safaris and camping trips you can take in the United Arab Emirates. If you’re simply interested in seeing the sights and experiencing the beautiful desert, there’s no better way to do it than to head out into the sands on a guided safari. Although it’s a better idea to book well in advance, you can book your UAE desert safari the day before you leave if you haven’t committed to anything until the last minute. Most of the hotels in the major cities are more than willing to help you arrange a tour that will pick you up from the hotel and drop you off there again when the tour is over.
The desert safari tours can last anywhere from a half day to several days, with campsites out under the beautiful desert sky. You could even book a dinner-only tour into the desert and enjoy a meal with music and belly dancer entertainment. Perhaps one of the most recommended desert safari tour operators is DesertSafariDubai.com, where you can book the type of tour that suits you best. Their overnight desert safari feaures:
– A scheduled pick up by 4×4 wheel drive from any point in Dubai and Sharjah between 3:00 pm and 3:30 pm.
– A scenic drive through the desert along Al Awir Road
– Dune Bashing, a popular and thrilling activity involving off-roading over sand dunes
– Twenty to thirty minutes of Dune Driving
– Sunset photography opportunities
– Camel Rides
– Belly Dancing, however it should be noted the belly dancing is not available during Ramadan
– A Bar, also not available during Ramadan
– Henna Painting
– Shisha, or “hubble bubble” smoking through a traditional water pipe
– Arabic Coffee (gahwa) and fresh dates.
– Traditional costumes
– An unlimited amount of soft drinks, tea coffee and mineral water
– A buffet Dinner and B.B.Q. If vegetarian food is required, you can simply request this during booking
– An overnight stay at the specially made camp site
– Sleep bags and blankets included
– Breakfast of tea or coffee, toast, butter/jam , eggs and juice
– Departure at 8:30 am next morning with a return back to your place of pick up, such as your hotel
– Sand Skiing is an option, at a cost of an additional AED 100
– Quad Bike tours are also an option, at an additional price of AED 125
A number of different kinds of adventures await in the United Arab Emirates, from sand to sea. Speaking of sea, why not step into the waist deep crystal blue waters at Atlantis Dolphin Encounter at Dolphin Bay, and experience the enchanting world of the playful and curious dolphins in the shallow lagoon. This is an activity that is suitable for a wide range of ages, and is an excellent choice for younger children and non-swimmers who are still eager to get acquainted with the aquatic life off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Atlantis Dolphin Encounter also offers a deep water dolphin interaction experience for those who wish to join the beautiful animals in a one of a kind excursion into the lagoon’s deeper area. You can expect to be able to touch and play with the graceful creatures along with a fifteen minute orientation. As an additional bonus to your excursion, every dolphin interaction fare includes a complimentary same day access pass to the exciting Aquaventure Waterpark and beach featuring panoramic views of Dubai’s impressive skyline.
Want to see the United Arab Emirates from an entirely different angle? Dubai Seaplane Adventures have flights that take you from Dubai Creek to Jebel Ali, or the other way around, bringing you up, up and away over the city. See the impressive and iconic towers of Dubai from the sky, as you ride along on a seaplane tour that takes you across the whole city. Your tour will leave from directly from the waters of the picturesque Persian Gulf, soaring up into the skies in a Seawings seaplane over the water, taking in the impressive cityscape. You’ll have a terrific view of the architectural marvels that mark the Dubai skyline from the window of a comfortable cabin, as you take to the skies over the Burj Khalifa which is the world’s tallest building. You’ll also be able to observe the beautiful Palm Jumeirah Island, among other visial splendours that only a view from the skies can offer. Take advantage of so many different photo opportunities, as this aerial tour features an extremely unique experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
It’s worth noting that the United Arab Emirates enjoys a very low crime rate, and visiting the country is remarkable safe provided you use common sense just as you would at home or any other place you visit. General medical care in all of the major cities is very good, and although the water in the UAE is considered safe to drink, many simply prefer to drink bottled water. Since it’s a hot dry climate, keep yourself protected from the sun’s rays, and stay hydrated no matter where you go. Wearing modest clothing is important in many areas of the UAE, so ensure you’ve brought something to wear that covers you up better than beachwear and short shorts. Relax, have a good time, and enjoy everything the United Arab Emirates has to offer!
Visit the Middle East destinations category to learn more about other tourism opportunities available in Middle East!