The United Arab Emirates (UAE), established on December 2 1971, is a union
of seven sovereign sheikdoms namely Abu dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm
al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah and occupies a triangle of land and
sea on Arabia's eastern side.
Along the Arabian Gulf coast are offshore islands, coral reefs, salt
marshes, gravel plain and barren desert characterising the inland region. To
the east stand the Hajar mountains in the vicinity of the Gulf of Oman which
reach north into the Musandam peninsula at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf.
The western part of the Federation, most of which is Abu Dhabi territory,
consists mainly of desert interspersed with oasis where one of the largest
oasis is Al Liwa, beyond which is the vast Rub al-Khali desert, or Empty
The country is marked by deep-rooted cultural heritage accessible in the
many cultural centres and identified with traditional sports such as
falconry, camel- racing and horse-racing has been a great attraction for
tourists. The UAE has also become an important centre for conferences,
regional and international exhibitions and major sports events such as the
Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament as well as polo
and cricket competitions.
Last, but not the least, today Abu dhabi and Dubai are among the most
modern cities in the world and the country itself is the world's fastest
growing tourist destination.
Official name :
United Arab Emirates
Federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE
federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates.
Capital city :
Ethnic groups :
Arab (61%), South Asian (22%), Iranian (8%), other
The UAE lies in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of
Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It is a flat,
barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert
wasteland; with mountains in the east. Its strategic location along southern
approaches to the Strait of Hormuz makes it a vital transit point for world
crude oil. The UAE is considered to be one of the fifteen states that
comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity".
Emirati dirham (AED); 1 AED = 11.848 Indian Rupee =
0.2723 US = 0.2259 Euro (subject to change).
Arabic, Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Muslim (96%) Hindu, Christian and other (4%)
83,600 sq km
Famous for :
Major cities :
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the
year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months,
especially in the evenings.
Major events :
Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha
(Pilgrimage), Lailat al-Mi'raj (the Ascension of the Prophet), the Prophet's
Birthday and the Islamic New Year ,New Year's Day (1 January) and National
Day (1 December).
Things to Buy :
Gold and diamond jewellery
Things to do :
Shopping, sightseeing, dive centres or jetski hire
operations,Camel safaris Desert safaris or golfing.
The original staples :
mostly fresh dried fish, camel
meat, and dates.
Lebanese ingredients and Arabian Peninsula cooking style :
Falafels, a deep fried chickpea and garlic ball, is a popular and tasty
snack. Homous, a chickpea, garlic and lemon dip, is also common.
Iranian food :
is spicy, and served with nuts and raisins
adorning the dishes. Kebab stands are all over the city, and are served with
a variety of side dishes, including rice, yoghurt, lettuce, tomatoes,
cabbage and onions. Most Iranian restaurants serve Koresh, a delicious meat
stew with Naan, a flat loaf of bread.
Local coffee,Gahwa, is green or greenish-brown in color,
a hue that comes from the Cardamom it is flavored with. Turkish coffee is
also popular in Dubai, which is very thick and strong, and should be drank
with a fair bit of sugar. Alchohol is available in restaurants everywhere
but not in Sharjah.
British citizens and nationals of most Gulf countries do not require visas;
Gulf citizens can stay as long as they want, Britons for up to three months.
All other visitors are required to have visas. Your hotel can sponsor you
for a 15-day, nonrenewable transit visa or a one-month renewable visit visa.
That if your passport shows evidence of travel to
Israel you will be denied entry to the UAE.
Most Emiratis are Sunni Muslims following the Maliki or Hanbali schools of
Islamic law. Many of the latter are Wahhabis, though UAE Wahhabis are not as
strict and puritanical as the ones in Saudi ; the UAE is probably the most
liberal country in the Gulf but it is still very conservative by Western
standards. Ibadi and Shiite Muslims are the smaller communities in the
country. Strikingly 500,000 of the 2 million people living in the country
are UAE citizens and the rest are expatriates from other Gulf countries, and
from Pakistan, Iran and India.
When to go
The best time of the year to visit the UAE is between November and April,
when the weather is at its best. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, falls
in December-January when eating, drinking or smoking in public from sunrise
to sunset is prohibited.
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate where sunny, blue skies can be
expected most of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, falling
mainly in winter. Temperatures range from 10.5 C(50 F) to a high of 48
The average daily maximum is 24 C(75.2 F) in January rising to 41 C (105.8
F) in July.
By Air :
Main international airports of the country are in Dubai and
Abu Dhabi, though an increasing number of carriers are servicing Sharjah as
well. Smaller international airports serve Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah and
Al-Ain. There are daily services to most major European cities from Dubai
and Abu Dhabi, and also to major Middle Eastern and Gulf cities. There are
also connections to the USA, North Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and
A daily bus service between Dubai and Muscat in Oman provides a comfortable
journey for the passengers. Regular bus services operate between both Dubai
and Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province but there are no bus or
taxi services to Qatar.
By Sea :
Boats carry passengers between Sharjah and Bandar-é
Abbas in Iran; the voyage takes 12 hours each way.
By Road :
There is no inter-city air or bus service between the
seven emirates, so the only way to travel is by car or by service taxi. The
main problem is that they take a while to fill up, except on the main Abu
Dhabi-Dubai route. Between these two cities, one can have the choice of
slightly cheaper minibuses.
Car rental is only slightly more expensive than in the West, and is
relatively easy to arrange in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi( capital city) :
The capital of the UAE, is a charming
city where the domes and minarets of traditional mosques are nestled in the
shade of gleaming modern skyscrapers. Tree-lined paths, decorated
roundabouts, lovely fountains and beautifully well laid parks add life to
the modern cityscape. In the vicinity of the city are graciously engineered
Abu Dhabi Corniche which stretches for 10 kilometres along the islands
mangrove-fringed and white sandy beaches. Hotels and great restaurants are
located here to provide the tourists with all possible comforts. Abu Dhabi
is majorly a business, manufacturing and trading center with the
headquarters of many oil companies.
It is site of the great battles of the Ridda Wars between
Muslim armies and a number of tribes and towns that had betrayed the faith
after The Phrophet's death. The victory of the Muslims at Dibba in 633AD
marks the end of the Muslim re-conquest of Arabia. Dibba is a collection of
three seaside villages - each belonging to a different ruler (Fujairah,
Sharjah and Oman). And is a great spot to spend few hours in solitude.
Other Attractions :
Sharjah and Dubai are other cities in United Arab
Emirates, which will keep you engaged in your tour to UAE.