The United Arab Emirates
Discover the United Arab Emirates, a nexus of distinctive emirates, from the palm-shaped islands of Dubai to the arty Shajah with its cultural heritage sites.
Each emirate is an individual destination with a history, attracting corporate and leisure guests the world over to experience the magic of the United Arab Emirates for themselves.
The glittering lights of Dubai are world-renowned for their towering skyscrapers, enormous shopping malls and sprawling beach resorts. The city is an equilibrium of rich historic intrigue and forward-looking modernity, all sitting within the same characterful emirate.
Take a stroll to Old Dubai’s Bastakiya’s heritage art areas, where some of the city’s finest and oldest art galleries are housed. Further along you’ll find Dubai’s gold, spices and textiles souks for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of traditional shopping in Dubai.
The neighbourhoods of Al Shindagha and Al Hamriya are nearby residential districts with several shopping complexes and foreign consulates. Al Shindagha is home to The Heritage Village, which transports you to an era celebrating Dubai’s traditions. Spend some time here and find out more about the traditional customs, professionals and local craftsmanship of this most captivating region.
Rafat, General Manager, recommends:
“My insider tip would be to visit Dubai Garden Glow. Great for kids, the entire garden is lit up with animals, flamingos, flowers and more. Other unmissable nature attractions are the Dubai Dolphinarium and The Dubai Butterfly Garden – Great examples of some of the stunning wildlife you can get to see here in the United Arab Emirates. Take a stroll around the beautiful Bastakiya or hop on an Abra Ride on the Creek from Gold Souk and soak up all that this enchanting city has to offer.”
The beautiful Emirate of Ajman sits just north of Sharjah and is hallmarked by its rows of pretty palm-lined beaches and the tranquil Corniche. It may be the smallest Emirate but that doesn’t hold Ajman back. It offers a picturesque retreat while boasting an intriguing museum and one of the last-remaining dhow-building yards. It has become a business hub.
Take a cruise on a dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel, which lets you explore Ajman from the water. The tour covers significant heritage sights and points of interest, giving you a glimpse into the region’s rich and diverse history. On or off a dhow, places to visit include King Faisal Mosque, The Rulers Old Palace and The Natural History Museum.
The busy Corniche is a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike in Ajman, offering a wealth of activities including cycling, horse-back riding and trekking. Alternatively, take some time to yourself to watch the sun set over the stunning beaches.
Ferghal, General Manager, recommends:
“I’d recommend a visit to The Al Zorah Golf Club with its 18-hole championship layout. It is the perfect day trip for an avid golfer. The Dhow Yard is also well worth a visit to see some of the traditional Arab boats built by hand from techniques passed down through the generations while the Ajman Fish Market gives you a unique experience of local trade.”
Finding its home on the Persian Gulf, Sharjah is an Emirate known as the nation’s cultural gem. It boasts the largest arts museum in the whole of the United Arab Emirates, the Sharjah Arts Museum boasting 72 galleries spread over three floors.
The hustle and bustle of traditional Arabian shopping is never far away in the form of Sharjah’s Souk area. The Fish Souk and Fruit and Vegetable Souk are a fantastic way to step into the way of life.
Meanwhile, Sharjah’s Central Market with its ornate blue tiling houses over 600 shops. These include jewellery, perfume, clothing, electronics, food and gift items, among many others. Upstairs at the Central Market, also known as the Blue Market, sits a traditional Arabian bazaar where you can invest in antiques, Yemeni and Omani jewellery and other souvenirs and trinkets to take home with you.
Haytham, General Manager, recommends:
“Sharjah is known for its heritage, so a visit to the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation is well worth it, letting you take a journey through Arab and Islamic culture. Other cultural spots include the Natural History Museum, Maritime Museum, Archaeology Museum and Science Museum.
“I’d recommend a trip to the Sharjah Aquarium to experience some of the wildlife, and for something a little different.”