The United Arab Emirates has become one of the top destinations for holidays. The tourism industry there is booming and visitors are welcomed with open arms, accommodating staff and a world of relaxation at their fingertips. The UAE is teeming with unique culture, exciting entertainment and famous landmarks to keep your interests. If you are considering visiting the UAE’s top destinations, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, here are a few things that you should know before planning.
The Visa Requirements
Luckily for UK citizens, no prior visa arrangements are required for your trip to the UAE. Simply get off your flight once you reach Dubai or Abu Dhabi, present your passport at immigration and receive a free 30-day visa. For an additional charge, you can extend your visa for an extra 30 days if you are planning an extended stay in the country.
Where to Find Affordable Flights
Flights to the UAE range from 700 pounds to close to 3,000 pounds. Make sure to search various sites online to find the best deal on flights. Sites like OntimeTravel.co.uk and Momondo.com are great search engines to use when comparing the cheapest prices of international flights.
Where to Find the Best Hotels Deals
Since these cities have such a prosperous tourist industry, they are well equipped with hotels for everyone’s needs. You can use sites like OntimeTravel.co.uk and Tripadvisor.com to find helpful recommendations and price ranges on hotels to book before making the journey. Here are a few hotel suggestions for every holiday budget.
- Budget: Al Uruba Hotel: Rooms can cost around 55 pounds per night and it is in a good location with comfortable yet basic amenities.
- Middle Price: Four Points by Sheraton: Costs around 130 pounds a night and has spacious rooms, a swimming pool and a gym.
- High-end: Burj al-Arab: Costs about 1,200 pounds a night and is famous for being the world’s first 7 star hotel.
- Budget: The Royal Hotel: Costs about 60 pounds per night and has a gym, pool and jacuzzi.
- Middle Price: Hilton: Costs about 100 pounds per night, is close to the beach and offers seaside view rooms.
- High-end: Emirates Palace: This is one of the most expensive hotels in the city and features a caviar and champagne bar as well as an upscale club and café. It costs around 330 pounds per night.
What Sights Should You See
The sightseeing is definitely part of the fun so make sure to take a break from the beaches to see what is around.
- Bastakiya District: One of the last areas of the old Dubai. See traditional buildings and explore the art galleries and cafes.
- Jumeirah Mosque: Take a guided tour in this prime example of Islamic architecture and one of the only mosques that allows non-Muslim visitors.
- Palm Islands: These are the three largest artificial islands in the world and each are shaped like palm leafs. Check out the shopping, restaurants and bars featured on the islands.
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque: The 6th largest mosque in the world. It is beautiful and can be toured despite its strict dress code.
- The Corniche: Interesting waterfront area that runs along beaches and hosts plenty of places to shop.
- Heritage Village: An area of replica traditional buildings, handicraft stores and a beach with a city view.
What Foods You Should Try
The cuisine in the UAE is international overall and also offers dishes that are unique to the area. The restaurants range from market stall to high-end establishments so there are plenty of venues for you to have a taste. Make sure to try some of the Indian restaurants, the shawarma (meat and salad inside a pita bread) and falafel.
What Experiences Should You Have
There are just certain things you should experience on a trip to the UAE that will make it an unforgettable holiday.
- Visit the lavish shopping malls and window shop in the high-end boutiques. The Dubai Mall and the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi have some of the best shopping.
- Roam around the historical markets and pick up spices, handmade clothing and souvenirs. Popular markets are the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk in Dubai.
- Have fun in the desert of Abu Dhabi by taking a safari or driving around the dunes in a SUV. You can even observe the desert from the sky by taking hot air balloon tours over the dunes of Dubai.
How Should You Get Around
Dubai has a metro system, a public bus and a monorail if you are looking for cheaper options to get around the city. The layout is still very much car oriented and you could rent your own vehicle or hire a taxi for more expensive but convenient options. Abu Dhabi also has a public bus but taking a taxi seems to be the preferred way to get around.
What Should You Pack
The UAE is a desert country and you should expect the climate to be hot and dry. Make sure to bring clothes for warm weather, a bathing suit for the beaches and pools and hats and sunscreen to protect you from the sun. Sandals are ok for the beach, but bring your walking shoes as there is plenty to see. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are full of upscale restaurants, clubs and venues so make sure to bring nice clothing that will suit the high standard of dress.
What Entertainment is Available
There is plenty to entertain between both of these major cities. The water parks and swimming pools are popular outings for visitors in Abu Dhabi and the beaches, fishing and water sports are loved by travelers to Dubai. Yacht charters and scuba diving are also popular pastimes for those wanting a break from lounging by the sea.
The list of places to visit and activities to try is endless for the UAE. With such an accommodating tourism industry, you should have no problem getting yourself planned and ready to embark on a holiday that you will never forget.