Things to do in UAE

Top 10 Things to do in


If you remember the Fry’s chocolate bar advert – ‘Full of Eastern Promise’ then that just about sums up the United Arab Emirates; from the sandy desert that has looked the same for thousands of years to the fishing ports and fish markets unchanged for hundred to the modern impossibly grand tower blocks that seem to change yearly, the UAE has it all.
1 Attend a Robotic Camel Race.
Attend a Robotic Camel Race.
This is such a bizarre and funny experience. Children were once employed to race the camels but since they were banned the owners have employed robots to sit on the camels. The robots wear the traditional jockey shirts and have whips which are radio controlled by their owners who travel in cars around a parallel track and operate the controls through the windows. It’s a little like Wacky Races and fun of gambling is overshadowed somewhat by the hilarity of watching car crashes and screamed instructions from the cars.
 

2 Visit Sharjah, the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’.
Visit Sharjah, the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’.
The city of Sharjah decided not to go wholesale down the route of its neighbours such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The ruler of the country decided that much of the culture of the region was being swallowed up by the greed and money of the oil revolution and so set about preserving, enhancing and celebrating Emirates culture. The result was that Sharjah was named by UNESCO as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. There is a long term commitment to invest in culture including museums, mosques, and other cultural destinations. Sharjah also prides itself on preserving the flavours and traditions of Emirates cuisine.

3 Visit the mountains and the Gulf of Oman in Fujairah.
Visit the mountains and the Gulf of Oman in Fujairah.
Fujairah is another more ‘old fashioned’ part of the UAE with the people still involved in traditional sea-based activities like fishing. The eastern coast of the UAE has not seen the rapid economic growth of Dubai and Abu Dhabi and for this reason it is well worth seeing for its more traditional culture, mountains, unspoilt beaches, and traditional crafts like the creation of beautiful and clever palm frond canoes.

4 Shop at the Gold Souk in Dubai.
Shop at the Gold Souk in Dubai.
Many people travel to Dubai for gold and jewellery purchases and the best place is the gold souk in the Deira area which has more than 300 dealers in gold jewellery although some of the larger shops do have other types. The UAE’s free trade policies resulted in a great increase in people coming to buy gold and hence Dubai’s trade in gold and precious jewels represents about a quarter of the emirate’s non-oil trade. Much of the gold used to make the jewellery comes from smelters in Switzerland. Rather strangely, India is the largest buyer of gold from the UAE.

5 Visit An Archaeological Dig Site.
Visit An Archaeological Dig Site.
You wouldn’t naturally think of archaeology when you think of the Emirates although there are many sites, usually very inaccessible. The most convenient for visitors to the UAE is the Jumeirah Archaeological Site in Dubai. One worries for archaeology here as the site is surrounded everywhere by construction and yet it has given up numerous amazing archaeological treasures. The dig site at Jumeirah was formerly a stop on the ancient caravan route between Oman and Iraq.

6 Shop Dubai Duty Free
Shop Dubai Duty Free
We’ve talked about gold shopping in Dubai but what we haven’t mentioned is that Dubai is a Duty Free city. This makes it a reason in itself to travel to the UAE. The Duty Free shopping mall in Dubai International Airport is enormous, shiny, and enticing. As well as shopping, there are often draws for things like luxury automobiles, homes and sometimes large cash prizes are given away. Luxury is so much cheaper in the UAE and because of this it attracts the wealthy who want to stay that way whilst still enjoying the world’s finest.

7 Attend a cricket match.
Attend a cricket match.
A large number of expatriate workers from India and Pakistan live in the UAE as it is a short hop from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. In their own countries they are avid fans of cricket and the UAE has responded with large cricket stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai where international cricket, particularly limited overs and Twenty 20 matches are played under floodlights.

8 Visit the Al Ain National Museum.
Visit the Al Ain National Museum.
For more archaeological interest you should visit the museum at Al Ain which opened 40 years ago. Here, artefacts discovered in the area pertaining to the town’s position as a stage post on the trade routes show just how far traders came along the route. There are items from Greece and central Europe as well as other objects from Mongolia, China and Thailand. This museum is regularly updated with new discoveries meaning it’s worth going back from time to time.

9 Go to Dreamland Water Park.
Go to Dreamland Water Park.
If you thought Dubai’s Water Park was great you have got to come to Dreamland and it’s just that. If a water park designer had gone to sleep and dreamt their ideal water park this would be it. From an artificial Dead Sea to a lazy river that looks like a real river in nature, a huge Jacuzzi and a great pool bar. After the fun there’s seven enticing restaurants or fast food outlets for the kids. If the sun gets too hot there’s plenty of indoor entertainment too.

10 Camp Overnight In The Desert
Camp Overnight In The Desert
There’s little in the world more magical that lying on the sand in the middle of a desert looking up into the pure blackness of the sky at the millions of stars and galaxies. One of the best and safest ways to do this is to set out from the city in a 4WD and set up camp with the Bedouin. They’ll prepare a delicious meal for you, served in the traditional way, whilst you sit on huge cushions. Finish with an Arabic coffee under the stars before turning in to sleep in the absolute silence of the desert night.

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