Overview: With its man-made islands, opulent hotels and iconic buildings, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has always been a show-stopping, headline-grabbing destination, offering an intriguing blend of Islamic culture and modernity.
The world watched spellbound as billionaire Emiratis built mega structure after mega structure, seducing slack-jawed tourists and expats with everything from the tallest building Burj Khalifa to bustling souks, sprawling tax-free shopping malls and decadent hotel brunches.
Explore the country’s luxurious side and be pampered at the reams of five star abodes and spas, flex your credit card with world-class designer shopping or dine at gourmet restaurants. Alternatively, visit the nation’s less showy attractions including the buzzing Creek with traditional abra boats, and a vista dotted with mosques and markets, or the Falcon Hospital where tours teach visitors how to care for the UAE’s royal birds. Meanwhile, the vast natural desert offers endless discoveries via exciting modes of transport from hot air balloon and quad bike to helicopter or sand board.
Or simply mix up a blend of everything; after all, that’s what makes the UAE unique.
At a glance:
- Population: approximately 5.5 million
- Capital city: Abu Dhabi (population 875 thousand)
- Biggest city: Dubai (population 1.5 million)
- Area: 83,600 square kilometers
- Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
- Time zone: GMT + 4 (daylight-saving time not observed)
- Religion: Islam / Muslims