Some may not know the United Arab Emirates, as people are more familiar with one of its seven emirates – Dubai. If you have never heard of it, this is located in the Gulf region with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi on its left and the Sultanate of Oman on the right. In the past few years, the country has been developing different attractions for both residents and tourists.
Tourists today will be very lucky once they visit the UAE – it is now full of tourist destinations that one will enjoy. Here are some of the attractions that you should not miss in visiting the country.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Considered as one of the biggest mosques in the world, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of frequent traveler’s favorite places to visit. This is located in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, and is the key place worship for Muslims in the country to have their daily prayers. It houses the world’s biggest carpet and has a capacity of 41,000 people which is open to all religions. It was the project of the country’s late president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with the goal to “unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art”.
Who says islands have to be boring? The Yas Island is Abu Dhabi’s tourism project that houses many of the country’s best theme parks, such as the world’s first Ferrari theme park Ferrari World, the award-winning water park Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi. For racing fans, this is the place where you can watch a race on the island’s Yas Marina Circuit.
Louvre Museum – Abu Dhabi
For art and history lovers, the first Louvre outside France would not be complete without entering this iconic museum. The unique roof and facade were from the award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. This attraction is located in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, which will also open the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi soon.
The Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall
Be amazed to see the world’s tallest building up close! This popular Dubai landmark stands at 828 meters high which also has an observation deck and a lounge at the top level of the skyscraper. A few minutes’ walk from this building, tourists can shop on the huge floor area of the Dubai Mall that includes high-end luxury brands. This area is very accessible – being connected to Dubai Metro, bus terminal, or hail a taxi.
Dubai Gold Souq
It is one of the famous souk (Arabic term for market) in Dubai, which is like a street of jewelers offering gold at the best prices and a wide selection. Choose from the thousands of golds diamond, and other gemstones and precious metals from hundreds of sellers. Shop the best of Arabian-inspired items, sweets, spices, and souvenirs on one of Dubai’s popular tourist attractions that is located nearby this jewelry haven.
The Palm Jumeirah
This upscale man-made island has a shape inspired by the palm tree. This is where luxurious Dubai resorts and hotels can be found, which includes Atlantis The Palm Hotel, and Water Park. Skydiving is also available in this location and an observation deck allows visitors to see the whole island. There is also a row of restaurants that offers Arabic and International cuisines, including upscale dining as well.
The Dubai Frame
This 150 meters above the Zabeel Park in Dubai, this architectural landmark is considered as the world’s largest frame in the world. The top has a transparent floor and views that will allow visitors to appreciate Dubai’s busy streets and the sunset. Though there are controversies in the conception and construction of this building, it is now fully open and already accepting visitors.
Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet
These are two of the most well-known mountain peaks that can be visited in the UAE. Jebel Jais is located in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, and is the highest peak in the country. You can also experience the world’s longest zipline – Jebel Jais Flight – with speeds that can reach 120 kilometers. Another mountain to visit is the Jebel Hafeet, the second-highest in the country that is located in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Appreciate the beauty of the sunrise and sunset while driving to the top.
Sharjah’s Art Museum
As Saadiyat Island’s museums feature international collections, Sharjah’s Art Museum showcases Arab artists and other art from the Middle East. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions, and may sometimes collaborate with artists from other countries. The museum architecture is an attraction itself, as it is inspired by traditional Arabian architecture.
Though it is popular with local residents, the Khorfakkan beach is getting attention from international tourists. It is a great area to experience sailing, kayaking, hop on a dhow cruise, rent a jet ski, or get a fish at some fishing spots. Tourists can also relax in this area by availing themselves of a spa package at the nearby resort. This beach is close to the Khorfakkan Ampitheater that is inspired by Roman architecture and the Khorfakkan Waterfalls.
There are many travel agencies offering desert safari packages which are available on different emirates. It could include camel riding, sand dunes, buffet meals, and belly dancing. Make sure to avail this attraction with authorized travel agents to get the best packages. Some offer a drop-in and drop-off, where a driver will pick you up at your hotel or accommodation and will take you home.
These are just a few of the many tourist attractions that the UAE has to offer. All of the locations stated above can be easily located as they are available on Google Maps, and most are accessible by public transportation such as metro and bus. Taxis are also widely available but traveling to another emirate could be costly. Since tourism is booming in the United Arab Emirates, there is much information available online that can help navigate the country better. This Arab country should be on anyone’s travel list, with its growing local and international attractions.