United Arab Emirates, Asia - Holiday Supermarket

United Arab Emirates

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Welcome to United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The call of the desert.

The UAE, or United Arab Emirates consists of seven emirates in the Arabian Sea, bordering Oman to the east, Qatar to the west and Saudi Arabia to the south. These desert kingdoms have been in place really only since 1971 but of course they've been part of the mysterious Arabian peninsular in a tribal form for the last 3000 years. UAE holidays are a relatively recent phenomenon, with cricket, for example, taking place in Sharjah in an attempt to bring hordes of tourists to the emirates. The 7 states are easy to visit for terrific holidays in UAE and very safe and the extraordinary lengths the rulers have gone to lure the tourist dollar has resulted in a quite spectacular experience.

Let Holiday Supermarket take you there - with hotel choices that are not only the best value, but also the best. Oil revenue has transformed the Gulf States and a lot of the revenue has been poured into creating vast public spaces, huge hotels and recreational centres. Tourists are welcomed with open arms and the traditional Arab hospitality can be a surprise to the jaded westerner!

The Emirates are made up of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The capital is Abu Dhabi, which is also the business and financial capital, although Dubai is fast coming on line.

Abu Dhabi is a modern city with broad boulevards, tall office and apartment buildings, and market shops, as well as expensive western brand names. Holidays in UAE are mostly about the shopping and sitting by a warm pool. The 'best public beach in the world' can't be all bad either! The Corniche has cabanas and banana lounges, juice bars by the score, play areas and walks, lush grass embankments and excellent sandy stretches. You can hire bikes, or just stroll the walkways and enjoy a beautiful area. There are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants and it's a great after-dinner walk in a perfectly safe environment.

If you're after something a little different while on UAE holidays in Abu Dhabi, head for the Caracal Shooting Club (your concierge will know it), where you can hire a handgun or a rifle and blast away to your heart's content. It's something you're unlikely to do at home, so give it a shot... as it were.

Dubai has fast built a reputation as a seven-star paradise full of man-made wonders like entire suburbs jutting out in to the water, the world's tallest building, the world's most luxurious hotel and indoor ski fields the like of which has never been seen! A triumph for the PR team for sure, but still an incredible place to visit for holidays UAE.

You can live it up large in Dubai; but you can also eat with the locals when you get sick of five star dining at the Hilton Dubai Creek or the Noble Room at the Raffles. Let your cabbie take you to Al Dhiyafah Road, Dubai's cheap-eats street. This is where the real people dine - spilling out on to the streets are the tables and chairs of some of the best Indian, Pakistani and Philippino restaurants you'll find this side of Asia. There's Lebanese food, and incredible Iranian dishes to tempt you too.

Dubai also has shopping - that's what holidays in UAE are all about, right? The Souk Madinat inside the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel has its own waterway to transfer people from its shops, bars and restaurants to the neighbouring hotels. The famous Mall of the Emirates is home to the indoor ski slope with real snow you've probably read about. But the Mall of Arabia is where it's really at! Giant Jurassic Park creatures vie for space in the world's biggest shopping mall (yes!). All the usual brands are in most of the malls - such as M & S, Chanel and all the designer brands. Electronics are probably the best value.

If your holidays UAE trip includes Ras al-Khaimah, you're in for a treat, because you have to try camel racing. The track is called Al Sawan and it's mostly a locals hangout - but get in there and experience this truly unique spectacle. Half the camels run the other way but the locals yell and shout, toot there horns and some how it all turns around and finishes with a bang! It's a genuinely exciting experience so do look out for it.

The other major attraction in Ras Al Khaimah is the Tower Links golf course. It's a challenging course, well maintained and with a variety of terrain to test the hardy golfer. The bar and restaurant area is very decent.

Sharjah, a tiny emirate on the coast, boasts a lot to do. It's about 170 kms from Abu Dhabi with a population of some 800,000. Its man-made attractions are a result of oil revenue and it also boasts a host of natural attractions. The Khor Fakkan beach is a palm-fringed delight with beautiful sand and idyllic water temps.

Close to the city is the Arabian Wildlife centre, a mini-zoo that showcases Arabian animals such as the gazelle and the flaming in a cool indoor environment (which is a relief from the harsh summer sun). It's especially well designed for children and the information and pamphlets are all in English.

If you're interested in Islamic history, make a beeline for the Museum of Islamic Civilisation on Corniche Street. A beautiful - and massive - building, it houses some of the most beautiful artefacts you'll ever see. Look out for the gold-plated globe, the gold and metal chain mail armour and the golden scabbards. Delightfully cool and a great place for anyone who wants to see more than the hotel pool!

The UAE is not first on anyone's holiday list - but it's quite different to any other holiday you'll have. Experience an entirely different culture in one of the harshest environments on earth - you'll come away amazed!

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