Country guide United Arab Emirates

If you’re looking for a place where the phrase, 'money is no object’, truly applies, then look no further than the United Arab Emirates. When it comes to having the biggest and the best of everything, the UAE turns the volume up to eleven.

Sights and Attractions

Nothing stands in the way of progress in the major cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Here you will find an assortment of glistening skyscrapers, sprawling malls, state-of-the-art amusement parks, pristine beaches and vast, empty deserts all rolled into one. In the UAE, there should never be any excuse for uttering the words, "I'm bored".

Get out and about and explore all of the sights and sounds that the UAE has to offer. Whether that involves shopping, riding on the fastest roller coaster in the world at Ferrari World or camping in the desert – a new adventure is always just around the corner.

Restaurants and Cafes

The UAE has a large population of western expatriates and as a result, the food that is on offer here is not too dissimilar from what you find in the UK. All of the western chains are present, as well as a bevy of five-star restaurants covering all manner of international cuisine.

Those looking for a first-hand experience of just how wealthy the UAE is should make an effort to get to the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi for afternoon tea- even the cakes come sprinkled with gold!

While western influences are rife in the UAE, there is still the opportunity to sample traditional Emirati cuisine in places. Seafood, lamb, mutton and rice all make up the backbone of the traditional Emirati diet, all infused with a rich selection of herbs and spices for a truly unique flavour.

Shopping

The Emirates of Abu Dhabi, and in particular, Dubai, shine out like homing beacons to shopaholics from all over the globe. If luxury fashion is what you are after, these are the places to find it. All of the big-name fashion houses have a strong presence here, and demand from the incredibly wealthy locals for the latest trends from Europe and beyond never comes close to being satisfied.

The high street shops that we are accustomed to in the UK can also be found in the various malls that stand like monuments to the gods of consumerism and over-indulgence. The Dubai Mall boasts more than 1200 individual shops and claims the title of being the largest shopping mall in the world.

Thankfully, all stores are air-conditioned and provide shelter from the intense heat that these desert cities experience – meaning that you will never have to worry about shopping until you drop.

Travel

The UAE is shot through with a love of speed and fast cars, making the automobile the primary way in which people get from A to B. Immaculate highways connect all of the Emirates and are a great way of taking in views of the expansive, empty deserts that surround each city. A car is going to be a necessary expense for anyone looking to call the UAE home.

Public transport is available in the UAE and there are numerous bus services that provide transport between cities. However, inner-city public transport is a tad more unreliable and in many instances bus services are not able to cope with demand. More often than not, this leads to long waiting times at stations and as a result, taxis are the most popular method of inner city public transport – especially in Dubai.

In terms of getting to the UAE from abroad, five of the seven Emirates operate their own international airports; the cities of Umm al-Quwain and Ajman being the exception. Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport are the primary airports in the UAE; Dubai Airport now being the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic.

Currency zone

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