What is your first thought when you think of UAE? We are guessing Dubai, skyscrapers, luxurious cars and shopping malls are just some of the most common ideas. How many of you thought of magnificent forts, camel farms, oases, wadis, mountains? Oh yes, UAE is so much more than few most common stereotypes.
UAE tourist attractions which you shouldn’t miss
Well, tall skyscrapers are for sure one of the most well-known UAE tourist attractions, so we will not skip that either. The best samples can truly be found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and that is why these two cities attract most of the visitors traveling to UAE. If nothing else, you should visit Burj Khalifa.
The Ferrari World is probably one of the best known theme parks in UAE. If you are a true Ferrari fan, you will visit it for sure. But UAE has lots of other theme parks too – heritage houses, waterparks, ZOOs, botanical garden etc.
UAE is a true paradise for all the shopaholics. Every larger town has a huge shopping mall or rather two. But the best shopping malls can be found in Dubai, including world’s largest – The Dubai Mall.
Markets and bargaining is well known on Arabian Peninsula for centuries. They truly are masters when it comes to selling and buying. To get the feel of local life, visit different markets – we would recommend fish market in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, camel market in Al Ain and different, smaller markets around UAE.
If you will be traveling to Liwa, you will see lots of camel farms. The workers on camel farms mostly come from Pakistan, but nevertheless they will be more than happy to show you around for a small tip. If you want, you will even be able to taste fresh camel milk there. We loved it! Read our story from visiting a camel farm here.
Many larger towns have their own heritage museums, which are great to visit and learn about traditional local life. We have visited the one in Fujairah and it was indeed a very interesting tour.
If you are more into cars than heritage, make sure to visit Emirates National Auto Museum near Abu Dhabi.
There are numerous mosques in UAE, but only two are opened to non-muslims, so make sure to visit them both. The best known is Sheikh Zayed mosque, located in Abu Dhabi and is truly magnificent. It was built in white marble and can easily be compared to Taj Mahal with its beauty. The second one could not be more different – the Al Bidyah mosque is modest and small, but is in fact the oldest preserved mosque in UAE.
You are probably asking what we are talking about, as there is only sand in UAE. Well, not exactly… Even though UAE looks sandy, there are still other landscapes there; you just have to look right. Apart from deserts, UAE has beaches, oases, wadis, mountains…
It might sound funny, but silky smooth roads between unique landscapes can really be UAE tourist attractions.
If you are an off-road fan you have definitely heard for the famous sand dune Moreeb. Each year there is a competition held, whose car can reach the top of the sand dune faster. The Moreeb hill / sand dune in Liwa is 206 meters high and has 50° incline.
UAE has some really nice looking historical forts restored and opened for visitors. In our opinion, Oman’s forts are much more beautiful, but if you have never been in Oman or UAE, visiting few of them is a must for sure (Liwa fort, Al Fujairah fort, Al Jahili fort). Just seeing them will take you centuries back in time. Oh and one more thing – all come with a free entrance.
Date fruits and date palms are so important for UAE, that should be on must see and taste list as well. Did you know that 98% of fruit trees in UAE are date fruits? Visiting UAE’s markets can offer you 199 different types of date fruits, but if you really want to taste the best in the world, head to The Dubai Mall and find Batil shop, near Burj Khalifa entrance. These date fruits are expansive, but believe me, every cent is well spent. More about date fruits here.
If you think there is no life in a desert, think again. If luck is on your side, you will spot gazelles, oryxes and even falcons.
A typical meal in UAE is made out of rice and meat or fish. Adding spices and colors, food is far from being boring and tasteless. Make sure to try chickpea soup and humus. Instead of cold beer, indulge yourself with cold, fresh lime-mint juice. Yummy!
If you’ll be visiting only Dubai and Abu Dhabi you will be able to meet locals only in high-end restaurants, bars, clubs… Local Arab people only have the best jobs in the country and the rest of the workers, who you will meet behind the counter, are people coming from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines… But, if you will travel deeper, you will be able to meet friendly locals without problems. They are curious and will try to help you without even asking them to… They are all impressed when seeing a traveler outside of Dubai our Abu Dhabi.
If you really want to impress them, it is best to respect their culture – that goes true especially for women – long trousers and at least ¾ sleeves will bring you their respect. Read our two stories, how we met the locals and what our experience with them was: Camel farm and Camel milk.
If you were postponing your travel to UAE because you think there is only Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you now have some good reasons to finally explore this amazing country.