United Arab Emirates

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Though evoking images of over-the-top opulence, the United Arab Emirates has an extremely diverse range of landscapes and attractions. The following sights, both natural and man-made, should not be missed, no matter how ridiculous they may sound.

Things to do in United Arab Emirates

Bastakiya Village

The 100-year-old buildings that comprise Bastakiya were nearly demolished before the area was deemed an historic zone. Nearly all 58 buildings have been restored, allowing visitors to understand pre-oil-boom life here. Begin your journey at XVA Gallery.

Dubai, www.xvagallery.com
Tags: family | things to do | architecture | history

Bateen Shipyard

Visit the Bateen Shipyard around 5pm (every day except Friday) to watch Arabic ship building in action. There’s nothing modern here – all boats are handmade by skilled craftsmen.

next to the Dhow Wharf and Fish Market,
Tags: family | things to do | culture | history | crafts

Camel Racing

Situated in Umm Al Quwain is the UAE’s most beautiful camel racetrack, Al Labsa. Among large sand dunes, spectators are welcome to watch one of the region’s oldest traditional sports.

Umm al-Quwain,
Tags: family | things to do | sports

Desert Safari

A visit to the UAE is not complete until you spend a day rollicking across the endless sand of the desert dunes in a 4WD vehicle. Most tours end with a traditional Bedouin dinner.

Open Palm Tourism, www.opdubai.com
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | tour | desert

Dubai Museum

The collection housed in the immaculately restored Al Fahidi Fort, built to protect the city against invasion in 1787, offers a thorough look at Dubai’s history.

Al Fahidi Fort, 011-971-4-353-1862, www.dubaitourism.ae, HistoricalSites
Tags: family | things to do | architecture | history

Helicopter ride over Dubai

Splurge on a 30-minute helicopter excursion for a bird's eye view of the world’s largest construction site.

Aero Gulf Services, Dubai, 011-971-4-220-0331, www.aerogulfservices.com
Tags: smart splurge | things to do | helicopter tour

Mall of the Emirates

The world’s very first indoor ski resort is the size of three football fields. Located in the center of the Mall of the Emirates, this 275-foot-high synthetic hill has several runs, as well as a snow park for children.

Sheikh Zayed Rd., 4th interchange, 011-971-4-409-9000, www.kempinski-dubai.com
Tags: family | shopping | things to do | duty-free

Scuba Diving

Just 10 minutes by boat off Fujairah’s shore, divers will encounter brimming marine life among the Indian Ocean’s coral.

7 Seas Divers, nr. Fujairah, 011-971-9-238-7400, www.7seasdivers.com
Tags: things to do | wildlife | diving

Sharjah Islamic Museum

Spend time discovering the origins of the country’s official religion. Here you can find Islamic-inspired artifacts, literary and scientific manuscripts, crafts, pottery, and glass.

Sharjah, www.shj.gov.ae
Tags: family | things to do | culture | history

Ski Dubai

The world’s very first indoor ski resort is the size of three football fields. Located in the center of the Mall of the Emirates, this 275-foot-high synthetic hill has several runs, as well as a snow park for children. Because no one expects you to bring ski clothes to Dubai, the resort provides all the amenities – even hot cocoa at the top of the "mountain."

Shiekh Zayed Rd., exit 39, 011-971-4-409-4000, www.skidxb.com
Tags: family | skiing | things to do | sports

The National Museum of Ras al-Khaimah

One of the UAE’s best archaeological and ethnological museums is housed in a fortress once inhabited by Ras al-Khaimah's ruling family.

Ras al-Khaimah, www.rakmuseum.gov.ae
Tags: family | things to do | architecture | history

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