With a reputation as the dreamland of the Arab world, the UAE are seven Arab emirates that were grouped into a unified federation - where oil and gas money literally made the desert bloom. Those revenues transformed the UAE into a modern state characterised by lavish wealth and opulence.



Do not go to Dubai if you are seeking culture and history, it is obvious before you go there that it is a destination solely built for people who like beaches, luxury shopping, dining, swanky bars & clubs, perfectly manicured promenades and general mind-boggling extravagance. I met people who felt it was overpriced, superficial and has no culture, but Dubai is exactly like what it advertises itself to be. Dubai does have history, only it's been paved over by a ton of concrete and skyscrapers. If you want culture, simply drive along to other parts of the UAE. And despite Dubai being part of an Arab country, you will rarely hear Arabic being spoken.

MarinaMarinaBurj KhalifaDubai Mall aquariumBurj Al ArabEmirati superman - except you'll rarely see muscles on an Emirati guyPolice never underfunded - some were driving PorschesDubai MarinaAtlantis hotelAtlantis waterparkView from Burj KhalifaBurj KhalifaSkydiving over the artificial palm-shape islandsMiracle GardenMiracle GardenDeira TowerJumeirah MosqueIndoor skiing at Dubai MallDunes bashing in the desertDesert safariDesert safariDesert campDesert campBellydancer at the desert camp


Abu Dhabi

From the Arabic word meaning "Father of the gazelle", Abu Dhabi is the capital, it's much less visited than Dubai but is no less opulent. Head to the Emirates Palace, you can sip coffee laced with gold flakes then make a pit stop at the gold ATM that dispenses gold instead of cash.

Sheikh Zayed MosqueSheikh Zayed MosqueSheikh Zayed MosqueEmirates palaceCoffee with actual gold flakes - a cool $15Gold ATMEmirates palaceDowntownSheikh Zayed MosqueSheikh Zayed MosqueSheikh Zayed Mosque


Al Ain

Al Ain, close to the border with Oman, is the city for culture and a more authentic Arabian experience.

Al Ain is an oasis with thousands of palm treesCamel souqCamel souq



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