29 junio 2007

10 Reasons to Visit the U.A.E.

1. Desert Conservation Park Thrills (United Arab Emirates)

4WDs speed up to get to the peak of the sand dunes and then simply slide down them. At the desert camp, camel rides, henna tattoes, traditional dinner, a mesmerising belly-dancer, Arabic coffee, dates, and apple sheesha await.

2. Al Qasr Hotel Rides at Madinat Jumeirah (Dubai)
Built in the style of an Arabian palace, this hotel is part of the Madinat complex that contains private villas and pools, a souk, and a water channel system whereby guests hop on and off abras (water taxis) to get around the complex.

3. Burj Al Arab - 7 Star Hotel (Dubai)
The world's only 7 star hotel takes the shape of a sail and comes complete with its own helipad. Photos are free from a 1km radius, otherwise access to the hotel is only granted to guests or those seeking lunch, dinner, or high tea.

4. The World Islands & The Palm Jumeirah (Dubai)
Dubai's coastline boasts the incredible World Islands resort, a collection of man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world. The nearby Palm Jumeirah similarly uses strategically-placed sand to form a date palm tree shaped resort.

5. Dubai's Skyscrapers & Souks (Dubai)
Dubai's skyscrapers come in a variety of shimmery blues, greens, and pinks and seem to shoot up throughout the city every few minutes. All that glitters is on show at The Gold Souk and frankincense wafts through the Spice Souk.

6. Al Ain's Camel Farm & Palace (United Arab Emirates)
Al Ain's camel farm is surrounded by camel race tracks and semi-arid desert. The Al Ain Palace Museum, residence of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan from 1927 until the '70s, boasts beautifully decorated majlis (meeting rooms).

7. Abu Dhabi's Median Strips (Abu Dhabi)
Sheikh Zayed (deceased in Nov. '04) would often ask "How green is my desert?", green grass being the ultimate symbol of wealth in the desert. This Emirate is proud of its lush green median strips and its mosque (the largest in the U.A.E.).

8. Masafi & Badiyah Mosque (United Arab Emirates)
Visitors looking for a carpet or pottery are spoilt for choice in Masafi, 35km from Fujairah. In the same Emirate lies Badiyah mosque with its ruined watchtowers, the oldest and smallest mosque in the U.A.E.

9. Fujairah's Fort (United Arab Emirates)
The poorest of the Emirates has a cemetary and an old fort. Do not expect to see the lush, green median strips here. Unlike the other Emirates, Fujairah provides visitors with more of an adventure.

10. Buraimi Oasis Day Trip (Oman)
The Buraimi Oasis is an easy day trip combined with Al Ain and has a colourful souq and produce market with tiny "very sweet, very sweet" bananas, pyramids of dates, and honey sold by the litre. Best of all, you do not need a visa to get there.

Source: 2007 Lonely Planet Publications

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