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The UAE offers so much to any traveler hoping to see stunning sights and has an exciting experience in a new place. Hundreds of attractions are waiting, but it is not just the shopping or the beaches that draw people here. It is, in fact, the whole picture that makes the UAE somewhere truly special. From the stretches of Dubai to the unforgettable sights of Jebel Jais, here are thirteen places not to miss in this country.
Best Places For Tourists In The UAE
1. Dubai Aquarium And Underwater Zoo
Dubai is undeniably one of the most well-known and popular locations in the UAE, and there are plenty of reasons why that is true. The first-class aquarium and underwater zoo are just one of these great reasons, and it is definitely worth a visit even if you don’t normally do this kind of thing. It works for any age, and there is a sense of peace and wonder to be found inside the walls. You can meet the sharks, experience a glass-bottomed boat trip, and even get made over to look just like a mermaid.
2. Al Ain Zoo, Al Ain
If you are a fan of animals and the Dubai Aquarium took your breath away, make time for the Al Ain Zoo as well. Located in Abu Dhabi, this zoo is a fresh experience to say the very least. It’s not overly expensive and there are a range of animal meeting experiences to pick from, plus a lovely range of species to see and connect with too.
3. The Hajar Mountains, Eastern UAE
700 km of beautiful rock, Al Hajar is a good option for those with an explorer spirit in their soul. Make sure you book a guided tour because this is not an expanse that you should hope to explore by yourself in a land unknown. You don’t have to travel too far to see the full effect of this range, and there is a certain sense of peace to be found here too.
4. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island shaped like a palm tree, and you can find it in Dubai. It has top-tier resorts, beaches, shopping facilities, and a thriving culture that is hard to not get caught up in. If you are in Dubai, this place should never be missed. It attracts a lot of younger visitors because of the pure vibrancy that resonates from within, and there are lots of places to go out into the night. Safety is a top priority, and the experiences here are simply some of the most unique in the whole world.
5. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
If you are a fan of stunning architecture, intriguing infrastructure, and the Fast and Furious franchise, the Burj Khalifa is the place for you. Clear your day and take in the wonders of the world’s tallest skyscraper, located in the heart of Dubai. There is something awe-inspiring about gazing up at such a thing, and you can go all the way to the top if you purchase a ticket. It is advised to book in advance as the queues can get quite big during peak seasons.
6. Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah
For art lovers everywhere, the Sharjah Art Museum can be at the top of your list when it comes to which places to visit. Sharjah is the hub of culture that it so proudly represents, and this art gallery is filled with respected and celebrated artists living in the Middle East.
7. Corniche, Abu Dhabi
The Corniche is a rocky and sandy beach in Abu Dhabi that remains a staple spot for tourism. There is plenty to do here including kicking back and relaxing along the coastline and exploring some of the great places to eat around the area. There are boat trips, luxury experiences, and more to uncover and it is worth spending a whole day getting a feel for the area if you have the space to commit.
8. Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain
If you are up for a drive out, then get on the road to Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain and park up at one of the viewing platforms for this unforgettable mountain range. The roads are all well-lit and properly maintained, so you shouldn’t run into any problems there, plus it is a popular place for tourists wanting to see some more of nature during their time in the UAE. You can also book a tour if you prefer to have a guided experience and combine it with a nice lunch in the heart of Al Ain as well.
9. Aquaventure Atlantis, Dubai
Given the glorious weather in the UAE, there’s no surprise it’s home to one of the most incredible waterparks you’ll see. Aquaventure Atlantis is perfectly located at the tip of The Palm and has something on offer for all ages, from racing slides to exhilarating vertical drops. One of the main attractions, though, has to be the Leap of Faith, which sends riders into a clear chute that passes through a shark tank.
If you plan to visit Aquaventure Atlantis during peak season (December to March), be prepared for waits of up to 45 minutes per attraction. Therefore, we recommend you arrive early to get the most out of your day.
10. Motiongate, Dubai
The UAE is renowned for its excellent theme parks, with around 40 of them being located in Dubai. Even though there are too many to discuss in this article, we feel that Motiongate is worth a mention. This park is perfect for anyone that’s a fan of Lionsgate, DreamWorks, and Columbia Pictures, with each studio having its own incredible themed area. As with other Dubai destinations, they’re built inside with air conditioning pumping to keep you cool, so don’t worry about queuing in the blistering heat. However, you will come across a number of decorative exhibits outside.
11. Warner Bros World, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is also home to some incredible theme parks including Warner Bros World, which is the size of 15 football fields and the largest indoor theme park worldwide. You can expect to come across 29 rides split across six themed lands, which include Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Dynamite Gulch, and Bedrock. Warner Bros World has a lot of ground to cover, so be prepared to spend around 4-5 hours taking in every aspect of the park. The park opens at 11 AM, so why not head over early and enjoy a spot of breakfast before the excitement begins?
12. The Buried Village, Al Madam
If you’re willing to drive inland, about an hour away from Dubai, you can experience the unique ghost town of Al Madam. This eerie abandoned outpost demonstrates how harsh the desert sands can be, as the buildings have all but been reclaimed. Nobody knows quite why the town was abandoned in the first place, but it’s said to have been part of the Sha’bi housing project by the UAE government and was built around 1970.
Although this is a far step away from the towering skyscraper of Dubai, there’s something cathartic about standing in a sand-flooded town said to be haunted by a group of djinns (supernatural entities).
13. The Fujairah Fort
Sitting almost parallel to Dubai, on the eastern coast, you’ll come across the city of Fujairah. Being the seventh largest city in the UAE, there’s plenty to do and see here. However, one of the most interesting attractions is the Fujairah Fort, which is the oldest castle in the UAE and was built in the 16th century. Offering incredible views of the city, a visit to this attraction provides a unique glimpse of ancient turmoil.
Vital Information for Travelers
For any tourist visiting the UAE, there are certain expectations that must be followed if you want your trip to be as enjoyable as possible. To maximize your time here and get the most from the experience, follow the advice below.
Respect the Culture
The UAE has particular customs and cultural guidelines that may be quite different from what you’re used to, depending entirely on where you are travelling from. If you are not familiar with the UAE religions or way of life, it is best to read up and prepare ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is offend any local residents or be seen as completely out of place as you travel about. Things like dressing modestly, respecting holy places, avoiding public displays of affection and so much more are completely worth embracing and will make your time here easier, more enjoyable, and welcoming too.
Have All Your Travel Documentation Lined Up
It is impossible to travel anywhere in the UAE from an external country if you don’t have the right documentation, and iVisa.com recommends you have this sorted well in advance to avoid delays and running into other kinds of problems. Thankfully, the process is easy enough as long as you have the time to fill out the forms and provide the information.
Plan for the Weather
Even in the winter months, the UAE is warm. There are rare cold spells, but the general vibe of this country is that you will be facing the heat and a lot of it, especially if you are visiting during the summer months. While you must always dress conservatively, you do need to plan for this clothing-wise. Light cotton, free-flowing garments, and toe-covering sandals are all highly recommended, as are great hats and sunglasses.
Take lots of sun cream and be prepared to stay indoors on some days for your own protection, especially if you are going over the warmest weeks. Temperatures can soar up to 125F, and this is too hot to be out in.
As with any unfamiliar place, there is a pressing need to stay safe. The most important takeaway here is to stick with a group wherever possible and avoid being out on your own at night. While the crime rate in certain areas is significantly lower than in others, there are dangers everywhere. For women in particular, it is easy to step into a situation where you could be at risk so never leave your drink unattended and avoid making intense eye contact with men if you are out on your own.
The UAE remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. There are wonderful sights and sounds to be found all over, and as long as you respect the traditions and culture, your trip will be that of a lifetime. Don’t miss any of the top spots and plan your time carefully.