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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

Overview
Location
United Arab Emirates
Time Zone
GST (UTC+4)
Driving Side
right
Measurement System
metric
Internet TLD
.ae
Travel Essentials
Currency
AED د.إ
Electrical Standards
Type G, 230V, 50Hz
Emergency Numbers
Police: 999, Ambulance: 998
Language Codes
AR
Mobile Country Code
424

Popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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United Arab Emirates (UAE) is often synonymous with grandeur, luxury, and modernity. With its beautiful deserts, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage, the UAE offers an unforgettable travel experience.

This travel guide has compiled the best things to do in the United Arab Emirates and key travel advice to make the most of your visit to this mesmerizing country.

Best Things to Do in the United Arab Emirates

1. Qasr Al Watan

View of the exterior of Qast al Watan
Sonia Alves-Polidori / Shutterstock.com

Qasr Al Watan, located in Abu Dhabi, is a remarkable tourist attraction that showcases the authentic essence of Arabian culture and heritage. This architectural marvel offers a unique insight into Emirati governance and craftsmanship. Its stunning design, exhibitions, and interactive experiences make Qasr Al Watan a crucial place to experience in Abu Dhabi.

2. Burj Khalifa

Wide-angle shot of Burj Khalifa towering above downtown Dubai at sunset with clouds in the sky, reflecting the city's dynamic mix of modern architecture and leisure attractions.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Undoubtedly, Burj Khalifa tops the list of places to visit in Dubai. This architectural masterpiece is the world’s tallest building, offering a panoramic view of the city’s skyline.

Don’t forget to visit the observatory deck on the 148th floor to witness the fantastic vistas or soak in the glamour of Dubai while dining at the world-class restaurant at the summit. If you plan to visit Dubai, you must spend a day here. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. Read our guide on things to do in Dubai to make the most of your trip.

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the World to Visit

3. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World in Abu Ghabi
evgenii – stock.adobe.com

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is an exhilarating theme park that offers thrills and entertainment for visitors of all ages. This theme park is ideal for adventure seekers and motor enthusiasts with adrenaline-pumping roller coaster rides, interactive attractions, and live shows.

4. Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

Old Dubai view with mosque, buildings and architecture
terovesalainen / Adobe Stock

Take a trip down memory lane while exploring the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood in Dubai. This old quarter reflects the traditional architecture and lifestyle of the Emirati people. Walk through the narrow alleys, visit the numerous museums and art galleries, and experience old Dubai’s ambiance.

5. Emirates Heritage Club Heritage Village

Emirates Heritage Club and Heritage Village entrance
Fabio Nodari / Adobe Stock

Discover Emirati culture and heritage at the Emirates Heritage Club Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi. This open-air museum offers a glimpse into traditional Bedouin life through its exhibits, including ancient weapons, traditional pottery, and iconic wind towers. It’s an enlightening experience that showcases the rich history of the United Arab Emirates.

6. Al Jahili Fort

The Al-Jahili Fort, in the city of Al Ain, near Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, with flags flying celebrating their National Day
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

Situated in Al Ain, Al Jahili Fort is a testament to the region’s military prowess and architectural brilliance. Built-in 1891, this historic fort is a prominent cultural landmark and offers visitors a fascinating insight into its historical significance and the region’s strategic importance.

7. Louvre Abu Dhabi

The famous Louvre museum of the French architect Jean Nouvel - panoramic view in Dubai
ingusk / Adobe Stock

Art enthusiasts cannot afford to miss the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This sensational museum exhibits the creative expression of humanity through a stunning array of artworks from various cultures. The exhibition center’s unique architectural design and exquisite collection make it crucial to experience, hence the UAE.

8. Wahat AlKarama

Wahat Al Karama - it is home to a permanent memorial to the United Arab Emirates’ heroes – soldiers, police, diplomats and civilians
peter jesche / Shutterstock.com

Pay homage to the bravery and sacrifice of UAE’s heroes at Wahat AlKarama, an impressive war memorial in Abu Dhabi. This solemn complex is a profound symbol of the nation’s gratitude towards its fallen soldiers and features an amazing sculpture called “The Memorial” by British artist Idris Khan.

9. Fujairah Fort

Fujairah Fort, United Arab Emirates
Patrik Dietrich / Adobe Stock

Explore the historic Fujairah Fort, a crucial landmark that showcases the region’s ancient defensive architecture. Surrounded by lush greenery and stunning mountain ranges, this fort offers an enthralling view of the city’s topography and makes for an ideal weekend getaway.

Remember to fully immerse yourself in the experience while visiting the United Arab Emirates, as each destination boasts its own story and charm. Explore the hidden gems, indulge in local delicacies, and appreciate the unique blend of old and new as this one-of-a-kind country leaves an indelible mark on your journey.

See Related: Best Ancient Ruins & Archeological Sites in the World

Where to stay in the United Arab Emirates

Image of Bulgari Hotel Dubai's luxurious exterior surrounded by tropical palm trees under a sunny sky
Bulgari Hotel Dubai (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Finding the perfect place to stay in the United Arab Emirates isn’t difficult, with its grandeur and luxury in every corner. From high-end luxury resorts to cozy boutique hotels, visiting United Arab Emirates promises a memorable experience. Here are the top accommodations to consider during your visit:

How to Get Around in the United Arab Emirates

The dynamic Dubai skyline with skyscrapers and the Sheikh Zayed Road metro station during the day.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Navigating the United Arab Emirates can be a breeze, thanks to its well-developed transportation system. The public transport options include buses, taxis, and the ever-reliable Dubai Metro. But, if you prefer the freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace, consider renting a car.

With countless car rental agencies in the country, finding the right vehicle for your adventures around the UAE is simple. Visit RentalCars.com to browse a range of options and secure the best deal for your journey.

The table below provides an overview of the key transportation modes available in the United Arab Emirates for travelers, detailing their operating hours, schedules, and fare information for easy navigation.

Transportation ModeKey DetailsOperating HoursAverage Cost
MetroDriverless trains, Red & Green Lines, connects major areasSat-Thurs: 5:30am-midnight, Fri: 10am-1am3 – 7.5 AED (Regular), 6 – 15 AED (Gold Class)
TramConnects Marina with metro and Palm MonorailSat-Thurs: 6:30am-1am, Fri: 9am-1amFares covered by Nol system
TaxiPlentiful, central booking number: 04 208 080824/7Start fare: 5 AED, 1.71 AED/km, Airport flag fare: 20 AED
AbraTraditional boats, cross the CreekNot specifiedNot specified

Travel Tips for Visiting the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, a melting pot of cultures, offers a memorable encounter for excursionists keen on exploring its rich history, incredible architecture, and captivating landscapes.

To make the most of your journey, take note of these crucial travel tips, including securing comprehensive travel insurance from VisitorsCoverage.com before your adventure begins. This can help you navigate unforeseen events to arrive at your final destination and ensure travel safety.

Budget Your Trip Appropriately

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are not as expensive as you think. However, it can be as expensive as you want to make it. Generally speaking, in both of these cities, you can buy anything you want. Here is a breakdown of the costs by key travel categories.

Cost ElementDetailsAverage Cost Range
Flight from New YorkRound-trip, economy class$342 – $346
Flight from Los AngelesRound-trip, economy class$395 – $396
Hotel AccommodationMid-range per night$80 – $150
Hotel AccommodationLuxury per night$300+
FoodShawarma, Falafel, etc.AED 5 – 10
FoodMixed Grill, Arabic Mezze, etc.AED 30 – 60
SouvenirsArabic Coffee Set, Dates, etc.AED 10 – 200
SouvenirsGold Jewelry, Handmade Carpets, etc.AED 500 – 5000+
TransportationMetro, Buses, Taxis, etc.Based on distance
SightseeingBurj Khalifa admissionAED 149
SightseeingDubai Miracle Garden admissionAED 55 for adults

Respect Local Customs and Dress Code

Visiting the United Arab Emirates means engaging with a diverse population that adheres to traditional values and customs. The city of Dubai is incredibly safe, and generally, the entire country, but respecting these norms as a guest is crucial, especially when dressing modestly.

Both men and women should avoid revealing clothing in public spaces. Women, in particular, should cover their shoulders and knees and consider wearing a headscarf when visiting religious sites.

Prepare for the Desert Climate

A sandboarder in traditional white clothing observes the endless rolling dunes of Dubai's Red Sand Desert at dusk.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The desert climate in the UAE can be pretty unforgiving, with scorching temperatures during the day and cooler evenings. When planning your wardrobe, opt for light, breathable fabrics to keep comfortable in the heat.

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield yourself from harmful UV rays. Also, remember always to stay hydrated and carry water with you.

See Related: Essential Packing Tips for Travel to Maximize Your Trip

Explore Beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi

View of Abu Dhabi city, United Arab Emirates
Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock.com

While Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the epitome of luxury and modernity in the United Arab Emirates, there is more beyond these key cities. There are seven emirates in total, and these two cities are located in just one of them, so don’t miss out on the other six emirates.

Consider visiting the picturesque Fujairah, the garden city of Al Ain, the Ras Al Khaimah region’s idyllic setting, or the cultural hub of Sharjah. You’ll appreciate the country’s diverse landscape and heritage more by venturing beyond the main cities.

Take on the Local Cuisine

Traditional Turkish and Lebanese brunch spread at ZouZou Restaurant in Dubai showcasing vibrant Mediterranean cuisine
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The UAE’s culinary scene is a fusion of Middle Eastern, Asian, and African flavors, reflecting its multicultural population. To genuinely soak in the authentic Emirati experience, savor local dishes like shawarma, Al Harees, and Machboos.

Visit traditional food markets and indulge in the rich spices and ingredients of the UAE’s gastronomic identity.

Abide by the Alcohol Regulations

Drinking Caipirinha cocktail in Dubai in souk madinat jumeirah outside in a bar
berni0004 / Shutterstock

Alcohol consumption in the UAE comes under strict regulations, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, when public consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Most hotels, resorts, and licensed restaurants serve alcohol, but drinking in public places or being intoxicated is frowned upon and could lead to severe penalties. Follow the rules and enjoy your beverages responsibly.

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