"United Arab Emirates" Top 5 Page for this destination United Arab Emirates by traveldave

United Arab Emirates Travel Guide: 5,385 reviews and 16,354 photos

The United Arab Emirates is a confederation of seven formerly sovereign emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Each of the emirates is ruled by a sheikh, and the head of state is always the sheikh of Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates became an independent nation in 1971 after the United Kingdom decided to withdraw from its Indian Ocean territories. Prior to independence, the area, then known as the Trucial Coast, was a British protectorate, and had been since the mid-1850s, when the British moved in to "protect" the area from piracy. Its real intention was to keep the French and Germans out of what it considered its sphere of influence.

Because of huge oil reserves, the United Arab Emirates is one of the richest countries in the world. However, with oil projected to run out within the next half century, much of the country is turning to other industries, such as finance and tourism, to ensure its economic and financial future. The sheikh of Dubai has plans to make Dubai the Hong Kong of the Middle East, and the city is undergoing massive development projects on a scale which has never been seen before in the world. He also wants to make Dubai the world's top tourism destination, and is constructing huge hotels and resorts.

Because of British colonialism, a history of maritime trade, and a desire to become an international finance and tourism center, the United Arab Emirates is more open and liberal than many of its Arabic neighbors.

My trip to the United Arab Emirates consisted of a seven-day birdwatching trip that took me to each of the seven emirates. Although I flew into Dubai, our group avoided the city because of its horrendous traffic problems. We stayed in Ras al-Khaimah, Al Ain (in Abu Dhabi emirate), and Dibba (in Fujairah emirate). Because this was a birdwatching trip, I was able to visit places in the mountains and desert that few visitors to the country will ever see. Despite spending so much time in the wilderness, I was able to see and experience something of the country's cultural life as well.


  • Last visit to United Arab Emirates: Nov 2007
  • Intro Updated Jun 21, 2012
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Reviews (20)

Comments (12)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Helpful and well-written tips on a part of the world that I know little about.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    It looks like you had an excellent time in UAE as you made your way around the country! Beautiful photos of the sights to see and very helpful tips too.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2008 at 11:18 AM

    Would love to see the rugged scenery here = great virtual tour I enjoyed the local customs

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2007 at 6:18 PM

    Dave, I honestly think that these are some of your finest pages. I've never been here, but after reading your star-quality tips, I am certainly better informed. You have some great photos too.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2007 at 7:38 AM

    Interesting pages on United Arab Emirates Dave. You don't often hear of many VT'ers that travel here. Quite a contrast with so much desert and yet plenty of water along its shores. Also thanks so much for visiting my Nafplio and Delphi Pages.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2007 at 1:01 AM

    Hi Dave, more interesting reading today thanks - do you mean bullfighting or camelfighting!?in sth tunisia i saw both camel racingand fighting!interesting but not nice - one camel didnt like it either and kept running away!

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2007 at 11:28 PM

    Hi Dave. Really nice page here on the UAE. I absolutely love Sandy Beach and Wadi Bih, and am planning trips there again soon :-) A short tip: the women's black gown is called "Abaya" (not Abba). Greetings from Dubai! Jess

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2007 at 11:03 AM

    Fascinating and very informative page. I am glad that you saw birds and also some very interesting places there! I enjoyed reading about your trip and your adventures in the U.A.E. I would love to do scuba diving there!

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2006 at 7:10 AM

    Hello David! Thanks for your tips and pics. Dream to visit UAE someday (may be when all european countries come to an end!). Spasibo.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2006 at 10:14 AM

    What a great page & excellent pics ! unfortunately this part of the world is still missing on my map :-(

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