The United Arab Emirates is one of the richest countries on the planet. It is famous as the most attractive tourist destination in the Arab world due to its spectacular architecture, huge investments in a variety of tourist attractions, warm climate and mostly open and tolerant attitude of local residents towards foreigners. The UAE are the most modern and exciting country in South-west Asia, which intelligently invests its oil revenues in promising and progressive sectors of the economy.
Geographic location, boundaries and size. The United Arab Emirates is located in the South East of the Arabian Peninsula in south-western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman. The UAE borders the Persian Gulf to the north and the Gulf of Oman to the west.
They are both part of the Indian Ocean. The country covers an area of 83.600 sq. km. and consists of seven Emirates. Their names are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Ras al- Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain, Sharjah and Fujairah.
Over 80% of the total area is occupied by the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Its territory is actually much larger than the combined area of the other six emirates.
Climate. The United Arab Emirates falls within the tropical climate zone. The Tropic of Cancer (or the northern tropical circle) passes through the central parts of the country and determines the year-round hot and dry desert climate.
The weather is consistently sunny with rainfall less than 100-120 mm. The average daytime temperatures vary between 23°C in January and 42°C in July. Sometimes the winter nights are quite cool. The average night temperature in January drops to about 10°C.
In this part of the world sandstorms are quite common. Humidity is quite high during the summer months, especially in coastal areas. Because of this reason you can feel much hotter weather than it really is.
Nature of the UAE. Practically the whole territory of the United Arab Emirates is covered by dry and hot desert. The only exceptions are some small occasional oases, surrounded by beige – orange desert sands.
Few plants manage to survive under the extreme temperatures. The date palm is most frequently encountered plant. Greenery and flowers there are only in the urban parks and gardens, which are extremely well maintained and regularly watered.
Local relief is dominated by lowlands. Only in the eastern-most parts of the country along the Gulf of Oman there are relatively low mountains, which occupy a very small area. The highest named peak in the country is called Jabal Yibir, 1527 meters high.
Interestingly, on the border between the UAE and Oman is located the real highest point of the country. The place is nameless and rises to about 1910 m altitude. In the UAE there are 4 national parks and one marine national park.
The UAE‘s coastline is picturesque. It offers superb sandy beaches with fine and bright sand. Sea water is warm all year round and with light green nuances. In late summer sea water temperature can reach to about 40°C!
In the warm shallows there are beautiful coral reefs and along the shore near Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) you will find exceptional mangroves. The coastline is varied and moderately indented.
Animal world of the UAE. Few animals have the ability to survive in such hard desert conditions. Camel is one of the best adapted creatures. It can survive at very high temperatures without water for a long time.
When the camel has access to drinking water, it could drink large quantities and could survive without water about a week. Another typical representative of the animal world in the UAE is the long-horned Oryx antelope, which owns massive and stocky body and a pair of extremely long and straight horns.
Rabbits are also an integral part of the local animal world. These small long-eared creatures became notorious for their ability to adapt to various environmental conditions. They survive equally well in tropical and Arctic regions. One of the most popular local predators is the fox.
The Arabian Red Fox is a small animal. It likes to eat mainly rodents and birds, but overall the menu is varied. It occurs mainly in the eastern mountain areas along the Oman border.
In the UAE are found also scorpions, snakes, spiders, desert insects, lizards, birds and other small desert animals. Largest and most impressive biodiversity in the UAE, however, can be found in the underwater coral reefs and coastal mangrove forests in the area of Abu Dhabi.
The coast of the UAE is the most attractive tourist destination in this country. Here you will find the two most famous cities in the UAE – Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
While Abu Dhabi is known for the nearby mangrove forests, Dubai fascinates with its incredible and extremely luxurious hotel complexes.
Here you will find some of the most expensive hotels in the world, and such modern wonders as the Palm Jumeirah and the World (islands, arranged like a world map).
In spite of the dry climate, ambitious hoteliers have turned the coastal resort areas into a real green paradise of countless species of tropical trees, flowers and shrubs. Charming winding alleys are situated amidst dense park vegetation and make walking a real pleasure.
Here you will find everything you could dream of – luxury, great food, peace, security and brilliance that can take the breath even of hard to impress people.
Economy. The UAE is one of the richest and fastest growing countries in the world. This Switzerland of the Arab world owes its progress and economic prosperity to its vast oil reserves.
The country has approximately 9% of the world oil reserves and possesses also large quantities of natural gas. The United Arab Emirates invests much of its revenues in tourism development, engineering and construction of high quality infrastructure.
The quality of education and health medical care is very high. The citizens of the UAE enjoy extremely high standard of living and also do not pay taxes.
The miracle of the UAE. In recent years, the United Arab Emirates does not cease to amaze with its achievements in architecture and engineering. The only 7 star hotel in the world was opened on December 1, 1999. This is Burj al-Arab – the most luxurious hotel on the planet.
With its 321 meters, it is the highest hotel in the world. It has become a tradition for the UAE to serve the world surprises. The Palm Jumeirah is a marvel of human genius. Its development started in 2001 and lasted about 10 years.
The wonder called Palm Jumeirah can be seen from space! Several years after the beginning of Palm Jumeirah, started the construction of another very impressive project off the coast of Dubai – “The World”.
This is a group of artificial islands designed to attract wealthy investors from all around the world. But that’s not all. In September 2004 (shortly before the start of the ambitious project „The World“) in Dubai began the construction of the tallest building in the world.
Burj Khalifa (also known as Burj Dubai) was officially opened in January 2010. Today, with its 829.84 meters, it is the tallest building in the world!
Population. The population of the UAE amounts to about 4.6 million people. Most of them are Muslim (Sunni and Shia). The country is also home to a small percentage of Hindus.
The largest city in the UAE is Dubai, whose population is around 2,3 million, i.e. about 50% of the total population. In recent years, in the UAE has come to live and work a considerable number of foreigners not only from nearby countries, but also from Europe, South and North America, Africa, Australia and from all around Asia.
For many wealthy Europeans and Americans is a matter of prestige to own a property in Dubai, especially when it comes to Palm Jumeirah.
When to visit the UAE? The best time to visit the UAE is the winter months from December to March. During this period the weather is most pleasant with temperatures between 23 and 27°C. During the summer months there is too high humidity, making conditions hardly bearable, especially in coastal areas.
How to cope with the heat in the UAE? Necessarily take precautions to protect your skin from the sun, because here it is very strong! Wear sunglasses and sunscreen with high SPF. It’ll be better if you use a hat. Wear lightweight and airy clothing in light colors.
Avoid going out in the hottest midday hours. It is important to drink plenty of fluids and eat rich in vitamins food. Many hoteliers get their swimming pool water cooler because to be more pleasant for swimming.
General tourist information:
Currency. Official currency of the United Arab Emirates is the UAE Dirham (AED). This is one of the most stable currencies in the world today. Tourists must have local currency to pay in stores and shopping centers.
Do not rely on ability to pay in Euro or USD. You can buy UAE Dirham from the country of departure or here in the UAE.
Transportation. Similar to countries such as the United States and Canada, the UAE can not boast particularly good public transport in terms of variety of lines. Unlike Europe, which has excellent public transport network, in the UAE is preferable to hire your own car. In this country you must drive on the right side of the road.
Safety. The UAE is not dangerous country, but it is very important to get acquainted with their laws, customs and traditions before you travel. In the UAE there are laws that might seem strange to visitors from Europe or America.
Visa. The requirements vary depending on where are you from. The Ministry of Interior’s Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department is the only institution entitled to issue visas to the UAE. You do not need a visa if you are from Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.