Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Junhan Foong
United Arab Emirates Travel Guide: Unveil Your Middle Eastern Oasis
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers a captivating and culturally rich experience that immerses travelers in the Middle Eastern tapestry. This dynamic destination is known for its stunning architecture, luxurious stays and thriving cosmopolitan cities — all with immense cultural significance. It’s a vibrant blend of tradition and modernity where visitors can engage with Emirati traditions, exquisite art and flavorful cuisine. The UAE lies between the African and Eurasian continents and fosters a deeper appreciation for the region’s uniquely enchanting heritage.
- Best time to travel: November to March (peak season), June to August (off-season), April to May and September to October (shoulder season)
- Time zone: Gulf Standard Time (GST)
- Currency: Dirham (AED)
- Noteworthy: Dubai Shopping Festival (December to January), Sharjah Light Festival (February), Dubai Food Festival (April to May), Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix (November), Global Village (October to April)
- Best for: Luxury Stays, Adventure Enthusiasts, Cultural Photography, Shopper’s Paradise, Architecture & Design, Nightlife Entertainment
Play: Things To Do In The United Arab Emirates
Dubai to Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque & Qasr Al Watan Palace
The Dubai to Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque & Qasr Al Watan Palace tour includes hassle-free pick-up and drop-off from the capital city of Dubai. Travel in comfort and style in a clean air-conditioned vehicle with a licensed bilingual guide sharing the local history. The breathtaking grandeur of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a true architectural marvel. The Etihad Towers Observation Deck and the view of the Emirates Palace makes this an unforgettable photo moment. The highlights include entry admissions to Abu Dhabi, Etihad Towers and Qasr Al Watan.
Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
Dubai waterparks are legendary, and the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark is no exception. As the world’s largest waterpark, it offers an exhilarating experience for travelers of all ages. Thrill-seekers enjoy the Odyssey of Terror, which the tallest waterslide in the world, and the Zoomerango, a weightless vertical wall. In Shark Attack, travelers will get an adrenaline rush from zooming in a tube that ventures through a shark-filled underwater lagoon. The waterpark also has a fun surfing pool, cliff-jumping Immortal Falls and a Splashers Kids’ Play Area for family fun.
Red Dunes ATV Sandsurfing, Camels, Stargazing and BBQ at Al Khayma Camp
This excursion is packed with something for everyone to do throughout the day. There’s ATV driving, sandboarding and camel riding. The Red Dunes ATV Sandsurfing, Camels, Stargazing, and BBQ at Al Khayma Camp is an all-in-one, full-day itinerary adventure with the convenience of hotel pickup and drop-off. The live shows, such as the Tanura and Ladies Khaliji Dance, are mesmerizing. The Al Khayma Desert Camp prepares a delicious BBQ buffet with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Immerse in the Arabic culture with henna painting, falcon experience and local attire followed by stargazing under the desert sky.
Dubai Marina Yacht Tour with Breakfast or BBQ
The Dubai Marina Yacht Tour is team come to life. The iconic Dubai skyline frames the breathtaking views of the water along the Persian Gulf. Guests can take stunning photos of landmarks like the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis. Indulge in the delicious onboard breakfast or sizzling BBQ with complimentary beverages. Enjoy sunbathing and sipping wine on the deck without the need to book a private charter.
Every traveler deserves a spa day on the itinerary and the Scintilla Spa is a premium choice. The elevated skincare services make this Abu Dhabi’s premier skin and beauty care destination. The team of highly trained experts offers personalized one-on-one consultations, innovative skincare and cutting-edge treatment for facials, massages and body care. With result-driven skincare solutions, tension-melting massages and long-lasting manicures, it’s the perfect way to end the day.
Dubai Aladdin Tour of Souks, Creek, Old Dubai, and Tastings
The Dubai Aladdin Tour of Souks, Creek, Old Dubai and Tastings immerses guests in the rich culture of traditional Dubai. The 3-hour guided tour journeys through the vibrant Souks, the historic Dubai Creek and the charming Al Fahidi quarter. From street food tastings to traditional Arabic coffee, local teas and refreshing fresh juice options, there’s something for everyone. This cultural excursion includes bottled water and snacks as a local guide shares stories from the region on a private boat ride through Abra.
Gourmet: Best Black-Owned Restaurants in the United Arab Emirates
Located in Crate & Barrel at Mall of the Emirates, this Black woman-owned café offers a bistro-style menu. Boon Coffee has nutritious breakfast, lunch and bakery options. They include gluten-free choices and specialty coffee throughout the day. The founder Orit Mohammed is from Harar in Ethiopia, which is the birthplace of coffee. He brings generations of knowledge to offer the finest, freshest and expertly roasted Arabica coffee beans.
Boon Coffee has a personal commitment to fair compensation for local coffee farmers and an investment in education. They build strong relationships with the communities that supply their beans and other ingredients. If you are not a coffee drinker, Boon Coffee has an extensive range of teas and refreshers for every palate.
West to West Kitchen
Dine at the Black-owned restaurant, West to West Kitchen, for a culinary trip to the Caribbean islands. Co-founder Laddi has a British-Sierra Leonean-Trinidadian heritage that shows his passion for every West African and Caribbean dish on the menu. From its humble beginnings as a pop-up stall in Yas Mall, this family-run restaurant has grown into a beloved eatery with a diverse menu
Relish in the vegan Trinidadian Doubles or sample the tantalizing Jamaican Johnny Cakes and Trinidadian Dhalpuri Roti for a taste of home. Don’t miss the sweet treat menu with Sticky Toffee Pudding, Aunty Sybs’ Trini Sweet Bread Loaf and freshly made Banana Bread.
Kiza Dubai African Kitchen
Experience the vibrant heart and soul of this Black-owned restaurant that effortlessly blends cultural flavors and a contemporary atmosphere. The thrilling nightlife of The Kiza Dubai African Kitchen showcases the unique spirit of Africa from the style to its menu. A La Carte menu options include dishes, like Mozambican Peri-Peri Chicken Wings, Tunisian Fish Tacos and Ghanian Kele Wele. For a satisfying business lunch, flavors like Harissa Charred Salmon, Couscous salad, West African Red Ragout and Cape Malay Beef Curry are a highlight on the menu. Pair the meal with African-inspired cocktails, local wines and beers.
Catfish DXB is a Black-owned restaurant with a focus on wellness and traditional African flavors. The menu includes Warm Balanced Bowls packed with nutritious fuel and delicious toppings, like Hot Honey Chicken Bowl with fried plantains and Suya butter corn. The Nigerian Main menu includes Efo Riro and Egusi Soup, which are classic Western Nigerian dishes. The African cuisine includes grilled specialties, like Peppeh Dem wings, and sides, like Jollof rice or quinoa. To top it off, there are some mouthwatering light desserts, like cinnamon grilled pineapple and classic puff puff balls, that travelers have to try.
Al Mufraka Restaurant
The Al Mufraka Restaurant is one of Dubai’s few authentic Sudanese cuisine restaurants in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Located in the old district of Tanker Mai, this Black-owned hidden gem offers friendly service and a laid-back ambiance. The menu boasts enticing options, like the Okra stew, Sudanese Foul and the unique combination of half-fried and half-Naimiya Porridge. For a refreshing finish, Dandorma ice pops are available in tantalizing flavors, like Hibiscus, Baobab and Tamarind.
Stay: Best Places to Stay in the United Arab Emirates
Exclusively Designed One Bedroom With A Dubai Canal View
Stay in this one bedroom stay for a personal oasis with world-class amenities. Located in one of Dubai’s most desirable areas, guests can stroll around to find architectural wonders, like the Burj Khalifa. Boat rides along the illuminated Tolerance Bridge on the canal are a short walk away from the apartment.
The well-designed apartment offers relaxing rooms with elegant lounge chairs and a plush curved sofa. The floor-to-ceiling windows give panoramic views from the stylish kitchen. The amenities include access to a podium-level swimming pool, gymnasium and health club.
Upgraded & Cozy Boutique Studio In Palm Jumeirah
This studio in Palm Jumeirah has a panoramic view of Dubai Marina and Eye Dubai Ferris Wheel. Situated on the largest man-made island, this apartment provides easy access to waterfront shopping and dining options. Although it is a short five-minute walk from shops, restaurants and city nightlife, the area maintains a tranquil and secluded atmosphere. During the holidays, guests can see Dubai’s spectacular fireworks shows from the studio windows.
Studio ID In The Heart Of Dubai
With its central location, the Studio ID in the Heart of Dubai is a short drive away from popular attractions, like Dubai Mall and the financial district. Guests can take a 15-minute stroll through iconic skyscraper-filled avenues and see stunning views of the canal.
The convenience of a private studio with all the amenities of a 5-star hotel is unbeatable. Some of the amenities include free valet parking, a fully equipped gym and a large swimming pool with direct access to the canal. There is an abundance of options to dine, shop and enjoy some entertainment throughout the trip. The studio offers a fully equipped kitchen, fast WiFi, free parking, a shared outdoor infinity pool, and a washer and dryer in the unit.
Get Away: Getting To and Around The United Arab Emirates
Book a flight to the United Arab Emirates through one of the major international airports, like Dubai International Airport or Abu Dhabi International Airport. Numerous airlines offer direct flights to the UAE from various cities around the world. Travelers can travel out of the nearest international airport, if located in a more rural area. Plan itineraries in advance based on the travel season and factors, like cost, duration and convenience.
Renting a car is the best way to explore the United Arab Emirates. Travelers must have a valid driving license that’s international or accepted in the UAE.
Use a GPS to navigate the country and familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations. Pay attention to toll roads and plan for potential traffic congestion. Drive responsibly, get travel insurance, and respect local customs and culture.
By Public Transit
The public transit system in the United Arab Emirates consists of several modes of transportation including buses, metro systems, trams and taxis. The public transit system in the UAE is an extensive and efficient public transportation network. The Dubai Metro offers convenient and affordable transportation. It is highly recommended for its speed, reliability and coverage of major areas. Buses are another reliable mode of transportation that serves various destinations throughout the country. It’s advised to learn the schedules and plan itinerary routes in advance by purchasing a Nol card for a seamless trip.
Explore The United Arab Emirates on Foot
There are pedestrian-friendly areas within each emirate. Cities, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have well-developed walking paths and promenades that allow visitors to explore their iconic landmarks and attractions. Some popular areas to explore on foot include Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, the Corniche in Abu Dhabi and the historic districts of Sharjah. Travelers can visit natural landscapes that offer hiking trails and scenic walks.