Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah make up the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates, each under separate governors, but essentially all under the rule of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed who rules Abu Dhabi, the capital. Not many countries can boast of the advantages that the UAE has. Its location in the Arabian Gulf places it right in the center of trade between the East, West and Africa. Abu Dhabi alone holds 10% of the oil reserves in the world and is predicted to continue to produce at the same rate for the next century. The UAE is not only popular with business travelers and oil merchants; it is fast becoming a popular destination for vacationers. The ultra modern cities, tax free shopping, the 4% tax on imports, the advanced technology, the expansive deserts, the almost ever present pleasant weather, endless beaches, rich culture, camel races by day and the world's most renowned thoroughbred races by night are attracting holiday makers to the Arabian Gulf. The UAE offers a host of amazing sites-pick and choose carefully so as to get a complete view of the UAE. You might be somewhat surprised.
Flights are abundant from just about any major city in the world and on any major airline. Plan ahead, being flexible on departure dates, and you should have no problem finding affordable flights. The local national carriers that provide international service will be your best bet for securing the cheapest flights. The UAE does not have a lot of choice for air-commuting within the country. Regional airports are few due to the size of the regions. Within the UAE, cars and motorcycles are the most popular form of travel, with Car Rental being next. Busses are also an option, though return to Dubai is only from Sharjah, so be sure to schedule carefully.
The United Arab Emirates boasts seven International Airports, all of which are in excellent condition and offering the ultimate in amenities. Since the UAE is comprised of seven city-states, all but one has their own international airport and travel is accomplished fairly easily between emirates, by vehicle, as long as you travel during regular business hours when the border crossings are manned. When planning your travel by plane from one emirate to another, check fares at Abu Dhabi's Bateen Airport and Dubai's Minhad Airport. Other cities that host airports of the same name are: Al Dhafra, Arzanah, Buhasa, Das Island, Jebel Dhana, Qarnayn, and Zirku.
There are two local international carriers that operate from the UAE. Emirates is the national airline that offers the highest quality service and schedules flights to more than 80 countries. Etihad Airways is fairly new, opening in 2003, and is fast gaining a reputation for superior service and quality. Air Arabia may offer comparable fares to UAE destinations.
The best time, but also the most expensive time, to visit will be between November and April when the temperatures remain under 90 ?F. The summer months turns most destinations within the UAE to a sauna, with temperatures soaring upwards to 120 ?F! Hotel accommodations can be incredibly expensive, so plan well-ahead and do your research. Hotel prices drop significantly in July and August, but you will not want to venture anywhere that is not air conditioned. Ramadan is an exciting time to visit, but the restrictions on eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours are strictly upheld, even with foreigners. It is also an expensive time to visit, as many Arabs return home to celebrate with family and friends. A great way to save cash in Dubai is to get a copy of The Entertainer, a book that has hundreds of two-fer meal vouchers.
The United Arab Emirates is definitely an exciting and different vacation destination if you would like to be pampered and treated like nowhere else! Besides oil, the UAE's income comes from the tourism attracted to the opulent lifestyle there and they know how to roll out the red carpet. You will not be disappointed!
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