The Magic of UAE: Top Destinations

Sep 17, 2023 By Sean William

While Dubai and Abu Dhabi often overshadow the other five Emirates in the travel guides, the entire country is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Here’s a brief insight into one of the lesser-known but equally captivating emirates, and the top five-day trips you can embark upon from Dubai.

Sharjah – The Cultural Capital

A quick drive from Dubai will take you to the Emirate of Sharjah. Nestled between Dubai and Ajman, Sharjah offers a different side of the UAE, more traditional, yet every bit as charming.

What Makes it Special?

Sharjah isn't just another Emirate; it's the cultural capital of the UAE. It offers a deep dive into the country's history and rich traditions. Here are some reasons why it should be on your list:

Cultural Insight: Sharjah houses numerous museums and attractions that narrate the tale of the UAE's evolution. These sites provide visitors with a deep understanding of the region's past and its cultural significance.

Automobile Galleries: For car enthusiasts, Sharjah's automobile galleries showcase an exquisite collection of vintage cars and historical vehicles. It's a journey back in time, relishing the craftsmanship and evolution of automobiles.

Wildlife: The zoos in Sharjah are not just about seeing animals. They're about understanding the delicate ecosystems of the desert region and getting acquainted with the local fauna.

Historical Sites: Time-travel by visiting Sharjah's historical sites. Discover ancient forts, traditional Arab architecture, and markets (souks) that give you a taste of the UAE from yesteryears.

When to Visit: The period between October and April provides the most conducive weather for tourists, making sightseeing comfortable and pleasant.

Hatta – An Oasis of Tradition and Natural Beauty

Hatta lies to the east of Dubai, marking the border between the UAE and Oman. It is a haven for those who are looking for a stark contrast to the urban sprawl of Dubai. Away from the gleaming skyscrapers, Hatta offers a serene environment, making it one of the best places to visit in the UAE for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Hatta Heritage Village: As you walk through this mock-up hamlet, you’re introduced to the traditions and everyday life of the earlier inhabitants. Despite the harsh conditions and limited resources, the locals showcased immense resilience and innovation, and this village stands testament to their enduring spirit.

Hiking Opportunities: If you're someone who seeks adventure, Hatta beckons with its rugged terrain.

Hatta Dam: The juxtaposition of the calm, azure waters of the dam against the rough mountains is a sight to behold. Hiring a kayak and paddling through this reservoir allows you to be at one with nature, in the heart of a desert kingdom.

Al Ain – The Garden City of the UAE

Often referred to as the 'Garden City,' Al Ain stands as a verdant sanctuary amidst the vast stretches of the Emirati desert. It's a place where history whispers from ancient walls, where culture flourishes, and where nature showcases its most radiant beauty. If you're looking for a well-rounded experience in the UAE, the lush gardens and storied landmarks of Al Ain should undoubtedly be on your list.

Al Ain Palace Museum: This museum, once the residence of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, offers a vivid portrayal of life before the oil era. Every corner of the house echoes stories of the Sheikh’s life and the nation's journey to modernity.

Jebel Hafeet: To truly grasp the beauty of Al Ain, a drive-up Jebel Hafeet is a must. As you ascend, you're met with sweeping views of the city sprawling below – an oasis in the vast desert.

Camel Market and Al Jahili Fort: Al Ain's camel market provides a unique and authentic experience, offering a glimpse into the region's trading traditions. Nearby, the Al Jahili Fort stands tall, a symbol of the city's historical significance and architectural grandeur.

Fujairah

Situated on the eastern coast of the UAE, Fujairah stands out from its neighboring emirates with its unique blend of history, tradition, and natural beauty.

Al-Bidyah Mosque: Built solely from mud and stones, this historic structure stands as a testament to the architectural prowess and spiritual devotion of the region's past inhabitants.

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque: Unlike its namesake in Abu Dhabi, this mosque offers a more accessible experience for visitors. Inspired by Turkish architecture, it boasts a massive dome, ornate interiors, and four towering minarets. The heart of the mosque is adorned with a magnificent chandelier, illuminating the intricate designs that envelop the space.

Fujairah Fort: A hallmark of the region's defense mechanisms, Fujairah Fort transports you back to an era when these citadels were the first line of protection against invaders. Its robust structure and strategic location provide insights into the historical significance of such establishments.

Exploring Khor Fakkan: A short drive north will lead you to Khor Fakkan, where you can marvel at the Al Rafisah Dam's beauty and take on the famous Al Rabi Hiking Trail, offering spectacular views and a touch of adventure.

Jebel Jais and Ras al-Khaimah

Jebel Jais, the towering peak of the UAE, is nestled within the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. Its unique geography and offerings make it an unparalleled destination for thrill-seekers and culture enthusiasts.

Jebel Jais: Climbing Jebel Jais is akin to unfolding a story written in the language of breathtaking landscapes. As you ascend, the mesmerizing beauty of desert peaks and rugged mountains unfurls, offering sights that seem almost surreal.

World's Longest Zipline: For adrenaline junkies, the mountain hosts a heart-pounding experience - the world's longest zipline. Imagine soaring through valleys at dizzying speeds, with the wind in your hair and the vast expanse of the UAE beneath you.

Ras Al Khaimah City: As the capital of the eponymous emirate, Ras Al Khaimah is a treasure trove of historical and cultural gems. The National Museum offers a deep dive into the region's past, while the Dhayah Fort stands as a sentinel, narrating tales of battles and triumphs from centuries gone by.

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