All About.....The UAE - United Arab Emirates
Dubai stands tall as the most successful Emirate due to its developments over recent years, and the strength of its tourism industry. Abu Dhabi has its own claims to fame. But the remaining Emirates all have their own distinct footprint on the region.
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United Arab Emirates - The UAE
If you're on planning a visit to Dubai, there's so much to see and do that it's easy to get caught up and focus on just Dubai itself. But there's so much more to the Arabian Gulf region.
Dubai is just one of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE, a federation of those seven states. Yes it's the most famous and well known, with stunning high class hotels and incredible attractions. Fly to Dubai and you're guaranteed an experience that will blow yours senses.
Those other six emirates all have their own attraction, maybe not as holiday or vacation destinations alone, but definitely it's worth considering a visit on a short break or possibly a long day or weekend trip.
The UAE is actuallly classified as a country situated on the Persian Gulf, on a border with Oman to its east and Saudi Arabia to its South. Other borders include Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar.
Each of the seven emirates has a ruler who has been born to the throne so to speak. The seven emirates that together form the UAE are:
You'll definitely know about Dubai and Abu Dhabi, some of the others may be less well known. Of course Dubai is the Emirate most often in the news, thanks to its astounding growth over recent years. But Abu Dhabi is actually the capital of the UAE.
The remaining emirates are quieter and possess a more laid back, traditional feel. They all have some great beaches and beach resorts which will suit the more adventurous visitors looking for something a little different. If not more relaxing.
Ras Al Khaimah
At laid-back Ras al Khaimah - the northernmost Emirate - where to relax on the beach might be the biggest thing you have to worry about - and when you're done worrying about that there's a stunning floodlit golf course, abundant water sports to enjoy, and you won't want to miss a visit to the hot springs (Khat).
Ras Al Khaimah's museum must go on the visit list - it has archaeological artefacts which date back to as early as 5,000 years BC. Add to this a souq, fishing port, and an old town with as much Eastern atmosphere as you'd want, and you have a destination that's perfect for a few days break.
This Emirate is like a paradise enclave, surrounded by sea, desert and mountains.
You'll find Ras al-Khaimah to the North East Of Dubai, only 60 miles away.
The youngest of the UAE's seven emirates is situated on the East coast of the Golf Of Oman, long regarded as one of the most scenic areas in the region. The beaches are clean and make a perfect base from which to enjoy water sports, diving, and snorkelling.
Fujairah has its own museum, and other historic attractions include a 300 year old fort and a ghostly old town.
The third largest of the seven emirates, Sharjah is a place that too many visitors to the UAE either miss or pass through quickly. It has some of the most interesting architecture in the country, the largest mosque in the UAE, an interesting archaeological museum, a pocket-sized Disneyland, plenty of watchtowers, a natural history museum that's the slickest in the entire Gulf, souks to rival Dubai, and an old souk that offers a window on an older way of life that has now all but disappeared.
It's also a great place to purchase Persian carpets. Though Sharjah has long been seen as Dubai's poorer cousin, in the 1980s it took the lead in the development of the country's tourist development and became the main point of entry for people arriving in the UAE on package tours.
Sharjah is on the northern coast, adjacent to Dubai.
Everything in Abu Dhabi is modern, sleek and shiny. The United Arab Emirate's capital is often accused of being a rather soulless place, but that's going a bit too far: it's not exactly buzzing, and it may have more sheen than atmosphere, but it does have its attractions.
If you're prepared to look below the surface of the modern Abu Dubai, you'll find traces of the pearling village it was such a short time ago. Start at the city's old fort and wander the streets to discover local history, Islamic art both ancient and modern, and the ageless life of wharf and souk.
Ajman is the smallest Emirate by area, covering only 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi). There is some useful travel info on the Wikivoyage Ajman page.
The Wikipedia page on Umm al-Quwain is worth a look to find out more about the least populated of the seven Emirates.
Both of the following images are supplied courtesy of Wikipedia. The first shows the largest cities or towns of the UAE as of 2008. The second gives some useful info on each Emirate that helps illustrate size differences.