Best time to visit: November, December, January, February, March
Average high: 37˚C
Average low: 14˚C
Price of meals: 4/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Culture / Party
The United Arab Emirates is a federation in the Middle East, made up of seven different states; Abu Dhabi (serving as the capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. With Abu Dhabi and Dubai being the most popular for its modern high-rise buildings and grandiose shopping malls. This has not always been the case. Before the first half of the 20th Century, the UAE’s economy was largely dependent on fishing and a declining pearl industry. When oil was discovered in the 1950s, however, and oil exports began, the country’s society and economy were completely transformed making it a popular destination for people to admire the amazing works of modern architecture and stunning desert views.
Dubai in particular is known for its extremes when it comes to luxury and glamour. Not only does it house the tallest building in the world, but you can also shop in the biggest shopping mall in the world, and (if your budget allows for it…) stay in a hotel with the most stars in the world (7 stars!).
The UAE’s economy relies primarily, and increasingly on tourism; however, despite the many tourists you will most likely come across, the very hot weather, and the many western-looking modern shopping malls, it is still important to try to honour the local culture by wearing respectful clothing. Signs in the airconditioned (often chilly!) malls will remind you to cover your shoulders and knees.
From marvelling at the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi to the breath-taking view from the tallest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the UAE will leave you immersed in the perfect balance between traditional religious culture and luxurious modernity.
The UAE really only experiences two seasons: hot, and even hotter. Its desert climate has very hot and sunny summers and cool winters.
If you want to avoid the many tourists, and land yourself a cheaper deal, summertime is the best time to visit the UAE, however, temperatures rise well above 40˚C in August, with the hottest recorded temperature hitting 52,6˚C and even the sea temperature rising to 37,5˚C – so you might want to reconsider and visit during the busier winter months instead. Note that even in January, temperatures do not drop below 19˚C, meaning the UAE can be an ideal refuge for people trying to avoid the cold winter months.
With its luxurious and modern facilities, you will expect the UAE to be very expensive, and whilst this can definitely be true (after all, you can decide to treat yourself to a stay at a 7-star hotel!) not everything is costly. A three-course meal for two will cost you around 135 AED (£28,20). A cappuccino 15,16 AED (£3,16), and water is 3,80 AED (£0,80) per litre.
A bottle of beer will cost you 35 AED (£7,31). Please note that only visitors and tourists over the age of 21 can buy and consume alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, bars and restaurants. Any public activity involving alcohol is illegal.
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