Dubai & The Middle East Destination Guide
Luxury vacations to the Dubai and the Middle East yield experiences of an inspiring nature, lending a revealing insight into a whole new way of life through many areas of differing architectural and cultural composition. From the modern skyscrapers and gleaming towers of Dubai to the simple hillside retreat of Al Ain, the Middle East is a continent that embodies both the contemporary and the traditional way of living through its many tailored facets. There are the rustic open fish markets of Muscat in Oman where with its friendly market sellers, or cosmopolitan Abu Dhabi with its smart business industry workers, or even the gleaming bars and restaurants of Manama in Bahrain. Whatever your choice of destination you will find a distinctive charm to the Middle East and you are sure to return time and time again.
Dubai & The Middle East Attractions
Dubai has a multitude of superb outdoor attractions to complement its brilliant beaches. Along with championship quality golf courses and desert adventures, there are also some amazing spectator sporting events including the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al-Sheba; the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament, the Dubai Tennis Championships and the Rugby Sevens. The Middle East as a continent holds many key attractions, there's the Old Muttrah Souk in Muscat, Oman for a truly enlightening shopping experience, or the Al Hosn Palace (White Fort) in Abu Dhabi. Formerly a royal residence, the fort is now a museum featuring traditional artifacts and historic photographs. Or, for the really intrepid traveler, why not try some off road driving through boulder strewn Wadis with the Hajar Mountains as your backdrop in beautiful Fujairah.
Dubai & The Middle East ExcursionsCamel Rides in Dubai
If in Dubai, why not take a combination camel ride and sand skiing tour? Rides on the original 'ships of the desert' offer an enlightening experience before a half hour journey in a traditional caravan will transport you back to a more traditional way of life before introducing you to the thrilling sport of sand skiing.Heritage of Bahrain
The tour begins in Manama with a visit to the Al Fatah Grand Mosque for a photo stop, before heading to two museums - the Beit al Qu'ran and the Bahrain National Museum for a historical insight into Bahrain's religious background. A panoramic drive through Manama will take you to the Women's Handicraft Center where you can make purchases, before a visit to the island of Muharraq, with its 18th century pre-oil lifestyle house.St Catherine's Monastery - Sharm el Sheikh
An early start for your journey up to this historic site at the foot of Mt Horeb, said to be the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments in biblical times. Built in 545 AD, this famous monastery is considered to be the site of the oldest religious order in Christendom. This fascinating tour includes a continental buffet style lunch at Wadi el-Raha.
Dubai & The Middle East Shopping
Abu Dhabi and Dubai feature shopping at the top of the scale, namely large, plush shopping malls featuring top international brand names. The Abu Dhabi Mall features over 220 stores with food outlets and a six screen cinema and bowling center. There are also 3 large shopping malls in nearby Al Ain. Likewise in Dubai, there are some hugely impressive malls such as the Mall of the Emirates and the soon to be opened spectacular Mall of Arabia. For a cultural shift try the range of traditional bazaars and souks that are commonplace in the Middle East and sell everything from gold lanterns to pre packed herbs and spices.
Dubai & The Middle East Restaurants
The Middle East is a place of diverse culinary indulgence. Traditionally, food here is lightly spiced and you won't find as much emphasis on hot curries as perhaps you might expect. Omanis in particular have a delicate palate, and there is much more emphasis on flavor rather than heat here. If you're in Dubai, you'll find a huge range of superb restaurants to satisfy any dietary requirements. Just some of the amazing choices include Verre by Gordon Ramsay at the Dubai Hilton Creek hotel. This 70 seat glass panelled fine dining experience is one to cherish, with signature dishes inspired by the world famous Michelin starred British chef. Alternatively why not try the fine Persian cuisine on offer at the beautiful Anar restaurant located within the fabulous Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi? Destinology can also highly recommend the French fine dining restaurant La Mer located within the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha for a truly elegant and luxurious evening.
Dubai & The Middle East Bars & Nightlife
Nights out in the Middle East countries can be very varied.
There are some great hotel based bars, but virtually no independent bars or pubs, and this is true for much of the Middle East. Of course there are exceptions if you look carefully enough. Oman features one Irish bar in Muscat where drinks are served if you purchase a meal. Dubai features some extremely plush and prestigious bars located within many of its luxury hotels plus several independent bars along Palm Jumeirah. Drinking in Bahrain you'll find similarities, but remember that nearly every hotel based bar is open to the public regardless of whether you are a resident, or staying in the hotel.
Abu Dhabi is perhaps the exception to the rule featuring a host of independent bars and nightclubs many of which screen sporting events from the UK and stay open until 3am.
Dubai & The Middle East Family Attractions
Aquaventure - Dubai
The leading family attraction in Dubai is unquestionably the fabulous new Aquaventure water park located within Atlantis The Palm Hotel. This is an amazing myriad of swimming pools, wave machines, water rides, challenging slides and water features spread out over no less than 42 acres. Day tickets are available for non hotel guests.
Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium - Abu Dhabi / Al Ain
Spread out over 400 hectares and easily accessible from Abu Dhabi, the zoo features a large collection of rare desert animals and the only desert based aquarium in the world, giving sanctuary to sea lions, penguins and over 50 species of fish. The zoo also features breeding programme for endangered species.
Other Dubai & The Middle East Travel Information
Currency: Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Al Ain: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), Oman: Riyal (RO), Bahrain: Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
Language: Arabic in its numerous forms and Persian are most widely spoken in the region. English is also widely used within the main resorts.
Flight time: New York –Dubai 12hrs 45 mins
Time difference: Dubai +9 hrs from New York time Abu Dhabi +9hrs from New York time
Voltage: Dubai & Abu Dhabi: 220v, most plug sockets are 3 pin.