United Arab Emirates

Where Desert Meets Mountains – the Off-Beaten Path UAE

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A Travel Guide to the Unseen United Arab Emirates

Famous for Dubai’s luxurious and glamorous lifestyle, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a less explored natural side that equally deserves to be visited.

If you are visiting UAE as an adventurous traveler, I bet you would love to explore more than just landscape of Dubai’s skyscrapers. Therefore, your best bet would be going on a road trip to see the rural Emirati life, hike majestic Hajar mountains in Ras al Khaimah, swim turquoise blue waters in Fujeirah, sleep under the stars in the red desert of Maleha… And those are just a few of many exciting outdoor activities in the UAE.

Here I am sharing tons of detailed information about the off-beaten path destinations in the UAE that you don’t want to miss out on your upcoming visit to the Emirates. If you are a resident of the UAE, you may also find something you have never thought existed just an hour or two drive from Dubai.

Disclaimer: This page is packed with useful free information to help you plan your trip and it contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Traveling to the UAE soon? Use this Skyscanner search box to find the best flight deals!

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Watch this short video I have created featuring some of the less discovered places across the 7 Emirates of the UAE

QUICK USEFUL TIPS:

·’Hello’ and ‘Thank You’: ‘as-salam alaykum’ and ‘shukran’. Other popular word is ‘habibi’ which means ‘darling’ or ‘dear’.

·Currency: UAE Dirham (click here for current conversion rates)

·Language: Arabic, English (almost everyone speaks it), Hindu.

·Visa: Free on arrival to selected countries. Tourist visa validity depends on the nationality. Lithuanians get 3 months tourist visa on arrival, for example. More info about visas on Emirates airline website here.

·Safety rating: Ranked 41 on the Global Peace Index in 2020 with Abu Dhabi and Dubai being among top 10 safest cities in the World!

·Shoulder season: September to November and April to June.

·Best SIM cards: Etisalat (has larger coverage across the country) and Du. Tourist Sim cards available at the airport and in most of the shopping malls. Prices are the same (high) everywhere. You need to show your passport before buying a sim card.

·UAE dress code: Modest attire is expected when visiting UAE. Although shorts and bikinis are common at the public beaches in Dubai as well as resorts, visitors and expats are advised to dress modestly when going to public places such as shopping malls, and especially to more conservative areas. Basically, shoulders and knees should be covered. Women travelers are not expected to cover head or wear abayas (except when visiting mosques).

·Don’ts: avoid using hand gestures, especially while driving, as it is considered very offensive and can get you into trouble (even jail).

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Red Wall Hike in Wadi Naqab Ras Al Khaimah UAE

Red Wall hike takes you through a stunning Wadi Naqab in Ras Khaimah Emirate, UAE. Here is a detailed guide that will help you to get around.

Sunset at Showka Dam with thunders Ras Al Khaimah UAE Nikon Z6

Wadi Shawka loop from dam to pools is a scenic hike only an hour drive from downtown Dubai. Follow this guide to know all you need about this great outdoor adventure.

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