The Empty Quarter, or Rub al Khali, is the world’s largest sand desert. In its praise of the Empty Quarter, Wilfred Thesiger said, “It was very still with the silence which we have driven from our world.” The dunes still exist, as do the oases of Liwa, just an hour and a half south of the city of Abu Dhabi by smooth highway, and to camp in them or drive over them in a four-by-four is to experience one of the sublime beauties of the Earth. The sand is soft, fine, multicolored hues of khaki and orange, and it rolls in windswept hills hundreds of feet high as far as the eye can see, unbroken by tree or shrub or the rarest of clouds.
Al Ain is the most traditional city of the UAE, where H.H. Sheikh Zayed was born.Al Ain has several sites that would be of interest to tourists:
The second tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates (1350 m), Jebel Hafeet is surrounded by flat plains on three sides, which afford spectacular views, especially at sunset. The road to the top winds around hairpin turns for 12 km. There are three rest points for viewing, and then at the very top is a large parking area with a cafeteria and 360 degree view of the entire area.
Near Meyzad border crossing. Recently relocated to the Meyzad area, about 5 km south of Al Ain, near the Oman border, the Camel Souq is open every day. Hundreds of camels are brought together to buy and sell. The traders are very friendly, especially to children. The non-Gulf Arab traders may ask for money (“baksheesh”) for letting children sit on a camel.
Al Ain Museum and Fort
Located on Al Ain Street (or “Main Street” as the locals call it), this fort was built to protect the oasis from raiders. It was used as the headquarters for H.H. Sheikh Zayed when he was the ruler of the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi, prior to his ascending to Sheikh of Abu Dhabi itself. The museum recreates the way people of the region lived before the founding of the UAE.
Al Ain Oasis
The biggest oasis in region is made up of thousands of date palms. The oasis is located between the main souq area downtown and Al Ain street. Narrow roads run through the oasis, so you can drive through it, or you can walk. Walking in the oasis is especially nice when the sun is not directly overhead, as the palm trees offer cool shade.
Dubai is an emirate within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A city within the emirate is also named Dubai. Some of the places of interest for tourists in Dubai are:
- Burj Khalifa - Dubai sightseeing is incomplete without Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa skyscraper is a world-class destination and the magnificent centerpiece of Downtown Dubai, Dubai’s new urban masterpiece. The world’s tallest building is surrounded by hotels, must-visit shopping destinations and a world of entertainment options.
- Mall of the Emirates - Mall of the Emirates, the ultimate leisure, entertainment and shopping resort opened in September 2005. Strategically located in the heart of what is now deemed ‘New Dubai’, this 223,000 sqm centre offers a full range of shopping, leisure, and entertainment. Mall of the Emirates features 520 international brands. The compelling family leisure offerings include a Magic Planet family entertainment area, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, the world-renowned Ski Dubai, the Mall’s 500-seat DUCTAC community theatre and accompanying arts centre, and over 85 coffee shops and restaurants.
- Dubai Mall - The Dubai Mall, also known as the home of Dubai shopping festival, is one of the world’s largest shopping malls of UAE. The Dubai Mall is a 440,000 square feet fashion avenue comprising of high and mid-fashion outlets that pay homage to haute couture and just about every major fashion brand of the world.
- Dubai Gold Souk - Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market (or souk) located in the heart of Dubai’s commercial business district in Deira, in the locality of Al Dhagaya. The souk consists of over 300 retailers that trade almost exclusively in jewelry.