The sleek white hotel Emirates Palace in Dubai, UAE
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United Arab Emirates

Asia

  Arabic Currency:  United Arab Emirates Dirham

The United Arab Emirates, also commonly referred to as the Emirates or UAE, is a peninsula in the Middle East consisting of seven emirates, or regions, each ruled by their own sheikh. The most popular in terms of travel are Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi. These cities are characterised by a blend of cultures, with incredibly modern skyscrapers and shopping malls just a stone's throw away from rolling sand dunes, wild deserts and ancient mosques.

Tourists tend to flock to the numerous luxury hotels, glittering high-rises and beach resorts along the shoreline, but if you venture far enough afield you can actually manage to escape the UAE's Western influences. The wonderfully atmospheric souks in Dubai, for example, are the perfect place to discover exotic foods and traditional market places. And for a truly offbeat adventure, you can always go on an off-piste drive through the humongous Rub' al Khali desert, also known as the Empty Quarter...

Whatever your reason for visiting the United Arab Emirates - whether it's business, pleasure or pure curiosity - you'll likely be pleasantly surprised. The UAE is nothing if not alluring, and it has a tendency to attract people back time and time again.

Is it safe?

Overall, the UAE is safe for tourists to visit, with low rates of violent crime. Dubai in particular is one of the safest Middle Eastern countries for tourists thanks to its strict laws.

That being said, it's always a good idea to check the foreign travel advice from Gov.uk before planning a trip here, and to keep abreast of any news and events happening in the UAE. You should also be prepared (obviously) to respect the local traditions, customs and religions at all times. 

Need to know

  • UAE is a Muslim country, but it's not as conservative as you might assume. In terms of dress, for instance, it's fine to wear European clothes like shorts and skirts.
  • Though Arabic is the official language, you'll find most people also speak English, and many of the street signs are also published in English.
  • E-cigarettes are currently banned in the UAE, so leave your vape at home. 
Explore cities in United Arab Emirates