United Arab Emirates
A union of seven sovereign sheikhdoms, Abu dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were formed when the British withdrew from the Gulf in 1971. The UAE boasts mountains, superb beaches, fertile oases, camel racing, Bedouin markets, shopping malls, and, of course, extraordinary feats of modern architecture and construction.
Guaranteed weather and unsurpassed shopping make Dubai both a popular short break in its own right and a good extension to other Middle Eastern country visits.
For a superbly memorable self-indulgent desert experience, a stay at the Al Maha, the exclusive tented resort, enables you to cruise the dunes by 4WD or simply relax by your own private plunge pool in ultimate luxury, Bedouin style.
Fiona’s travel tips
TOP TIP: The Musandam Peninsula is just a 90 minute drive from Dubai — an easy way to combine the two countries.
READ: Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter.
BEST TIME TO GO:
Jordan and Syria: Spring and autumn
Lebanon: year round
UAE/Oman: October to April
Jordan: 5½ hours (direct)
Lebanon: 4½ hours (direct)
Oman: 9 hours (indirect)
Syria: 6¾ hours (direct)
UAE: 6¾ hours (direct)
“One of the very best holidays we have had. In fact we are seriously talking about going back to Oman next year. The agency was excellent….The guide and the trips were more than adequate, and the rest days perfect. Thank you for your efforts”.
Mrs Joan Dampney, Oman
“We had a truly memorable trip to Jordan from start to finish and cannot thank you enough for putting it together so professionally and in such a short space of time. One of the best holidays we have ever had.”
Paul Crayford, Jordan
“We wanted to write and thank you for arranging our recent holiday. It was superb and we had a very happy time. I wrote a little travelogue – I’ve attached it for your possible interest (less a travelogue and more a novel...it’s 5 pages long!) The itinerary was fine, we saw and experienced a great deal but never felt rushed. Loved all of it, I think my ‘travelogue’ speaks for that; planned experiences were as hoped but, as so often, it's the unexpected things that make you smile which are mostly to do with the people you meet. A most wonderful experience was up in the mountains and stopping at a ‘lay-by’ where suddenly we were aware of goats and a Bedouin and two tatty chairs and a little table placed to overlook this beautiful valley below which was the Dana Nature Reserve; the Bedouin produced two plastic cups of the most exquisite Arabic tea and there we sat, drinking in both the tea and this wonderful place which was silent and still and the air so fresh. Asked if I may take a photo of him, the Bedouin seriously and graciously adjusted his headdress and beamed into the camera. Such happenings as this and many others could not have been possible if we’d come on a tour holiday.”
Stewart and Sue Thomson, Jordan, April 2011