How to travel to the United Arab Emirates: life hacks and places
If the abbreviation UAE evokes no associations other than the thoughtful – “a rich Muslim country where there is oil and deserts”, then this article is for you. Contrary to popular belief, the Emirates have a lot to see and are more than safe.
First, a few rules for entering the UAE in 2021:
- We need a printed negative test for COVID-19 for a period of no more than 96 hours, and Russians will have to take another one free of charge on the spot.
- It is advisable to install the PH Screening – it will display the result of the local test.
- Be sure to check if you have medical insurance: you will not be allowed on board the aircraft without it.
Special requirements are written for entry into Abu Dhabi: you will need a negative test for a period of no more than 48 hours, even if you have previously traveled to other emirates, later they will ask for two more tests – on the 4th and 8th day of your stay.
Citizens of Russia do not need to obtain a visa to the UAE in advance when traveling for up to 30 days, at the control at the airport it will be stamped in the passport for free. The stay can be extended by 30 days. The easiest way to get to the UAE is with a transfer in Istanbul: this option does not require an additional visa and saves money by about three times, and you will get the opportunity to walk around ancient Constantinople as a bonus.
Judge for yourself: as of February 2021, direct flights cost about 70-80 thousand rubles, and flights with transfers in Istanbul will cost only 20-30 thousand.
When you get to the UAE, remember: it is safe here, but you must follow some requirements. The police take fines very seriously, and if you want to save money on paying fines, remember a few simple principles based on respect for Muslim culture.
- Abstain from alcohol in public places.
- Do not touch or photograph local residents.
- If you're female, look for modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, and don't wear a swimsuit off the beach.
< li> We do not recommend any manifestations of love in public, even holding the hand of a loved one… and, of course, they are extremely intolerant of LGBT people here.
You can be as opposed to these requirements as you like, but if you want to relax – agree with local traditions.
Why endure all the above requirements, and where are the most interesting places to stay in the Emirates? To answer this question, you need to understand how the UAE works. Emirate – this little “state within a state” with its ruler and sometimes – with their own laws. There are only seven of them, the main – Abu Dhabi. The most popular for relaxing on the beaches – Dubai and Fujairah.
We figure out what activities and beautiful places await you in different emirates
1. Abu Dhabi
The capital emirate, where dreams of the world of the future come true: there are a myriad of skyscrapers here, so walking around the city is just as breathtaking as walking around Dubai. Chip Abu Dhabi – Ferrari park. Ever dreamed of looking at those perfect red cars? Welcome to artificial Yas Island, where you will see one of the largest themed entertainment pavilions. Inside, you can ride rides, see all the legendary cars produced since 1947, visit racing stimulators and experience the luxury of the Emirates.
You can join the Muslim culture in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque – outwardly, it is somewhat similar to the Taj Mahal, but not the real one, but the one from beautiful photographs. The mosque has an area larger than 5 football fields, and the interior decoration was definitely created under the guidance of jinn: the walls are inlaid with gems and gold, the floor is covered with carpets, and the chandeliers reach 10 meters in diameter.
Sir Bani Yas – an island in the Persian Gulf, on which an Arabian Wildlife Park was organized a couple of years ago. Previously, there were only salt domes, and now Asian cheetahs, gazelles and Arabian antelopes roam the island – so feel free to go on a safari. Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is the city of Al Ain with huge shopping malls, the largest zoo in the Middle East and an ancient fort.
This is the Emirate most loyal to tourists in terms of compliance with the rules. Shopaholics come here for the best prices: this is a duty-free zone. The most popular attraction – skyscraper-needle Burj Khalifa with a height of 828 meters. Other skyscrapers are also surprising: a sail hotel, kilometers of glass and concrete, ziplines between skyscrapers… all this excites, especially those who are terribly afraid of heights.
Another feature of Dubai: a man-made island in the form of a palm tree – Jumeirah. Of course, you need to admire it from a height, so do not refuse helicopter tours over the city. Spend the evening at the large “musical fountain”: its jets create amazing figures and are illuminated by more than 5 thousand sources.
Behind the world of glass and big money stands Dubai of the past – in the Al-Bastakiya quarter, sights of a different kind: the labyrinths of old houses of the XIX century without air conditioning, but with wind towers, the coffee museum and even the XVA Gallery museum of modern art. Area for those who want to rightfully say: “I saw an atypical Emirates.”
Unlike neighboring slightly pompous Dubai, Sharjah has a smaller scale and stricter rules. The best thing to see here – a monument to the Koran next to the amazingly beautiful at sunset the Pink Mosque and a museum of Islamic culture, which is worth a visit to learn all the complex history of the supporters of Islam and all the beauty of their art.
In contrast to measured Sharjah, Fujairah – young and passionate. People come here on fitness tours, here they enjoy snorkeling in the Indian Ocean, practice yoga and catch the sun. If you want to see the oldest mosque in the UAE, built without unnecessary luxury – visit the small Al-Bidiya Mosque in a village near Fujairah.
5. Ras Al Khaimah
On the border with Fujairah is the small village of Masafi, which has gained immense popularity because of its thermal springs – and this is perhaps the only well-known place in this emirate. In general, the entire region is more focused on industry than tourism development, but there are camel races here, and in the abandoned fishing village of Al Jazeera Al Ghamra, in the absence of pearl traders, sand endlessly rustles through the streets. If you are a fan of trekking, head to the Hajar Mountains, which are considered the youngest mountains on Earth.
6. Umm El Quwain
Come here to the chic Dreamland – there are slides for everyone: for young children, extreme sportsmen and just lovers of water entertainment. In general, this emirate, like Ras Al Khaimah, is more suitable for a relaxing beach holiday. Do you need such leisure in one of the richest countries in the world – another question.
The smallest emirate with a small museum in the historic fort of the 18th century was reserved for dessert. This is an archaeological and ethnographic museum that houses traditional wells, irrigation systems and wooden dhows that were once common throughout this emirate.
Rub al-Khali desert, a small part which is located in the south of the UAE, – another “must visit” United Arab Emirates. It is best to recognize her on a jeep safari on the dunes. The hospitality of the Bedouins and the night under the stars, when you listen to the breath of the sands, – attached.
We recommend going to author's tours around the UAE in the coming months to get to know the country at a comfortable temperature for traveling – about +20°С – and in the company of an experienced travel expert.