The federation of seven emirates was established in 1971 and holds massive oil and natural gas reserves, and the leadership spent much of the revenue from these ventures on improving infrastructure and offerings for visitors. As a result, the United Arab Emirates is one of the easiest and most pleasant places to travel around.
The climate of the UAE is hot and dry, and the national language is Arabic, although many people speak English or other languages. The population is a mix of Emirati citizens and expats from all over the world. As a result, the Emirates – especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi – have a diverse array of influences, with Arabian culture ever-present but strongly affected by other parts of the globe.
Visiting the UAE is easy. Some visitors will require visas, although most coming from Gulf States do not. The list of the best hotels is long and impressive, on par with any country in the world. In Dubai alone, options include five-star gems like Atlantis The Palm, Burj Al Arab (sometimes referred to as the only seven-star hotel in the world), Marine Beach Resort & Spa, and many, many others. Every major international chain has a presence as well.
The attractions don't disappoint, either. The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, is impossible to miss and even more impressive up close. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Al-Bidyah Mosque, the Sharjah Arts Museum, and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation are must-visits too, while travellers with a bit more time should take a day trip to the Hajar Mountains or Jebel Hafeet.
When it comes to restaurants, you'll be seriously spoilt for choice. Try Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire or Pierchic or for more traditional dishes try Al Harees or Al Machboos.