The Middle East and Your Travels
Americans are returning as tourists to the Emirates and Oman. The uptick in tourism is because they are safe while some other neighbors are not. New museums and even newer US/Israeli friendship contribute. Flights are convenient, direct and cheaper than expected. (Industry people describe a JFK-Dubai flight as 3 meals and 3 movies.) Low airfare prices are in part due to quality competition between two government owned airlines (Emirates and Etihad) and foreign carriers.
The United Arab Emirates is made up of 7 emirates: (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain) each slightly different. Strung along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman are the main recipients of our tourism. Desert, mountains, beaches, wadis, forests are the landscapes. Modern next to traditional; palm studded oasis next to endless desert. Business center next to rural market. Pristine coast line next to line after line of endless oil tankers. What is fabulous is that you can visit all three of these areas easily in a short period of time and by road. And no special garb required, except modest sleeves and skirts.
Dubai is the usual starting point. Emirates, the government airline, lands at the largest terminal in the world. The terminal size is only the beginning of many surprises. There are a lot of ‘mosts’: most luxurious, most expensive, largest artificial islands etc. You will see traditional and ultra modern in one glance; a fort next to a skyscraper, and a modern mall with ice skating next to a scenic gold souk. Most groups do a fun safari bbq with ‘skiing’ over the dunes, visit the camel race track, the old part of town with dhow filled river and mansions. Tourists enjoy modern accommodations, and terrific Lebanese food at fair prices. ’24’ carat gold is one of the sought after buys in Dubai-the airport shops and malls are world famous. Yes you can drink alcohol in most of the emirates.
Abu Dhabi an easy day trip, with stunning mosques-one of the most spectacular with room for 41,000. Its oases are classified UNESCO Heritage sites. Oases bring deep greenery and pristine pools with lots of bird life to the desert. Abu Dhabi has a famous carpet souk and even more famous camel market, Ai Ain, the last such market in the UAE. The Louvre shockingly gorgeous, designed by Jean Nouvel, is a new must with its collection from European museums.
Then finish your trip with Oman, a Sultanate with all the traditions you associate with the area. Oman’s history includes Babylonians, Assyrians, Portuguese and fishermen from Zanzibar….. Since 1970 a progressive Sultan has ruled. This is a country set between enormous mountains, the Empty Quarter desert and a long turquoise coast that controls the Straits of Hormuz. Oman is the Persian Gulf of yesterday but its politics are today- including a rapprochement with Israel. There are over 500 forts and castles, wandering Bedouin tribes, magnificent beaches and the countryside is verdant, with a lot of wildlife. You are in the Arabian Nights now.
Oman is the country that will be filled with cruise crowds. Go now.
The Women’s Travel Group has been to the UAE and Oman and can help you with tips and information to make your trip more meaningful.
Our next group is for early winter 2020 and is going to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman and an option to Qatar.
See our tours here: https://www.thewomenstravelgroup.com/tours/
For information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 646 309 5607