Kayakking Through the Mangroves in Abu Dhabi

Kayakking Through the Mangroves in Abu Dhabi

A few minutes earlier we were in Abu Dhabi, a noisy, bustling metropolis of high rise concrete, fast cars and muezzins. But here among the mangroves it was calm and peaceful, and there was no sound apart from the gentle swish of paddles. Learning to Paddle Five...

Eating Out in Abu Dhabi

Eating Out in Abu Dhabi

There is lots to choose from when eating out in Abu Dhabi. From fast food to smart hotel restaurants; from authentic Arabic cuisine to western style chains. Whatever your taste, you will find something to suit you. Arabic Food in Abu Dhabi   As you would expect, there...

The UNESCO Heritage of Al Ain

The UNESCO Heritage of Al Ain

To the untrained eye, it is a modern city with wide roads, fast cars and interminable roundabouts. But Al Ain, on the border between the UAE and Oman, has been continuously settled since 3000BC, and has a rich archaeological heritage. This is an oasis town, surrounded...

A Day in Sharjah, Dubai’s Less Visited Neighbour

A Day in Sharjah, Dubai’s Less Visited Neighbour

It is stylish and modern, the UNESCO designated Capital of Arabic Culture, and only a stone’s throw from Dubai. So why did it feel as if we were the only tourists there? Most people will tell you the reason is very simple: Sharjah is dry. Not in the literal sense –...

Getting Close to the Camels at the Al Ain Livestock Market

Getting Close to the Camels at the Al Ain Livestock Market

Last time I tried to visit the Al Ain Livestock Market I couldn't explain to the Pakistani taxi driver where we wanted to go. He heard the word "market" and interpreted it as "mall". "What do you want to buy?" he asked. On that occasion, we gave up and went to the...

Abu Dhabi’s Cultural District

I first visited Saadiyat Island, centre of Abu Dhabi's ambitious new cultural district, in 2010, when the first gallery opened. Madinat Al Saadiyat was, then as now, a very contemporary gallery, with a mixture of pictures, sculptures, performance and installations. It...

The Not So Empty Quarter

The Not So Empty Quarter

If you stand in the middle of what the British explorer Wilfred Thesiger called "The Empty Quarter" – the vast tract of desert that makes up most of Abu Dhabi emirate – and look around, what you will see is... emptiness. Mile upon mile of emptiness, as far as the eye...

Abu Dhabi’s Central Market: a souk with a modern twist

Abu Dhabi’s Central Market: a souk with a modern twist

A souk has stood on the site of the Abu Dhabi Central Market, close to the Corniche, ever since the city was first developed in the 1970s, making it one of the oldest locations in the young and vibrant Emirati capital. For over 30 years it was the main centre for...

A Different Side to the UAE

A Different Side to the UAE

Most of my visits to the UAE have been spent in and around Abu Dhabi, and I had got into the way of thinking that the country consisted mostly of flat, featureless desert with a few bustling high-rise cities. So it was a welcome change to see some very different...

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