Backpacking In The United Arab Emirates

in U.A.E.

The United Arab Emirates, a nation made up of seven emirates, the two most popular destinations for travelers being Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Both emirates are taking a hold of their exploding tourism industries and modernizing at an incredible rate. The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) doesn’t just have luxury accommodations, rather it’s a luxury destination. Backpacking on a budget is extremely difficult since everything is expensive. Hostels and other common budget-traveler friendly accommodations don’t exist in the UAE, especially Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Both of these cities, and in fact many of the emirates, are oasis in the middle of the desert that stretches on for miles beyond the horizon. It is not the landscape or nature that you’ll be fascinated by, it’s the heights of what mankind has been able to build.

Tourism In The UAE

Dubai is the more accessible of the seven emirates and has taken the most strides to encourage and bustling tourism industry.

Nearby you can also see, in quite contrast, the Bastakiya District, one of the last remaining elements of Dubai’s old city. From there, the Jumeirah Mosque, is a stop that will engage your cultural senses. It is easily accessible, just be prepared to leave your shoes and bags at the entrance. Women will be required to cover their heads while inside as well. Local transportation around Dubai is very straightforward and the metro system is easy to figure out since it basically runs east and west across the emirate.

wadi uae united arab emirates desert

Visiting Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is an expensive place to travel. Considered to be the richest city in the world, nothing here can be considered cheap. Backpackers should adjust their plans and budgets accordingly. One of the best ways to save money is by reducing flight costs, since both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are generally expensive places to fly into. We recommend flying into Dubai and going overland by bus to the other emirates, like Abu Dhabi. Although a modern wonder of the world in its own right, Abu Dhabi is home to some impressive cultural displays. Currently under construction is one of the world’s largest mosques, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which is open to travelers and tourists on Fridays but outside of prayer times. The Kalifa Park in Abu Dhabi is also a densely packed man-made wonder, with large gardens, an aquarium, and more on the property.

Travelers heading to the UAE should dress modestly (unless staying in a resort where Western summer attire is acceptable) and avoid public displays of affection. While the UAE is modern by the Gulf state standards, it is still prudent to follow all of the local customs, including those revolving around alcohol consumption, sexuality, and talking about the royal family. The UAE, for budget travelers, is best done as a long stopover of a few days at most, since everything is nearby and easily accessible; not to mention expensive.

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