The most famous destination in all of the United Arab Emirates is undoubtedly Dubai. This monument to man's triumph over Mother Nature, by turning desert into city and sea into land, is a hedonistic playground for the luxury-loving ex-pats who have settled in their droves. Somehow this blatant consumerism doesn't stand out, for this is the land of the Sheikh with many wives, a gold-plated Rolls Royce and a palm tree oasis surrounding his veritable palace. The shock is, perhaps, the tight hold that Islam has over the citizens. Casinos are not permitted according to Islamic law, so a cruise liner anchored off shore solves this puzzle.
The rest of the United Arab Emirates offers pockets of the same lavish lifestyle but much more besides. For truly pristine beaches head North to Ras Al-Khaimah. While you are there, enjoy the cool air of the Hajar Mountains and watersport-perfect ocean. Abu Dhabi, the largest of the emirates, is home to a vast desert of photogenic dunes and stunning oases. Abu Dhabi capital has grown in recent years from a tiny fishing village, and matches Dubai for tourism, but on a smaller and less ostentatious scale, making it friendlier and more easy-going than its big sister.