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Many mistakenly think Dubai is a country, and who can blame them when the attention-grabbing metropolis hogs media attention? Yet the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the Arabian Gulf federation of which Dubai is just one of seven city-states and Abu Dhabi is the capital. The other five emirates, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Kaimah, Khor Fakkan, and Umm Al Quwain may not boast seven star hotels or sumptuous malls, but each offers something for travelers keen to explore this little country. Indeed, the ease of traveling, whether by dirt-cheap bus or by rental car along excellent multi-lane highways, is one of the reasons the UAE is such a delight ...

Many mistakenly think Dubai is a country, and who can blame them when the attention-grabbing metropolis hogs media attention? Yet the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the Arabian Gulf federation of which Dubai is just one of seven city-states and Abu Dhabi is the capital. The other five emirates, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Kaimah, Khor Fakkan, and Umm Al Quwain may not boast seven star hotels or sumptuous malls, but each offers something for travelers keen to explore this little country. Indeed, the ease of traveling, whether by dirt-cheap bus or by rental car along excellent multi-lane highways, is one of the reasons the UAE is such a delight to visit. Sharjah has a charming heritage area with historic courtyard houses converted into museums, and great souq shopping. The lush desert city of Al Ain is dotted with shady date palm oases and restored forts. Fujairah and Khor Fakkan are home to the UAE's best beaches, rugged mountains and picturesque scenery, while Ras Al Kaimah and Umm Al Quwain, with their ramshackle souqs and sandy lanes, provide a glimpse into the UAE's recent pre-oil past.

Lara Dunston
About the Expert

Lara Dunston and Terry Carter have traveled to over 60 countries and written more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Rough Guides, Footprint, and others on destinations in the Middle East, Europe, and South America.

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Lara Dunston for Triporati

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