United Arab Emirates climate
Warm winters and hot (albeit humid) summers feature in the UAE. Even in winter, daytime temperatures hover about 26 degrees Celsius; night-time temperatures can plummet to about 5 degrees however. Summer temperatures can hit the mid-40s or higher inland. It doesn’t rain very much, usually just during the winter months.
When to fly to United Arab Emirates
October until May. Temperatures are about 35 degrees Celsius and the evenings are warm. November to February is also a good time to go. The days are still warm – up to 24 degrees Celsius – but the evenings are cooler (about 13 degrees Celsius).
The period between June and September is hot; temperatures climb to the high 40s and it is very humid. However this is when many businesses offer good discounts for travellers.
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Getting around United Arab Emirates
Inter city bus services are available.
Many leading car-hire companies such as Avis, Budget and Thrifty, are represented at the airports and around the UAE. As you’d expect from an oil-producing country, petrol is very cheap. Drive on the right.
Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive both around Dubai and for long-distance trips. And a water taxi (abra) across the Creek is a tourist must-do.
United Arab Emirates insider information
- Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is a green city with several parks and gardens. The Old Fort is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, dating from 1793. Outside the city, go wadi-bashing (dune-driving) or sand skiing on the sand dunes around Liwa.
- Dubai is a desert paradise where the traditional (Jumeirah Mosque, which offers tours to non-Muslims; Sheikh Saeed's restored house; Gold Souq; falconry; camel racing; and dhow sailing) is found alongside the glaringly modern (the Mall of the Emirates, the largest shopping centre outside North America which has the Middle East’s first indoor ski destination; the instantly recognisable Burj al-Arab hotel, the only seven-star hotel in the world; and the palm tree-shaped man-made islands).
- Fujairah is the mountainous emirate situated on the Gulf of Oman. The snorkelling is wonderful, with cuttlefish, clownfish, pufferfish and turtles to be seen. Snoopy Island is a shore dive, easily accessible from the beach at the Sandy Beach Motel. The Inchcape 1 is a wreck dive. The boat was sunk in 2001 and this site is rated highly for its visibility (up to 15 metres / 50 feet) and abundance of marine life, which includes pufferfish, barracuda and moray.
- Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is in the north of the UAE, on the Persian Gulf. It is divided into two parts; the western part is known as Old Ras Al Khaimah (the museum is here) and the eastern part is known as Al Nakheel. Before oil, pearling was this emirate’s business and it is possible to take a tour of the old pearl route. Other attractions are the Hajjar Mountains and the wadis that cross them, the mangroves, and red dunes. RAK also has a great camel track and races are held here between mid-September and the end of April.
- Sharjah, the third-largest emirate, boasts beautifully restored buildings in the Heritage Area as well as the Sharjah Art Center. The Blue Souq and Souq al-Arsah offer lively shopping experiences.