Travel tips and closing thoughts on UAE and Oman
Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
127Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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This morning we drove back to the UAE for our last taste of the Western world for a few months. Tomorrow we are flying to Mombasa, Kenya to start our African adventure. In the next few months Internet access will probably be slow and sporadic so don't worry if you haven't heard from us for a week or so. Once we get online though we are sure to have some very interesting tales to tell!
So to close our time on the Arabian Peninsula, here's are our travel tips for coming to this region:
If you are looking for a genuine Arabian experience, Dubai is not the place to have it. It is very much a cosmopolitan, international city with western amenities. A frenetic pace of life with all the glitz and glamour you would expect define Dubai. If you had not heard much about Dubai prior to reading this, I promise you that within five years or so, everyone will have Dubai in mind as a must-see! By the end of this decade there will be nothing on Earth to rival the entertainment, shopping, and architecture that this city is currently building.
Oman is a much more traditional and calm place with rugged landscapes and natural beauty. But still has pretty much any amenity you might possibly want. Definitely a slower place than the UAE!
Both the UAE and Oman are very safe. Neither have had any type of terrorist attacks, kidnappings, or targeting of tourists. We felt safe everywhere we went.
English is widely used and understood. You do not need to know a bit of Arabic or any other language to do almost anything in the UAE or Oman.
Both nations have a cost level close to that of the USA. Food is generally cheaper but hotels are limited to fairly high-end. In Dubai or Muscat you should expect to pay around $150 a night for a nice place. Most Western and European hotel chains have numerous properties here, so these are good places to use frequent guest points!!!
Due to the high number of Expats and guest workers in the UAE and Oman, both countries are quite multiethnic. Food of every type is available in the big cities as well as all the usual fast food chains. Quality is good and prices are reasonable.
A rental car was invaluable to us. Both nations have cities and sites that are far apart and cabs are costly. Roads are very well maintained, signposted in English and easily navigated. Dubai drivers are a bit aggressive but if you have driven in any major city, it should pose no problems. Rental cars are very cheap and gas costs the equivalent of less than $1.00 per gallon!
Both nations are very low hassle; you will never be accosted or given the hard sell, there are no beggars or indigent people, and other than the occasional traffic jam, everything runs efficiently.
Dubai is quite hot and humid during the summer. Guidebooks say the most comfortable times to visit are between November and March. The shopping malls are great places to seek refuge from the humid heat. They are often themed and have an amazing variety of stores and food court options.
Because so much in Dubai is under construction, we'd suggest going there in about a year. By that time many of the more ambitious and jaw-dropping projects will be finished or well under way. We'll definitely be going back!
If you go to Oman, spend more time there than we did. When we come back we will plan to do some SCUBA, take a dolphin-watching cruise, and rent a 4x4 and bring camping gear. Much of the really fun stuff to do requires a bit of off-road driving and some advance planning.