As the UAE continues to grow as one of the most popular places for a luxurious holiday or travel-packed adventure, many people experience both the best and worst of this dynamic country. Whether it’s getting lost in the biggest mall in the world or surviving the heat of the desert, here are some of the top things all tourists experience while in the UAE.
Feeling the thrill of seeing the Burj Khalifa for the first time
The Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, is definitely a sight to see with its towering point stretching into the sky as far as the eye can see. Every tourist remembers the thrill of seeing this enormous iconic building for the first time and we’ve all taken more than enough pictures in front of it.
Getting slightly lost (if not completely disorientated) inside Dubai Mall
Getting used to the smell of the traditional incense, oud
Emirati oud may seem a bit pungent at first — many tourists recoil at the strong streams of incense that waft inside every single mall in the UAE at first. After a while though, the musky and deep smells of this luxurious perfume gets to us and most of us end up buying a little to take home!
Indulging in the delicious mix of Middle Eastern food the UAE has to offer
In addition to local Emirati food, the UAE boasts some of the best variety of Middle Eastern food, all in one place! Here is where you can enjoy succulent shawarma wraps, plates of authentic Egyptian food and saffron-infused Iranian food, among so many others.
But also realizing that the Indian food in the UAE is easily one of the best
Indians make up the highest percentage of expats in the UAE, so it’s no wonder that you’ll always find a good Indian restaurant to visit. Tourists quickly realize, too, that the Indian food in the UAE might just be the best thing to stumble across while in the country.
Getting addicted to karak
Karak, a milky and slightly spicy tea, is the national drink of the UAE. No meal is complete without a quick stop to the local tea stand on the side of the road to bask in the delicious aromas and tastes of karak.
Getting ripped off and overpaying in traditional souks
While the UAE is known for its malls, theme parks and other luxurious sites, there are still many traditional souks that all tourists should venture out to. We’ve all been there, though, when we get ripped off and pay extra while trying to bargain for souvenirs (there’s no getting around it, getting ripped off is a tourist rite-of-passage).
Surviving the inhumane heat of the UAE and living to tell the tale
The UAE is extremely inhumanely hot, with it sometimes climbing up to 50 degrees Celsius with 98 percent humidity in summer. For most tourists, this will be one of the hottest countries to visit and surviving the heat of the UAE is definitely something to boast about.
Basking in the beauty of the desert
The UAE, once you get outside of its cities, is truly a beautiful desert landscape. From the dazzling red sands of the Empty Quarter in the south to the rocky deserts of the north, the beauty of the UAE desert is one of the most memorable parts of the country.
Realizing how diverse and dynamic the UAE really is
Finally, the one thing most tourists realize after visiting the UAE is just how diverse this country really is. From sparkling futuristic skyscrapers to traditional souks, from local food stalls to luxurious international restaurants, the UAE’s culture and people will be something that will stay in your memory forever.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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