Answers from Our Experts (1)
There are a few excellent day trips from Dubai, a city with world-class infrastructure that makes getting into and out of the area a breeze — as long as the sometimes-standstill traffic keeps moving, that is.
Forbes Travel Guide’s editors note that locals and resident expats frequently head to the empty quarter of the desert just outside Dubai for a day of dune bashing, the local term for high-octane, adrenaline-pumping 4x4 cruising up, down and over the sands. If you’re not already very handy at off-roading, leave the driving to a professional; your hotel concierge will no doubt have a well-qualified tour company on speed dial.
Abu Dhabi is a two- to three-hour drive from Dubai, again depending on traffic, with the UAE capital offering its own megalithic malls, spectacular skyscrapers and a blossoming arts scene that will really shine come 2013 when outposts of the Guggenheim and Louvre both open on Saadiyat Island.
Tranquil Sharjah, just a half-hour drive to the north, is one of the more culturally conservative emirates and has a completely different flavor than Dubai despite the fact that the two share a border.
In Al-Ain, which is the second city of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and is about 90 minutes by car south of Dubai, is the hometown of Sheikh Zayed, the revered founder of the union and a national hero. There are a number of fascinating historical sites here, with the best probably being the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum.