United Arab Emirates Highlights
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a union of seven sovereign sheikhdoms, formed when the British withdrew from the Gulf in 1971. It boasts mountains, beaches, deserts, oases, camel racing, markets and the renowned duty-free shopping of dazzling Dubai - all packed into a relatively small area.
The UAE is a contradictory place where traditional Bedouin lifestyle meets Western consumerism and big-town bling. But rather than clashing, these disparate influences have produced a unique 21st-century nation that combines the cultures of conservative Islam and the liberal West in one package.