The Middle East’s alluring sites are rich with history and culture.
Juxtaposed with new age buildings, the region has long held allure for travellers thanks to its unique destinations and experiences. An Emerald Waterways cruise will help you navigate this fascinating region.
The Doha Corniche is a quiet promenade overlooking the Persian Gulf or inland to West Bay’s skyline of tall buildings. You will pass some of the city’s most-renowned buildings, including the Doha Tower, or you can watch the birds at Al Bidda Park. Towards the south-eastern end is the Museum of Islamic Art which is home to art dating back 14 centuries. If you walk to the Doha Corniche from the Souq Waqif, you’ll find the Pearl Monument which commemorates the historic importance of pearl diving to the region.
Sir Baniyas Island in the UAE is home to incredible wildlife and won the World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination at the 2014 World Travel Awards. More than half of the island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park which is home to more than 17,000 free-roaming animals, including Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs. You can enjoy four-wheel-drive nature and wildlife safaris accompanied by expert tour guides.
Not normally associated with theme parks, Abu Dhabi is home to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. You’ll need a few hours to really make the most of your time at the amusement park. Some of the rides include The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure, Fast and Furry-ous and Scooby-Doo: The Museum of Mysteries. You can also catch shows, shop for Warner Bros souvenirs or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, such as the Starlight which was designed as a classic Art Deco Hollywood-style theatre.
Khasab Fort in Khasab was constructed by the Portuguese in the 17th century and features four stone turrets and fine crenelations. It is home to one of the best ethnographic museums in Oman and the central tower showcases the peninsula’s flora and fauna plus you can watch a video that highlights the famous sea chants of local fishermen.
You’ll need an hour to explore the Bait Al Qufl which is a house of locks that was erected by a master craftsman.
Fujairah boasts some fantastic diving spots. The water is warm all year round and is also the home to a protected marine national park. You can see everything from amazing shipwrecks to coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.
Zighy Bay is a small village on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula and is surrounded by mountains on one side and a long sandy beach on the other. You can paraglide from the top of the mountain, 293 metres above sea level. If that’s too adventurous for you, you can go hiking or biking or whale shark watch between January and March.
While there’s a lot to do in Dubai, such as visiting the tallest building in the world at 829.8 metres, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Miracle Garden should also be on your itinerary. It is home to more than 150 million flowers and is one of the region’s most picturesque and sweet-scented destinations. The garden collaborated with Emirates to create one of the world’s largest floral installations, which also holds a Guinness World Record – a life-size version of the Emirates A380 covered in more than 500,000 flowers and living plants.