Today I was going to go to the east coast of the UAE for some scuba diving activities.
I was going to the resort of Fujairah.
Fujairah is approximately two hours drive from Dubai and is popular with tourists who want to get away from citylife.
Many watersport activities can be conducted from here.
Diving on the east coast of the UAE is mainly reefs and a few small wrecks.
This was to be a short introduction to scuba diving before crossing the border at Dibba and into Oman for some boat diving along the Oman coastline of the Musandam peninsula.
The sea temperature in Fujairah was a staggering 29 degrees Celsius. In addition, the sea had a lot of planktons and thus the visability was poor. The sea was very green underwater and photography was therefore poor.
I saw a seahorse of approximately 20cms in size. A quite rare encounter for scuba divers.
After my two dives in Fujairah, I was going to cross the border at Dibba and into Oman.
The Musandam peninsula is the most northerly province of Oman and marks the entrance to the Arabian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz.
The port in Dibba was where I was going to get onto our converted dhow boat.
Diving in the Musandam peninsula is mostly drift diving and therefore not recommended for novice divers.
The Musandam coastline itself is carved into countless fjords, bays and islands.
Marine life expected to be seen off Omani waters are five species of turtles, Eagle Rays and Devil Rays, and reef sharks. Occassionly Whale Sharks can be seen during the summer months. The colourful corals attracts tropical species such as Parrotfish, Batfish and Lion fish.
Omani water is plankton rich and therefore water visibility is reduced from that of other diving destinations.
After two days of diving from the dhow we head back to Dibba and eventually back to Dubai.
Arriving back in Dubai it was time to buy some tacky souvenirs to annoy people back home.
I brought a naff Shake my Sheikh salt and pepper shakers.
This was going to be given to my boss in the hope that I will get some extra overtime shifts at work (as well as a promotion!)
– The end –
For more information on Oman please visit:
Today I was going to visit the city of Al Ain located 120 kms south of Dubai. The fourth largest city in the UAE. Al Ain is known as the Garden City due to it greenery nature and it oasis. Al Ain is also the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates.
The minibus from Dubai to Al Ain was 20 AED (£3.75) and the journey took one and half hours to two hours.
I was keen to visit the cultural sights that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain. The citation of the Al Ain entry in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list describes Al Ain as having multiple locations for it citation. That being the examples of construction, agricultural use and water management in the desert since protohistory.
The designated Al Ain World Heritage Site is a serial nomination of 17 locations.
First on my sightseeing was the Al Jahili fort.
The fort has no admission fees. A lone security guy sits on a chair in the shade.
The fort is open everyday except Monday. The fort is also closed on Friday mornings.
At the time of my visit, there was no other visitors and except for the lone security officer sitting on chair, I had the fort all to myself.
in the northeastern corner is the two-storey building which was used for receptions and guests of the Sheikh.
The Al Jahili fort is one if the UAE most historic buildings. It was constructed in 1891 to defend the city and protect it palm groves.
In 1951, the fort was the headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts that protected the mountain passes and kept inter-tribal peace.
The scouts were renamed the Union Defence Force (UDF) upon the formation of the Unitied Arab Emirates in 1971.
In the southwestern corner of the fort is the round tower.
The round tower consists of four concentric tiers.
In the 1980’s the fort was handed over to the Department of Antiquities and Tourism which carried out restoration work to restore the fort to it original status.
I went for a walk outside the fort.
Another restoration phase in 2007-8 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) saw the fort houses a Visitor Information Centre with a shop and cafe, facilities for outdoor cultural events and wider exhibition spaces.
After my sightseeing at the fort I then went to the Al Ain Palace Museum.
The palace is the former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The palace was built in 1910 and in 1998 the palace became a museum.
The palace has no admission fees.
The Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis in Al Ain. The oasis is 3000 acres and contains over 147,000 dates palms.
It was easy to get lost inside the oasis.
The oasis is known for its underground irrigation system “falaj” which brings water from boreholes to water farms and palm trees.
The falaj irrigation is an ancient system dating back thousands of years.
Other crops grown here are mangoes, oranges, bananas and figs.
Inside the oasis there are remains of an old fortification and an mosque.
Heading back into the city centre, I passed the mosque.
I decided to go to the market.
An assortment of fresh fruit and meat is available here.
Next on my sightseeing was to visit the Al Ain National museum.
Al Ain National museum is the oldest museum in the UAE. Opened in 1971, the museum features displays on the city’s exclusive heritage and history.
The museum is housed in the same compound as the Sultan Bin Zayed Fort (also known as the Eastern Fort) which was built in 1910 and is well conserved.
The museum is 3 AED (£0.60) admission. As with other attractions in Al Ain, the museum is close on Mondays and closed on Friday mornings.
The Eastern fort was constructed a 100 years ago by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and served as a residence to his family since then and until he succeeded as the ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1922.
It was converted to a museum and opened to the public in 1971.
The fort is quite small and is only 35 metres in length on each side.
After my sightseeing, it was time to head back to Dubai and my luxury *ahem* hotel.
Tomorrow, I was going to go scuba diving on the east coast of UAE and Oman.
To be continued….
For more information about the UAE please visit:
I am back from my six days visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was able to do some sightseeing and cross over the border to Oman for scuba diving.
In summary, I spent two full days in Oman and three full days in the UAE sightseeing and shopping.
It was hot at this time of the year. The temperature was 39 degrees Celsius whilst the sea temperature was 29 degrees Celsius.
My hotel was in the old part of Dubai known as Deira and was near to Dubai Creek.
Dubai itself is a city famous for its modern architecture and luxury shopping malls. The city has expanded at an enormous rate over the last few decades and the population now stands at 2.5 million (mostly expats and immigrants). In the 1950s the population was 20,000 people. With the discovery of oil, the city rapidly expanded and it wealth has led to ultramodern projects such as the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project. Many of the construction projects in Dubai are now on hold due the 2008 banking crisies and the current decline in oil prices.
When I arrived, my first sightseeing was to Dubai Marina. This is a residential district of Dubai where many westerners expats live.
Many of the skyscapers here are residential blocks.
Having known many expats living here over the years, a lot of these residential towers were built by dubious developers and many expats have lost their investments to these crooks. That is typical of how things are done in Dubai. So becareful if you are considering investing here.
The Torch Tower had a twenty storey fire last February. At the time of construction I had spoken to many expats who purchased off plan into this tower and many expressed concerns about the poor construction of the tower including lack of fire protection coatings. Their concerns proven to be correct.
All over the marina, new towers are still being built.
I took a small RIB boat from the Marina to visit the artificial archipelagos.
Taking the boat out, I saw the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project and also the Burj Al Arab hotel. The hotel was opened in 1999 and it is a symbol of modern Dubai.
This hotel is the world’s only 7 star hotel. Living on my £145 per month army pension, I was not able to afford to stay here for my holiday.
With gold plated toilets and personal butlers to chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce services, this hotel has been repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
From the marina, I had to cross the famous Sheikh Zayed Road to get to the metro station.
I took the metro back to the old city.
Whilst on the metro, I passed the Burj Khalifa tower. This is the tallest tower in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. The building gained the official title of “Tallest Building in the World” at its opening on January 4th, 2010.
Arriving in the old city of Dubai, I first went to see the Creek.
Dubai Creek is the old part of the city and was originlly a small port for numberous dhows that traded with East Africa and India. It is still used for trade using the traditional dhows.
A short walk later, I came to the Al Fahidi fort.
The fort was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It is now a museum and is 3 AED (£0.60) to get in.
After my sightseeing, I went to do some late night shopping.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area. Opened in 2009, it has over 1200 stores.
In March this year, more than a hundred foreign labourers protested in front of Dubai Mall due to overtime wages not being paid. Despite all the ultraluxury developments in Dubai, there is a lot of poor pay within the city.
The Mall comes with a interior aquarium so that shoppers can stare at the fish whilst shopping.
The Mall of the Emirates has over 700 stores and a ski slope! The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park.
After buying my sexy gal a sexy skirt and several dresses, I headed back to my faulty air conditioning hotel room.
The next day I was going to visit Al Ain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To be continued….
For more information about the UAE and Dubai please visit: