United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, often referred to as the U.A.E, is a federation of seven emirates on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It has coastlines on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia to the west and southwest, and Oman to the southeast and also on the eastern tip of the Musandam Peninsula as well as an Omani enclave within its borders. It is a country rich in history and culture and an easy starting point for travels in the Middle East.
For most Western tourists, the U.A.E. offers an environment that is extremely familiar. The malls are extraordinarily modern, filled with virtually any product available in the West. The less well known side of the U.A.E. includes remote, magnificent desert dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter and craggy, awe-inspiring wadis in the north-east bordering Oman.
Alcohol is widely available at many restaurants and bars, as well as outlets of MMI and African + Eastern, in Dubai, and in the tourist hotels of every other emirate save Sharjah. As of 2023, licences to purchase alcohol for off-sales in Dubai are free, and can be applied for in-person at any MMI or African + Eastern outlet on provision of a passport (for tourists) or an Emirates ID (for expats). The emirate of Sharjah, however, remains completely dry.