For most people, the United Arab Emirates means just one place: Dubai, the sci-fi-esque city of iconic skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands, city-sized malls, indoor ski slopes and palatial beach resorts. But guess what? Beyond the glitter awaits a diverse mosaic of six more emirates, each with its own character and allure.
An hour's drive south, oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the country's capital, is quickly gaining a reputation as a hub of culture, sport and leisure. Beyond its borders looms the vast Al Gharbia desert, whose magical silence is interrupted only by the whisper of shifting dunes rolling towards Saudi Arabia.