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Explorer top 10.

1 Fujairah The naturally beautiful countryside around Fujairah is a world away from city life and provides ample opportunity to explore wadis, forts and waterfalls. The fort overlooking the town is around 300 years old and is one of many in the city and surrounding hills. If you're there on a Friday afternoon during winter, head to the area between the Hilton Hotel and Khor Kalba where the traditional sport of 'bull butting' is hosted. While not as barbaric as other forms of bull fighting, animal lovers may still want to shy away. 2 Musandam If you're starting from Dubai it's an early rise to visit Musandam in a day: located in an isolated enclave belonging to the Sultanate of Oman, the journey is around three hours depending on how long it takes to cross the border. Once there, you will be rewarded with dramatic coastal scenery, where jagged mountain cliffs plunge directly into the sea. Musandam is also one of the best dive sites in the Middle East with beautiful coral beds and a variety of sea life, including tropical fish, turtles, dolphins and even whales. 3 Hatta About 100km from Dubai is the sleepy town of Hatta. En route, you'll pass row after row of carpet shops so stop off, practise your bargaining skills and pick up a new rug. Beyond the town and into the Hajar Mountains are the Hatta Pools, where you can see deep canyons that have been carved out by rushing floodwater. On the way back, take a detour off the main road (E44) for the famous 'Big Red' sand dune, a popular spot for getting to grips with a 4WD. 4Kalba Just south of Fujairah is the pretty fishing village of Kalba, renowned for its mangrove forest and golden beaches. Birdwatchers should head a little further south to Khor Kalba during the spring and autumn migrations to catch a glimpse of rare species of bird including the reef heron, the booted warbler and Khor Kalba's own subspecies of the white collared kingfisher. 5 Dibba Located on the eastern side of the border with Musandam, Dibba is made up of three fishing villages which share an attractive bay, fishing communities and excellent diving locations. There are some good public beaches where your only company will be the crabs and seagulls, and where seashell collectors may find a few treasures. 6 Jebel Hafeet Aside from the impressive views afforded from the top, the real draw of this day trip is getting there; reaching the summit of this huge lump of rock requires some serious driving skill and stamina. The winding climbs and open straight-ways are the perfect setting for testing out a supercar, and the numerous paint marks on the concrete barriers imply an abundance of novice mistakes. Carefully climb the perfectly paved roads until you reach the gigantic car park on the top. Then take a minute to enjoy the views and get back in your beast for the return trip. 7 Ajman & Sharjah For a more cultured day out, try the emirates of Sharjah and Ajman. Sharjah is probably best known for its souks and museums. The Central Souk (aka the Blue Souk) shouldn't be missed, and the restored Heritage Area offers a chance to step back in time, while still benefiting from the modern convenience of air conditioning. Ajman offers a chance to see massive wooden dhow boats being built, using skills passed down through the generations. 8 Abu Dhabi While there isn't much you can get in Abu Dhabi that you can't find in Dubai, its slower pace is a refreshing change from its frenetic neighbour. Shoppers may be pleasantly surprised to find the malls much less busy than in Dubai, and goods and services are often a little cheaper too. The newly renovated and extended corniche is a lovely spot for a stroll, while the new white mosque is most definitely worth a visit. 9 Ras Al Khaimah & Umm Al Quwain With the majestic Hajar Mountains rising just behind the city, and the Arabian Gulf stretching out from the shore, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has possibly the best scenery of any emirate in the UAE and this makes it well worth a visit. The hot springs at Khatt and the camel racetrack at Digdagga are also worth quick stops. Closer to Dubai, Umm Al Quwain is a popular day trip for expats, partly for Dreamland Aqua Park (06 768 1888,, but also for the duty-free store at Barracuda Beach Resort. 10 Al Mamzar Beach Park If you don't have a car to escape the city for the day, why not jump in a taxi and relax the day away at a beach park? Take your swimsuit and a picnic and head to one of the beaches, or hire a bike and meander along the winding paths beneath shady trees. You'll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle even though you haven't left the city. (Contact 04 296 6201,

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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