Dubai is a perfect jumping-off point to explore the UAE as a whole. A good place to start is the desert, with a number of operators offering a range of desert safaris, from sunset dune-bashing excursions to full-day trips to the mountains.
Two hours' drive south-west of Dubai is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Now in the full throes of its own massive development programme, Abu Dhabi is now home to its own set of world-class amenities, including the Yas Marina F1 Grand Prix circuit, which sees the international racing competition come to town each November.
Bordering Dubai to the north-east is the emirate of Sharjah, more conservative than Dubai, but with a growing number of cultural activities, including a thriving arts scene.
On the east coast of the UAE, overlooking the Indian Ocean, is Fujairah. Quieter than the emirates of the west coast, Fujairah is known for its spectacular scuba-diving, and is home to a number of luxury hotels.