The Arabian Peninsula: A Perfect Blend of Culture, Tradition and Adventure
By admin
Published 20/10/2015

The Arabian Peninsula is mostly desert, and most of its land mass is politically Saudi Arabia. However, the countries on the east of the peninsula hold some less known treasures. Being rich in natural resources, namely oil and gas have given this part of world a huge financial boost and whilst the peninsula has had a diverse past, the present and future certainly shape up to be very exciting times.

Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Photo credit: Flickr/Zedorwin

A preconception many have of the Middle East, is that it’s not particularly sensible to visit at all, but nothing could be further from the truth. Absolutely, there are parts of the coastline, which are off limits for various reasons, there’s still masses to see and do.

Mosque by the sea, Saudia Arabia. Photo credit: Flickr/edward musiak

With a rich heritage in natural resources, many of the communities along the coast have been built upon more traditional primary incomes such as fishing. At the south eastern point of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman sits at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf, with its capital city, Muscat being a prominent seaport. Strategically located, Muscat has always been an important trading port between the eastern and western worlds. Rich in culture and tradition, it’s a multicultural city, as lively as it is noisy. The beaches here range from rocky outcrops to almost infinite sandy shores, which attract thousands of tourists escaping the relentless Arabian sun in search of a sea breeze.

Sunset view from the Crowne Plaza in Muscat. Photo credit: Flickr/Steve Brocklebank

Just west of the strait of Hormuz, the important shipping lane for oil tankers and other shipping, lies the United Arab Emirates. This small middle eastern country is made up of seven emirates with the most well known being Abu Dhabi (the capital) and Dubai. These cities have grown up quickly since the country became independent and a lot of money has been invested in making the region attractive to tourists. Certainly, the 5 star hotels have provided an element of luxury but the real adventures are to found just outside the main population centres.

The Burj al-Arab, Dubai. Photo credit: Flickr/Asim Bharwani

As a marvel of modern engineering, there’s a huge indoor ski slope built literally in the desert, and away from these manmade structures lie miles and miles of ever moving sand dunes. The dunes are huge, particularly those just to the south of Abu Dhabi, with many less known sports being taken very seriously. Motorcross and off roading are very popular here, with regular competitions taking place, it’s an experience being catapulted over huge red sand dunes are speeds that would be deemed illegal on a western road!

Driving in the Omani desert. Photo credit: Flickr/Johannes Martin

And it’s not all desert either, with watersports being popular as well. The low cost of fuel giving rise to powerboating and waterskiing to name but a few of the most common activities.

Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait each sit further up the Arabian Gulf and are more reserved than the Emirate states. However, this doesn’t make them any less fun. Kuwait in particular has experienced massive growth since being rebuilt and there’s huge marinas offering powerboat rides, gorgeous sandy beaches and a wealth of new restaurants and shopping malls sporting the latest designer gear.

Doha skyline. Photo credit: Flickr/Francisco Anzola

The Arabian Peninsula’s coastline is dotted with absolute gems, and well worth visiting, although the summer months can be too hot for outdoor adventures, it’s better to visit in spring or autumn when temperatures are more bearable.

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