Known as the City of Merchants, Dubai is the second largest of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE. In the entire Gulf, there is no place quite like Dubai. Its history began in the 1830s when the city broke away from Abu Dhabi and became a center of commerce and trading in its own right. In fact, Dubai's wealth is founded on trade, not oil. When oil was discovered in 1966, it merely contributed to the city's prosperity and sped up modernization. Dubai is a place of fascinating contrasts, a distinct blend of modern city, timeless deserts, rugged mountains and miles of sandy beaches. The streets are clean and safe – Interpol has voted Dubai as one of the safest cities in the world. With so many attractive attributes, it is not surprising that Dubai rates highly with world-class travelers, businessmen and the international jet set.
Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates, lies on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, alongside the Indian Ocean and thus outside the Gulf. With a stunning setting of wide sandy beaches set against a backdrop of the rugged Haijar Mountains, Fujairah is an emirate of contrasts, attracting slowly a growing number of visitors, especially those in search of a different kind of "sun, sea and sand" vacation. Thanks to its strategic location at the crossroads between east and west, Fujairah experienced considerable development in recent years. Today, the emirate enjoys a bustling economy due to its natural resources, strong industrial and commercial base, as well as a thriving sea port and free trade zone. International investments are now seeing the building of luxury hotels and associated tourism facilities. Careful planning ensures the preservation and protection of the town's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Despite several new luxury hotels and resorts along the picturesque coastline, the charm and tranquility, which characterized the town in times gone by, remain largely unchanged.
Mormugao (pronounced Marmagoa) is the main port facility of Goa located at the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea. It is a 45-minute drive to Panjim. Close to Mormugao is the small town of Vasco da Gama. It serves as terminus for the railway line into Goa. The former Portuguese enclave of Goa is one of India's gems with attractions that include the magnificent Portuguese cathedrals of Old Goa, palm-fringed beaches and some of the best seafood in India. Over the centuries, Goa became well known as a great source for spices and an important link in the Arabian trade routes. While spices and silks, porcelains and pearls were passing in and out of Goa's harbors, its lands were being settled by Catholic priests. Among them was St. Francis Xavier, who left a lasting influence on this small, rich region.
Port Said was founded in 1859 when excavation work for the Suez Canal began. Upon completion of the canal in 1869, the city continued to develop until the bombing attacks in 1956 during the Suez crisis. The town suffered additional damage in 1967 and 1973 during the wars with Israel. Today most of the structures have been rebuilt. Several of the original city streets feature buildings constructed in early 20th-century architecture, complete with wooden balconies. The city's resident population of approximately 400,000 still owes its economic existence to the Suez Canal. Egyptians from other parts of the country travel to Port Said to make use of its resort facilities. Though the beaches are only mediocre, the area offers a pleasant alternative for Cairo residents to escape the oppressive heat of summer.
Qeshm is an island situated in the Strait of Hormuz off the south coast of Iran (Persia) and east of the Persian Gulf. The surface is mostly rocky and barren. It is Iran's largest and the Persian Gulf's largest island.
The port city of Safaga is located on the western flank of the Red Sea, across from the shores of Saudi Arabia. The dusty streets are for the most part quiet, save for the occasional truck or bus. Diving enthusiasts come to the few resort hotels located north of Safaga to enjoy one of the world's best and relatively unspoiled locations for underwater exploration. Their number is steadily increasing. As a result, Safaga’s facilities are gradually improving. For cruise vessels, Safaga serves as the starting point for excursions to Luxor, which ranks among the most important destinations in Egypt. Otherwise, Safaga itself has very little to offer and guests not going to Luxor will find limited activities to keep them busy in this port.
Salalah is the capital of Dhofar Province, which is the southern region of the Sultanate of Oman. Green areas scattered across town give the city a tropical atmosphere and have earned it the name "Garden City." It is a laid-back place with a few resort hotels dotting the sandy seashore.
The port and town of Sharm-el-Sheikh lies near the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula where the Straits of Tiran meet the Gulf of Aqaba. With its strategic position, the Sinai posed a desirable target for various rulers over the centuries. Sharm-el-Sheikh was initially developed by the Israelis during the Sinai occupation. Na'ama Bay, a short drive from the port, has grown from virtually nothing into a sizeable resort since the early 1980s. Between the two towns a string of hotels line a once-untouched coastline. Resort hotels offer great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Glass bottom boat trips are available for those preferring to view the exotic marine life of the Red Sea without getting their feet wet.
Over 100 miles in length, the Suez Canal connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The finest aspect of your transit is the fascinating journey that leads up to it! The coastline along the the Dead Sea, backed by the Ataka Mountains, is breathtaking.