See the sun set over sand dunes; watch horse and camel racing; go on a Jeep safari; meander through the alleyways of colourful markets; laze on long stretches of sandy shoreline. A union of seven sheikhdoms, the United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971. Today it presents an arena for sun, sand, sports and shopping. Dubai boasts lively markets, vibrant nightlife and great beaches. Amongst its modern buildings, sleek chic Abu Dhabi features a bustling fish market and busy dhow wharf. Sharjah offers graceful architecture and an archaeological museum. Ras Al Khaimah is one of the area's greatest beauty spots, its vivid greenery offset by desert and bold mountains; Fujairah has a 300-year-old fort and makes a good base for exploring the east coast. Our hostels in Dubai are gateways to this intriguing region and provide a variety of activity and sightseeing packages.