The east coast of the UAE is almost the exact opposite of the west. Compared to the country’s heavily developed Arabian Gulf seaboard, the Indian Ocean-facing east is only thinly settled and still relatively untouched. Somnolent and scenic, the east is a popular weekend destination, just two hours’ drive away, for visitors from Dubai, who come to loll around on the largely deserted beaches dotting the coast.
Much of the east is dominated by the magnificent Hajar Mountains, which bisect the region and run on into Oman. The UAE section of the Hajar rise to a highest point of 1527m at Jebel Yibir, inland from Dibba in the far north of the country, and provide a scenic backdrop to the length of the eastern coast, metamorphosing from slate grey to deep red as the light changes through the course of the day.
There are a number of low-key sights scattered around the east coast, including the old fort at Fujairah and the UAE’s oldest mosque at Bidiya, although for many visitors the main attraction is the trio of attractive beachside resorts which dot the beautiful Al Aqah Beach.