Nobody knows the Arabian Peninsula like Lonely Planet. Whether it’s exploring the alleyways of Old Muscat, bargaining in Abu Dhabi’s atmospheric souqs, diving in the Red Sea or finding the best spot for a desert safari, we bring you the most extensive coverage of the region.
Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.
In This Guide:
In-depth advice on safe travel in the region
Expat chapter packed with insider tips from our resident author
Only guidebook to cover every country in the Arabian Peninsula
Writes the author: "History", said T E Lawrence when pulled up by his biographer on a point of fact in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, "is all lies anyway, so why worry". Why worry indeed, but I did worry: I wanted to be sure that ostriches didn't use their tails as sunshades (as one 18th-century travel writer would have us believe), and that Nile crocodiles were indifferent to the religious persuasion of their dinners. So began thirty years of independent travel that has taken me to 84 different countries on four different continents. Which is my favourite? Well I have fond memories of being lost in a rain forest in Costa Rica and nearly losing a leg in Panama; of beetles hatching in police custody in Sudan and the art of micro-copying in Pakistan; there was a wayward camel in Xinjiang and editing of books on Indonesian travel modes at the University of Hong Kong. I have slightly less fond memories of riding with herdsmen in Mongolia ? or at least of the wooden saddle: after that, the long trans-Siberian crossing through a grey Gorbachov winter, being pinched all night by Cossack women in pink nylon vests, was a 'standing room only' experience. But, in the great tradition of travel literature, I digress. If I had to choose a favourite country it would have to be England. A raw day in winter, with copper light on the beech trees of Surrey to be exact. As everyone knows, it's only when you've been to one or two other places that home and birthplace wins the top spot. A close second, however, would have to be my second home of the past 7 years, the Sultanate of Oman. Apart from its raw natural beauty and legendary hospitality, this is where, after six months travelling the silk route compiling a book on contemporary artists, I met my beloved husband. It is also where, while sitting eating egg sandwiches on a windswept escarpment in the Hajar mountains, I thought "What a lonely planet". It was only logical, then, to write up the experience for the publisher of the same name in Middle East (4th edition) and Arabian Peninsula (1st edition). All in all, I've had a long association with the Middle East: entomological field trips with parents in Saudi; a dissertation on Doughty and Lawrence (BA, Stirling University); a thesis on the perception of the Arabic Orient (MPhil, Oxford University); milking goats in Syria; watering poppies in Jordan; covering Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait for Arabian Peninsula. The connection continues with an off-road driving guide of Oman, for Motivate Publishing, and an academic writing skills course, akin to the work I produce for Oman's Ministry of Health, due for publication in 2006. So did they have sunshades? Did they eat heathens? "Actually yes"; factually no. But who's worried? My top travelling tip would be to pack some "willing suspension of disbelief", and be surprised when it delivers some universal truths.
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
Review of UAE Book by Lonely Planet
Of the seven books I've recently purchase prior to my trip to the UAE, Oman, Quatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this was by far the best reference book. The maps are not a fancy as in some other books, but the B&W maps they had were the most useful. The tourist guide provided was also the best of the books. I highly recommend it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
Good travel guide for the region. I enjoyed the history of each country and some of the tips provided by the author. I used this book for travel to Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates and found most of it pretty spot- on. I had another book that focused just on Dubai, but I really enjoyed this book for the depth of information about the entire region. Hopefully one day I'll make it to some of the other countries.
As with any guidebook, changes ( especially in such a growing area) occur rapidly and some of the information in this book was outdated, but that was my only complaint.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
Like all of the other Lonely Planet books, this one is a storehouse of knowledge for any traveler. Before our recent trip to Qatar, I had a number of questions one of which was , "which adapter plug should I take?" It was a simple matter to turn to the appropriate page in this book and find that Qatar uses the "English-3-prong plug" and with that I was good-to-go! No detail is too small for the Lonely Planet series...and if anything, they may include too much. But I would be hard pressed to suggest what to leave out; just skip what is not of interest.