5 Stunning Attractions in the UAE

The Singing Sand Dunes of Liwa

Although most travelers to the United Arab Emirates are drawn here by the high life and engineering marvels of Dubai or the sophistication of Abu Dhabi, no quintessential Arabian experience would be complete without a visit to the desert. Highly recommended are the giant dunes of Liwa, famous for their dramatic scenery and hypnotic singing sands.

Part of Liwa Oasis, in the Empty Quarter (Rub-al-Jali) – the world’s largest and least explored expanse of sand, these dunes are about 220 km south-west of Abu Dhabi Island and can be visited on guided tours from Liwa or other nearby cities.

According to local legends, the bizarre sounds are whispers of evil spirits, but scientists believe they’re nothing but “periodic oscillations of air pockets between the grains”. Natural phenomenon or not, hearing the mysterious music of the desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and definitely not something you can do everywhere. In fact, there are around 40 whistling sand spots around the world, but the singing dunes of Liwa are said to be the loudest.