United Arab Emirates Travel Guide

- Everything you need to know for your trip to United Arab Emirates-

United Arab Emirates, simply the Emirates or UAE, is a country in Asia’s southwestern spot at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Rapid development of the country over recent decades has made it one of the most fantastic tourist spots in the world. The mixture of traditions, events, coastal areas, and exceptional architecture can be an excellent reason for tourists to put the country, especially Dubai, on their bucket list.

Why Visiting United Arab Emirates?

If looking for reasons not to visit UAE, you are wasting your time! There are so many logics for visiting this great country, from the Persian Gulf’s fabulous beaches to the tallest building globally, unique and luxurious hotels, etc., which should convince you to visit the country at least once in your life.

Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital, is one of the main reasons for visiting the country, housing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s most beautiful mosques. Yas Viceroy Hotel, where you can see the formula one racing track and watch world-renowned races, is also located in this city.

Dubai is maybe the main reason for visiting the UAE because of its fantastic landmarks. From Burj Khalifa, the tallest building globally, to excellent beaches and the only 7-star hotel globally, Dubai offers anything that can fascinate tourists.

Besides the urban areas, deserts in UAE are fantastic for the safari experience, especially the Liwa Desert. In addition to the safari, the landscape itself can be incredible for anyone, especially when it comes to the sunset time!

One of the most notable features of the UAE is its modern and exceptional architecture that you can see in famous buildings and towers. The Etihad Towers and the Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi are the highlights of architecture in UAE.

UAE Top Destinations

Best Time to Visit United Arab Emirates

Spring

Temperature: 28 °C – 39 °C (82 °F – 102 °F)

Features

Spring is warm in UAE by European standard! You may face some rains in March, but it won’t be too much. This season is one of the top times for visiting the UAE, and you will enjoy the events along with attractions.

Note

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year in the UAE, filled with events and trade shows as well as cultural events; therefore, it can be an excellent time for visiting this fantastic country.

Summer

Temperature:  42°C – 51°C (107°F – 123°F)

Features

Summers in UAE are sweltering, and therefore, heat strokes and hyperthermia will be a common problem, especially for tourists. 

Note 

Make sure to have sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas to avoid the extreme sun. in summer, malls and indoor theme parks have special events, but water parks and ice rinks are also popular.

Autumn

Temperature: 40°C – 26°C (104°F – 78°F)

Features

The most significant weather variation in the UAE happens in autumn. The temperature from the beginning to the end of autumn can change about 15 degrees Celcius! You may face some dust storms and rains in autumn as well.

Note

Autumn in the UAE is the start of outdoor activities, especially beach travel and watersports. The most important holidays occur during this season, and the country has a long weekend!

 

Winter

Temperature: 12°C – 23°C (53°F – 73°F)

Features

Winter is the best season for visiting UAE. The weather will be pleasant, and the water is still warm for watersports and swimming. In February, you will see the most rains of the year in the UAE.

Note

Camping, driving, and enjoying the desert are some of the most common activities during the winter as well as enjoying the beautiful beaches of the country. Music events, shopping festivals, and many other celebrations are held during this season, especially for Christmas 

Best United Arab Emirates Tours

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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 1

Exclusive Desert Safari

8 Hours
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From: $288.00
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 2
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 3
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From: $250.00
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 4

Desert Dunes Safari – Quad Bike

5 Hours
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 5

Dhow Cruise Marina Dubai

4 Hours
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 6

Morning Desert Safari

6 Hours
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 7

Standard Dubai Desert Safari

7 Hours
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From: $43.00
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United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 8

Abu Dhabi City Tour

12 Hours
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From: $100.00

Things to Do in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a place to have the most fun in your life. The range of activities is long and wide, with numerous desert activities and things to do near the beach. The great economy of the UAE has made it possible to have an unending number of impressive buildings and places for entertainment. You can explore the lands, or visit some of the most popular cities and towns on the planet to party and enjoy yourself.

Book a Room or Make Reservations on Burj Al-Arab

Burj Al-Arab is perhaps the best place to visit in all of the United Arab Emirates. It has gained popularity for being the first and tallest 7-star hotel on the planet. 7-star or not, Burj Al-Arab has a unique sail-shaped architecture that is marvelous when seen from a distance. Something as tremendous and luxurious as the Burj Al-Arab expensive, but it is very much worth a visit for everyone.

Before you enter, you must have had booked a room in this hotel or a table at one of the numerous restaurants and bars. And as soon as you enter, you can get a great meal along with a great experience with the best view over Dubai you can get.

Get the Birds View of Dubai in Burj Khalifa

When traveling to the UAE, going to the observation deck of Burj Khalifa is a must. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the planet, with 160 stories and a height of nearly 3000 feet. The 360-degree view over the city needs a trip to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, where you can see a paradise built at the heart of the sands. Dubai’s magnificent structure is a huge office complex near the Dubai Mall, but its fame is mostly because of the observation deck and magnificence. The Burj, the Mall, and all other buildings in the nearby area are worth the visit as they are all part of a project called Downtown Dubai.

Night visits to Downtown Dubai to get to Burj Khalifa or any other buildings in the complex are among the top recommendations.

Do All of Your Shopping in Dubai Mall

Near the Burj Khalifa, there is the Dubai Mall, which has it all. All shopping items and sections can be found in Dubai Mall along with endless activities and entertainment. There is an ice-skating area, a cinema, numerous restaurants, and halls or places for events and gatherings. Most people make the mistake of passing this place and thinking it is just like other malls, which it is not. This complex is the largest of its kind on the planet, and whatever you are looking for, you can get it in Dubai Mall.

Reside in Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah is another large complex in the UAE that must be seen at least once. The Palm Jumeirah is a large human-made island that is shaped like a palm tree from above. You can find some of the most exotic or luxurious hotels and resorts there. This complex is also near several top entertainments of the city such as the Aquaventure Waterpark. If you are looking for comfort, a good atmosphere, and entertainment, be sure to book a room in Palm Jumeirah at least once.

Not very far from the 5-star hotels and resorts is the Jumeirah Beach as well, which is ideal for watersports and relaxing on the sands.

Photo by Liji Jinaraj via Flickr

See Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace of Abu Dhabi is not the world’s tallest or most unique architectural design, and it is one of the most expensive places to build on earth. With so much as 3 billion dollars to construct this place, it is the most luxurious place to stay. The café and the restaurant at the Emirates Palace will even serve gold in the world-famous cappuccino. This place will cost an arm and a leg, but it is the UAE and its best things to do!

Enjoy Ferrari World

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi of UAE is a theme park with all kinds of entertainment for all ages and groups. You can get an adrenalin rush with some of the fastest and most exciting rides in the Ferrari World or go for the simpler activities. It does offer a lot of options, but the Ferrari World is known mostly for its excitement.

Photo by Diego Delso via Flickr

Try the Watersports in Fujairah

Fujairah is a great place to explore some heritage sites, but its fame as a tourist destination is mostly the coast and watersports. The islands near the beach and the crystal-clear waters make this place ideal for snorkeling and spending some time in the sea. The underwater world, including marine life and the shipwrecks beneath the water, are trendy. Besides, all the things to discover in the sea, Fujairah beaches and coastline are perfect for relaxing. If you are looking to spend time away from large cities’ noise, there are some quiet spots will fewer people and crowds in Fujairah. The lower number of visitors in these spots is because It is still developing.

Learn Arab History and Culture at Sharjah

Sharjah is one of the more traditional Emirates in the UAE, with many heritage sites and museums. The city has more elements of the legal Arab world as well with their architecture and design in buildings and mosques. When traveling to Sharjah, you need to keep in mind is that the laws and rules of this city are a bit more strict. Their strictness is for their traditions and their Islamic rules, such as Hijab. Alcohol is altogether illegal, and drinking it or having it in Sharjah has punishments.

In general, Sharjah is perfect for family activities, cultural and historic visits, and visiting the UAE’s wildlife.

ٍEnjoy the beauty of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 

During your traveling, one of the places that catch the eye is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi. It was constructed between the years 1996-2007 to unite all the Muslims of the world in one place, with a historic and modern significance together. The modern and traditional styles of architecture and art are mixed and have resulted in one of the most beautiful religious sites in the world. If you are interested in such places, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an honorable mention in this list. 

Learning and following the rules of Islam, will make the visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque one of the best in the United Arab Emirates. Visiting during an Eid (celebration) can make this trip even more memorable and exciting.

Go to the Desert

There are deserts all around UAE with various kinds of activities for any traveler. Try the more ways of having a safari in the desert by riding horses in the Ras Al Khaimah. Or go for bikes and quadbikes in the desert areas of Sharjah. The hot sands of Dubai are also excellent destinations with more luxurious options available. It does not make too much of a difference which desert you pick, just try the more suitable one.

Explore Ras Al Khaimah

All of Ras Al Khaimah is a place worthy of exploring. It is tremendous, but it is an excellent place as a whole, with numerous areas in the environment to see. The most popular thing to do in this part of the United Arab Emirates is going to the mountains and heights of Ras Al Khaimah. Besides hiking and going to the mountains, there are also historic places like the Al Jazirat Al Hamra, which is now a ghost town.

United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 9

What to see in United Arab Emirates

Local Transportation in United Arab Emirates

Taxi

Taxis in the United Arab Emirates are inexpensive and convenient, known as the most popular and frequent means of transportation. All taxis have a meter, and for 1.6 km, you need to pay 6.00 Durham. 

Monorail

The monorail in UAE (Dubai) is the first monorail in the middle east connecting palm islands to the mainland. 

Metro

The best and probably the most convenient transportation mean is Metro in Dubai. There are 49 stations in the metro system of the UAE in Dubai, which is very convenient and efficient. The metro is the third-largest metro network in the world, which is fully automated and driver-less. 

Tram

The RTA (Tram) in Dubai is another easy way of transportation; however, it only covers Al Sufouh Road, connecting Dubai Marina to the Palm Jumeirah and Al Sufouh.

Bus

You can choose a bus to get around cities like Dubai. There are three bus terminals in Dubai, helping you to reach other spots in the city. The bus system in cities like Dubai and Sharjah covers almost all locations of the city. There are also Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses, the tourist bus in some cities like Dubai, operating only for tourists to get around the cities’ highlights. 

Uber and Careem

Uber and Careem are two app-based taxi services operating in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman. Uber operates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while Careem is mostly in Sharjah and Ajman. 

Abras

Abras are the traditional Arabic wooden boats plying across the Dubai Creek. They are very cheap and affordable.

Intercity Transportation in United Arab Emirates

Air

Air travel in the UAE plays a crucial role in the country’s transportation system. Emirate Airlines is one of the most developed and famous airways globally, offering countless destinations worldwide from UAE. 

Train

UAE doesn’t have very conventional railway transportation. However, two networks called Etihad Rail and Gulf Railway, will be operated soon. Etihad is somehow completed, but the Gulf Railway will be completed soon.

Photo by Fabio Achilli via Flickr

Bus

Buses in UAE are cheap, modern, and beautiful, known as one of the most popular ways of moving between cities in UAE. The coaches are fully air-conditioned with reclining seats.

Ferry

The ferry system in UAE (especially Dubai) is one of the newest transportation systems operating on the Dubai Canal and Dubai Marina. 

Flight Deals to United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates Travel Costs

Budget
Accommodation$52- $104
Food$18
Transportation$3.5
Mid – Range
Accommodation$136 – $272
Food$45
Transportation$10
Luxury
Accommodation$365 – $730
Food$109
Transportation$35
Daily Costs
Budget$79
Mid Range$198
Luxury$522

Best Hotels in United Arab Emirates

Find the best hotels in United Arab Emirates using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.

United Arab Emirates Travel Tips

Tap Water

Don’t bother your head: tap water is safe to drink in the UAE. Restaurants and cafes in the UAE use tap water for cooking.

Tipping

Tipping is not much expected in the UAE. Treating staff with respect is more important than tipping. Depending on the level of your service satisfaction, tipping between 10-15% is normal.

Language

Arabic is the official language in the United Arab Emirates. A dialect of Gulf Arabic is common among most native Emiratis speakers. Schools in UAE teach Modern Standard Arabic.

Safety

Heading to the UAE and worry about safety? Good news: you’ll stay out of danger. It’s ranked among the safest country around the world (the 31st rank in the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries).

Dress

The men in the UAE wear white (or shades of light colors) traditional outfits; while the Emirati women wear black. Abaya is the traditional outfit for women worn on top of other clothes. Don’t worry! Travelers don’t need to wear traditional outfits. It’s better not to wear sleeveless dresses, miniskirts, and short shorts visiting the UAE.

Toilet

You can see generally clean and well-maintained public toilets in restaurants and shopping malls. Bus stations in the UAE also have toilets; although less maintained. Accept this friendly advice from us: take tissues as they may be out of paper. Lavatories in the UAE are equipped with a hose and nozzle next to the toilets for rinsing; and toilet paper for drying only.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi UAE is nationwide internet access free for everyone in public areas. People can benefit from high-speed access to government online services.

Banned Websites

It seems as if the UAE is against social media! WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat, Viber, and Facebook Messenger are only some well-known applications banned in the United Arab Emirates.

Adaptors

A triangular plug type G with three rectangular pins is common in the UAE. Good news for English heading to the Emirate as the type G is used in the UK. Appliances run on a 230 supply voltage in the United Arab Emirates.

Emergency Calls

Emergency Numbers
Police999
Ambulance998
Fire Department (Civil Defence)997
Coastguard996
electricity failure991
water failure922

Currency & Money Tips

The official currency in UAE is Dirham (AED), also known as Arab Emirate Dirham (abbreviated as Dhs or DH) dividing into 100 fils. The banknote denominations are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 AED. Also, 25 and 50 fils, as well as 1 Dirham coins, are common in UAE.

ATMs

Credit and debit cards can be used for withdrawing money in the UAE. The MasterCard and the Visa Card are the most common credit cards used in the country.

Exchange

If you need to exchange your money, exchange offices offer better rates. Al Ansari Exchange, Al Ghurair Exchange, Al Rostamani international exchange, Al Fardan Exchange, UAE exchange, etc., are some of the most famous money exchangers in the UAE.

Credit Cards

Visa Card, MasterCard, and American Express are widely used in shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. Therefore, you need to have no worries about money and using such cards.

Food & Drink (Emirati Food)

The United Arab Emirates is a traveling destination that has it all. Top activities, massive shopping centers, marvelous modern cities, and excellent cuisine. Each Emirate has its own traditional cuisine and food inspired in other regions of Asia and the Middle East. What they cook and eat has roots in their religion as well as their land and history. As most areas are not very suitable for farming and growing vegetables, their cuisine mostly relies on meat. Still, in today’s world, they have several dishes for vegetarian travelers and meat lovers.

Try their own creations as well as the food they have taken from other countries. With their various regional spices, they can make a dish from another country with an entirely different yet delicious taste.

Harees

One of the most traditional dishes in the Arab world and the United Arab Emirates is the Harees or Al Harees. The main ingredients are meat (lamb), wheat, water, and salt that are slow-cooked and made into something that looks like porridge. Harees is a favorite of all the Emirates people, especially during religious events and times like Ramadan. It is healthy, rich, and will keep you full for a long time.

Shawarma

Shawarma is the Arabs answer to the Persian Kebab and the Turkish Doner, and it is easily one of the favorites of all UAE and Middle-East People. Every restaurant or eatery has its own way of preparing and serving Shawarma, but its street-side sandwiches are the most popular ones. Shawarma is made with grilled chicken or lamb, then served will various vegetables and sauces. Shawarma is very easy to find because everyone in and out of the United Arab Emirates loves this food.

Thareed or Thereed

Thareed or Thereed is like a hearty stew that is most popular during Ramadan, as something to break their fast at night. It is not heavy despite being very rich and flavorful. It is made with chunks of lamb or chicken, potatoes, beans, vegetables, and a bit of spice. Every Emirate in the UAE has its own version of the Thareed using its own regional ingredients, but it is mostly the same everywhere. There is even a vegetarian version in some places for people who do not eat meat.

Machboos

Machboos is one of the tastiest dishes you can have during your time in the United Arab Emirates. This dish has a large amount of rice, vegetables, spice, and meat. Some of the delicious taste and the mouthwatering smell of the Machboos dish is because of the dried vegetables and lime that are sometimes added to the food. All the ingredients are added to a pot one after another, and then they are slowly cooked. There are two cooking processes, one for the meat, the other for the rest of the ingredients. The final result is not something you can forego and must be tried.

Stuffed camel

Stuffed Camel is perhaps the number one dish of the UAE to try, but it is very hard to come by. It is one of the largest meals on the planet, something impossible to eat alone. A whole camel is taken for this food and then stuffed with chicken(s), Sheep, eggs, spices, nuts, and vegetables (if there is still some room!). The fillings vary from one place to another, and making a Stuffed Camel really needs a master chef. The chances are that you will not even see it unless you are invited to a luxurious wedding. But if you see Stuffed Camel, it would be a big mistake not to give it a try.

Khuzi

Khuzi or Ghuzi is a roasted lamb on top of a lot of rice with herbs and nuts. The thing that makes this dish a top choice in the UAE is the rice and all the mixed stuff inside it. The roasted lamb or mutton and rice in Khuzi come in a large plate, making one of the dishes that must be shared with lots of others. It is mostly seen in gatherings, feasts, and special national events. Make sure to have it, and bring help to finish this UAE dish.

Biryani

All of Asia loves Biryani, and they have it, or something like it with another name, with their own cultural and regional modifications. The United Arab Emirates version is the best in terms of the spices and the local rice cooked with their special herbs. Try the best Biryani of UAE in Dubai, and be sure to have more of it as you travel to more Asia destinations.

Esh Asarya or Esh Hasarya

Esh Asarya is a kind of Arabic dessert which has its roots in their history. The idea behind this dessert comes from a kind of white bread that is topped with cream and has several other exotic and regional ingredients. The final result looks very much like a cheesecake, but an Esh Asarya is sweeter. After you have a traditional meal in the United Arab Emirates, you cannot leave without trying a traditional dessert such as the Esh Asarya. 

Luqaimat

Another popular dessert in all Emirates is the Luqaimat, which are ball-shaped, deep-fried dumplings covered in a sweet syrup. They are made of milk, sugar, butter, and flour, and after they are fried and become crunchy, they get dipped or covered with date syrup. They are small, tasty, and give a lot of energy. They become quite popular during Ramadan because one or two of these bite-size Luqaimats can keep you on your feet until you fast. They are very addictive, sweet, and easy to find.

Falafel

The perfect option for vegetarians is Falafel in the UAE, which is made in almost the same way all over the world. The local ingredients of the Emirates make them a bit different. Falafel can be served in various ways, as a side dish, or as a sandwich. The Sandwich version is seen less often in the United Arab Emirates, and despite this, the side dish version remains a top recommendation.

Mobile & Internet

The bad news about buying SIM cards in UAE is that there are only two SIM card providers in this country, namely Du and Etisalat, and it means the expensive SIM cards! The UAE is one of the most expensive countries when it comes to prepaid SIM cards. Etisalat is the best company for tourists as it covers almost all spots in the country.

Portable Wi-Fi device

The portable Wi-Fi device is an excellent way of connecting to the internet as prepaid SIM cards are damn expensive, especially because you can connect up to 5 devices.

Where to buy prepaid SIM cards?

Etisalat and Du shops are available in Dubai. However, you can buy the SIM cards at the Dubai International Airport as well. The prices between shops in the city and the airport are not so much different.

Prices

Du Dubai SIM card prices
55 AED ($15) 500 MB + 20 minutes – valid for 7 days.
75 AED ($20) 2 GB + 40 minutes – valid for 14 days.
110 AED ($30) 3.5 GB + 50 minutes – valid for 14 days.

Etisalat SIM card price
105 AED ($29) 1 GB data only
105 AED ($29) 700 MB data + 40 minutes + 40 sms.

Holidays & Festivals

HolidayDate 2021Date 22
New Year’s Day1-Jan1-Jan
Eid al-Fitr Holiday11-May30-Apr
Eid al-Fitr Holiday12-May1-May
Eid al-Fitr13-May3-May
Eid al-Fitr Holiday14-May4-May
Eid al-Fitr Holiday15-May5-May
Arafat Day19-Jul8-Jul
Eid al-Adha20-Jul9-Jul
Eid al-Adha Holiday21-Jul10-Jul
Eid al-Adha Holiday22-Jul11-Jul
Islamic New Year12-Aug30-Aug
Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday21-Oct8-Oct
Commemoration Day1-Dec1-Dec
National Day2-Dec2-Dec
National Day Holiday3-Dec3-Dec

Shopping in United Arab Emirates

Camel Milk Chocolate

Camel Milk Chocolate is an absolutely home-grown delicacy you can find in The UAE, especially in Dubai, since there is only one manufacturer called Al Nassma. This kind of chocolate has different types: whole milk, 70% cocoa, dates, macadamia, and spiced (Arabia).

Date

Dates are everywhere in middle-east, playing a vital role in Ramadan served after fasting. Dates are very rich because of their fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. You can buy both fresh and dried ones and bring home.

Iranian Carpet

If you can’t travel to Iran, you can buy some of the most valuable Persian carpets in Dubai, especially in National Iranian Carpets or Persian Carpet House. You can also order a carpet based on your desire.

Oudh and Bakhoor

You may smell a perfect aroma in Dubai, which might be the traditional Oudh or Bakhoor. Make sure to bring home this unique middle eastern scent!

Arabic Attars

Attars are types of essential oils or alcohol-free perfumes driven from natural sources widely used around the country. Some of the most famous shops in this regard are Anfasic Dokhoon, Hind Al Oud, Khaltat, Amouage, etc.

United Arab Emirates Travel Guide 12

Pashmina Shawl

Original Pashmina Shawls are somehow expensive as they are made of cashmere (hair of goats) and blended with 30% of silk. This kind of shawl can be a unique gift for women.

Gold Jewelry

Gold Jewelry in the UAE can be purchased at very reasonable prices in comparison with western countries. Therefore, make sure to buy for your loved ones!

Coffee & Coffee Pot

Arabica coffee is one of the most famous types of coffee around the world. Some coffee lovers don’t like the taste of Arabica coffee but make sure to try it at least once, and if you liked it, ensure to bring some home. Besides the coffee, traditional coffee pots can complete your amazing coffee experience in the UAE.

Spices

Spices are a crucial element in Asian culture and food, especially in the middle east. The strong aromas of the herbs can make your meals much more desirable.

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