Across mountains, deserts and seas Air India Express has been soaring through the horizons carrying millions of passengers across space and time to some of the most famous cities in the world. We have made dreams come true for some as we take them into mysterious lands that they eventually call home while we jet off others to the perfect vacation at the cheapest rates. AIE will fly you to over a dozen international locations in the Middle East and South Asia. Here are some of our destinations and why you should visit them.
Dubai, a land of the world’s ‘first, tallest, deepest, most expensive, luxurious, exquisite’ things. Where else would you find a seven-star hotel, visit a series of 200 man-made islands in the shape of the countries of the world, or climb the world’s tallest building, shop at designer boutiques, and haggle in age-old souks.
Known for its history and culture and declared as Cultural Capital of the Arab World and Capital of Islamic Culture Sharjah is a historic old town easy to navigate on foot. Travellers are recommended to explore the Heritage and Arts Areas, as well as the souks and excellent museums. Aside from the main city of Sharjah, the enclaves of Dibba Al Hisn, Khor Fakkan and Kalba on the eastern coast also belong to the emirate.
- Abu Dhabi
The world’s largest hand-loomed carpet, the fastest roller coaster, the highest high tea, the tower with the greatest lean, the largest cluster of cultural buildings of the 21st century – UAE capital Abu Dhabi isn’t afraid to challenge world records. For those looking to engage with Gulf culture, Abu Dhabi offers opportunities to understand the UAE’s history through museums, exhibitions and tours. You can also experience Emirati heritage through strolls around the dhow harbour, touring the traditional markets and absorbing the atmosphere at sheesha cafes.
- Al Ain
About two hours east of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is fed by natural springs and set among oasis and plantations, garnering it the nickname ‘Garden City’. The birthplace of UAE founding father Sheikh Zayed, it is known for its forts, museums, zoo, Unesco sites and central date-palm oasis. A highlight is the drive up the mountain road snake to the top of Jebel Hafeet, treating you to sweeping views of the arid splendor that is the Empty Quarter along the way.
- Ras Al Khaimah
Surrounded by the fierce Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah (or simply ‘RAK’) is the UAE’s northernmost emirate. Outdoor enthusiasts love it here, thanks to diverse scenery ranging from sandy beaches to sprawling oases, hot springs to sun-baked desert, all backed by the rugged mountains. In RAK City itself, the pearly-white and multidomed Sheikh Zayed Mosque overlooks the Al Qawasim Corniche. RAK is also the gateway to the magnificent Musandam Peninsula, an enclave of Oman.
Like a pearl in an oyster, Bahrain and its capital city of Manama has its own Formula 1 grand prix, a growing art and foodie scene frequented by Manama’s sizeable expat population, and all the hallmarks of wealth and modern Arabian style. Bahrain’s is a city that is not too crowded by visitors and this means you may have the city all to yourself.
The erstwhile provincial capital, Dammam, is the longest settled and largest town of the Dhahran–Dammam–Khobar regions of Saudi Arabia, but it nonetheless has the feeling of a town whose time has passed. The city is rich in culture and history and packed with beautiful monuments and mosques.
Whether it’s the stunning and constantly changing skyline or landmark cultural icons, this is a city oozing confidence and style, as at ease in its modern shopping malls as in its traditional souks. Wander the reinvented and fabulously atmospheric Souq Waqif, wonder at the sheer beauty of the world-class Museum of Islamic Art or head out to Katara to explore – wherever you look, Doha is threatening to eclipse Dubai as the Gulf’s most dynamic city.
Kuwait is a city with an authentically Arab feel and is considered an oasis in a land of desert plains, and has excellent museums, a fine souq and a corniche of combed beaches and lively restaurants. Kuwait has many attractions including the landmark triple towers; a first-class aquarium, excellent museums and an traditional souk. Add to its sights and attractions a harrowing layer of modern history and there’s enough to keep the passionate traveler very happy.
Muscat means ‘safe anchorage’, and the sea continues to constitute a major part of the city which is dotted with beaches of Shatti al Qurm and Athaiba. The Persian Gulf is flanked by tall mountains making Muscat a picturesque location. The opening of the Royal Opera House in 2011, with performances of acclaim from around the world, has helped place Muscat on an international stage and highlighted it as a forward-thinking, progressive city.
The southernmost province of Oman separated geographically by an interminable gravel desert the city is known for its historic frankincense trade, great beaches, a laid-back atmosphere and an interesting ethnic mix, it’s a fascinating place to visit, particularly during or just after the khareef (mid-June to late August season of mists and light rains).
Singapore has reinvented itself as one of the world’s hotlist destinations. The world’s aspiring ‘City in a Garden’, it is an unexpected wonderland for fans of all things green and natural. Catch a city bus and end up in ancient rain forests rustling with monkeys and other flora and fauna, muddy wetlands, or sleepy farms heaving with bananas, papayas and jackfruit. Or just stay central and escape to Singapore’s soothing Botanic Gardens.
- Kuala Lumpur
Imagine a city, its skyline punctuated by minarets, Mughal-style domes and skyscrapers, its colourful, food-stall-lined streets shaded by a leafy canopy of banyan trees. Malaysia’s sultry capital packed with historic monuments, steel-clad skyscrapers, lush parks, mega-sized shopping malls, bustling street markets and trendy nightspots is a traveller’s paradise.
So what are you waiting for? Our wings already exist; all you have to do is fly.