• UAE Guide - Language

    Arabic is the official language of the UAE while English is the language of business, though it competes with Urdu as the lingua franca. You will have little trouble making yourself understood, though when you venture out to the rural areas you will find that English is not as widespread. Knowing the Iranian language, Farsi, will help you get by.

    Urdu and Malayalam (the language of Kerala in India) can both be reasonably useful because of the large number of Pakistani and Indian expats.

  • UAE Guide - Currency

    The UAE Dirham (Dhs) is divided into 100 Fils. Notes come in denominations of Dhs 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000. There are 1 Dhs, 50 Fils, 25 Fils.

  • UAE Guide - Visa

    Over 33 nationalities can get their visa directly at the Dubai International Airport free of charge.

  • UAE Guide - Climate

    Dry and hot humid summer with comfortably soft winter.

  • UAE Guide - Time

    Plus four (4) hours GMT.

  • UAE Guide - Business Hours

    The weekend there is Friday and Saturday. Government offices start work at 7.30am and finish at 01:00 or 1.30 pm from Sunday to Thursday.

    Shops open from 08:00 am to 01:00 pm and from04.30 pm or 05:00 pm to 08:00 or 09:00 pm everyday except Friday morning.

  • UAE Guide - Ramadan

    This is the month during which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Bars and Pubs are closed for serving the alcohol in a day time throughout the month. Those with a liquor license can still buy alcohol for consumption at home. Everyone, regardless of their religion, is required to observe the fast in public. That only means not eating and drinking but no smoking as well. Although it is unlikely you will be arrested for breaking these rules, as you would be in Saudi Arabia, you may stopped by the police and told to get rid of your sandwich or put your cigarette out.

  • UAE Guide - Alcohol

    In Sharjah, alcohol is strictly prohibited

  • UAE Guide - Photography

    In taking photographs of places or people, ask for permission from the concerned people in a very polite manner before taking the shot. Military facilities must not be photographed at all.

  • UAE Guide - Religion

    Most of UAE Muslim population are Sunni Muslims subscribing to the Maliki or Hanbali schools of Islamic law. Many of the latter are Wahhabic, though UAE Wahhabic are not nearly as strict and puritanical as the Wahhabic of Saudi Arabia. There is also a smaller community of Shiite Muslims, descendants mainly from merchants and workers who crossed to the Trucia Coast from Persia in the late 19th or early 20th century.

  • UAE Guide - Tipping & Bargaining

    Tips are not generally expected since a service charge is added to your bill (this goes to the restaurant, not to the waiter, however). If you want to leave a tip, 10% is sufficient.

    Bargaining in Souks can be exhausting. Hang in there, be firm and be prepared to spend some time at it. Prices probably wont come down by more than about 20%, but if you are at Souk in the country, you will find that prices will come down by about 50%.

  • UAE Guide - Telephone

    The UAE has an efficient telecommunications system. The state telecommunications companies are Etisalat & Du. Etisalat is recognizable by the giant, sparkling golf ball on top of its Headquarter building on the corner of Beniyas and Omar bin al-Khattab roads. It is open 24 hours a day.

    If you need to make a call from the airport, there are telephones at the far end of the baggage claim area where local calls (i.e. within Dubai) can be made free of charge. Some of the lounges at the gates in the departures area also make free local calls. Coin phones have almost completely taken over by card phones. Phone cards are available in denominations of Dhs 25 from grocery stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and street vendors.

    To phone out from the UAE, dial 00 followed by the country code. If you want to call the UAE, the country code 971. The area code for Dubai is 04 and mobile phones 50 & 55, though if you are calling from outside the UAE you just dial 4. The following is a list of area codes in the UAE.

  • UAE Guide - Useful Numbers

    The following are some useful telephone numbers:
    Police: 999
    Fire: 997
    Time check: 140
    Ambulance: 998
    Directory Enquiries: 181.

  • UAE Guide - Car Hire

    If you decide to hire a car to get around the city, remember that traffic congestion in the UAE can be a real problem in peak hours, which occur three times a day: between 07:00 and 09:00 am, 01:00 and 02:00 pm and most of the evening from 06:00 pm onwards.

    It is compulsory to wear seatbelts in the front and it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. As you can well imagine, UAE is not short on petrol stations. Petrol is sold by the imperial gallon (an imperial gallon is just over 4.5 liters).

  • UAE Guide - Road Rules

    Drive on the right in the UAE. The speed limit is 80km/h, and 120km/h on the highways with a maximum of 120km/h. If you are caught speeding, you will be fined, but in some cases you will simply be sent a bill by police.

    The traffic situation in UAE has improved immensely since the government started forcing people to pay for the privilege of parking throughout the core of the city. For years the flow of traffic within the city had always been congested, but now with a strictly enforced four-hour limit on parking the level of overcrowding has lessened. Tickets must be purchased from one of the numerous ticket-dispensing machines. Rates are 2 Dhs for the first hour, 5 Dhs for up to 2 hours, 8 Dhs for up to 3 hours and 11 Dhs for up to 4 hours. Place the ticket on top of your dashboard. Parking in the center is free on Friday and holidays.

  • UAE Guide - Abras (Watertaxi)

    Scores of Abras constantly cross the Creek from early morning until around midnight. On the Deira side of the Creek, the dock is at the intersection of Al-Sabkha and Beniyas Road. On Bur Dubai side, the dock is at the west end of the souk. Abras, like service taxis, leave when full, but it never takes more than a few minutes for one or them to fill up. The fare of one Dirham is collected once you are out on the water.

  • UAE Guide - Taxis

    The starting fare of Dubai Transport taxis is three Dirhams. This goes up to Dhs 0.50 after 10pm.

  • UAE Guide - Food & Drink

    Food is cosmopolitan, from roadside “shawarmas” (traditional Arabic meat, bread, salad, pickle and spices) to haut cuisine in top hotels.

  • UAE Guide - Souks

    Even if you have no plans to buy anything, it is worth a visit to the Gold Souk simply to take in the atmosphere, and to ogle at the size of some of the jewellery on offer.

    Also known as the Deira Old Souk (since it doesn’t just sell spices), this is one place you must wander around for a real taste of traditional Dubai. The spices are mainly found at the souk’s eastern end, in the area closest to the Creek.

    This area, which lies to the south of Al-Dhiyafa Road near the Satwa roundabout, is the place to buy shoes, textiles, tacky souvenirs, imitation brand watches and sunglasses.

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