Dubai

Travel tips

Alcohol

Alcohol is available in licensed hotels and restaurants.

Banks

All international banks have branches in the city, Working hours are 8am-2pm Saturday to Thursday. ATMs are widely available.

Business Hours

Most businesses are open from 8am-6pm Saturday to Thursday. Embassis, consulates and government offices operate from 7.30am-2.30pm.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and visa are accepted in most hotels and shopping malls.

Climate

A sub-tropical, arid climate ensures clear blue skies almost throughout the year. Winter may see a few infrequent rain showers. Temperatures vary from season to season: January can fall to a low of 15°C/59°F, while July can rise to a high of 48°C/118°F.

Currency

The UAE currency is the known as the Arab Emirate Dirham denoted by AED or more commonly, Dhs. One dirham is divided into 100fils. The dirham is pegged to the US dollar at a mid-rate of approximately US$1=Dhs3.679

Dress Code

As a sign of respect for local customs and traditions, a modest dress code is strongly advised. Wearing revealing clothing in public places should be avoided at all times. Swimwea is acceptable only at hotel pools, resorts and beaches. Before leaving those areas, change into causal wear.

Driving

Cars are left-hand drive and proceed on the right side of the road as they do in Europe. (Note that international driving permits and overseas driving licences are not valid in private cars in the UAE).

Greeting

The acceptable male greeting on meeting a Gulf Arab is to stand up and shake hands. However, for a man to shake the hand of a Muslim woman ( and vice versa) is, in most circumstances considered unacceptable, Local women will usually not offer their hand to a man and will not and smile instead and some local men prefer not to shake hands with women. If in doubt, wait until a hand is offered when meeting someone for the first time.

Hotels

Accommodation options vary from luxurious five-star hotels to budget-friendly hotel apartments. Conference, convention, meeting and banqueting facilities are available in most hotels.

Language

Arabic is the official language of the UAE. English is widely spoken and understood.

Medical Services

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) regulates all medical services in the emirate. Rashid, Latifa and Dubai Hospitals are operated by DHA itself and all emergency services are free for both residents and visitors. There are many private hospitals in city and fees vary.

Newspapers

English: Gulf News, Khaleej Times, The Gulf Today and The National.

Arabic: Al-Bayan, Al-Ittihad, Al-Khaleej and Emarat Al-Youm.

Personal conduct and Etiquette

Rude and arrogant behavior is unacceptable, Public displays of affection between a man and woman are considered disrespectful. There is zero tolerance for drunken driving, and inappropriate behavior while under the influence pf alcohol. Swearing is considered very offensive. During the holy month of Ramadan, eating drinking and smoking in public are strictly prohibited.

Photography

Avoid taking photographs of women as it is considered intrusive and rude. Photographing military installations, government buildings and private premises is strictly prohibited.

Population

2.36 million.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the noble Quran to the holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Shopping

Malls: 10am-midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 10am-1am Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Independent retail outlets: 10am-1pm and 4pm to 10pm Saturday to Wednesday, 4pm-midnight Friday.

Telecommunications

Telecom services are provided by Etisalat and du, Direct dialing is available to most countries. Calls made from one fixed line to another within Dubai are free. The country code is +971 and the area code is 04.

Time

Dubai operates on Gulf Standard Time (GST), which is GMT+4. There is no daylight saving.

Tipping

This is not essential but a tip of 10 per cent is appreciated.

Utilities

Electricity: The electricity supply in the UAE is 220/224 volts at 50 cycles. US-made appliances may require a transformer.

Water: Bottled mineral water is served in hotels and restaurants and is also available in supermarkets.