ABOUT DUBAI


Dubai - the exotic jewel of the United Arab Emirates; Bordered by deserts and beaches, Dubai provides stark contrasts, from intriguing Islamic culture to the ultra-modern, high-tech metropolis of the 21st century. The city is a magnificent expression of an incredible vision and an uncompromising statement of success and opportunity. Dubai has something for everyone, from vacationers seeking a relaxing break away from the pressures of work, to business travellers looking for a new exciting experience. The emirate is an international conference, exhibition and leisure destination.

Lying on the calm, blue waters of the southern Gulf and flanked by the majestic desert, Dubai offers year-round sunshine and five-star luxury along with the adventure of a unique Arabian experience. Dubai is a class destination with all the modern amenities of the western world. It is a fascinating emirate with beautiful buildings, excellent restaurants and nightlife as well as white sandy beaches, culture and history that you can feel as you visit the souks, shopping malls, museums and historic buildings and sites.

         

CLIMATE


Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Sunny, blue skies can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, falling mainly in winter. Temperatures range from a low of about 10.5°C /50 °F to a high of 48°C/118.4°F. The mean daily maximum is 24 °C/75.2 °F in January rising to 41°C/105.8 °F in July.

CLOTHING


Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings. Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing, for example low-cut dresses, very short skirts, or tight shirt or top in public. At the pool or on the beaches, trunks, swimsuits and bikinis are quite acceptable. Good quality sunglasses are advised, and photo chromatic lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats, or some protection for the head, are advisable when in direct sunlight.

Business Hours


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

CULTURE & LIFESTYLE


Dubai's culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and the visitor is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.

Dubai society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and, provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted. Despite rapid economic development in recent years, Dubai remains close to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional robes and headdress. Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.

LANGUAGE & RELIGION


The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.

Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and Dubai has two Christian churches, St Mary's (Roman Catholic) and Holy Trinity (inter-denominational).

PHOTOGRAPHY


Normal tourist photography is allowed, however it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to request permission before photographing men.

CURRENCY


The monetary unit is the dirham which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1= Dh3.67.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is considered as the global business and cultural hub of the Middle East. In this section, you will find some beneficial travel information about Dubai.

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. Swimwear 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 licenses 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.

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