United Arab Emirates
There is no better way to experience a new culture, get to know the United Arab Emirates and its people than by visiting and seeing it for yourself. We have created a quick guide so that you can get a brief overview and inform yourself before your fabulous travels in the UAE.
GMT + 4
Tipping is customary for
porters, guides, drivers
and restaurant staff
220 V with
Drinking from bottled
water is more advisable
(min cost: 2 AED)
Officially called United Arab Emirates, the country consists of seven individually ruled emirates. Abu Dhabi (with the capital of the same name), Dubai, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Um Al Quwain and Sharjah.
Arabic is the official language in United Arab Emirates however English is widely spoken and written.
The climate of the UAE is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 45° C (113° F) on the coastal plain. In the Al Hajar Mountains, temperatures are considerably lower, a result of increased elevation.
Single Lady Travellers
UAE is one of the few Arabic countries where women can travel with almost no interference as long as a certain code of conduct is respected (see i.e. Dress Code). Sit always in the back of a taxi; in Dubai taxis dedicated for women and driven by women are readily available. You recognize them from their pink top. Bear in mind that Arabic women would never travel without a male escort. If asked why you are alone a suitable answer could be that you are visiting family in the country or that you are on an important business trip. Wearing a wedding ring and carrying family photos helps, even if you don’t have a family.
A wide range of public transportation is readily available but the most common way to get around is via taxis. They have many colours depending on the emirate they are registered in. But all taxis must have a sign on the top showing whether they are free or occupied. They all have a meter and if it is not working you just consider the ride to be free of charge, as per the law. Taxis in the UAE are private and it is not allowed to transport any other client along with you. Dubai has additional modes of transport including a metro, monorail, tram, water taxis and public busses that are clean and air-conditioned.
Renting a Car
Tourists can drive rental cars using their International driving licenses.
There are numerous branded restaurants and Michelin star chefs found in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. There is quality food for every discerning tastes and wallet in all the Emirates.
The local currency is called UAE Dirham (AED) and there are 100 Fils to 1 AED. Dirhams can be bought at all major airports. For daily exchange rates visit www.xe.com/ucc/. There are ATMs throughout all of the emirates. Credit cards are readily accepted. Foreign traveller cheques may be changed at bigger International hotels only; this can be time consuming. It is therefore advisable to arrive with cash, credit cards and traveller checks in USD or Euros. For daily exchange rates click here
Pegged exchange rate is:
1 USD = AED 3.675
The official weekend is Friday and Saturday, with Friday being the day for the prayer. Public holidays are calculated as per the moon calendar. Banks open from Sunday to Thursday between 8.00 – 13.00 h. Branches in larger shopping malls extend from 16.00 - 21.00 h. Government Offices opening times are 7.00 – 14.30 h from Sunday – Thursday.
Passport and ID
In case of loss of passport or other official certificates please contact your embassy. We advise carrying a copy of your passport when leaving the hotel and to store the original document in a safe place.
In case of an accident you must call the police. Without a police report insurers will not pay for the damage. Below are some important emergency numbers you need to know.