About DubaiDubai, the business hub of the Middle East, is well known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage, and the Emirati people are welcoming and generous in their approach towards visitors. With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world.
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With an area of 3,885 square kilometres, Dubai is the second largest emirate in the UAE. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf which divides the city into the Deira district to its north and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the UAE's most important port and commercial center.
During summer, Dubai is one the hottest holiday destinations in the world, with its sub-tropical climate spread across two lengthy seasons of summer and winter. During April the average high temperature rises to normally around 32.9°C, while throughout June to October the temperature regularly crosses 40°C. Throughout November and December, rainfall increases, and January and February are the wettest month of the year. Winter in Dubai occurs between January and March. Winters are still warm however temperatures drop considerably to highs of 23 °C and lows of around 14 °C.
While Islam is the official religion of Dubai, the emirate is well-known for its tolerance and respect for all religions. Besides mosques, the city houses many other places of worship including churches and temples. Visitors and residents are expected to respect Islam and abide by certain etiquette and code of conduct, including the special rules that come into effect during the holy month of Ramadan. Most of the official public holidays are based on the Islamic calendar.
Arabic is the official language of Dubai but English is the most commonly spoken language; it serves as the lingua franca of the city. Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Tagalog, Persian, and Chinese are also spoken.
Dubai local time is GMT/UCT + 4 hours. There are no daylight-saving adjustments.
The working week can differ from business to business. It is generally Sunday to Thursday. However, retail and some other businesses open six days a week, closing on Fridays.
Usual business hours are from 08:00 to 13:00, resuming, after temperature has lowered, from 16:00 and continuing until 19:00. During Ramadan the working day may be shorter, Free Zones may also have different working hours.
Bank opening hours are 8am to 1pm (Sundays to Wednesday) and 8am to noon on Fridays. Banks are usually closed on Thursdays.
The local currency is the UAE dirham (AED or Dhs) which is divided into 100 fils and is pegged against the US dollar (USD 1: AED 3.67). Notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 dirhams.
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currencies and travelers’ checks can be exchanged in licensed exchange offices, banks and hotels, a passport is required. Personal checks can be a bit trickier and many places won't accept them. If you're shopping in the souks (markets) or in smaller shops, cash is the best option. It is worth taking a combination of cash and credit cards.
Voltage is 220 - 240 V at 50 Hz AC. British-style 3 pin electrical plugs are used.
Tipping varies from profession to profession and is also largely down to personal preference. While it is customary to tip in most cases in Dubai, it isn’t compulsory. Majority of the restaurants will note at the bottom of the menu that taxes and service charge have already been included in the bill, but it is still common among most diners in Dubai to tip the service staff. A figure between 10 and 15 per cent is customary, but this is dependent on the quality of service. Taxis in Dubai are cheap, and therefore tipping the driver is a common occurrence. While tipping is always appreciated in Dubai, it is rarely expected.
Dubai’s hospitals can handle any medical emergency; it is sensible to ensure you have adequate travel insurance that covers you for healthcare. If you have a medical condition that requires ongoing treatment, be sure to bring enough medication with you to last you for your entire stay in Dubai. However, you are advised to bring a medical certificate with you sanctioning the use of such medications, since certain substances are banned.
As Islam is a way of life in the city, tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. While dress codes are fairly liberal, swim wear should only be worn on beaches or at swimming pools, and when visiting shopping malls and other attractions, tourists should wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing.
For ladies, please avoid wearing low-cut dresses or dresses or skirts above the knee. Sleeveless garments are not encouraged. Please bring along a scarf while visiting the mosque. Men are also discouraged to wear singlets or unbuttoned shirts.
Dubai Mall; with around 1200 stores, it is not merely the world's largest shopping mall, it's a small city - with a giant ice rink and aquarium, a dinosaur skeleton, indoor theme parks and 150 food outlets. There’s a strong European-label presence, along with branches of the French Galeries Lafayette department store, the British Hamley’s toy store and the first Bloomingdale’s outside the US.
The Bastakia Mosque may not be the largest or most glamorous mosque in the United Arab Emirates but it has to be one of the most photogenic. It has exquisite lattice-work detailing made more beautiful by the blindingly white facade. Nearby you can see the last remnants of Dubai's city walls, built in the mid-19th century from gypsum and coral.
Jumeirah Beach; sandy white bliss is the number one beach destination for Dubai visitors. There are hotels strung out all along the length, with this being one of the most popular places to stay for tourists. It has excellent facilities, restaurants and water-sport operators offering jet skiing.
There are many different ways to navigate your way around Dubai. The city boasts an excellent road network and a range of car hire firms, so as long as you have an international driving licence it is possible to drive yourself around Dubai.
Dubai’s bus network is growing all the time and covers most parts of the city – while a bus ride may not always take you somewhere via the most direct route, it is a cheap and safe way to get around.
The Dubai Taxi Corporation, regulated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has a fleet of over 4,000 taxis. Flagging down a taxi is easy: apart from numerous taxi ranks around the city, and designated taxi areas at all shopping malls, you can raise your hand while walking along the city’s quieter roads (just not on major highways), and if the taxi is available, the driver will stop at the nearest safe spot. Alternatively, taxis can be booked by phone through the hotline +971 04-208-0808.
There are various types of taxis available, please specify your preferred type during booking:
- Airport Taxi: Serves Dubai International Airport, operating at an opening fare of 25 dirhmas and an extra fare of AED 1.75 per 1 kilometre.
- Special Needs Taxi: Starting fare of this service varies according to the location and time. When the service is ordered from the Airport, the opening fare is 25 dirhmas. In other parts of the city, the metre opening fare is 6 dirhmas in the morning, noon and evening, and 7 dirhmas after 10.00 pm.
- Ordinary Taxi from the Airport: The opening fare of the ordinary taxicab when ordered from the Airport is 20 dirhmas plus 3 dirhmas per each kilometre in the morning, noon and evening, and 3.5 dirhmas per each kilometre after 10.00 pm.
- Hatta Taxi: The fare of Hatta Taxi is set at 25 dirhmas per person in a 7-seater vehicle.
- Ladies Taxi: The opening fare is 6 dirhmas in the morning, noon and evening and 7 dirhmas after 10.00 pm.
Taxi drivers prefer to receive payment in smaller denominations as they may not carry sufficient change when receiving payment in big notes.
The kind of visa you need to enter the UAE depends on several factors such as your nationality, the purpose of your visit and its duration.For more information on visa issues, please CLICK HERE.
Passengers are only permitted to bring certain items, such as liquids, gels, pastes, lotions, creams and drinks past the security checkpoint if they are in containers with a capacity of 100 mililtres or less. All the containers must be carried in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag. Exemptions are made for medications, baby food and special dietary requirements. Other items considered dangerous, such as aerosols, potential weapons and flammable materials, are also not permitted past this point. You should check the customs regulations of your destination country before departure too.
There are multiple channels of communication between the public and Dubai Police whose personnel work round the clock to protect the residents and their belongings and detect crimes before they happen. To report violence against women or children, you can contact the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children on toll-free 800 111.
When calling the emergency number, please remember to state your name, the nature of the accident, address of the emergency and how serious the situation is.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, it’s important to contact the police immediately. In case of a minor incident, move your car to the side of the road, as there are fines for obstructing traffic. You cannot file an insurance claim without a police report.
Vital Emergency Numbers in Dubai
Other emergency numbers
800-4-888 (Al Ameen service from Dubai Police) To report criminal activity or if someone is harassing you
800-4438 (Tourist Security Department of Dubai Police)