The United Arab Emirates (UAE) appears to be little more than a stage to strut its ever-increasing list of superlatives (Biggest, Tallest, etc.) BUT there’s far more to this fabulous little federation than Disneyesque dioramas. The UAE is a diverse destination, an Islamic state where the DJs’ turntables stop spinning just before the muezzins’ morning call to prayer can be heard, and where a traditional Bedouin lifestyle and customs continue alongside the latest lifestyle trends & brands.
Dubai is a destination that is constantly changing and remains new and different, combining variety and excitement with professional destination management services and top quality hotels. Dubai’s unique attraction is that it brings together in a single accessible location, the highest standards of comfort and convenience with the adventure of Arabia - from the bustling souks to the majestic desert. An exotic destination with a cosmopolitan lifestyle, Dubai has the right mix to make it the ideal destination for all.
UAE culture is a rich blend of traditional Arabic, Bedouin and Islamic way of life. Despite the predominance of Islamic culture, cosmopolitan atmosphere is distinctly prevalent and growing. At the pool or on the private beaches, swimwear is quite acceptable, but when in the city and public areas, care should be taken note to offend others by wearing revealing clothing. For ladies, it is recommended to keep your shoulders and knees covered when going to public places. When visiting a mosque, kindly refer to the dress code below.
Note: Friday and Saturdays are the weekend in Abu Dhabi.
GMT (GMT + 4 hour)
In the summer (April to September), temperatures in the UAE will very between 38-48°C (100-118°F) in the daytime while at night it will very between 26-30°C (79-86°F) with high humidity levels. In the winter (October to March), the days are sunny and pleasant with an average of 26°C (79°F), while nights are cool with an average of 15°C (59°F).
Tipping is not expected, but is commonly practiced in the emirate. Gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff are at your discretion.
Many fine dining and high-end restaurants may add a service charge (usually around 10%) and a tourism levy of 6% to your bill. These charges are often included in the menu prices and the menu will denote when they are. A 5% VAT is levied to all goods and services and will be denoted in your bill.
If you are very happy with the service, it is not expected but quite common to leave a tip on top of the already included (16%) fees & service charges. If these charges are not included, then you may like to add a 10-15% tip to the total bill.
The local currency is the UAE dirham (AED or Dhs).
Banks are typically open from 8am to 3pm from Saturday to Wednesday, and 8am to noon on Thursday and like other businesses, may be closed on Fridays.
Currency Exchange is available at the airports, most major hotels and at currency exchange kiosks in the city. For more information, please see here.
Government offices are generally open from 7am to 3pm or from 8am to 4pm Sunday to Thursday. Some might end their working days at 5pm, if the staff take a full one hour lunch break. Private companies normally operate between 9am and 5pm (6pm), and some of them also work on Saturday.
Please visit specific websites of stores or restaurants for precise information.
The official national language in Abu Dhabi is Arabic. English is often spoken in public businesses.
TAXI: Getting around Abu Dhabi is easy and metered taxis are reasonably priced and plentiful. Street taxis are easily recognized and are either silver with a yellow roof sign or white and gold with a green roof sign. A tip is not expected but always welcome.
BUS: The bus network is very efficient and operate throughout the day. The service is easy to use, with passengers hopping in and out of any bus by placing a one dirham coin in the collection box next to the driver.
For more information on public transit, please see here.
Your enjoyment and wellbeing during your stay in Abu Dhabi are of the utmost importance. Most travelers to the UAE are not affected by crime. Violent crimes and crimes against property are rare, and it is advised to take the same security precautions in the UAE that one would practice in any large city abroad. For more information, please visit your governments international travel advisory pages.
To get from Abu Dhabi Airport to the city center, you have many transfer options: taxi, public transit or private car.
For more information, please visit the airport website here.
As per UAE federal law and Abu Dhabi Government law, all visitors to the UAE must have medical insurance.
In a medical emergency, Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (+971 2 610 2000) and Al Noor Hospital (+971 2 626 5265) both have Accident and Emergency units. If you are injured in a traffic accident, you will automatically be taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/440 volts at 50 cycle. US or European made appliances may require a transformer and an adaptor.