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Your Guide to UAE

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About UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of the formerly independent seven sheikhdoms of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah,

Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. It has a total population of 3.2 million and an area of about 84,000 square kilometers – three quarters of the population are “foreigners”. The country is known for its openness, tolerance and hospitality which attract visitors from all over the world.

 

 Another important factor is security – the UAE is amongst the countries with a very low crime rate which is nearly zero.

 The UAE offers a unique tourist infrastructure which meets even the highest requirements:

  •  White sand beaches with crystal clear water
  •  Undiscovered desert
  •  Innumerable shopping centers
  •  Historical places and museums
  •  Magnificent choice of hotels in all categories from luxurious to low budget
  •  Excellent restaurants
  •  Daily multiple flight connections from different airlines to various cities of the world

 

The economy plays a vital role in the UAE, which is why it is constantly growing. More and more international companies are attracted by the excellent business conditions, which make them set up branches here. As a proof, Dubai Internet City was established in the last 2 years.

In the area of conferences and conventions as well as for individual events, the hotels and suppliers provide the best location, perfect service and the most modern technology. So whatever your ideas are, there is nothing you won’t find in the UAE.

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Alcohol

In taking photographs of places or people, ask for permission from the concerned people in a very polite manner before taking the shot. Military facilities must not be photographed at all.

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Photography

In taking photographs of places or people, ask for permission from the concerned people in a very polite manner before taking the shot. Military facilities must not be photographed at all.

 

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Religion

Most of UAE Muslim population is Sunni Muslims subscribing to the Maliki or Hanbali schools of Islamic law. Many of the latter are Wahhabic, though UAE Wahhabic are not nearly as strict and puritanical as the Wahhabic of Saudi Arabia. There is also a smaller community of Shiite Muslims, descendants mainly from merchants and workers who crossed to the Trucia Coast from Persia in the late 19th or early 20th century.

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Tipping& Bargaining

Tips are not generally expected since a service charge is added to your bill (this goes to the restaurant, not to the waiter, however). If you want to leave a tip, 10% is sufficient.

 

Bargaining in souks can be exhausting. Hang in there, be firm and be prepared to spend some time at it. Prices probably won’t come down by more than about 20%, but if you are at a souk in the country, you will find that prices will come down by about 50%.

 

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Telephone

The UAE has an efficient telecommunications system. The state telecommunications monopoly is Etisalat, recognisable by the giant, sparkling golf ball on top of its Headquarter building on the corner of Beniyas and Omar bin al-Khattab roads. It is open 24 hours a day.

 

If you need to make a call from the airport, there are telephones at the far end of the baggage claim area where local calls (i.e. within Dubai) can be made free of charge. Some of the lounges at the gates in the departures area also make free local calls. Coin phones have almost completely taken over by card phones. Phone cards are available in denominations of Dhs 30 from grocery stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and street vendors.

 

To phone out from the UAE, dial 00 followed by the country code. If you want to call the UAE, the country code is 971. The area code for Dubai is 04 and mobile phones 05, though if you are calling from outside the UAE you just dial 4. The following is a list of area codes in the UAE.

 

Abu Dhabi                                   02

Ajman                                         06

Al-Ain                                          03

Dibba                                          09

Fujairah                                      09

Hatta                                          085

Khor Fakkan                               09

Ras Al-Khaimah                          07

Sharjah                                      06

Umm Al-Quwain                          06

 

Mobile numbers begin with 05 in the UAE. Often people will give their seven digit number without mentioning this prefix.

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Useful Numbers

The following are some useful telephone numbers.

Police                                       999

Fire                                           997

Time check                               140

Ambulance                                998

Directory Enquiries                     181

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Business Hours

  • The weekend there is Friday and Saturday. Government offices start work at 7.30am and finish at 1 or 1.30pm from Sunday to Thursday.

 

  • Shops open from 8am to 1pm and from 4.30pm or 5pm to 8 or 9pm everyday except Friday morning.

 

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Car Hire

If you decide to hire a car to get around the city, remember that traffic congestion in the UAE can be a real problem in peak hours, which occur three times a day: between 7 and 9am, 1 and 2pm and most of the evening from 6pm onwards.

 

It is compulsory to wear seatbelts in the front and it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. As you can well imagine, UAE is not short on petrol stations. Petrol is sold by the imperial gallon (an imperial gallon is just over 4.5 liters). Regular petrol costs Dhs 0.65 per gallon and premium is Dhs 0.95.

 

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Road Rules

Drive on the right in the UAE. The speed limit is 60km/h, and 100km/h on the highways with a maximum of 120km/h. If you are caught speeding, you will be fined, but in some cases you will simply be sent a bill by police.

 

The traffic situation in UAE has improved immensely since the government started forcing people to pay for the privilege of parking throughout the core of the city. For years the flow of traffic within the city had always been congested, but now with a strictly enforced four-hour limit on parking the level of overcrowding has lessened. Tickets must be purchased from one of the numerous ticket-dispensing machines. Rates are 2 Dhs for the first hour, 5 Dhs for up to 2 hours, 8 Dhs for up to 3 hours and 11 Dhs for up to 4 hours. Place the ticket on top of your dashboard. Parking in the centre is free on Friday and holidays.

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