THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
General Tourist Information
Seven Emirates came together to form the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES in 1971 - Abu Dhabi (the capital), Dubai (the Commercial centre),
Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. Every Emirate has its own unique flavour that will not fail to impress.
If you are planning to visit the region, the information given below will be helpful.
Surfer queries have been answered here.
The UAE Immigration authority rules entry visas are required for all nationals with the exception of British citizens born in Britain and the nationals of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council member countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia), Western Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino and Liechtenstein), USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. click here.
Duty free allowances : 2,000 cigarettes; 400 cigars; 2 kg tobacco; alcohol (non-Muslim adults only)-2
litres of spirits and 2 litres of wine; perfume - a reasonable amount.
The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT.
Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE. Other religions are respected. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques.
The Dirham is the UAE's currency and this is divided into100 fils. The Dirham (Dh) is held constant against the US Dollar at approximately US$=Dh 3.67. Banks operate from 8 am to 1pm, Saturday through Wednesday and 8 am - noon on Thursday. Currency exchange houses open until late in the
evening. International credit cards are widely accepted.
Shops are generally open from around 10 am until 9 pm, although many close from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Dubai has an exciting profile with the creek (an inlet from the Arabian Sea)
dividing the city into two distinct parts,
Deira and Dubai.
Click here for area-wise details of Dubai)
With an excellent network of roads, no area in Dubai would seem too far away.
Unlike in the west, Taxi drivers are not 'trapped' in a bullet-proof enclosure. Professionally run and well maintained,
these metered taxies are manned by trained and courteous drivers. With most of the taxis equipped with the Global Positioning System,
there is little chance of you getting lost.
The fare is Dhs. 3/- for pickup (Dhs. 3.50 between 22:00 - 06.00) followed by Dhs. 1 per kilometre. The starting fare for a pickup inside the airport area is inevitably higher at Dhs. 20/- and
no private taxis are allowed to pick up here. The journey to the town centre from the airport costs around Dhs. 30- 35 in specially registered airport taxis.
Abra, traditional Arabian boats are the popular and cheapest
mode of crossing the creek between Deira and
Bur Dubai. Priced nominally at 0.5Dhs, this is also an interesting way to feel the pulse of
this dynamic city.
Buses are air-conditioned and comfortable and for the cost-conscious
resident/visitor, the public transport system especially
between the Emirates of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, is ideal.
Depending on the agent, cars can be hired with or
without a driver,
and the minimum hire period is usually 24 hours.
Prices range from Dhs. 90 a day for smaller cars, up to Dhs. 1,000 for limousines.
insurance is essential!
The rental company will also arrange temporary local driving licences for visitors.
the car-rental companies.
Visitors from the Europe and USA, in particular, will find the
driving standards low on courtesy and
basic safety norms. Sudden swerving, lane hopping, speeding and not maintaining required
distance between vehicles are commonplace.
Wearing a seat-belt (front passengers) and children to be seated in the rear
are some welcome safety regulations introduced recently.
Walking and Biking
These activities are pleasurable only during the winter months (November - March).
Sidewalks are spacious, though lacking in special biking trails.