up of seven emirates: AbuDhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al
Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah
83000 sq. km. includes approx. 2000 islands
Bordered in the North by Arabian Gulf, to the east by The Gulf
of Oman and Sultanate of Oman, to the South by the Sultanate
of Oman and Saudi Arabia, and to the West by Quatar and Saudi
Lies between Latitudes 22 & 26,5 North and Longitudes 51&
Almost 2,5 milion
The dominate religion is Islam
The official language is Arabic. English, Hindi, Urdu and
Farsi are widely spoken
Dirhams, 1 Dh = 100 files, 1 US$=3,67 Dh
Between November and March warm sunny days with average temperature
of 26 C (79F) and cool nights with average temperature of 16
C (58 F). Summer months are hot and humid with temperatures
up to 41 C (105 F)
Most visitors to the UAE need an entry visa. This is the best
obtained through a sponsor within the UAE. British passport
holders with the right to abide in Great Britain may obtain
a visa at the airport upon arrival. Transit visas are valid
for 14 days, tourist ones for 30 days and visit visas for 30
days but can be renewed for up total 100 days. Citizens of GCC
countries may enter without a visa. Persons travelling on Israeli
passport or who have Israeli stamped passport will be denied
entry. The fine for overstaying is 100 Dh. per one day.
Duty Free Allowances
Visitors are allowed 2000 cigarettes or 400 cigars or 2 kg of
tobacco and reasonable quantity of perfume. Customs There is
no restriction of the amount of currency that can be brought
into the UAE and no customs duty on personal effects.
There are car rental offices in each of the emirates offering
all makes and sizes of cars. Cars can either be rented alone
or with driver. Rates vary but are around Dh 120 a day for a
small car and up to Dh. 1000 a day for a chauffeur driven limousine.
You will need to provide a copy of your passport and driver's
license if payment is by credit card.
Individuals from the following countries do not need an international
license: ECC countries, Canada, Japan, North Korea, South Korea,
Turkey and USA.
Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft can be hired in AbuDhabi,
Dubai and Sharjah. You need a license from the authorities to
access the airport and must submit a flight plan. Rates range
from US$ 1200 to US$ 6000 per hour.
Taxis form a common means of getting around town. AbuDhabi and
Dubai have plenty of metered taxis that can be hired for Dh
5-20. There are many unmetered taxis as well, so it is best
to agree upon the fare in advance. For long distance journeys,
it is common to share taxis.
The electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. Visitors from
Europe can use their appliances although outlet adapters may
be necessary. Appliances from the USA will need transformers.
Water comes from desalination plants and is safe to drink. Many
people still prefer to drink bottled water that is available
in shops and restaurants.
Telephone service is excellent through the UAE. Calls within
cities are free. There is small charge for calls within the
rest of the country. Pay phones are operated with a phone card
that is issued by the Telecommunication Company in various amounts
and is then used as a debit card. These are generally available
at a variety of outlets in the town. Major hotels have fax and
telex services and can arrange for modem access if necessary.
There are nine television stations in the UAE. Some broadcast
in Arabic, some in English and some have special programs in
Urdu, Hindi, and French. Several additional stations are available
via satellite and cable.
Stations broadcasting in Arabic and English transmit 24 hours
Shops are generally open from 9.30 am to 1 PM. And from 4.30
PM to 9.30 pm on Saturday through Thursday. Many shops in the
malls are open all day, which offers, foe shopping without crowds.
On Friday, the Islamic holiday shops do not generally open until
2.00 PM or later.
Part of the tradition of shopping in the UAE is bargaining over
the price. In other shops except for truly fixed prices stores
a bit of negotiating will bring a reduction of price. If you
have to ask for the price of something it means the price is
not fixed. Credit Cards Most hotels and finer restaurants accept
credit cards such as American Express, Visa, MasterCard and
diner Club. Some larger shops do as well.
No health certificate or special immunizations are required
when travelling to the UAE unless you have been in cholera or
yellow Fever affected area 14 days prior to visiting. It is
wise to check with your travel agent before traveling, however,
should the situation change.
Coping with the heat
For eight months of the year the Emirates is hot and along the
coast humid. It is important that the visitor take precautions
not to over exert. All hotels and restaurants are air conditioned
as are most shops but outside it's still hot. Try to limit going
in and out of the air conditioning and make sure to drink plenty
of fluids when outside for a long time.
Local dress for both men and women loosely covers the head,
arms and legs. Fabrics are lightweight and of natural fibbers.
There are no restrictions of a dress code for visitors. Summer
clothing is suitable all year around with sweaters or light
jackets being needed at night in the winter months.
Even the smallest emirate is now equipped with a modern hospital
so there is no need to worry about the availability of health
care. Most major cities have several hospitals and abundance
of private clinics, should you be in need.