Facts For The Travelers
We have included a wide range of travel tips in order to make your trip
to the UAE an outstanding success but do be aware that these are
guidelines and some information, such as entry formalities, are subject
to sudden changes and should be checked with your nearest UAE embassy
The UAE is one of the safest places in the world to visit. In fact, it
has been designated the world’s safest holiday destination by the
international travel industry on two occasions. Nevertheless, it is a
good idea to take out travel insurance and to take the normal precaution
to safeguard yourself and your valuables.
Abu Dhabi 02 4461461
Dubai 04 2292222
Sharjah 06 5631111
Ajman 06 7436000
Umm al-Qaiwain 06 5656662
Ra’s al-Khaimah 07 2333888
Fujairah 09 2370000
Dubai Police hotline (Al Ameen service) 8004888 email@example.com
Ambulance 998 or 999
Coastguard 04 3450520
East Coast Coastguard 09 2380380
If you dial 999 or 04 2821111, Dubai Police guarantee that in an
emergency a police helicopter will be with you within 8 minutes
Tipping is not expected, but is common practice. Gratuities to staff at
hotels are at your discretion. Most restaurants add service charges to
the bill (Abu Dhabi 16 per cent; Sharjah 15 per cent; Dubai 10 per
cent). If this charge is not included, add 10 per cent of the total to
the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped. Supermarket baggers,
bag carriers and windscreen washers at petrol stations are generally
Film is readily available, so too are processing facilities and colour
prints are produced in record time. Ask permission before photographing
people in general. Avoid photographing Muslim women and do not
photograph airports, docks, telecommunications equipment, government
buildings, military and industrial installations.
The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT. The time does not change during the
summer. This means that there is a three hour difference between UK and
UAE local times in summer and a four hour difference in winter.
Domestic supply is 220 volts. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 amp
plugs of British standard design are the norm, however it is a good
idea to bring an adaptor with you just in case. Adaptors can be
purchased in local supermarkets. Appliances purchased in the UAE
will generally have two-pin plugs attached.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
The UAE uses the metric system, although British and US standard
weights and measures are understood.
Lightweight summer clothing is ideal with a wrap, sweater or jacket for
cooler winter nights and air-conditioned premises. Although the dress
code in the UAE is generally casual, guests in the larger hotels do tend
to dress more formally in the evening. Since you are visiting a Muslim
country, bikinis, swimsuits, shorts and revealing tops should be
confined to beach resorts. Women are usually advised not to wear short
skirts and to keep their shoulders covered. Note that in Sharjah women
are prohibited from wearing swimsuits on public beaches.
Most shopping centres, public gardens, museums etc have clean,
well-maintained public toilets. Public toilets in souqs and bus stations
are usually just for men. Outside of the cities, you can find public
toilets at restaurants and petrol stations, however they may not be in
good condition and will generally lack toilet paper.
FOOD AND WATER
The standard of food hygiene and water quality is extremely high,
especially in all of the larger centres, as is evidenced by the Which
survey. You should take the time to investigate conditions in smaller
cafés in remote areas, although again standards are usually good. Raw
salads and shawarmas (meat cooked on a spit and served in a pittta bread
sandwich) are to be avoided if you have any doubts.
Water is usually produced by desalination so it is normally safe to
drink, nevertheless you may prefer the taste of bottled water. In any
case it is advisable to drink plenty of water in the heat so carry a
bottle with you at all times.
OPENING HOURS AND HOLIDAYS
Shops Normal shopping hours are from 9.00 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4.00– 9.00
p.m. however many shops, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi stay open
all day. Most shopping centres open from 10 a.m to 10 p.m – frequently
later. Some supermarkets are open for 24 hours. Although shops and
shopping centres are fully air conditioned, the cool of the evening is a
favourite time for shopping. Shopping centres and most shops are open on
Friday, the Islamic day of rest, but they all close for Juma (Friday)
prayers from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
All shops are required to close at prayer times in Ra’s al-Khaimah.
Government offices open at 7.30 a.m. and close at 3.00 p.m. but you
would be wise to visit in the morning. Private offices tend to keep
longer hours, coming back to work in the evening after an extended
mid-day break. Some private businesses open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All
government offices close for the weekend at mid-day on Thursday and do
not open again until Saturday morning. Some offices outside the public
sector are open on Thursday and close on Friday and Saturday.
Since Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of phases
of the moon, the dates outlined below for Islamic religious holidays are
approximate. The precise dates are not announced until a day or so
before they occur. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday
is usually taken at the beginning of the next working week.
A three-day mourning period is usually announced when a member of the
ruling families or a government minister or the head of a neighbouring
state dies. Government offices and some private companies will close for
1 Jan New Year's Day.
23/02/02 12/03/03 01/03/04 Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice at the
end of the pilgrimage to Mecca (the haj)
15/03/02 5/03/03 22/02/04 Ras al-Sana (Islamic New Year)
23/05/02 12/05/03 01/05/04 Mawlid al-Nabi (Prophet’s Birthday).
6 Aug Accession of HH Sheikh Zayed as Ruler of Abu Dhabi
4/10/02 24/9/03 13/09/04 Lailat al-Mi’raj (Ascension of the Prophet
2 Dec National Day
5/12/02 24/11/03 13/11/04 Eid al-Fitr (3 days at end of Ramadan)