Essential info about Dubai
Essential Information about Dubai
Population: About 2 million
Major religion: Islam is the official religion. Although other religions are practised, proselytising is illegal.
Political system: Dubai is an emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is a federation of seven constitutional monarchies/emirates. Traditionally the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the neighbouring emirate, is also the president of the UAE.
Main languages: Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
Time: GMT +4 (entire UAE)
Electricity: 220 and 240 volts, 50Hz. The square three-pin type plugs are the most frequently used.
Currency: The currency of Dubai is the Dirham (AED), divided into 100 fils. ATMs are widely available and credit cards are accepted in most establishments. Expats are able to open a bank account in Dubai.
Tipping: Standard 10 percent.
International dialling code: +971 (entire UAE). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)2 for Abu Dhabi and (0)4 for Dubai.
Emergency numbers: In case of emergency, expats can dial 999.
Drives on the: Right
With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world. These visitors can benefit from a range of services and a local infrastructure that help make any trip to Dubai smooth and hassle-free.
Dubai has a warm, sunny climate that is ideal for tourism, with mild temperatures for most of the year and a low rainfall. Summer temperatures in July and August can reach highs of around 45ºC (113ºF) with high humidity, making this the least comfortable time of year to visit in terms of climate. However, Dubai is well geared up for high temperatures, and public transport, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions are all air conditioned.
English is widely spoken in Dubai, and as all restaurant menus, road signs and other information is usually presented in both English and Arabic, visitors who speak English will have no trouble making their way around. Many tour operators and travel professionals will also be able to offer services to French, Russian and German speaking visitors.
The local currency is the dirham, which is pegged to the dollar at Dhs 3.67. Dubai offers a sophisticated network of banks, currency exchanges and ATMs, making it easy to access money across the city.
Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan and all visitors are welcome. However, Islam is a way of life in the city, and therefore tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. While dress codes are fairly liberal, swim wear should only be worn on beaches or at swimming pools, and when visiting shopping malls and other attractions, tourists should wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing. Certain attractions, such as mosques or religious sites, usually have stricter dress codes, requiring both men and women to cover up bare shoulders, arms and legs, and women to wear headscarves.
Despite being governed by Islamic laws, alcohol is available to tourists in licensed bars and restaurants (these are almost always located inside four and five star hotels), and in airport duty free shops. Drinking in public places (such as beaches) is not permitted, and being drunk and disorderly in public can result in stiff penalties.