You will never be far from a modern supermarket. Modern supermarkets offer most things that are found in North America, Europe and Australia. You are likely to find even greater variety in the U.A.E. due to the range of goods imported to suit the tastes of many nationalities. Prices are comparable to those in most western countries.
Outdoor markets sell fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and spices.
If you prefer dining out, the U.A.E. offers numerous world-class restaurants and cafes. All varieties of ethnic cuisine are available in hotels and restaurants. Fast food type outlets are also available and include some of the most well-known western outlets. Arabic, Lebanese and Indian fast food outlets are also plentiful. Starbucks and other coffee outlets are readily available. Tap Water in the U.A.E. is safe to drink and cook with but most people choose to drink bottled water and to use it for making tea and coffee. Local bottled water is cheap and approximately Dhs 1.5/litre bottle. Water coolers are available for rental and purchase and there are many water delivery services.
Alcohol is available to non-Muslims. Alcohol is sold in most hotel restaurants and pubs. After receiving Residence Visa, you can apply for a liquor permit, which allows you to purchase alcohol in specialist outlets to drink at home. Liquor permits may only be used in the Emirate in which they are issued.
There are only two Network Operators that provide full coverage in the UAE. Etisalat and Du sim cards are very common and can be purchased very easily in any of their own respective branch. They also offer usage plans for tourist who require network for a limited amount of time.
Wireless internet is available almost everywhere in the U.A.E from malls to public transport like the metro. The free internet provided is an average speed and if you would like to obtain a high speed, uninterrupted internet connection, a small payment fee is required.
In case of any medical emergencies, you need not worry, as there are many hospitals in every city that have the latest and most advanced equipment and offer the best care. If you feel that it is necessary, you can insure yourself before arriving to U.A.E.
The climate of the U.A.E is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 45 °C (113 °F) on the coastal plain.
Currency & Banks
The local currency is the UAE dirham (AED or Dhs) which is divided into 100 fils and is pegged against the US $ (US$ 1: AED 3.6725).
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currencies and travelers’ cheques can be exchanged in licensed exchange offices, banks and hotels, a passport is required. Personal cheques can be a bit trickier and many places will not accept them. If you are shopping in the souqs (markets) or in smaller shops, cash is the best option.
A well-structured and expansive network of local and international banks, strictly controlled by the UAE Central Bank, offers a full range of commercial and personal services. Transfers can be made easily as there is no exchange control and the dirham is freely convertible. Banking hours are generally Saturday to Thursday, 8am – 1pm (some banks also keep later hours). Some banks have small branches based in malls, which are open in the evening
The UAE is four hours ahead of UTC (Co-ordinated Universal Time – formerly known as GMT) and there is no daylight saving. Hence, when it is 12.00 midday in Abu Dhabi, it is 3am in New York, 8am in London, 10am in Johannesburg, 1.30pm in New Delhi, and 6pm in Sydney (not allowing for any summer time saving in those countries).
The voltage in the U.A.E. is 220-240 Volts, 50 cycles. The socket type is three pin British system with square prongs. Adapters are available in the U.A.E. Some products sold in the U.A.E. with two prong plugs and you will need to buy adapters, which are available from most supermarkets and hardware stores.
Dubai Bus, Dubai Tram, Dubai Taxi, Water Taxi, Dubai Metro.
The Nol card can be used to pay the fare for travel on the metro, tram, buses and water buses, and for paid parking provided by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The Nol card can also be used on taxis. Currently, only 20 taxis and 1000 airport taxis accept the nol card. From mid 2015 onwards, all taxis will be equipped with an upgraded system to accept the Nol card.
|For||Tourists and Visitors||Frequent travelers||Passengers to access the gold class||Frequent travelers who want their credit secured|
|Can be used on||Only metro and buses||All mode of transports||All mode of transports||All mode of transports|
|Validity||90 days from the date of purchase and can be used for up to 10 journeys||5 years from the date of purchase||5 years from the date of purchase||5 years from the date of issue|
|Special Features||Unlimited one-day trip and monthly passes for the metro is available||None||Gold Class access for metro and tram||
The UAE has a modest dress code. The dress code is part of Dubai’s criminal law. Most malls in the UAE have a dress code displayed at entrance. At Dubai’s malls, females should cover their shoulders and knees; therefore, women are not permitted to wear sleeveless tops. The UAE dress code also stipulates that women are not permitted to wear short shorts.
People are also requested to wear modest clothing when entering mosques, such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Shopping is something of a national past time in the U.A.E. and one of the major attractions for visitors. Elegant state-of-the-art malls abound, but they have not replaced traditional souqs (markets). The result is a thrilling mix of old and new, where twenty-first century retail co-exists with ancient family run businesses that trade, as they have done for centuries. Prices are generally competitive meaning that bargaining can be expected in Souqs, however, major outlets in shopping malls quote ‘fixed prices’.