Useful Information


Dubai is the second largest of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates and ranks as the country's leading commercial centre.

Alcohol
Alcohol is available in all clubs and restaurants and pubs/bars, that are located in hotels. Restaurants outside a hotel are not allowed to sell or serve alcohol. Muslims are not permitted to buy alcohol. Residents need an Alcohol License to purchase alcohol.

Two of the organizations retailing alcohol are:
African & Eastern (NE) Ltd. - Tel: +971 4 3366389, Email: annm@ane.co.ae
Maritime & Mercantile Intl. L.L.C (MMI) - Tel: +971 4 2095000, Web site: www.mmidubai.com

Location and Area
Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Gulf in the southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula in the Middle East. The total area of the Emirate is 3,885 sq. km.

Car Hire
A car can be hired from any of the over 40 car-rental companies operating in the city. A renter needs to provide original passport, 2 photographs, and a valid international driving license or national license.

Climate
Dubai has a sub tropical arid climate. It is sunny throughout the year. Temperatures range from 10 - 30 degrees Celsius in winter and can reach as high as 48 degrees C in summer. Rainfall, if at all, occurs in the winter months Dec - Mar.

Clothing
Light weight summer clothing can be worn for most of the year, but the temperature can drop quite sharply at night during the winter. Dubai is rather relaxed for clothing. Dress sensibly, without wearing too much revealing clothes. Shorts and skirts are acceptable for ladies.

Currency
The monetary unit is the Dirham (Dh) which is divided into 100 fils. The official exchange rate is US$ 1 = Dh 3.675.

Banks
Many international banks are represented by branches in Dubai. Money exchange houses operate throughout the city and are in most shopping malls. Banks operate from 8 am - 1pm. Money Exchange houses operate from 8am - 1 pm and from 4.30pm - 8.30pm.

Business Hours
Private companies work either straight shift - 8am - 6pm or a split shift - 8am - 1pm and 4pm - 7pm. The Government offices work from 8am - 2pm. The Weekend here is Thursdays & Fridays for Government organisations. Private companies and multinationals are usually closed on Fridays & Saturdays. Shopping malls are generally open from 10 am - 10pm on all days except on Fridays (2pm - 10 pm).

Credit Cards
American Express, Diners Club, Visa, Mastercard etc. are generally accepted in the main hotels and the larger shops.

Communications
Telecommunications in Dubai are excellent. Telephones have international direct dialing facility and the GSM system has roaming arrangements with a large number of countries. Internet access on a pay per use basis can be provided fhrough the local ISP called Etisalat.

Electricity
Electricity in Dubai is 220 Volts. The 3-pin sockets are available everywhere.

Hotels
All major International hotel chains are represented in Dubai.

Language
The national language is Arabic but English is widely used in business.

Local Time
The UAE is four hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time.

Media
There are two English language newspapers published in Dubai - Gulf News and Khaleej Times. International newspapers, magazines and journals can be bought at bookshops and supermarkets.

Medical Care
Medical services in Dubai are of an International standard. The very best of medical care is available in Dubai.

Photography
Local people, especially the women, do not take kindly to being photographed without their prior permission. In general, it is best to avoid taking photographs (or video footage) of any individual in a National Dress.

Religion
Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Mosques (places of worship) are present throughout the city. A Non-Muslim is not permitted to visit a Mosque.

Shopping
Dubai is a veritable shopper's paradise! Home to the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai is famous for offering top international brands at unbelievably reasonable prices. Independent shops are generally open from 10am until 1pm and from 4.30pm until 10pm. Opening hours at shopping malls is throughout the day from 10am - 10pm. However, on Fridays, they open from 2pm - 10pm. Some even stay open until midnight!

Sports Facilities
As Dubai enjoys sunshine all year round, outdoor sports are extremely popular. Sports enthusiasts are well catered for and the city's facilities for golf, diving, go-karting, tennis, cricket, jet-skiing, flying, horse riding, water-sports and deep sea fishing are truly
World-class.

Telephone
You can make international phone calls from any public telephone or from your hotel room. Making calls from your hotel is obviously the more convenient of the two options, however, hotel rates are much more expensive. Phone cards for public telephones are available from most hotel bookstores and supermarkets.

Taxis
In general it is both safer and more economical to use Dubai Transport Corporation taxis or the services of a private taxi company.

Visas
All visitors except AGCC nationals require a visa sponsored by a local entity such as a hotel or company. Visitors may apply for a transit visa (for 14 days), a visit visa (for 30 days renewable), or a tourist visa (for 30 days non-renewable). British citizens with a right of abode in the UK and expatriate residents of the AGCC who meet certain criteria may obtain 30 days visas on arrival. All current regulations should be checked before travelling, as they are subject to change.

Water
Dubai tap water is desalinated (sea) water. Such water is perfectly safe to drink, however, tourists and residents often prefer to drink locally bottled mineral water. The most often served bottled water is Masafi, Jeema, Oasis and Gulfa.

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