In the past, many tourists are not open to the idea of traveling to an Arab country. It could be brought about by the culture that visitors may not be able to comply, or the usual impression of some when talking about the Middle East. That perception changed as the United Arab Emirates continuously developed the country, being home to many ‘world’s exclusives’ like the only seven-star hotel in the world (Burj Al Arab) and the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa).
There are seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain. Each one has an international airport, but you will be most likely to land in the three first emirates on the list. Public transportation in each emirate can be considered efficient, but passengers are advised to check the bus timings on the app dedicated for the said emirate (example: Darbi for Abu Dhabi and Wojhati for Dubai). Taxis are widely available
English and Arabic are spoken by many, but since there are many Indian and Pakistani expats, their different languages and dialects are spoken too. The currency is United Arab Emirates Dirham or AED, but many establishments accept both cash and card payments.
In terms of electricity, the UAE uses a type G Plug that has a triangular form with three rectangular pins. The wall sockets operate on 230 volts that have 50 Hz.
As most gulf countries experience, there are only 2 types of weather year-round: extreme heat and extreme cold (but there’s no snow). Summer which usually runs from April to September is very hot, that can even reach up to 42 degrees Celsius. The remaining months are the winter season which could be very cold, that it can even reach from 2 to 8 degrees celsius.
Where to live
There are many hotels in the UAE, some are even offering serviced hotel apartments that include a kitchenette and a living room apart from the usual hotel facilities. There are also Airbnb’s in different emirates but mostly are in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. If you plan to secure accommodation from other sources such as Facebook groups, make sure to ask for more information and only pay when you have arrived at the property.
Other things to remember
As many people consider the UAE as an open country – with fewer restrictions compared to other Muslim countries – make sure to follow and respect local traditions and always wear respectable clothing all the time. Women may wear knee-length shorts and t-shirts in public places but are still subject to the rules on a specific venue. Crossdressing is still not allowed and could bring you into trouble with the police. There is a recent relaxation of the Islamic laws but it may take time before it can be truly accepted by the public.
Some may find Arab countries boring to visit, but being a tourist in the United Arab Emirates is proof that it could be exciting. Nature lovers will enjoy visiting Al Ain’s Jabel Hafeet, the bustling area of Dubai Downtown, and the whole family will enjoy the theme parks of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and Dubai’s Lego Land complex. UAE will give you an experience where the rich history of the country’s culture meets the modern world.