Dubai is the region's commercial and tourism centre and connected to all international markets. Dubai is also the regional trading hub and gateway to the rest of the Middle East. Dubai's diversity means that visitors can enjoy a whole range of different experiences. From the beautiful undulating desert sands to the bustling downtown areas, to parks and gardens, Dubai is a city of adventure, contrast, discovery and surprise. Dubai's central business district is divided into two parts - Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south. Each has its share of fine mosques and busy souks, shopping malls, hotels and office towers. As the premier location for tourism and leisure in the Middle East, Dubai also has a fantastic night life encapsulating the world's tastes when it comes to restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
The second largest of the seven emirates which make up theUnited Arab Emirates, Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. It has an area of some 3,900 square kilometers. Outside the city itself, the emirate is sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert vegetation.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) regulates transportationwithin the city of Dubai, U.A.E. Its mission is to remain a municipal Traffic solution provider. Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport within the Emirate. There are both government-operated and private cab companies. The Dubai Transport Corporation operates cream-colored taxis. Some of the private cab companies are Cars Taxi, National Taxi, Cititaxi and Metro Taxi. The meter generally begins as Dhs. 6.00 and is generally charged by distance at 1.5 Dhs/km. There are approximately 7500 taxis located in the city. The Dubai Metro (Green and Blue Lines) will have 70 kilometers of track and 43 stations, 33 above ground and ten underground. Trains are expected to run every 90 s when the project is completed. Dubai International Airport (airport code DXB) is a 20-30 minute drive from the city center.
Many international banks are represented by branches in Dubai. Bank hours vary but in general are 0800 to 1400, Sunday to Thursday and 0800-1200, Saturday.
All major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard or Visa are generally accepted in shopping malls, larger supermarkets and stores, hotels and restaurants. Smaller retail shops and small restaurants however, prefer to deal in cash.
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. Plug points are the same as in the UK. To operate US made appliances and equipment, you will need a transformer to convert the 220V to 110V and an adaptor for the plugs.
Business: 0800-1300 and 1600-1930, Sunday to Thursday. Most of the multinational companies work from 0900-1800 with a one hour lunch break.
Government offices: 0730-1430, Sunday to Thursday. Exchange houses: 1000-2200.
Shopping malls: 1000-2200, Sunday to Wednesday and 1000-0000, Thursday and Friday.
The international dialing code for in-coming calls is +9714. Calls to and from land-lines within Dubai are free of charge and direct dialing is possible to more than 170 countries. GPRS and WAP services are also available. A GSM international roaming service for mobile phones is available for more than 60 countries. If your country isn’t one of them then a service known as "Wasel" is available. Bring your phone or buy it here and purchase a SIM card (available at most supermarkets, petrol stations and hotels) which enables you to make and receive calls from the UAE. Internet services are also available for nonsubscribers from regular phone lines.
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings. Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing. At the pool or on the beaches, trunks, swim-suits and bikinis are quite acceptable. Good quality sunglasses are advised, and photo- chromatic lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight.
Here are some useful contacts to have at your fingertips while you are in Dubai.
Telephone Directory Enquiries: 181
Emergency Services (Dubai): +971 (4) 2232323
Flight Enquiry: +971 (4) 2245555
The local time is GMT + 4 hours
The UAE has a sub-tropical, arid climate. May to September is summer, when temperatures range between 40C and 48C. However, during the winter months, temperatures range from 10C to 30C. Rainfall is predominantly in the winter and amounts to some 13cm annually.
The official currency is the Dirham (Dh or AED). Exchange rates for foreign currencies are publish daily. For the exchange rates, check the website www.xe.com