The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is perhaps one of the most iconic Gulf Coast countries. A beautiful place in the Middle East where luxury and abundance are prevalent. It has the reputation of being one of the fastest-growing countries in terms of economic development and has seen transformative positive changes during its short history. The sights are plenty, and the culture here is inviting. However, there are a few things to be knowledgeable about before visiting.
It can be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect! First-time travel can give you enough jitters that eventually triumph your enthusiasm. So, to ensure that you have an unforgettable experience while visiting this must-visit country here’s a foolproof list that will help you prepare for your trip ahead of time, and ensure that your trip from start to finish is as hassle-free as possible.
Also read: Top 10 free places to visit in Dubai, UAE.
35 Useful Things To Know About Dubai, UAE
- The UAE is one of the seven countries bordering the Persian Gulf. It is actually a federation consisting of seven Emirates namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, and Ajman.
- 80% of The UAE’s total land area is covered by desert.
- The UAE has no permanent rivers but it is home to several wadis.
- The UAE has a national flag with a horizontal tricolor of green, white, and black with a vertical ¼ width red bar at the hoist. However, it is important to note that each Emirate has its own flag.
- Abu Dhabi is the capital city.
- Arabic is the official language.
- More than 70% of the people living in The UAE are ex-pats.
- The weekdays start from Monday till Friday and the weekdays are generally Saturday and Sunday.
- Cultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud, and Oases Areas) is the only UNESCO world heritage site in The UAE.
- The UAE Dirham (AED) is the currency and it is divided into 100 fils.
- Oil & gas make up about 30% of UAE’s total gross domestic product.
- The UAE holds about 5.9% of the world’s total oil reserves, and consequently, the country ranks 7th in terms of oil & gas production.
- There is no income tax for individuals who work in The UAE. However, a value-added tax (VAT) of 5% is levied on most goods and services.
- Every year, the national day is celebrated on 2nd December which marks the unification of all seven Emirates into one nation.
- The Vice President and Prime Minister of The UAE is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who also rules the Emirate of Dubai.
- Because of the primary location between Asia and Europe, Dubai International Airport (DBX) is the world’s busiest airport when considering international passenger traffic.
- The UAE has a desert or arid climate with very hot summers and warm winters. You must always carry sunscreen and water in the summer because of the scorching heat. The best time to visit is during the winter between October and April. Plan well in advance because the flights and hotels tend to get more expensive at that time of the year.
- Tap water is safe to drink in the UAE.
- The UAE is one of the ideal tourist destinations in the world and it lives up to its reputation by having a plethora of attractions to offer outsiders. More importantly, you can visit many incredible places at no cost, and a lot more that fits is very wallet-friendly.
- The UAE is home to several artificial islands. The famous Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Deira Island) and the World Islands are best viewed from the air.
- The UAE has zero tolerance for anything drug-related. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places. Alcohol is very expensive and only a few licensed restaurants/bars serve alcohol. You must be 21 and have a license to take it home.
- Immodesty in apparel is frowned upon. Knees and shoulders should be covered in public places. It is not mandatory to wear an abaya. You are allowed to wear a bikini on the beaches and near the pools.
- Public display of affection is strictly against the law in the country.
- Do not take photographs of people without permission and be mindful of what you share on social media. Misuse can lead to hefty fines and imprisonment.
- The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is located in Dubai, UAE.
- The world’s fastest roller coaster is the Formula Rossa at the Ferrari World entertainment park in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It moves at a top speed of 240 Km/hr.
- The Dubai Metro is the world’s longest driverless metro system. It is also the most affordable mode of transport to travel in the country. The charges are based on the number of zones you travel.
- Popular taxi services like Uber and Careem operate in the cities and are metered.
- The steering wheel on four-wheelers is on the left and you drive on the left side of the road. The traffic regulations and speed limits are strictly followed and always ensure that you diligently adhere to them as well. Not just to protect yourself from the exorbitant fines and severe jail time, but for your own personal safety.
- The country houses a multitude of delicious cuisines from different parts of the world. However, we would recommend you try Al Machboos and Khuzi, the most popular regional dishes.
- Du and Etisalat are the only SIM card providers in the UAE. The country code is +971 which is followed by a 9-digit phone number.
- The power plug type is C, D, and G. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- The UAE follows Gulf Standard Time (GST) which is UTC/GMT + 4 hours.
- The UAE is rooted in Islamic traditions and Arab culture. During the fasting hours of Ramadan, all the restaurants are closed and public eating is strictly prohibited. This holy month is celebrated in the 9th month of the Islamic Lunar calendar, and we would suggest you refrain from traveling to the country at this time.
- The emergency contact numbers in the UAE
- 999 for police
- 998 for an ambulance
- 997 for the fire department
- 996 for the Coast Guard
- Call 901 for other non-emergencies like help, complaints, or suggestions.
The UAE is one of the more inclusive Middle Eastern countries. Being a tourist & immigrant hotspot, they actively invite people from all around the world to live. For the sights, the cuisine, the cinematic popularity, the hedonistic luxuries it induces, and the culture it houses, this is one of the dream countries that make it to every traveler’s bucket list.
From the architectural landmarks of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to the beaches of Ras Al-Khaimah and Umm Al-Quwain, there is always an attraction for any kind of tourist. If this is your first time planning to travel to the Middle East, trust us when we say the experience is sure to become one of your life’s great experiences.
We hope this guide helped you with the necessary information to have a memorable trip. Be sure to forward it to a friend who is planning to visit the UAE. For more information on other Middle Eastern countries, do peruse our blog. We offer comprehensive travel tips to ensure the adventurer in you is best prepared for your journey. So stick with us, the Twins Travelers, for more on anything travel.