Fact file: United Arab Emirates

Did you know?
There are 80 different kinds of date in the UAE — for centuries, it was one of the staple foods for Bedouins.
UK citizens don't require a visa to enter the UAE. But an Israeli stamp in your passport can cause problems.
Getting there
Flights are available direct from the UK. If your journey involves a connection, make sure the wait isn't more trouble than it's worth.
Flying time from London
Around seven hours.
Getting around
Hire cars or taxis are best, although the congestion at peak times can get quite bad. The main bus station, Bur Dubai, is on Al-Ghubaiba Road and the Deira bus station is on Al-Khor Street, near the gold souk. Fares are cheap, with discounts available on a weekly or monthly travel card.
UAE dirham (Dh).
Prices vary dramatically, depending on where you are. A pint of beer costs around £1.80; a packet of cigarettes 80p; a three-course meal with alcohol £18 and a roll of film £4.20.
Most of the year is warm and humid. Daytime summer temperatures can reach the mid 40sC (113F), with July and August the hottest months. Winter brings more pleasant weather with an average of 24C/75F. Sandstorms can occur, although Dubai is not particularly affected.
Time difference
Four hours ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
00 971 4.
220V. British three-pin plugs are used here. If necessary, adaptors can be bought almost anywhere.
Opening hours
Shops are open 8am-1pm and 4.30pm to 9pm but are shut on Friday mornings. Shopping centres are open from 10am to 10pm or midnight every day except Friday. The souks start early at 7am. Bank opening hours are 8.30am-1pm and 3pm-6.30pm but the weekend in Dubai falls on Thursday and Friday. The main post office is on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek and is open Saturday-Wednesday from 8am-10pm and Fridays from 8am-noon. The Diera post office on Al-Sabkha Road has longer, more flexible opening hours.
Health – before you go
Remember sun protection and drink plenty of water. There are no compulsory jabs but hepatitis, polio and typhoid are recommended. Ask your GP for advice.
Health – when you are there
The standard of health care is quite high in the UAE and western medicines are widely available at the pharmacies.
Do not take drugs – the law is very strict and includes the death penalty. Respect local customs and dress modestly.
Police – 999.
Stand when someone enters the room and offer your hand to shake. Touch your heart with the palm of your right hand after each shake.
Quarantine rules apply.
Tips are appreciated but there is no set rate. Service charges go to the hotel rather than the staff.
Tourist Office
Dubai Department of Tourism, 1st Floor, 125 Pall Mall, London, SW1 5EA. Tel: 020 7839 0581.


+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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