The City of Dubai
Having expanded along both banks of the Creek, Dubai's central business district is divided into two parts — Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south — connected by a tunnel and two bridges. Each has its share of fine mosques and busy souks, of public buildings, shopping malls, hotels, office towers, banks, hospitals, schools, apartments and villas.Outside this core, the city extends to the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah to the north, while extending south and west in a long ribbon of development alongside the Gulf, through the districts of Satwa, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim.At first glance, the city presents a predominantly modern face, an ever-changing skyline of new developments, from striking glass and concrete towers to gracious modern buildings incorporating traditional Arabian architectural motifs and features
The Market of Dubai
As the leading regional trading hub, Dubai offers access to a market of outstanding potential for overseas companies in a wide range of sectors. Among its key characteristics are: ·A large market - more than $17 billion in domestic imports annually; gateway to a $150 billion p.a., 1.4 billion population regional import market; ·A growing market - Dubai's imports have more than doubled since 1989; regional economic growth and liberalization is set to boost demand; ·A prosperous market - strategic location at the heart of one of the world's richest regions; ·A diversified market - wide import requirements; opportunities for suppliers of most products; ·An accessible market - served by more than 170 shipping lines and 86 airlines; An open market - no exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers.
The History of Dubai
Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in about 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.
Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling, but the inhabitants built up trade too. By the turn of the century, Dubai was reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast, with 350 shops in the Deira district alone.
Commercial success allied to the liberal attitudes of Dubai's rulers, made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran, who began to settle in the growing town. But, while trade developed, Dubai remained politically a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian peninsula.
On the British withdrawal in 1971, Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.
This was shortly after the discovery of oil in 1966, which was soon to transform the emirate and its way of life. Dubai's first oil exports in 1969 were followed by a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today's modern society. Much of the credit for this development can be traced to the vision of the late Ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ensured that Dubai's oil revenues, despite being relatively modest by the standards of the region, were deployed to maximum effect.
His work has been continued by the present Ruler, HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his brothers, Their Highnesses Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, and General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence. The result is that Dubai is constantly building up its infrastructure of transport facilities, schools, hospitals, tourism developments and other amenities of an advanced society.
Are Expats treated well
Expatriates and foreign visitors - both male and female - can enjoy a relaxed and pleasant life style in Dubai. There is virtually no crime, the city is clean, there are few traffic jams, apartments and villas are modern and spacious and, surprisingly to many, the climate is not only tolerable, but also extremely pleasant for most of the year.
There are many clubs and societies in Dubai. Freedom of worship is allowed to all religions, and Christian churches have existed in Dubai for many years. Foreign newspapers, magazines, films and videos are readily available. Alcohol may be consumed at home, in hotels, and on licensed club premises. Women can drive and move about unaccompanied.
What is Transport Like
It is virtually essential to have a car - or two (for husband and wife) - as Dubai is a spacious city with most residences situated some distance from shops, schools and the office. Most Japanese, European and American models are readily available and there is an active second-hand market. Vehicle third party insurance is compulsory. Dubai has an excellent road system. Driving is on the right hand side of the road.
A vehicle licence may be secured at Dh.360 for first registration, then subject to annual renewal - following a road worthiness test - at a charge of Dh.290.
Taxis are easily obtainable in Dubai. The Dubai Transport Corporation's ivory coloured cabs are fitted with fare meters. In the case of all other taxis, fares are subject to negotiation between driver and passenger.
Driving licence's issued by some overseas governments may be exchanged for a Dubai licence. Where reciprocal arrangements do not exist, it is necessary to take a driving test to obtain a licence. Full details about obtaining and exchanging driving licence's are available from the Traffic Department of the Police, telephone number 692222, or by writing to PO Box 1493, Dubai.
Al Ghazal Taxi
Al Marmoom Tourist Taxi
Dubai Transport Corporation
Gulf Radio Taxi
Can I bring animals to Dubai
Youe employer will have to get a Government Health Certificate done in advance. No quarantine in the UAE. For the certificate, Thhe will have to fax his passport photocopy and the copy of the animals vaccination card - the rabies vaccination has to be atleast a month old. Certain companies will do this in one morning, for a payment of Dhs 150/- (approx.).
What is the Climate like
Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, the UAE is warm and sunny in winter and hot and humid during the summer months. Winter daytime temperatures average a very pleasant 26°C, although nights can be relatively cool, between 12–15°C on the coast, and less than 5°C in the depths of the desert or high in the mountains. Local north-westerly winds (shamal) frequently develop during the winter, bringing cooler windy conditions. Summer temperatures are in the mid-40s, but can be higher inland. Humidity in coastal areas averages between 50 and 60 per cent, touching over 90 per cent in summer and autumn. Inland it is far less humid.
Rainfall is sparse and intermittent. In most years it rains during the winter months, usually in February or March, but occasionally earlier. Winter rains take the form of short sharp bursts, which, if occurring in the Hajar Mountains, run off rapidly into wadis and onto the downwashed gravel plains. Localized thunderstorms occasionally occur during the summer. Generally appearing over the mountains of the south and east of the country, these rumbling cloudbursts can give rise to severe flash floods.
Some years are totally dry and it is only through the regular formation of dew that vegetation and wildlife can survive. This applies even to those places that experience a relatively high annual rainfall: at the Hajar Mountain town of Masafi, for example, 350 mm may fall in a 'wet' year, whereas as little as 30 mm may be recorded in a 'dry' year.
Table 1.Mean monthly maximum temperature (Bateen airport, Abu Dhabi) and national mean monthly rainfall 1971/72–1988/89. 0°C and mm.
Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Temperature in °C 24 25 29 33 38 39 40 40 39 35 30 26
Rainfall in mm 11 38 34 10 3 1 2 3 1 2 4 10
Bur Dubai Creek
The buildings lining the Bur Dubai side of the Creek provided the main panorama of the old city. The traditional facades of these buildings have been restored to their original state, with wooden windows, decorative gypsum panels and screens.
The Arab national dress worn in Dubai is well adapted to the high temperatures of the region. The white ankle-length, loose-fitting garment worn by men is known as the Kandoura or Dishdasha, while the women's black long-sleeved full-length robe is also called an abayah. Headcoverings, are used by both sexes for protection from sand and the midday sun. Like women everywhere, the women of Dubai too have a fondness for jewelry and have customarily adorned themselves with gold and silver necklace, forehead decorations, earrings, bracelets, anklets and rings for fingers, noses and even toes. Henna- a reddish dye obtained from powdered leaves-is widely used to stain the palms and soles of the feet for weddings and other special occasions.
Administered by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Labour Law in the UAE is loosely based on the International Labour Organization's model. UAE Law No. 8 of 1980, as amended by Law No. 12 of 1986 (the Labour Law), governs most aspects of employer/employee relations, such as hours of work, leave, termination rights, medical benefits and repatriation. The Labour Law is protective of employees in general and overrides conflicting contractual provisions agreed under another jurisdiction, unless they are beneficial to the employee. The Ministry issues a model form of labour contract in Arabic which is widely used, but other forms of contract are enforceable, provided they comply with the Labour Law. End of contract gratuities are equivalent to 21 days pay for every year of the first five years of service and 30 days for every year thereafter. The total gratuity should not exceed two years' wages. Employees are entitled to pro-rated amounts for service periods less than a full year, provided they have completed one year in continuous service.Trade unions do not exist. In the case of a dispute between employer and employee, or in interpretation of the Labour Law, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will initially act as an adjudicator. If a party wishes to appeal any such decision, it can take its case to court. Strikes and lockouts are forbidden
Why come to Dubai?
Crime-free environment; tolerant and liberal society. A taste of Arabia with a cosmopolitan lifestyle. ·Luxury modern hotel accommodation.
Varied nightlife. Arabian heritage. Exotic sights and experiences.
Desert safaris. Bargain shopping. Fabulous water sports.
Deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. Championship golf course.
Direct air links to almost 100 cities. Uncrowded, clean sandy beaches.
Year - round sunshine.
Apartments in Dubai
Abu Hail Hotel Apartments
Al Badr Palace
Al Barez Hotel Apartments
Al Barha Star
Al Bustan Residence
Al Daleel Residence
Al Deyafa Hotel Apartments
Al Faris Hotel Apartments
Al Faris Residence
Al Ghurair Centre
Al Hafawa Hotel Apartments
Al Hanan Hotel Apartments
Al Helal Hotel Apartments
Al Hina Residence
Al Hodhod Hotel Apartments
Al Mamzar Hotel Apartments
Al Mas Residence
Al Muraqabat Plaza
Al Shams Residence
Al Terhal Apartments
City Centre Residence
Corniche Furnished Apartments
Crowne Plaza Dubai Residence
Deebaj Alkhabisi Plaza
Dubai World Trade Centre Hotel and Apartments
Golden Sands 10 Hotel Apartments
Golden Sands 3 Hotel Apartments
Golden Sands 5 Hotel Apartments
Grand Hyatt Residence
Imperial Residence Hotel Apartments
Le Meridien Furnished Villas
London Crown Apartments 1
London Crown Apartments 2
Marriott Executive Apartments
Number One Tower Suites
Oasis Court Hotel Apartments
Prince House furnished Apartments
Rihab Rotana Suites
Rimal Rotana Suites
The Location of the UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is situated along the south-eastern tip of the Arabian peninsula between 22º 50 and 26º north latitude and between 51º and 56º 25 east longitude. Qatar lies to the north-west, Saudi Arabia to the west, south and south-east and Oman to the south-east and north-east. Occupying a total area of about 83, 600 sq. km (32,400 sq. miles) – roughly the size of Portugal – the UAE has 700 km of coastline, 600 km along the Arabian Gulf and 100 km bordering the Gulf of Oman
The best time to visit the UAE is from October up until May.
In October the weather may still be quite hot (up to 35C), blue skies are the norm and the evenings are warm. At this stage the tourist season is well under way.
Daytime temperatures are ideal during November, December, January and February (around 24C) although the evenings may be a little cool (13C). North-westerly winds (shamal) sometimes blow during these winter months, bringing choppy seas. Most of the annual rainfall occurs between December and March, but this tends to be in the form of short heavy downpours that rapidly clear away. Indeed some winters are totally dry.By March–April, temperatures are beginning to rise during the day (early 30s) but humidity is still low and the evenings are warm. May can be quite hot again (late-30s).June–September are to be avoided, especially the July–August period which is very hot (high 40s) and humid (100 per cent). However hotels and golf clubs and other facilities offer very good deals during the summer months and it is worth remembering that hotels, shops, in fact all buildings, cars, buses etc are air-conditioned.
You may like to time your trip to coincide with one of the many special events staged in the UAE each year. The following is a list of the more popular events but dates may change from year to year so check before you go.
World Cup Indoor Trials January
ATP Men's Tennis Open & WTA Tournament February/March
Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival March
Dubai World Cup (Horse racing) March/April
Dubai Shopping Festival March
Dubai Desert Classic (Golf) March
Dubai to Muscat Sailing Race March
Dubai Pro Beach Soccer Tournament April
Dubai Summer Surprises July/August
UAE Desert Challenge Motor Rally November
UIM Formula One Power Boat Championships December
UIM Class One Power Boat Championships December
Dubai International Rugby Sevens December
You should also consider whether you would like to visit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan (the exact dates move forward by approximately 11 days each year), Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Visitors are requested not to eat, drink or smoke in public places during this time. Most restaurants are closed during the day, although you will generally be served food in your hotel, either in your room or in a secluded area of the hotel. In general, the sale of alcohol is prohibited during Ramadan, however alcohol is served in some emirates after sunset.
Despite these restrictions, there are certain advantages in visiting the UAE during at this time. You may be able to obtain discount rates on some hotels and once the daily fast is broken (by the iftar meal after sunset) the streets are a hive of activity which lends a carnival atmosphere to the towns.
Getting to Dubai
The national airlines Gulf Air (www.gulfairco.com) and Emirates Airlines (www.emirates.com) offer a comprehensive air service to the UAE's six international airports at Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ra's al-Khaimah and Fujairah. An international airport is due to be completed in Al Ain by the end of 2002.
Emirates operate international flights to and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Gulf Air flies to all six airports. See list below or check with your local travel agency for information on competitively priced package tours to the UAE.
Approximate flight times
From London to Abu Dhabi flight times are 6 hours 35 minutes, to Dubai 7 hours; from Frankfurt to Dubai 6 hours; from Hong King to Dubai 8 hours, from Los Angeles 19 hours 55 minutes, from Toronto 14 hours 10 minutes, from Sydney 16 hours 15 minutes. It takes 4 hours to fly from Nairobi to Dubai.
You do not have to pay departure tax at any of the UAE's airports.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
(02 5757500, flight enquiries: 02 5757611)
Web address: www.dcaauh.gov.ae
Over 40 passenger carriers operate scheduled flights to Abu Dhabi from approximately 90 destinations world-wide. Major international carriers include Air France, Air India, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, PIA, Britannia, and China Airlines.
Check www.abudhabi-airptsvcs.com for list of passenger carriers and weekly flight schedules.
Airport facilities are superb and include an award-winning 3200-square-metre duty free shop, a 19-suite airport hotel, a golf course 400 metres from the terminal, a gym, VIP lounges, a tourist information centre, car hire, travel agency, hotel reservation, bank, bureau de change, Internet access and a 24-hour business centre. Raffles for Dh500, 000 cash are commonplace at the airport and there is alcohol for sale on arrival.
The Cabinet has decided to reduce the visit visa period for citizens of 33 countries who are allowed to enter the UAE without a prior visa to one month non-renewable instead of three months. The Cabinet also decided to impose a charge of Dhs100 per visa to be collected on entry to the UAE through land, seaport and airport entry points.
The decision includes citizens from France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Citizens of the UK (with right of abode in the UK) will be granted a free of charge visit visa on arrival in the UAE: Passports will be stamped with the visit visa as you pass through Immigration at any airport in the UAE. Although the visa may be stamped for 30 days, it entitles the holder to stay in the country for 60 days and may be renewed once for an additional period of 30 days for a fee of Dh500.
Except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council who do not require a visa and nationalities automatically entitled to visit visas on entry, all other visitors who wish to stay longer than 14 days in the UAE (see Entry Service Permit below) must obtain a visit visa in advance through a sponsor. The sponsor can be your travel agency, your hotel, the company or department with which you are doing business in the UAE, or an individual (eg. a relative or friend resident in the UAE).
You can pick up this visit visa on arrival at the airport, but there is a fee of Dh100 plus a Dh10 delivery charge for this service. In order to complete your application, your sponsor will require your date of arrival, flight details, and a photocopy of the first few pages of your passport, which should be valid for at least three months.
A hotel will only provide a visa if you are a guest. For an individual to sponsor a visit visa, he or she must earn over Dh4000 per month and hold a valid residence visa. Your visit visa must be deposited at airport immigration one hour before the arrival of your flight. Note that your airline may require evidence (e.g. a photocopy) before departure that a valid visa awaits you on arrival.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The dirham (pronounced dir-ham) is the official currency of the UAE. Dirham notes are in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 denominations. The dirham is divided into 100 fils, coins include Dh1, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils (10 and 5 fils are rarely used). The value is written in Arabic only but Arabic numerals are easy to memorize (see section on Arabic Language).
There are no currency regulations and foreign currency of almost any denomination is readily exchanged in the UAE. The dirham is index linked to the dollar and the official exchange rate is Dh3.671 = US$ 1.00. The best exchange rates are generally available at private moneychangers found throughout the UAE, but especially in the more popular souqs and shopping centres.
The UAE Exchange Centre (associated with Western Union) has branches throughout the UAE. Thomas Cook Al Rostamani (authorized representative of Thomas Cook's financial division) has eight branches in the UAE. Al Razouki International Exchange Company has six branches in Dubai, one in Sharjah and one in Abu Dhabi.
Moneychangers in Abu Dhabi are located off Liwa St near the Central souq. In Al Ain the UAE Exchange Centre is on Abu Bakr Al Siddiq St. Moneychangers are also found in the area of the Grand Mosque. Central Deira and Bur Dubai have a high concentration of exchange houses and in Sharjah moneychangers can be found on Arouba St in the Blue Souq and on Rolla Square.
Moneychangers are open later than the banks. Opening hours are usually from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Saturday to Thursday. Most are open on Friday afternoons. Check the local newspapers for the closing dirham and dollar exchange rates.
The UAE Exchange Centre
02 6322166 Dubai 04 3537070
Sharjah 06 5625125 Al Ain 03 7654258
Ajman 06 7424666 Fujairah 09 2226665
Ra's al-Khaimah 07 2271066
Thomas Cook Al Rostamani Exchange Company
02 6727717 Dubai 04 2223564
Sharjah 06 5614656 Al Ain 03 7665558
Fujairah 09 2226822
Visitors from many parts of the world along with a multi-ethnic resident community have ensured that a sophisticated and innovative food culture has developed in the UAE. Almost any type of food is available, from classic European to Pacific Rim. You can eat Mexican, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Italian and French cooking, and more, at some of the finest restaurants in the Middle East. International fast-food chains, serving the standard fare of hamburgers, chips, pizzas etc (McDonalds's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Hardee's, Wimpy, Dunkin' Donut) are also located in the larger cities. Kentucky Fried Chicken seems to be a particular favorite. International theme restaurants such as TGI Friday's, Planet Hollywood, Fashion Café, Hard Rock Café and Henry J Bean's are all represented in the Emirates. If you cannot find anything to suit in that list, small ethnic cafés and corner stalls are ubiquitous. Shisha cafés offer an opportunity to smoke a shisha (hubble-bubble pipe) and serve food, coffee, tea and fruit juices and corner stalls serve sharwarmas and other sandwiches.
Gulf and Middle Eastern food is also available in a wide variety of venues, from expensive restaurants to local cafés. Fresh fish from the Arabian Gulf is always good – try lobster, crab, shrimp, or grouper, tuna, kingfish, red snapper, grilled, stuffed, or fried with spices. But it is not just a question of variety, make no mistake the food is generally good and the standard of service is high.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork so it is not included in Arabic menus. Hotels frequently have substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled as such.
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). Exceptions are some clubs (e.g. golf clubs) and associations. Restaurants that are not associated with hotels are not permitted to serve alcohol.
The Dubai Nightlife
There is ample opportunity to pursue an active nightlife in all of the major urban centres in the UAE, except for Sharjah which does not have any bars or discos. The choice of night-time activities is obviously more limited in the rural areas.Bars range from sophisticated cocktail lounges to informal traditional British and Irish pubs and Western style saloons. In addition, there are numerous piano and jazz bars. Clubs and discos host both local DJs and big international names. You can also visit local nightclubs with Arab singers, belly dancers and musicians. World famous groups and individual stars from the the West, the Arab world, the Indian subcontinent and the Far East are frequent visitors.
The hotels, in particular, vie with each other to stage the best live shows. Cabaret is standard fare in the hotel nightclubs, but it is during the winter season and on national holiday weekends that the hotels come alive with food festivals, stage shows and themed nights. Talented groups from countries such as the Philippines and Sri Lanka have wide-ranging repertoires featuring African beat, salsa, country and western, rock, R'B, reggae, jazz. Close your eyes and you could be listening to the original artists.
If it is a more cultural experience that you require, plays, ballets, classical music and operas are also performed by visiting groups on a regular basis. Even the West End of London has been transported to the UAE in the form of dinner theatre.
This capital city is only two hours away from Dubai. The Petroleum Exhibition conducted here at this city is one of the attractions of the place with its Audio-Visual presentation about the Development of the City and the White Fort (the initial home of the rulers). On the touring side, the operators take you around to the picturesque Corniche, the Dhow-building yard together with other places of interest ending with the memorable Sunset at Breakwater Point.
The Al Ain at Abu Dhabi has been a home for caravans for centuries now. This region, together with the ancient oasis of Buraimi and the 5000-year old archeological find at Hili, are all worth a look!
Apart from the ones above, the Hili Fun City Amusement park's pretty gardens along with its picnic spots, rides aplenty, skating rink are also present. The Ain Al Fayda Resort that has been built around a natural hot spring along with the Al Ain Zoo containing miniature penguins and the world's largest herd of endangered Arabian Oryx are an added feature
The Northern Emirates
If you're one to enjoy historic beauty, you must visit the Emirate of Ras Al Khaima, an ancient seaport present within a panoramic view of the landscape. This town moves out into the Gulf close to the Strait of Hormuz, situated at the northernmost tip of the UAE and facing the Bander Abbas of Iran. Apart from taking in the wonderful scenery of the place, tourists are also taken to various archeological sites for a proof of historical identity.
Apart from the tours in the city, there are tours arranged to the other neighbouring cities too, namely: Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain etc. Each of these cities has something special to show off to its visitors, like the Souks, Dhow building yards, the Palace Museum and Agriculture in that order.