Dubai

Communication

If you continue to use your mobile phone in roaming you might pay outrageously high price. That is the reason why considering package for visitor is advised option. Du and Etisalat are two major players in Dubai’s telecommunications industry and both companies are very competitive in attracting tourists to use their services. Etisalat offers its “Visitor line”. Du calls its visitor service ‘Visitor Mobile Line’. Since September 2017, there is also third option, which is age restricted. It is intended for age group 19-29 and it is focused on mobile data, rather than calls and SMS. It is offered by the Virgin Mobile, which is owned by the same parent company as Du is - Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company.

Prepaid Vs Post Paid Mobile Services

The choice of prepaid card is dictated by personal preferences of the buyer, according to the benefits offered, so there is no one size fits all recommendation. In order to use mobile services, you will be asked to provide valid form of ID. Du and Etisalat sell their products and services at airports, right after customs check in arrival area and in many other areas all over the city.

Wi-Fi and Internet

Wi-Fi services are widely available across Dubai and you can find them in airports, hotels and majority of shopping malls. It is important to note VoIP services are limited in Dubai, meaning that calling someone via Skype, Viber or another app will not be possible due to strict rules of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Shopping

Dubai is a heaven on Earth for passionate shoppers. It has nearly 100 shopping malls, where you can find the most exclusive clothes, jewelry, accessories and many more. What makes Dubai’s malls so special are numerous attractions and themed parks.

The World’s Biggest Mall

The world biggest mall is located right in this city and it is called “The Dubai Mall”. This mall incorporates Olympic-sized ice skating rink, underwater zoo and large aquarium. It is located in Downtown Dubai.

In addition to numerous malls, Souks are very popular shopping places. They are marketplaces settled in the old part of the town and visit to each of them will be a journey back to the ancient history.

There are different kinds of Souk: gold, spices, perfume, textile and other and each of them will evoke your senses in its own, unique way.

Visiting Souks is a great opportunity for souvenir shopping. Most popular souvenirs that are easy to carry are camel milk chocolate, dates, oud, perfume oils, pashmina shawls and golden jewelry.

Education

More than 93% of residents is able to read and write. Dubai maintains international standards when it comes to education. There are many expatriate schools where English is official language and some schools operate under standards of other nationality groups such as Japanese, German, French and other.

Expatriates learn Arabic in Schools. School starts around 8 am and lasts up to 2 pm or even 3 pm. First day of school in a week is Sunday, while the last is Thursday.

Classes are shortened during the Holly Month of Ramadan. There are three terms – autumn, spring and summer. Dubai International Academic city is the largest free zone intended for higher education. Dubai’s tertiary education is one of the strongest models in the world, despite the fact it is one of the youngest.

Health

Dubai’s public healthcare system is among the best around the globe and there are high standards of services. There is mandatory health insurance for all residents. Foreigners often use private healthcare services.

There are 130 facilities which provide them, and they offer services for 150 specialties. For using the public health care services, you need medical card which can be purchased online and it costs AED 320 for adults and AED 120 for se under the age of 18. Travelers are advised to do so despite purchasing insurance, since some procedures are not covered by it.

Expatriate expecting mothers who entered seventh month are expected to register with a hospital they choose. Latifa Hospital is considered on of the best public maternity hospitals. According to Dubai’s law, woman must be married in order to give birth there. They require valid health card, passports for both husband and wife and marriage certificate in order to register.

It is important to note that dental services are so expensive that expats travel back home in order to have procedures done. Most pharmacies are open 24/7. However, issues might arise in acquiring medicines which can normally be purchased in the home country, while they are forbidden in Dubai, due to strict laws. One should carefully study list of allowed medicines before packing, because it is not allowed to bring some of them there.

Business Hours

Working week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday, meaning Friday and Saturday are considered weekend. Some retail businesses work six days a week and they end their week on Friday. Malls open around 10:00 usually.

Due to extremely high temperatures around the noon, working hours start from 08.00 to 13.00 and they start again from 16:00 to 19: 00. During Ramadan, working hours may be even shorter.

The business dress code is very conservative; however, meetings can be very informal, leaving business part of the meeting very short.

Capital

Although Dubai is the most popular city in the United Arab Emirates., it is not its capital. The capital city of UAE is Abu Dhabi. UAE are also frequently referred to as Emirates only, and they are actually a federation of seven countries (they call emirates): Fujairah, Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. All of them are named after their respective capital cities and accordingly, Dubai is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.

United Arab Emirates is country comprised of 7 small countries called emirates. Emirate of Dubai is one of them and its capital city is Dubai. The capital of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, according to which one of the emirates is called.

Economy

Dubai is important business centre of the Middle East and vital IT and finance hub. It is the second wealthiest emirate. It is commonly believed that its main source of income is from oil.

Actually, oil proceeds were used for the infrastructure development and investments in tourism, which contributed to the development of Dubai’s economy, which is among the fastest growing in the world.

Nowadays, the main source of revenue for the city is tourism.

Currency

The official currency in Dubai is Dirham, abbreviated AED. Other common abbreviations are Dhs and DH. Denominations include 5,10,20,50,100,200,500 and 1000 AED.

There are 100 fils in AED 1 and there are coins of 1 AED, 50 fils and 25 fils. Banknotes are bilingual: on the one side their denomination is written in Arabic and on the other in English. There is fixed exchange rate with USD where 1 USD equals to AED 3.6725.

Culture

Although Dubai is a contemporary city, it is important to remember that religion plays important role in its culture. Public display of affection should be reduced to the bare minimum.

Do's and Don’ts

While holding hands is acceptable, hugging and kissing is not. Other unacceptable factors are drug usage and possession, disrespecting religion, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, making obscene gestures, being drunk and many other.

Disobeying the rules might lead result in legal issues and lead to imprisonment and deportation. When it comes to dress code, it is perfectly acceptable to wear swimming suit on beaches and around pools.

However, you should cover up in other areas. Shorts and T shirts are also acceptable, although for visiting religious places and old town one should dress modestly, meaning covering their legs and arms.

Women will be required to wear scarf to cover up their hair in order to enter mosques. During Ramadan, public consummation of food and drinks from sunrise to sunset is forbidden. In spite that, many hotels and shopping malls have special areas for those who do not fast, where is permitted to eat and drink.

Alcohol

Licenced bars and restaurants are the only places in Dubai where you can buy alcoholic beverages, and they are settled in hotels. Alcohol is also available in duty free shop at airports.

Language

Arabic is the official language in Dubai and the rest of UAE. Most of Dubai’s population is made of people of different nationalities who moved there to seize business opportunities.

Therefore, it is not unusual to hear Chinese, Persian, Urdu, Bengali or other Asian languages on the streets of Dubai. Due to significant portion of expatriates, English is commonly used language.

You can frequently find billboards, boards and road signs translated to English. Public schools teach classes in Arabic, while English is taught in schools as a second language.

Religion

Islam is the official religion in Dubai. Majority of residents are Muslims. Dubai is specific place in the Middle East due to government’s more liberal approach in comparison to the rest of the region.

UAE are tolerant to non-Muslim tourists and that also applies during Ramadan, when Muslims fast. At that time of the year it is forbidden to drink, eat and smoke in public during daylight hours and tourists are provided designated area to continue with such activities.

There are many mosques in Dubai and you can frequently hear call to prayer coming from them. Muslims pray five times a day. Due to its tolerance to other religions, there are also several temples and churches.

However, practitioners of other religions are not allowed to publicly share non-Islamic ideas or distribute literature of other religions.

History

Dubai developed from a small fishing village into cosmopolitan city and business center of the Middle East. It history starts from 3 century AD and it is believed that Dubai was part of Sassanian Empire.

The most important milestone in its development was discovery of oil in 1966. Dubai heavily relied on its revenue from oil and gas to finance development. In 1971, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other five emirates formed todays UAE in which the mentioned two emirates had most of the deciding and economic power.

In 1990s, Dubai started implementation of its strategy to becoming significant tourist destination and Burj Al Arab, the worlds’ only 7-star hotel was opened by the end of that decade. Today, Dubai is well known for its breath taking modern architecture and luxurious accommodations it provides to its visitors.

Climate

Dubai has sub-tropical climate and lengthy summer and winter. Sumer begins in April and lasts until October, which is the period of extreme warmth and humidity. Temperatures go beyond 40 degrees Celsius.

Winter occurs from January to March and temperatures still reach 30 degrees. Sometimes, temperatures can fall to 15 degrees in that period. In between those two seasons, there are two months of frequent rain, which can continue during the winter season.

Population

Dubai’s population is rapidly increasing in the last decades and it is approaching to 3 million people. It is interesting that most of the population, that is, nearly 75% is male. There are only 15% residents, while the rest 85% are expatriates, and most of them are coming from Asia.

Life expectancy is 76 years for male and 79 for females. Car accidents significantly contribute to the mortality rate of this city.

Geography

Dubai is settled in Persian Gulf. What makes this city special are man-made islands, which increased the surface of the city significantly. Its urban area starches on 3885 km².

City is divided into two regions by the Dubai’s Creek: Deira, the norther part and Bur Dubai, the southern part.

Its unique position enables it to connect to other Gulf states, South Asia and East Africa. Its neighbors are: Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Sultanate of Oman and the city itself is surrounded by the dessert.

Contact

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