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UAE Travel Guide

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Full country name: United Arab Emirates
Area: 83,600 sq km
Population: 6 million
Capital City: Abu Dhabi
Language: Arabic
Religion: 96% Muslim, 4% other
Government: Federal presidential system and constitutional monarchy
Time Zone: GMT+4 (UTC+4)
Dialing Code: 971
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: UAE dirham (AED)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 38,900

Budget: U$10
Mid-range: U$20
High: U$30
Budget: U$30
Mid-range: U$45-60
High: U$130+

Geography: The United Arab Emirates is located on the Persian Gulf in Southwest Asia. The country borders the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the Gulf of Oman. The UAE has a 700 km coastline, most of which consists of salt marshes. The unique and varied landscape is the most prominent feature of the UAE. The country mostly consists of desert landscape with vast sand dunes, oases, and dry river bed.

Climate: The UAE possesses extremely hot and dry climate, especially in the coastal regions. The temperatures are only bearable in winter and in the mountainous areas, with an average January temperature being 18 C (65 F). The average summer temperature is about 40 C (+100 F) and can get even higher. Rainfall is rare, occurring between December and February.

Food: The local UAE cuisine is typically Arabic, but has great similarities with the Mediterranean cooking. The main dishes include meat, fish and rice with heavy spices and rich ingredients. Local fruit and fish are of excellent quality and are widely available. The most popular dishes among the locals are: Hummus (a chickpea and sesame seed paste), ghuzi (roasted lamb with nuts, served with rice), makbous (a spicy lamb dish with rice) and stuffed warak (stuffed vine leaves).

Drink: Arabians are proud of their coffee, therefore it is brewed and served keeping special etiquettes in mind. Since UAE is a Muslim country, visitors can buy alcohol, but can neither drink it publicly, nor offer to drink to an UAE citizen. Note, that alcohol is very expensive and it is only sold in bars, restaurants or hotels.

Health: Medical facilities are of a very high quality, but are extremely expensive, therefore health insurance is essential. No special immunizations or vaccinations are required when entering UAE.

Recommended clothing: Light cotton clothes are recommended throughout the year, with a sweater or a jacket needed only for cooler winter evenings or when visiting mountainous regions. Since, UAE is an Islamic country, short skirts, shorts and tight outfits should not be worn in public.

Driving: Note, that the main danger in UAE is bad driving. Courtesy on the road simply does not exist. You should be aware, that the inner lane out of the cities is for speeding luxury cars and you should not block them. Since, drivers have a tendency to zoom into roundabouts at frightening speeds, be very attentive. Pedestrians are not guaranteed that drivers will stop or at least slow down when crossing the street.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
26 Feb Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)
9 Jul Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet)
11 Sep Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
17 Nov Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
2 Dec National Day
7 Dec Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)
16 Dec Ashoura

Note: Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last anything from two to 10 days, depending on the region.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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