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Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most asked general questions about
traveling the destination. Feel free to call us, if we don't know the answer
we'll make one up for you!
Do I need a visa?
Visa requirements for entering Dubai vary greatly between
different nationalities and it is always advised to check regulations before
traveling. In most cases, US Passport holders can obtain a visa upon
What is the local currency?
Arab Emirates Dirhams (AED or Dh)
Do they speak English in Dubai?
The official language is Arabic, Arabic and English are
commonly used in business and commerce. Hindi and Urdu are also widely used.
How long does it take to fly to Dubai?
From JFK to Dubai, the flying time is 12 hours and 45
What are the business hours in Dubai?
Banks: Sunday – Thursday
8.00am – 1.00pm
Shopping Malls: Saturday – Thursday 10.00am – 10.00pm; Friday – 4.00pm –
Souks: Saturday – Thursday 10.00am – 1.00pm
and 4.00pm – 10.00pm; Friday – 4.00pm – 2.30pm
What are the duty free allowances?
Duty Free Allowances include the following:
Cigars: 2 kilograms
Tobacco: 2 kilograms
Liquor: 2 liters of spirits OR 2 liters of wine for personal consumptional
Will I have internet and cell phone access in Dubai?
GSM services are available and the mobile phone code within
the UAE is 050. "Speak Easy" is a GSM mobile service for those visitors and
tourists who cannot use their own mobile phones in the UAE. You can either buy
a new mobile phone and purchase a temporary SIM card or use your own handset
with a temporary card. Contact ETISALAT for details.
Most five-star hotels offer guests internet access. Email cheap rates are from
7 p.m. to 7 a.m. At the time of writing public internet access kiosks were
being established in the UAE, initially at the major airports. The minimum
charge for public access is Dh2 and 60 fils per minute. Payment can be made by
If you have brought your laptop with you, along with a modem and browsing
software, you can dial 500 5333 to get connected to the internet. A charge of
15 fils per minute is billed to the telephone to which you are connected.
What is shopping like in Dubai?
Many of the world's finest goods are available at prices
well below what you would pay in other countries. Tax-free open market means
bargains galore. Bargaining is commonly practiced and recommended particularly
in the souks.
Traditional souvenirs include Arabian coffee pots, silver
and brass swords or khanjars, silver and wooden miniature dhows, Arabic chests,
soapstone figures, antique silver jewelry, Persian carpets and gold jewelry.
What should I pack?
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year
in cotton or cotton mix is ideal. Good quality sunglasses; hat and
sunblock. A sweater or jacket may be needed January – March (especially
in the evenings).
Do I need any special vaccinations to travel to Dubai?
No special immunizations are required, however it would be
wise to check beforehand if you are traveling from a health-risk area. Tetanus
inoculations are usually recommended if you are considering a long trip. Polio
has been virtually eradicated in the UAE and hepatitis is very rare and can be
avoided by taking precautions. Hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminated food
and water, Hepatitis B, C, D through sexual contact, the use of unsterilized
needles and blood transfusions.
What is the main religion in Dubai?
Islam is the official religion and there are a large number
of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and there
are various places of worship including churches and temples.
Do I need to tip?
Tax and service charge are usually included in the bills,
otherwise a 5-10% tip is adequate. Airport and hotel porters 2-3 US Dollars depending
on the amount of luggage.
What happens during Ramadan?
The Holy month of Ramadan is when Muslims commemorate the
revelation of the Holy Koran. During this period, all Muslims fast from
sunrise to sunset. Eating, drinking and smoking in public areas during
daylight hours is strictly prohibited, however hotels restaurants can
accommodate tourists in covered tented areas.
Can I consume alcohol in Dubai?
Wide choices of excellent wines, beers and spirits are available
in licensed restaurants and bars. Dubai has several laws regarding
alcohol which tourists should be aware of before visiting:
Alcohol is only available at licensed premises, usually attached to hotels
(most nightclubs and bars are in or attached to hotels, though they may have
Alcohol is not sold on religious holidays, nor during daylight hours in Ramadan
(even to non-Muslims).
It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places
Remember to carry some sort of identification when visiting a bar if you are
young, as you will not be let in otherwise. The law prohibits anyone below 21
What type of food is available at the restaurants?
Dubai restaurants & hotels offer a remarkably diverse
range of food and beverage outlets. Other than traditional Arabic
cuisine, there is a wide choice of British, Chinese, Filipino, French, German,
Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mediterranean, Portuguese, Russian,
Spanish, Swiss and Thai. The traditional food of the Emirates has always been
rice, fish and meat. Some of the most popular include Harees, Machboos
b>Harees is a simple dish created with small pieces of
meat, cracked wheat and water. The meat, wheat and water are placed in a
large mud pot and cooked slowly until the meat is tender. The ingredients
are then blended together until it has a thick porridge like consistency
Machboos is a dish made of rice, onions and meat which are seasoned
with spices, salt and dried lemons. Simmered until all the meat is very
tender, when rice is added and returned to cook for up to 2 hours.
Fareed is a meet and vegetable stew poured over a bed of very thin
bread and served immediately.
Can I use American appliances in Dubai?
Voltage used in the UAE is 220V. Most sockets are
3-pin, although adaptors for 2-pin plugs are available at most hotels.
Can I drink the water in Dubai?
Water is usually produced by desalination so it is normally
safe to drink, nevertheless you may prefer the taste of bottled water. In any
case it is advisable to drink plenty of water in the heat so carry a bottle
with you at all times.
What is the weather like in Dubai?
The line of the Tropic of Cancer crosses through the UAE,
causing the weather in Dubai to be warm and sunny in the winter, with an
average daytime temperature of 25 degrees c, nearer the coat 12-15 degrees c,
in the desert or mountains 5 degrees c. With the nights being relatively cool.
Near coastal areas humidity can average between 50% and 60%.
In the summer, the weather in Dubai is very hot and humid,
with temperatures reaching mid 40's. Even the sea temperature can reach 37
degrees c, with humidity averaging over 90%.
Rainfall in Dubai is infrequent and does not last for a long
period. It mostly rains during the winter period in the form of short gushes
and an occasional thunderstorm. On average, rain falls only five days a year.