Holidays in Dubai Essential Tourist Information Dubai

Holidays in Dubai Essential Tourist Information

The UAE is a scenic and delightful holiday destination and taking your holidays in Dubai and its surrounding areas can be a rewarding and fascinating experience. The tourism industry in Dubai has undergone a number of changes and the country has adopted a number of western outlooks and customs. There are however a couple of important aspects to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your holiday and avoid offending members of the local population.


Ambulance/ Police 998/999
American Hospital 3367777
Dubai London Clinic 3446663
General Medical Center 3495959
Flight Enquiry 2166666
Directory Enquiries 181
Operator 100

Visas and Arrival (UK UAE Embassy)

As is the case with all other countries, visa regulations relating to the UAE are subject to change, so it is advisable to check with your local UAE Embassy or travel agent prior to leaving. Visas are available in the form of tourist visas, visit visas and transit visas. The majority of foreign nationals will be able to obtain a visa upon landing in Dubai, with special exonerations applying to AGCC expatriate residence and citizens of the United Kingdom. Those with less than three months left on their passports should double check on regulations before leaving for Dubai. In the majority of circumstances, Israeli citizens are not permitted to enter the UAE.

Upon arriving in Dubai you are likely to be warmly greeted by airport staff and customs officials. Although the national language of Dubai is Arabic, English is widely spoken throughout Dubai and thus communication is never really a problem. Other languages spoken in the area include Hindi and Urdu. Two of the local newspapers are published in English; these being Gulf News and the Khaleej Times and international newspapers, magazines and literature are widely available. Televisions in hotels usually feature both local and international channels.

Telephones and Dialing Codes

Pay phones are located throughout the UAE should you need to make a local or international call, and rates are generally cheaper on Fridays and public holidays. To dial an international number dial 00 followed by the dialing code of the country. For local calls around Dubai, simply enter the seven digit phone number. In the event that you are calling one of the other Emirates, you will need to first enter 0 followed by the single digit dialing code of the area which is:

  06 for Sharjah

  07 for Ras al Khaimah

  09 for Fujairah

  03 for Al Ain

  02 for Abu Dhabi

Regulations relating to things like dress code and the consumption of alcohol have relaxed significantly in recent years. The consumption of alcohol is now legal in pubs, restaurants and clubs located in hotels throughout the city, although wine and beers are generally more freely available than spirits. Local importers of alcohol include Maritime and Mercantile International and African and Eastern.

The sale and purchase of alcohol outside of hotels is still forbidden, and local Muslim citizens are not permitted to buy alcohol unless they have obtained a license from the relevant authorities. Hotels aside, the last point of purchase for alcohol will be the duty free shops at Dubai International Airport, so if you are a whisky or spirit fan best you take advantage of the facilities that are available while you can. In terms of non alcoholic beverages, local and international soft drinks are available throughout the city. The desalinated sea water which comes out of the taps in Dubai is perfectly safe to drink, but does not taste wonderful so if you have sensitive taste buds you are advised to rather purchase bottled water.

Although Emirati locals are incredibly hospitable and tolerant of westerners, certain customs and habits are nevertheless still frowned upon. While all religions are openly welcomed in Dubai, religious activism is not tolerated. Non Muslims are generally not permitted to frequent mosques. It is also seen as impolite to walk in front of anyone who is praying.

Although dress codes for women have relaxed substantially it is still advisable to dress modestly whenever possible. Taking photos of any person dressed in national attire is not advisable, and women in particular do not generally take kindly to being photographed. A public display of affection between males and females is not welcome and loving greetings like hugging and kissing are seen as taboo. When greeting a local member of the opposite sex it is advisable to allow them to extent their hand first. Placing your palm on your heart is often seen as a more suitable greeting than a handshake.

Revealing clothing is seen as acceptable attire in hotel restaurants and clubs, but in other areas of the city women are advised to steer clear of shorts and above the knee length skirts. In the event that you embark on a day trip or two, be sure to keep in mind the fact that not all areas of the Emirates are quite as relaxed as Dubai. Sharjah for one still has decency laws and is far more conservative especially in relation to dress code.