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Introduction to The UAE Introduction to Dubai Climate Food Language Religion Clothing Working Money & Banks Healthcare Shopping Malls Getting around Travel Education Childcare Housing / Maids Pets Newspapers and magazines Holidays Sports & Leisure Visas Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide Slide 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Introducing The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras alKhaimah and Fujairah. The UAE's population is around 4.3 million of which approximately 21.9% are nationals and the rest are foreigners. As a consequence of the large number of expatriate workers attracted to the Emirates, UAE nationals form a minority of those who reside in the country. The UAE has one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East. 19% of the country's population is Emirati, 23% are other Arabs or Persians while the majority of the population, about 50%, is from South Asia.
Introducing Dubai Dubai is one of the seven emirates and is the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai's government operates within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, and has been ruled by the Al Maktoum family since 1833. The current ruler, HH Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Supreme Council of the Union (SCU). Dubai is a cosmopolitan and multicultural city and is home to approximately 1.5 million people from all over the globe. Around 80% of the population in Dubai is made up of expatriates and the city caters to the diverse population by offering a broad range of services and facilities. Dubai has much to offer. The sun shines almost every day, the shopping and leisure facilities are impressive, and the salaries are tax-free.
Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate, with blue skies and sunshine all year round. The hottest months are between June and September, when temperatures can soar to 113°F (45°C) and above during the day and humidity levels are very high. Even the sea temperature touches on 104°F (40°C) during the summer months. Temperatures are only slightly more moderate the rest of the year, the coolest time being between December and March. There is very little rainfall in Dubai and when showers do fall it is mainly in the cooler months.
Jan 24°C Feb 25°C Mar 28°C Apr 32°C May 37°C Jun 39°C Jul 40°C Aug 45°C Sept 39°C Oct 35°C Nov 31°C Dec 26°C
The diversity of cuisine in Dubai is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the society. Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma diners in Deira and Al Karama to the upscale restaurants in Dubai's many hotels. The sale and consumption of pork, is regulated and is sold only to non-Muslims, in designated areas. Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated and a liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol. Alcohol is available in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels.
Dubai has a good range of supermarkets and grocery stores that cater to the multinational population’s culinary needs. Supermarkets include:
Spinneys http://www.spinneys-dubai.com/ Waitrose www.waitrose.com/ Carrefour www.carrefouruae.com/ Choithram www.choithram.com/ Geant www.geant-dubai.com/ Lulu www.luluhypermarket.com/ Union Co-Op www.ucs.ae/ Organic Foods & café www.organicfoodsandcafe.com/ HyperPanda Park n Shop
Dubai has a diverse and multicultural society and although Arabic is the official language, Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Persian, Sindhi, Tagalog, Bengali and many other languages are spoken in Dubai. English is widely spoken and is standard within the business community.
Peace be upon you – Al Salam Alaikom Welcome/Hello – Marhaba What? - Matha Goodbye - Ma Salama Who? - Man Thank You - Shukran Where? - Ayina Please - Min Fadlak How many? - Kam How much does it cost? - Bekam How are you? - Ke fa ha’allaq Why? - Lematha Yes - Na’am / Aiwa Excuse me - Affwan No - La I don’t know - Lusto Adree Good Morning - Sabah Al Khair
Islam is the official religion of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates with the vast majority of Emiratis being Sunni Muslims. Dubai is one of the most liberal places in the Middle East and although all visitors are expected to respect Islam, followers of other religions are tolerated. Dubai is a diverse and multicultural city and Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians have been living harmoniously in Dubai for many decades. Dubai is the only emirate housing Hindu temples, churches and a Sikh gurudwara. The local government follows a policy of tolerance towards non-Muslims and people are free to practice their religion. The religious communities of Dubai have their own schools and social and cultural institutions.
Both local men and local women are easily distinguished by their traditional dress, which is a common sight in the United Arab Emirates. Men wear the long white Dishdasha and headdress, while women wear the black Abaya. The dress code is liberal in Dubai compared to other Middle Eastern cities, however it is expected that residents and visitors alike show respect for the local culture and dress accordingly. In the presence of UAE nationals it is wise to cover the shoulders, especially so during business meetings. Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, although it can get cool during winter evenings. Offices and shopping malls can be are heavily air conditioned during the summer months and it can become rather chilly indoors.
The weekend in Dubai falls on Friday and Saturday and the following opening hours prevail throughout the Emirate: Banks Government offices Post offices Restaurants Shopping Centre's Shops & Souqs 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm Sunday to Thursday are typical hours 7.30am to 3pm Sunday to Thursday and Saturday mornings 8am to 2pm is typical for most post offices, others operate 8am to 8pm 11am to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm are the typical hours for restaurants 10am to 10pm Sunday to Wednesday, 10 am to 12 am Friday & Saturday 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm Saturday to Thursday, 4pm to 9pm Friday
The Dirham is the UAE's currency and is subdivided into 100 fils. Banknotes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 dirham denominations and coins are available in 1, 25 and 50 fils. The Dirham (AED) is pegged to the US Dollar at approximately US$=Dh 3.67. Banks operate from 8 am to 3.30pm, Saturday through Wednesday and 8 am - noon on Thursday. Currency exchange houses open until late in the evening and International credit cards are widely accepted.
Banks in Dubai include:
National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah First Gulf Bank Emirates Islamic Bank Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Dubai Islamic Bank National Bank of Dubai Mashreq Bank Lloyds TSB Bank Commercial Bank of Dubai Al Hilal Bank Noor Islamic Bank Barclays Commercial Bank International Citibank Emirates Bank International / meBank National Bank of Abu Dhabi Standard Chartered Bank HSBC Bank National Bank of Sharjah Union National Bank Dubai Bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (formerly ABN Amro) Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Al Masraf Doha Bank National Bank of Umm Al Quwain SAMBA Bank of Sharjah United Bank Limited
Dubai’s health services are internationally recognized to be of good quality and comparable to other developed countries. Currently being developed is the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC) which is the worlds first health care free zone. DHCC provides modern medical services and aims to become an internationally recognized location of choice for quality healthcare. For further information you may like to visit the website at www.dhcc.ae/
Emergencies Fire / Ambulance / Police Government Hospitals Al Baraha Hospital Al Maktoum Hospital Al Wasl Hospital Iranian Hospital Dubai Hospital Rashid Hospital Ph: 04 2710000 Ph: 04 2221211 Ph: 04 3241111 Ph: 04 3440250 Ph: 04 2714444 Ph: 04 3374000 Ph: 999
Private Hospitals & Clinics include: American Hospital Emirates Hospital Welcare Hospital International Modern Hospital Manchester Clinic Dubai Ph: 04 3367777 Ph: 04 3446678 Ph: 04 2827788 Ph: 04 3988888 Ph: 04 3440300
Dubai is known as the shopping capital of the Middle East and has a wide variety of malls and souqs to cater to all tastes and budgets. Each year, Dubai holds an annual shopping festival that includes huge sales and is a shopping and entertainment extravaganza that attracts visitors from all over the word. Shopping centers and souqs in Dubai include:
Dubai Mall - www.thedubaimall.com/ Mall of the Emirates - www.malloftheemirates.com/ Diera City Centre - www.deiracitycentre.com/ Dubai Festival City - www.dubaifestivalcity.com/ Wafi City Mall - www.wafi.com/ BurJuman - www.burjuman.com/ Mercato Mall - www.mercatoshoppingmall.com/ Madinat Jumeirah - www.jumeirah.com/ Ibn Battuta - www.ibnbattutamall.com/ Deira Gold Souq
The majority of people in Dubai travel around in private vehicles or in taxis. Dubai has a large fleet of taxis that are clearly market and the rates are metered. Car prices are generally lower than in other countries, so you may have the opportunity to drive in style. There are bus services operating in Dubai that are affordable and reliable, however the routes are fairly limited. Another popular mode of transport is by Abra or water taxi and these are featured at the Dubai Creek. There is currently no train system operating in Dubai, however the Dubai Metro is set to begin operating in September 2009 and will be the longest fully automated rail system in the world.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) serves Dubai - www.dubaiairport.com/ Dubai’s airline is Emirates - website: http://www.emirates.com/ae Flight times from Dubai: Kuwait - 1 hour 40 mins Riyadh – 1 hour 50 mins Cairo – 4 hours 20 mins Muscat - 55 mins London - 7 hours 50 mins New York - 14 hours Bangkok – 5 hours 50 mins Doha – 1 hour Paris – 7 hours 45 mins
The education system is varied, with many international schools to choose from, and more opening every year. As there is no government-funded education for expat children, all of these schools charge fees. Parents can choose between US, international or UK systems and the standard of education is improving every year. After-school activities are common in Dubai and include gymnastics, swimming, ballet, Arabic classes, horse-riding, rugby, golf, football and tennis. The school terms are similar to education systems in the UK and USA, with autumn (mid September to mid December), spring (early January to early April) and summer (mid April to early July) terms.
There are many good nurseries in Dubai which cater to a variety of needs. The Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) have recently launched National Child Care (NCC) Standards which benchmarks the best policy and practice standards for corporate child care centers. The intention of the Standards is to benchmark Dubai, both regionally and internationally, as offering the best policy and practice standards for corporate child care centers and to support Dubai’s commitment to be a child-friendly city. For further information in respect to activities for children and child care in Dubai you may like to visit this website - www.dubaikidz.biz/ -
Dubai apartments come in various sizes, from studio to four bedroom, with widely varying rents to match. Recently the rental market in Dubai has seen a significant reduction in rental prices. Some apartments come semi-furnished (with a cooker, fridge and washing machine), and have 24 hour security, covered parking, private gym and swimming pool. Like apartments villas differ greatly in quality and facilities. Independent villas often have larger gardens, while compound villas are usually newer and typically feature shared facilities such as a pool and even a gym. For further information in respect to renting and purchasing property in Dubai you may like to visit www.dubizzle.com Electricity Voltage: 240 Volts, 50Hz Outlets in Dubai generally accept 2 type of plugs:
Internet domain: .ae International dialing code: +971 Maid Services The majority of expats tend to have domestic help whether it is full-time, live in housemaid or a part time cleaner. You can either use domestic help agencies or through social networks.
If you don’t want to leave your furry friends behind, any potential problems can be minimized if you plan ahead of time for your pet’s relocation. Pets are allowed into the UAE, however, it is important to bear in mind that summer temperatures are often too high for pets to spend much time outdoors. If you are on a Term Contract, you might not be able to bring pets with you as you may be housed in furnished accommodation which may not allow pets. For further information you may like to take a look at the website of The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International Inc. for a list of pet shippers worldwide - www.ipata.com and at the Pet Dubai website for information in respect to rules and regulations regarding pets in Dubai - www.petdubai.com/
Dubai has a well established network of print, radio, television and electronic media which service the city. The majority of local television stations are government run and broadcast in Arabic, however there are options to subscribe to pay TV providers. Showtime Arabia is a leading pay TV network in the Middle East North Africa region and it offers a broad variety of shows ranging from local programs to shows from around the world. Dubai is the headquarters for several print media outlets. Al Khaleej, Al Bayan and Al Ittihad are the city's largest circulating Arabic language newspapers while Gulf News and Khaleej Times are the largest circulating English newspapers. Emirates News Agency (WAM) is the official news agency of the UAE and provides daily news coverage of official and other events throughout the country.
Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given are approximations. 2009
1 Jan 7 Jan 9 Mar 20 Jul 21 Sep 28 Nov 2 Dec 18 Dec 27 Dec New Year's Day Ashoura Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet) Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet) Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) National Day Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year ) Ashoura New Year's Day Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet) Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet) Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) National Day Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year) Ashoura
1 Jan 26 Feb 9 Jul 11 Sep 17 Nov 2 Dec 7 Dec 16 Dec
Sports & Leisure Dubai offers a wide variety of sport and leisure facilities including health clubs, gyms, sports clubs and beach clubs. There are also a number of world class golf courses in Dubai including challenging PGA championship golf courses. Popular sports in Dubai include horse riding, archery, tennis, rugby, squash and a variety of water sports. Dubai boasts a number of parks which are popular with families, including safa park and the Jumeirah Beach park. Other popular activities in Dubai include going to the movies and the theatre, attending live music concerts, dining out and one of the many restaurants and dancing the night away at one of the popular nightclubs. Many residents like to explore the desert during the cooler months and weekend camping trips are very popular.
Visas and Identity Card
To work in Dubai, you need an employment visa which will be organized by your employer and sponsor. After you arrive in Dubai, it is mandatory to get a health card, followed by a residence permit on your passport and a labour card. Instead of having multiple identity cards like driving licences, work permits, employee cards, passports, e-cards, the UAE Federal Government has created a single national identity card which is currently being introduced. To be eligible for an ID Card you must be either a UAE national, a GCC citizen working or residing in the UAE, or be a UAE resident over 15 years of age. For further information in respect to visas and Identity Cards in & Dubai you may like to visit the following websites: http://www.dubai.ae/en.portal www.dubaifaqs.com/visa-dubai
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