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  • Writer's pictureBernadette

‘UAE’ IN A NUTSHELL: A Quick (and Useful) Guide to the United Arab Emirates

Heading over to The United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Here is a list of helpful and useful information which will prepare you for life in the emirates.

AREA CODE – The country code of the UAE is +(1) 971.

TOTAL AREA – The UAE is a federation of seven emirates. They are Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain making up a total of 83,600 SQ KM.


GEOGRAPHY –  The UAE consists of a mixed environment – you’ll find rocky desert, coastal plains and wetlands, and mountains.

UAE In A Nutshell.png

MONEY – Not every place accepts credit cards so be sure to have local cash on hand. 1 USD equals 3.673 Emirati dirham.


AIRPORT – The UAE has 22 operational airports, 10 of which has commercial service. The Dubai International Airport and The Abu Dhabi International Airport are two of the most popular airports within the UAE.

LANGUAGE – Arabic is the official language of the UAE but English is widely spoken.

WEATHER – The climate in the UAE is generally hot and humid as it is a desert, but it is hotter in the interior that it is along the coast. On average the nation can experience about 13 days of rain annually which falls between the “cooler months” of November and April with a temperature of 18°C to 33°C and can reach up to 50°C between May and September.

WATER – The desalinated water in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is indeed safe to drink but you’ll rarely find yourself drinking it as a lot of hotels provide bottled water free of charge in your hotel room.

Just remember to stay hydrated because it can get extremely hot!

ELECTRICITY – The power sockets are of type C, D and G with a standard voltage of 220 and the standard frequency of 50 Hz. If you’re not sure what power sockets your accommodation carries, it is always wise to bring an adapter with different settings. Better safe than sorry!

BUSINESS HOURS – The working week is generally Sunday to Thursday but this can differ from business to business.

TIPPING – While not mandatory, a 10%–15% of your bill is a welcomed, and polite gesture to acknowledge good service!

DRESS – The dress code is quite liberal throughout the UAE with Dubai being the most liberal of all the Emirates, however, a modest dress code is expected to be adhered to by everyone and remember to familiarize yourselves with the Islamic customs and practices because even though short or tight clothing may be worn, but it will attract attention – and it wouldn’t be the good kind. Know what is respectful to someone’s culture and stay on the side of caution.


  • Taxis – these are indeed readily available all over the UAE and most taxis have a fare meter. The fare per kilometer is fixed at around 1.60 AED per minute. The fixed starting fare is about 3 or 4 AED. On the other hand, if you take a taxi from the airport it starts at 20 AED. Alternatively, Ubers are also readily available and can be slightly cheaper as it operates via a fixed price rather than a meter.

  • Metros and Trams – this is one of the most efficient and commonly used mode of transportation in Dubai. Within Dubai, there is separate VIP carriage as well as a ladies and children only carriage in the Metros.

  • You can plan your travels using RTA — Wojhati!

  • Buses – Except for in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (which have the biggest bus networks), buses are the only mode of public transportation in the UAE.

  • Water-taxis, Water-buses, Ferries and Abras – The abra is the most economical way to travel from Bur Dubai to Deira as the fares range from  1 – 4 AED, depending on the route you take. The water bus operates around the vicinity of the Dubai Marina with fares ranging from 3 – 5 AED. The water taxi is more luxurious as it can only transport a maximum of 10 passengers at a time. It operates between Al Mamzar and Dubai Marina via Dubai Creek. It has 32 pick-up points all over Dubai. Lastly, the ferry series operates around BurDubai, Deira, Jumeirah and the Dubai Marina.

Now that you’re fully up to speed, who’s ready for a trip of a lifetime?!


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