CultureThe UAE is an Islamic country and Arab traditions influence the lifestyle, yet considerable tolerance is shown towards the Eastern and Western practices of the large expatriate community. There are a number of Christian churches throughout the country as well as Hindu and Sikh temples in Dubai.
Language SpokenArabic is the official language, but English is very widely understood and spoken, as is Hindi and Urdu.
ClimateThe UAE enjoys extremely pleasant weather during its winter months, from October to May. The rest of the year, temperatures are in the low to mid-40 range. Lightweight summer clothing can be worn for most of the year but temperatures can drop quite sharply at night during the winter months of November to March. Do pack a pair of sunglasses and a hat and sun block no matter what time of year you are visiting.
TimeThe local time in Dubai is GMT + 4 hours. The time does not change in the summer.
Credit CardsVisa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are generally accepted in hotels and larger stores but some retailers offer better bargains for cash.
CurrencyThe official currency is the UAE dirham (Dh). One dirham is divided into 100 fils. Notes come in denominations of five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. Coins are Dh 1, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils. The government has issued new coins that are smaller than the old ones. Both types remain legal tender.The UAE dirham is fully convertible and pegged to the US dollar at a current exchange rate of US$ = Dh 3.67.
Business HoursGovernment offices open from 7am or 7.30am until 1pm or 1.30pm, Sunday to Thursday. Some banks, private companies and shops open from 8am to 1pm or 1.30pm, then again from 4pm to 7pm or 8pm from Sunday to Thursday; others work a straight shift until the evening. Shopping centres are open until about 10pm daily.
CommunicationsGlobal links, including GSM mobile telephones, pagers and Internet connections are world-class and inexpensive. Local and foreign television, radio, newspapers, magazines and books are readily available. Pre-paid GSM mobile telephone SIM cards are available at the airport, and at Etisalat offices and business centres throughout the country.
ElectricityThe electricity is 220/230 volts A/C and most sockets are three-pin square. Although adaptors are usually available in hotels, you may want to purchase one before you arrive.
HealthThe standard of health care is high throughout the UAE. However, it is expensive, so it’s important to get decent travel insurance. The Emirate is clear of all epidemic diseases and is largely mosquito free. No specific vaccinations are required to enter the country however it would be wise to check beforehand if you are travelling from a health-risk area.
LiquorAlcohol is freely available in restaurants, nightclubs and bars in hotels or in member-only places such as country clubs and sports clubhouses (which often admit paying guests). Restaurants outside hotels do not have a licence to serve alcoholic beverages.
PhotographyWe recommend you ask permission before photographing people in general and Muslim women in particular. Airports, docks, telecommunication equipment, government buildings, military and industrial installations should not be photographed.
Safety & LifestyleThe UAE’s low crime rate makes it one of the safest places in the world to visit – even for women travelling alone. It is however advisable to take the normal precautions to safeguard yourself and your valuables.Dubai is the most liberal place in the UAE and people here are used to Western dress and ways. However, modest dress is recommended in public places. Beachwear is acceptable at beach clubs and hotel pools.
TippingTipping practices are similar to most parts of the world. Where no service charge is included, it is customary to leave 10% as a tip to the service staff.
WaterTap water is considered safe to drink. However you may prefer the taste of bottled water, which is available in a range of inexpensive local brands. Imported brands are also available.
Useful NumbersCountry dialling code:+971Dubai area code:(0)4Fire: 997Ambulance: 998Police: 999
The Dubai Marina metro station is very close to this year’s main conference venue, The Address Marina Hotel. The station closest to the Archive Achievement Awards Ceremony venue, the Armani Hotel, is the Burj Dubai / Dubai Mall Station. Both the Dubai Marina metro station and the Burj Dubai / Dubai Mall station can be found on the Metro’s red line. The route connects the World Conference venue with Dubai Internation Airport and all stops throughout Dubai’s sights, shopping opportunities and hotel districts.
Trains run every 7 minutes.
Metro operations hours
Sunday–Wednesday 5:50am – 00:00am
Thursday 5:50am – 01:00am
Friday 1:00pm – 01:00am
Saturday 5:50am – 00:00am
Taxis are easy to come by and affordable in Dubai and operated by RTA through five companies (denoted by different colour roofs). All RTA taxis are metered at the same rate, with the exception of the ‘pink’ ladies-only cabs for which there is a small surcharge. To book a taxi from any pick up point of your choice call 04 208 0808 (24hrs, operated in Arabic and English).
The Public Bus Transport system in the Emirate of Dubai is run by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). Service volumes are adjusted on Fridays and public holidays in relation to the passenger demand. Around 250,000 passengers travel on the system per day. The bus routes span the whole length and breadth of 4,110 square kilometers area of the Emirate of Dubai. Click here for more information.
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