About Abu Dhabi

Official Currency

UAE Dirham (AED): Coins: 1 dirham, 25 fils, 50 fils, Banknotes: 5 dirhams, 10 dirhams, 20 dirhams, 50 dirhams, 100 dirhams, 200 dirhams, 500 dirhams, 1000 dirhams.

Climate

Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical arid climate with sunny blue skies most of the year. Between the months of October and April, cooler temperatures prevail. May and September are moderately hot. Warmer temperatures and humidity tends to get higher between the months of June and August.

Local Time

GMT +4hrs

Electricity

220/240 volts 50 Hz AC. Electrical outlets are British style 3pin square sockets.

Overview

The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Spurred by the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, a visionary programme of development has evolved Dubai into a modern and stable state with exemplary infrastructure, excellent facilities, and a very low crime rate.

The United Arab Emirates covers an area of 83,000 square kilometres and is situated at the south eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. On the world map, it sits conveniently between the Far East and Europe - a key factor in its emergence as the region's major air travel hub.

Abu Dhabi is a modern city of compelling contrasts and boundless energy. With its modern skyline, outstanding hotel properties, year round sunshine and comprehensive infrastructure, Dubai offers visitors all the benefits of a cosmopolitan city - combined with the magic of ancient Arabia. From the tranquillity of the desert to the hustle and bustle of souks, you can experience everything from rugged mountains, awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches – and it is precisely this contrast that makes it a truly unique destination.

Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken and ranks alongside Arabic as the language of commerce.

Safety

Abu Dhabi has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it is quite safe for visitors to venture out, either by taxi, metro, bus or on foot.

Photography

The United Arab Emirates is a photographer’s delight. However, photography of palaces, government institutions, military installations and oil and gas refineries is prohibited. Always ask permission before taking pictures of local Emiratis, particularly ladies who may well decline. Observe “No Photography” signs.

Alcohol

Alcohol is available at bars, restaurants, hotels and leisure clubs but cannot be purchased from the supermarket. It is against the law to walk in the street drinking alcohol or to be drunk in a public place. Those under the age of 21 cannot consume alcohol. Drinking and driving is not permitted - this means a total ban on the consumption of alcohol whilst in charge of a motor vehicle; this includes the day after the night before. If you are in doubt about the alcohol limits in your blood, you should take a taxi.

Dress Code

Dubai has a reasonably relaxed dress code, but it is an Islamic country and modest clothing is recommended particularly when visiting public places. Shorts, miniskirts/mini dresses and skimpy clothing in general should also be avoided in public places such as shopping malls, restaurants or around the city. In changing rooms or hotel facilities, it is not considered appropriate for guests to walk around without proper clothing.

Normal attires in natural fabrics such as cotton and cotton blends are recommended. Hats, sun block and sun glasses are recommended during daylight hours. Comfortable shoes are also recommended for sightseeing.

Business Hours

Most commercial organisations in Abu Dhabi operate on a five-day week, Sunday to Thursday, from 0800 to 1800 hours. Many stores are open seven-days a week from 1000 until 2200 hours.  Banks are open Sundays to Thursday from 0800 to 1400 hours except on weekends (Friday and Saturday) and public holidays.