United Arab Emirates: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

About United Arab Emirates

Overview

For many, the United Arab Emirates might seem like a paradox. A dizzying array of contrasts where the arid desert meets the sparkling blue water of the Arabian Gulf and ancient Bedouin culture lives in harmony with the glitz and glamour of modern-day architecture and the futuristic skyscrapers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Between the sand and the glitter lies a magnetic culture and destination that will draw you into its warm embrace.

 

Capital City: Abu Dhabi

Population: 9.9 million (2021 est.)

Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham

Time Zone: Gulf Standard Time (GMT+4)

Emergency Number: 999

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Packing List

Speak the Language

Language: The official language of the Emirates is Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools, and most native Emiratis speak a dialect of Gulf Arabic that is similar to the Arabic spoken in the surrounding countries.

 

  • Hello / Good morning - Salam Alekum
  • Goodbye - Mae alsalama
  • How are you? - Kayf halikm?
  • Thank you - Choukran
  • My name is… - Aismi hu?
  • Yes - Nem
  • No - La
  • How much? - Kam Thuman?
  • Where is ... ? - Ayn hu ... ?

 

Google Translate: Download the Google Translate app or click here 

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Fun Facts

  • The United Arab Emirates is comprised of 7 different Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, and Fujairah. The country's government is an absolute monarchy with each Emirate ruled by a royal family and with the Emir of Abu Dhabi as the president and the Emir of Dubai as the nation's prime minister.
  • The UAE's population has one of the largest shares of expatriates, only 12% of the population are Emiratis. In fact, 59% of the population of the Emirates is South Asian.
  • Family is key to Emirati society and is based upon the long-held values of tribal kinship. Families are actually encouraged by society and even the government to have 6 or more children. Even as recently as 2021's UAE National Charter, the Prime Minister introduced a 'Family Pledge' to strengthen family relationships through marriage and emphasize communication within generations and respect for the wisdom of elders.
  • The Al Maktoum family, the royal family of Dubai, remains hugely popular in Dubai and all of the UAE. Their family is descendants of the Bani Yas tribe, who were the most powerful and strategic familial tribe of Ancient Arabia
  • The Emirati royal families are widely known for their riches. How rich are they? The Abu Dhabi royal family is the 4th richest royal family in the world worth $150 billion USD. The Dubai royal family clocks in at 8th richest worth $18 billion USD.
  • Dubai's Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building standing at 2717 feet tall. Dubai also has the world's longest driverless metro system at more than 46 miles of track. Along with those records, Dubai has the world's largest airport terminal, world's largest picture frame, and world's largest shopping mall.
  • Dubai loves the Guinness Book of World Records and actually holds 190 world records.

Tipping

Tipping Suggestions: Tips for Guides, drivers and restaurants are not included. Tips provide supplemental income, and, while not mandatory, are greatly appreciated. If the local teams have added to the experience, please reward them.

Guides 100 AED per person/per day
Drivers 5-10 AED per ride
Restaurants(full service)  10-15% of total bill

 

FAQ

Where can I find information on travel safety? Check out the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on safety while traveling.

 

Is the water safe to drink? Tap water in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is considered safe to drink.

 

Do I need a Visa? For Visa information, click here. Make sure also to check that your passport isn't expired or about to expire!

 

What about vaccines? For Vaccination information, click here.

 

Do you recommend travel insurance? While not required, we highly recommend all travelers get travel insurance for their trip to protect themselves from the unknown! Check out travel insurance options from our partner, worldnomads.com, or from a provider of your choice.

 

How much should I pack? As we will be using shared transfers and spaces throughout our tour we recommend all travelers pack as lightly as possible. Please review our luggage restrictions below.

 

What does public transportation look like? Abu Dhabi and Dubai have an extensive public transportation system with buses, taxis, metros, water taxis, and trams.

 

Is Uber or Lyft available? For ride-share apps, either go with Uber or use the homegrown app, Careem.

Luggage Restrictions

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1% Promise

In partnership with The Cool Effect, 1% of your booking will be donated to reduce carbon emissions through community-based initiatives around the globe.

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