The Tourism Department has set up a series of tourist information bureaus in the city. Each of these offices will issue maps and brochures about the hotspots in the city, and other information on public transportation, shopping and accommodation.
The information counter at the Dubai Airport is open 24 hours. The main bureaus in the city are located in Baniyas Square and on SHK Zayed Road, while the smaller bureaus are located in several main shopping centres in the city.
The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT, and there is not time change during summer.
Domestic supply is 220 volts.
Weights and Measures
The UAE uses the metric system, although even the British and US standard weights and measures are understood.
Typical light-weight summer clothing is ideal for Dubai weather. Usually casual clothing is used. It is best to avoid swimsuits, shorts, bikinis, and revealing tops, and confine it to beach resorts.
Most public toilets at the shopping centres, museums, public gardens, are clean and well-maintained. The public toilets in souq and bus stations usually have only gents toilet. On the city outskirts, although there are public toilets available at petrol stations and restaurants, they usually lack toilet paper and may not be in good condition.
Food and water
The standard of food hygiene and water quality is usually high, especially in larger centres, although in smaller cafes of remote areas, one cannot be very sure about the conditions. Water is usually desalinated, and so normally safe to drink, but, it better to use bottled water, and you may need to drink plenty of it, in the scorching Dubai heat.
The United Arab Emirates Dirham (UAE Dirham) is the local currency in Dubai. There are no currency restrictions in the UAE, and all major currencies in the world are accepted and exchanged. Bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 dirham, while coins are used in denominations of 25 and 50 fils and 1 dirham. The dirham is pegged to the US dollar.
All banks in Dubai offer cash withdrawal facilities from ATM’s scattered across major hotels and malls. Do not involve in money exchanges on the streets, as it is not a permissible transaction, due to the possibility of fraudulent notes being offered.
GSM services are available and the mobile phone code within the UAE is 050. A particular Speak Easy GSM mobile service helps tourists and visitors who are unable to use their own mobile phones in the UAE. You also have the option of purchasing a temporary SIM card and use it in own handset with a temporary card. Etisalat can be contacted for further details by dialling 101.
Most five-star hotels in Dubai offer internet accessibility to their guests with cheaper rates between 7pm to 7am.
The General Post Authority in Dubai is quite efficient. The post offices function from 8am to 11.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday), while on Thursdays it functions from 8am to 1pm and from 4pm to 8pm. Fridays are closed. In Dubai, the main post office is located at Zaizabeel Road, Bur Dubai. The smaller post offices are scattered in Deira, Satwa, Karama and Jumeirah.
Dubai tours and Shopping hours
Normal shopping hours are from 9:00am to 1:00pm and from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, although majority of the shops stay open all day. Some supermarkets are even open all 24 hours. However, on Fridays, being the Islamic day of rest, all shops close for prayers between 11.30am to 1:30pm.
Office working hours
All government establishments work from 7:30am to 3:00pm. But private offices have their own working hours that are usually longer. The government offices are usually closed for their weekend holiday at mid-day on Thursday, and open only from Saturdays. The weekend holiday of private offices, however, may vary.
Arabic is the main language in Dubai. Majority of the local people here can understand and speak English.
Religion and etiquette
Dubai strictly adheres to the Islamic Laws. Islam, being the official religion in Dubai, it is better to not publicly criticize or distribute any material against it.
Eating in public is prohibited from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
Other common western habits that attract stiff penalties are swearing, rude remarks, public display of affection, choices of clothing such as women revealing bare arms, legs or midriff.
Also refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public places between sunrise and sunset, during the month of Ramadan.
Taking photographs of sensitive UAE military and civilian sites or foreign diplomatic missions could result in arrest, detention, and prosecution by local authorities. Further, engaging in mapping activities using GPS equipment, without co-ordination of UAE authorities, will have serious consequences.
Dubai is one of the safest places in the world, given, the tough laws that it implements. Respect the laws and their culture, while also enjoying your vacation in Dubai.