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The second largest of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is located on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf. It has an area of some 3,900 square kilometers.  Outside the city itself, the emirate is sparsely inhabited and characterized by desert vegetation, as explained by the Dubai Tourism Department; Dubai is popular with tourists and business people alike. As a thriving business hub, the government has set up industry-specific free zones that continue to attract business people from all over the world. AUD is strategically situated next to Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, business communities that are home to such prestigious firms as Sony, Reuters, CNN, McGraw Hill Publishing, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
 
Dubai is also one of the world's most vibrant tourist destinations. Attracted to its year round sunshine and luxurious lifestyle, the number of tourists visiting Dubai is expected to reach 15 million by the year 2010. With its lavish reputation, Dubai continues to impress with world-class events such as the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai World Cub, and Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament.

Truly there is nowhere like Dubai.
 
 
The Weather
Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, the UAE is warm and sunny in winter and hot and humid during the summer months. Winter daytime temperatures average a very pleasant 26°C, although nights can be relatively cool, between 12-15°C on the coast, and less than 5°C in the depths of the desert or high in the mountains. Local north-westerly winds (shamal) frequently develop during the winter, bringing cooler windy conditions.
 
Summer temperatures are in the mid-40s, but can be higher inland. Humidity in coastal areas averages between 50 and 60 per cent, touching over 90 per cent in summer and autumn. Inland it is far less humid.
 
Rainfall is sparse and intermittent. In most years it rains during the winter months, usually in February or March, but occasionally earlier. Winter rains take the form of short sharp bursts, which, if occurring in the Hajar Mountains, run off rapidly into wadis and onto the down-washed gravel plains. Localized thunderstorms occasionally occur during the summer. Generally appearing over the mountains of the south and east of the country, these rumbling cloudbursts can give rise to severe flash floods.
 
Some years are totally dry and it is only through the regular formation of dew that vegetation and wildlife can survive. This applies even to those places that experience a relatively high annual rainfall: at the Hajar Mountain town of Masafi, for example, 350 mm may fall in a 'wet' year, whereas as little as 30 mm may be recorded in a 'dry' year.
 
Average temperature: Minimum - January between 14 and 24 degrees Centigrade. Maximum - August between 29 and 41 degrees Centigrade.
Food
Visitors from many parts of the world along with a multi-ethnic resident community have ensured that a sophisticated and innovative food culture has developed in the UAE. Almost any type of food is available, from classic European to Pacific Rim. You can eat Mexican, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Italian and French cooking, and more, at some of the finest restaurants in the Middle East. International fast-food chains, serving the standard fare of hamburgers, chips, pizzas etc (McDonalds's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Hardee's, Wimpy, Dunkin' Donut) are also located in the larger cities. Kentucky Fried Chicken seems to be a particular favourite.

International theme restaurants such as TGI Friday's, Planet Hollywood, Fashion Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe and Henry J Bean's are all represented in the Emirates. If you cannot find anything to suit in that list, small ethnic cafes and corner stalls are ubiquitous. Shisha cafes offer an opportunity to smoke a shisha (hubble-bubble pipe) and serve food, coffee; tea and fruit juices and corner stalls serve sharwarmas and other sandwiches. 

Gulf and Middle Eastern food is also available in a wide variety of venues, from expensive restaurants to local cafes. Fresh fish from the Arabian Gulf is always good - try lobster, crab, shrimp, or grouper, tuna, kingfish, and red snapper, grilled, stuffed, or fried with spices. But it is not just a question of variety, Make no mistake the food is generally good and the standard of service is high.

Pork
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork so it is not included in Arabic menus. Hotels frequently have substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled as such.

Alcohol
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). Exceptions are some clubs (e.g. golf clubs) and associations. Restaurants that are not associated with hotels are not permitted to serve alcohol.



Time
GMT + 4 hours



Airport
Dubai International Airport is 4 km to city centre. Distance from Dubai International Airport to other emirates:
Abu Dhabi:170 km; Sharjah: 15 km; Ajman: 30 km; Umm Al Quwain: 55 km; Ras Al Khaimah: 100 km; Fujairah: 130 km


Languages spoken
Arabic is the official language while English and Urdu are also widely spoken and understood.


Electricity
220/230 volts A/C


Tipping
Hotels and restaurants usually include 15% service charge with their bills. It is up to the clients to give whatever they feel.


Health Requirement
Certificate required for cholera and yellow fever if arriving from affected area.


Banks
Both the local banks and the many international banks represented by branches in Dubai provide the usual commercial banking services. Transfers can be made without difficulty as there is no exchange control and the dirham is freely convertible.

Bank opening hours are 8:00am to 1:00pm, from Saturday to Wednesday, although some also open from 4:30–6:30pm. On Thursdays, banks operate only from 8:00am to noon. Exchange houses are open from 8:30am–1:00pm and 4:30–8:30pm.


Currency
UAE Dirhams (AED or Dhs.) 100 fils = AED 1
The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1= Dh3.67.
Notes: AED 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 & 5
Coins: AED 1, fils 50, 25, 10


Credit Cards
American Express, Diners Club, Visa, MasterCard, etc are generally accepted in the main hotels and larger shops but some retailers offer better bargains for cash.


Public Holidays
Fixed: National Day (December 2 & 3); New Year's Day (January 1)
Varies: Eid Al Fitr; Eid Al Adha; Hijra New Year's Day, Prophet's Birthday; Accession Day, Essra Wal Mehry


Hours of work
Government - 7:30 am - 14:30 pm. Closed Thursdays and Fridays.


Clothing
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings. 
Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing.
At the pool or on the beaches, trunks, swim-suits and bikinis are quite acceptable.
Good quality sunglasses are advised and photo- chromatic lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight.


Car Hire
Most of the large car hire firms are represented at airports and hotels. Some local firms also operate car hire services. Rates can vary so it is best to shop around. The services of the larger reputable firms can be very useful in case of emergency, but the smaller local firms also give good deals. Telephone numbers for local agencies can be found in the Golden Pages.
 
Avis Dubai International Airport (04-2245219, fax 04-2244150) 24-hour service;
main office (04-2957121) Clock Tower Roundabout, Al Maktoum Rd., Deira.
Hertz (04 2824422) Al Maktoum Rd.
Europcar (04 3394433) Inter-Continental, Hilton, Hyatt Regency and Al Bustan Rotana hotels



Taxis
Taxis are readily available, offer an efficient, relatively inexpensive service and are really the best way to get around. They can be flagged down on the street, pre-booked by telephone or picked up outside your hotel. Taxi drivers are usually familiar with the main souks, shopping news, hotels and major landmarks. Most are metered in the major cities. The metered rate in Abu Dhabi is Dh2 plus 50 fils per km. Expect to pay Dh5 for average city-centre taxi journey. Prices in Al Ain are roughly the same. The more up market Al Ghazal taxis must be pre-booked or picked-up outside one of the five-star hotels.
 
Dubai Transport 04 208 0808
Golden Taxi 04 336 5444
National Taxi   04 336 6611
Cars Taxi 04 269 3344
Gulf Radio Taxi 04 223 6666



Dubai Metro
Dubai Metro is fully automated metro network in Dubai, launched in September 2009. It is a very convenient and easy way of transportation. To find more information about the routes, stations, timings, and all FAQs please click here.


Embassies
 
Australia +971 4 331 3444
Austria +971 4 2 626 7755
Canada +971 4 352 1717
People's Republic of China +971 4 352 1717
Denmark +971 4 222 7699
Egypt +971 4 397 1122
Finland +971 4 282 3338
France +971 4 223 2442
Germany +971 4 397 2332
India +971 4 397 1222
Italy +971 4 331 4167
Japan +971 4 331 9191
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan +971 4 397 0500
Lebanon +971 4 397 7450
Malaysia +971 4 335 5528
Netherlands +971 4 352 8700
New Zealand +971 4 352 800
Norway +971 4 353 3833
Sultanate of Oman +971 4 397 1000
Russia +971 4 2 672 1797
South Africa +971 4 397 5222
Spain +971 4 2 626 9544
Sweden +971 4 345 7716
Republic of Turkey +971 4 331 4788
United Kingdom +971 4 309 4444
United States of America +971 4 331 3115



Hospitals
The three main Department of Health hospitals in Dubai are listed below. For information on the services available, visit www.dohms.gov.ae
 
Al Wasl Hospital +971 4 324 1111  Taxi Directions Oud Metha Road, south of Al Qataiyat Road, Za’abeel
New Dubai Hospital +971 4 271 4444 Taxi Directions Opposite Hamria Vegetable Market, after Hyatt Regency Hotel, Deira
Rashid Hospital +971 4 337 4000  
A&E +971 4 337 1323 Taxi Directions Oud Metha Road, near Al Maktoum Bridge, Bur Dubai

Below are four private hospitals in Dubai that have Accident & Emergency departments. Note that all private health care must be paid for, including emergency care. Hospitals are required to display price lists for all treatments at reception.
 
American Hospital  +971 4 336 7777   www.ahdubai.com Taxi Directions Off Oud Metha Road between
Lamcy Plaza & Wafi Centre, Al Nasr, Bur Dubai
Emirates Hospital   +971 4 349 6666 www.emirateshospital.ae Taxi Directions Opposite Jumeirah Beach Park,
next to Chili’s Restaurant, Beach Road
Iranian Hospital +971 4 344 0250 www.irhosp.ae  Taxi Directions Corner of Al Hudiba Road & Al Wasl
Road, Satwa
Welcare Hospital  +971 282 7788 www.welcarehospital.com Taxi Directions Next to Lifco supermarket in Garhoud, Deira




 
POLICE 999
FIRE 997
AMBULANCE 998
Al Ameen Confidential Service 800 4888
 

Following is a list of the main shopping news in Dubai. Please note that most shopping news have different opening times on a Friday. The closest to AUD are listed first.
 

Mall of the Emirates
Tel +971 4 409 9000
Taxi Directions Interchange 4, Sheikh Zayed Road
Open 10:00am -10:00pm (midnight on weekends)
 

Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall
Tel +971 4 368 5888 / 882 1414
Taxi Directions Sheikh Zayed Road, Interchange 5 & 6
Open 9:30am - 10:00pm (midnight on weekends)
 

Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Tel +971 4 366 8888
Taxi Directions Madinat Jumeirah, close to Burj Al Arab
Open 10:00am - 11:00pm
www.madinatjumeirah.com/shopping
 

BurJuman Centre
Tel +971 4 352 0222
Taxi Directions Trade Centre Road
www.burjuman.com
 

Deira City Centre
Tel +971 4 295 1010
Taxi Directions Opposite Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club
Open 10:00am - 10:00pm. Fridays 2:00pm–10:00pm
www.deiracitycentre.com
 

Emirates Tower Boulevard
Tel +971 4 319 8999
Taxi Directions Emirates Towers Hotel
Open 10:00am - 10:00pm. Fridays 4:00pm - 10:00pm
 

Mercato
Tel +971 4 344 4161
Taxi Directions Jumeirah Beach Road, close to Dubai Zoo
Open 10:00am - 10:00pm. Fridays 2:00pm - 10:00pm
www.mercatoshoppingmall.com
 

The Village
Tel +971 4 344 9514
Taxi Directions Jumeriah Beach Road
Open 10:00am - 10:00pm. Fridays 2:00pm - 10:00pm
 

Wafi Shopping Mall
Tel +971 4 324 4555
Taxi Directions Next to Grand Hyatt Hotel
Open 10:00am - 10:00pm. Fridays 4:30pm - 10:00pm
www.wafi.com

 
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