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United Arab Emirates

Dubai embraces a wide variety of scenery in a very small area. In a single day, the tourist can experience everything from rugged mountains and awe-inspiring sand dunes to sandy beaches and lush green parks, from dusty villages and ancient houses with windtowers to luxurious residential districts and from the colourful souks (markets) to ultra-modern shopping malls. Indeed, one of Dubai’s greatest visitor attractions is its superb shopping. As an open port with low import duties, Dubai’s retail prices are reasonable and the variety of products available is virtually unrivalled.

Practical Information

Area: 77 700 km² (30 000 miles²)

Capital: Abu Dhabi. Population: 1.7 million

Population: 4.3 million

Currency: UAE Dirham (AED) = 100 fils

Government: Federation of seven autonomous Emirates.

Tipping: Most hotels and restaurants add fairly high service charges to the bill, therefore tipping is not necessary.

Time zone: GMT + 4

Languages: Arabic

Additional descriptions

United Arab Emirates: Social customs

Muslim religious laws should be observed. Women are expected to dress modestly and men should dress formally for most occasions. Alcohol is tolerated, with non-Muslims allowed to drink alcohol in the city’sRead more bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Smoking is the same as in Europe and in most cases it is obvious where not to smoke, except during Ramadan when it is illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public.

United Arab Emirates: Food and local specialties

Local fruit and vegetables are increasingly available and there is excellent local fish. Hotels serve both Arab and European food and there is also a number of Chinese, Indian and other restaurants. ThingsRead more to know: All the emirates, with the exception of Sharjah, permit the consumption of alcohol by non-Muslims. It is illegal to drink alcohol in the street or to buy it for a UAE citizen. The national specialties are: Hummus (chickpea and sesame paste). Tabbouleh (bulghur wheat with mint and parsley). Ghuzi (roast lamb with rice and nuts). Warak enab (stuffed vine leaves). Koussa mashi (stuffed courgettes). Ayran (a refreshing yoghurt drink). Strong black coffee.

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