UAE and its Emirates:
The UAE lies in the Middle Eastern zone, situated at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula surrounded by Persian Gulf and sharing its borders with Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south. An amalgamated federation of seven emirates – UAE is divided into seven sectors namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm al Quwain. The emirates come under the power of absolute monarch and each emirate is headed by an emir or a ruler. One among the seven emirs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates; jointly as a whole, the emirates together form the Federal Supreme Council.
1. Abu Dhabi - The capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi is second most populous emirate after Dubai and is also a close contender of Dubai in regards to innovative and rapid urbanisation. The second most visited destination in UAE after Dubai, Abu Dhabi has managed to perk up the interest of travellers with fascinating attractions at Yas Island including the world’s first Ferrari themed family leisure park – Ferrari World.
2. Dubai - World renowned for outlandish and larger than life structures, attractions and events, Dubai is regarded as UAE’s charm and serves as the emirate that has made an epic impact for the tourism sector and has put UAE on the global scene as a happening destination to travel. The sublime blend of preserved rich culture and the outburst of mega projects with a vision to be the best in the world have turned Dubai into a major crowd-puller among global wanderers. This uber class global city is the most populous emirate among the seven emirates and serves as a major international aviation, tourism and business hub of Middle East.
3. Ajman - The smallest of the emirates, Ajman is located on the Persian Gulf Coast and shares its borders with Sharjah. The emirate includes two landlocked exclaves - Manama and Masfut, which are maintained for agricultural development due to its fertile lands.
4.Fujairah - Set along the east coastline stretch of Gulf of Oman, Fujairah is located adjacent to Sharjah. The city is cocooned amid the Hajar Mountains, the vast stretches of beaches and the Gulf of Oman. The Emirate is quite renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, wilderness and mountain vistas. Fujairah preserves its cultural heritage and houses some beautiful forts of historic era. The Hajar Mountains lets visitors experience hiking tours and excursions to stunning wadis. Travellers can look forward to experience some interesting mountain and water activities.
5.Ras Al Khaimah - A tranquil oasis with a slow paced lifestyle, Ras Al Khaimah offers diverse panoramas which include the rugged Hajar Mountains, long stretches of beaches and blue waters, arid deserts, spectacular mangroves and lagoons. Set far north in UAE, Ras Al Khaimah is loaded with a variety of sports and recreational activities making it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. The emirate being the main getaway to reach Oman’s Musandam Peninsula makes it a popular excursion destination for those who visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
6.Sharjah - Bordering Dubai and Ajman and overlooking the Gulf waters, Sharjah is more of an industrial and cultural centre and is more conservative in cultural values than other emirates. The city mainly has main administrative and commercial centres, numerous museums on art, heritage, Islamic art and history, elegant mosques, souks, parks and recreational sites.
7.Umm Al Quwain - The least populated emirate of UAE, Umm Al Quwain lies in the north and is blessed with tranquil towns, beautiful coastline and many scattered islands. The emirate has archaeological significance, is home to indigenous finds such as Tell Abraq and Al Dour and has unearthed many undiscovered sites. The emirate offers many fascinating historic sites like forts, old harbour and scenic nature vistas of mangrove swamps which attract migrating birds, also inhabiting UAE’s largest colony of Socotra cormorants.
Legal Laws - Predominately an Islamic country, UAE has laws strongly influenced by the Sharia law of Islam. Since the way of life is dominated by Islam, UAE expects all non Islams to abide by the country’s laws and adopt certain cultural and religious aspects during the extent of their stay.
Population - Though being an Arabic nation, majority of population are surprisingly expatriates and immigrants mainly from South Asia consisting primarily of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. The Arab population constitutes roughly about 20% of the total population, rest being immigrants with a larger proportion of the population settled at Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Language - The official language of UAE is Arabic, though English is widely spoken and is considered as the language of business in the country, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With strong influence of expatriates mainly from South Asia, the current linguistic scene in UAE has become diverse and multi ethnic.
Dress code - The different emirates of UAE have varying sense when it comes to dress code. Dubai is quite liberal when compared to other emirates in terms of dress code yet it is best to respect the culture when in UAE and dress modestly. The dress code forms a part of legal laws and dressing inappropriately offending the cultural sentiments may land visitors in imprisonment and hefty fines. Most malls and public places have dress code displays informing what is considered proper. The dress code is stricter at cultural places and mosques.
Time Zone - UAE is four hours ahead of GMT. The time remains the same during summer as UAE does not follow daylight saving.
International calling code - UAE’s international calling code is +971; the national calling codes of different emirates have to be affixed along with the country’s calling code.
Abu Dhabi: + 9712
Ajman: + 9716
Dubai: + 9714
Fujairah: + 9719
Ras al Khaimah: + 9717
Sharjah: + 9716
Umm al-Qaiwain: + 9716
Climate - The climate of UAE in general is tropical hot desert climate. The hottest months are July and August where temperatures may soar above 50 °C. Dubai is a destination with year around sunshine with days usually being warm and sunny. The best times to visit is during October to April.
Currency - The currency of the country is United Arab Emirates Dirham, abbreviated as AED or Dhs. 1 USD is equivalent to 3.67 AED.
Electricity - The standard voltage in UAE is 240 volts. Power sockets used are G type suitable for three pin plugs of British standard design. All appliances of UAE have two-pin plug attachment with it.
Personal safety -Since the laws in UAE are strict in terms of severity of sentences that are carried out in case law is broken, UAE has low crime rate making it one of the safest countries in the world to visit. Even so, it is always better to be cautious and get travel insurance and practice normal safety measures while travelling to UAE. In case of emergency, the following numbers will guide you to the respective aids:
Ambulance: 998 or 999
Marine Emergencies: 996
Social & business hours - Most commercial centres are open from 8.30 or 9.00 am to 5.30 or 6.00 pm; government departments, consulates have working hours from 8am to 4pm. Friday is the official Islamic day , hence most companies have weekends generally on Friday and Saturday. Most restaurants, malls and retail outlets are open throughout the day except during the holy month of Ramadan where everything is closed during the day and opened after sunset and remains open till night. During the Ramadan month, non-Muslims too are required to respect the culture and refrain from eating and drinking at public places.
Visas - For a GCC national, there is no requirement of availing a visa to visit any other emirate in UAE. Around 47 countries are listed to get visa on arrival, for citizens of countries that do not belong to the visa on arrival list or GCC nations must have a valid visa before entering any emirate in UAE. Visitors are require to apply for a tourist, transit or visit visa prior to their trip depending upon their purpose and duration of visit. To know more about types of visa required for your Dubai visit, visa related requirements and procedures, contact our visa department to get comprehensive information.