10 Travel Tips
- Getting around Dubai
By Taxi – Taxis fill the streets of Dubai and are usually very easy to wave down. Taxis are metered so no haggling is necessary. The rates of all taxi companies in Dubai are identical, so hop in the first one that comes along. Alternatively, you can call and reserve a taxi for a small surcharge. Remember that only a beige-coloured Dubai taxis may pick you up in Dubai. All Dubai taxis are beige, with various coloured roofs, depending on the taxi company
1. Dubai: Dubai Transport (+971) 04 2080808
2. Metro Taxi (+971) 04 2673222
3. National Taxi (+971) 04 3390002
4. Sharjah: City Taxi (+971) 06 5333550
5. Abu Dhabi: Al Ghazal Taxi (+971) 02 4447787
By Bus - Public buses are clean, very cheap, and are most useful for getting between different areas of central Dubai or the various suburbs. The main bus stations are at the Gold Souq Market in Deira and Al Ghubaiba bus station in Bur Dubai. Route maps and pick up times are placed inside bus stands. Remember that in Dubai, ladies should sit in the 12 front rows and men behind, though usually the bus drivers aren’t too strict and will let couples sit in the middle of the bus.
The Big Bus - The Big Bus Company is a hop-on, hop off tour that takes you to all of Dubai’s sites and attraction. With 2 different routes you are sure to see the city’s contrast of old meets new. The tour will take you along Beach Road, stopping directly in front of Mercato in its journey. There is a pick up and drop off point located directly across from Mercato. Visit www.bigbustours.com for more information.
By Car - There are countless number of car rental companies that will provide a mode of transportation with affordable rates. Most companies will request to see your International Driving Permit to rent you a car. Beware! Driving in Dubai can be confusing because of the construction work that takes place 24 hours a day, resulting in countless detours.
By Metro - The Roads Transport Authority (RTA) is constructing a Metro Rail system that will run through all of Dubai’s developments. The first phase is expected to be complete by late 2009.
The monetary unit is the United Arab Emirate Dirham (AED or Dhs), which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is pegged to United States Dollar (USD) at approximately USD 1 = Dhs 3.67
Ramadan is a Holy Month when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. During the month, Muslims practice abstinence or “saum” which means they refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, cursing, arguing, lying, sexual activity, and fighting from sunrise to sunset. Eating, drinking, and smoking in public during daylight hours is an offence and is prohibited.
- Prayer Times
Regular prayer, called “Salat” is very important to Muslims as it helps one constantly remember God, be thankful for his blessings, as well as restrain from all wrongful actions. Muslims are required to pray five times throughout the day:
1. Al Fajr – first prayer at dawn
2. Zuhr – second prayer at midday
3. Asr – third prayer in the afternoon
4. Maghrib – fourth prayer at sunset
5. Isha – fifth prayer at night
You may hear the call for prayer, called “Adhan” while you are out exploring Dubai. Prayer schedules are created with the exact times of each prayer, so at approximately the same times each day you will hear a loud man’s voice begin the prayer. Dancing and music is prohibited during prayer times, so kindly refrain from doing so until the prayer is over.
Dubai has a sub-tropical climate. From the end of September to the beginning of May the temperature is cooler and more pleasant - between 25-35°C, but the nights gets chilly when the temperature drops to 15-25°C. From the end of May to beginning of September it is hot! The sun is powerful and temperatures can reach 45°C in the city and even higher in the desert.
- Dress Code:
U.A.E. Nationals wear traditional black and white colored attire. This is not a look of religion, but is about modesty and cultural influences. A woman covers herself with a long black cloak called an “abaya” which is paired with a headscarf called a “sheyla.” A man wears a full length dress shirt called a “kandora” which his paired with a white headscarf called “gutra” and a black rope that sits on top of the head called an “agaal.” As for tourists, the dress code in Dubai is quite liberal compared to other Middle Eastern cities, particularly in the residential western expat areas. However, do not wear clothing that is too revealing or transparent, and remember that even though it’s hot, bathing suits are only acceptable at the beaches or swimming pools. On cultural explorations to areas that are predominantly Arab, wear skirts or trousers covering the knee, and shirts with sleeves covering at the shoulders.
- How to make a phone call
Phone booths are located on most streets, and phone cards can be purchased from hotels and tourist shops. If traveling with a personal mobile phone, a SIM card can be purchased at the airport or at most electronic shops. You will need to show them your passport to do so. There are two service providers in Dubai; Du and Etisalat. When calling a local mobile phone, first dial 050 for Etisalat or 055 for Du, followed by the actual number. When calling a Dubai land line dial 04 then the number, 02 for Abu Dhabi, and 06 for Sharjah
- Emergency numbers.
Dubai Ambulance and Police: 999
Water and Electricity: 991
Telephone Directory: 181 or 180
Road Service (AAA): 800 4430
Taxi: 04 208 0808
Airport Enquiries: 04 2066666
Emergency Services (Dubai): 04 2232323
- Useful tips when in public
1. Public displays of affection and kissing should be avoided.
2. Alcohol is available in all five star and some four star hotel restaurants, clubs, and bars but not in restaurants outside these hotels. Never drink alcohol in public.
3. Do not take photos of Muslim women; however, it is ok to take photos of Muslim men if they have given their permission. Also, it is an offense to take photos of any military establishment or government building, so please avoid from doing so.
- Useful phrases
Marhabbah – Hello: To which the reply is: Ahlaen
Maasalaamah – Goodbye: To which the reply is: Fi aman allah or Maasalaamah
Saba al khair – Good morning: To which the reply is: Saba al noor
Masah al khair – Good afternoon/evening: To which the reply is: Masa al noor
Shukran (jazeelan) – Thank you (very much): To which the reply is: Aafwann – Your welcome
Keef halak? – How are you?: To which the reply is: Al hamdu lillah (bi khair) – Praise be to Allah (well). Or, Ana bikhayr, shukran – I am fine, thank you
Aysh ismuk? – What is your name?: To which you reply: Ismi, Joe Smith – My name is, Joe Smith.
Naam – Yes
Aiwa – Yeah/Ok
La – No
Min fudluk – please
Inshullah - if Allah (God) wishes. This phrase is used in reference to the future, since all things are at Allah’s will.
Kam – How much