Once in Dubai the possibilities for exploration are limitless. But when you’re planning a trip, however, or looking for essential information, it’s helpful to have everything you need in one place and be prepared before the holiday.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan and liberal city, but there are a number of things to keep in mind with regard to dress code and behaviour so that you know what to pack:
The local time is -6 hours AEST in winter and -7 hours AEST in summer (GMT + 4 hours). Dubai’s weekend is Friday and Saturday.
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220-240 volts at 50 cycles. Plug points are the same 3-pin plugs as in the United Kingdom.
Dubai’s water supply is desalinated and is safe to drink. However, many people choose to drink bottled mineral water, which is readily available. Food hygiene is exceptionally high in the emirate.
Taxis are a reliable and relatively inexpensive way to get around Dubai. The minimum taxi fare is 12AED, with starting meter fares of 3AED from a street pickup, 6AED for a booking and 20AED from airport. The meter fare per kilometre is 1.75AED. Ladies can hire a special pink Ladies Taxi that are especially for women and is driven by a female driver (prices as of June 2015).
All major international credit cards such as American Express, MasterCard or Visa are accepted in shopping malls, larger supermarkets and stores, hotels and restaurants. Smaller retail shops and small restaurants however, prefer to deal in cash. Taxis only accept cash.
The local currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirate Dirham, which is divided into 100 fils. The currency is held constant against the US dollar at a rate of approximately 1$ = 3.67 Dhs*.
Approximately 1$AUD = 2.76 Dhs*
*Prices correct as of May 2017 – N.B. exchange rates may fluctuate.
Dirhams are available at Bureaux de Changes and are also widely available from cashpoint machines in Dubai.
A Dubai SIM card can be purchased from Dubai airport after immigration. Passports are required in order to purchase a Dubai sim card and telephone number.
Most of the major shopping malls are open from 10am to midnight on weekends (Friday and Saturday) and 10am – 10pm on weekdays (Sunday – Thursday.
Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, though the use and comprehension of English is widespread in both business and tourism sectors. That said, it is always useful to know a selection of Arabic phrases, and many Emirati will appreciate visitors who try to understand their culture by speaking their language.
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year. Pashminas or light scarves are recommended for cooler air conditioned spaces such as restaurants. Protective wear - hats or some form of protection for the head, sunglasses for the eyes and sunscreen - are advised when in direct sunlight.
Although Dubai has a liberal attitude, it is always wise to respect the religion and culture of the city by wearing appropriate, more modest clothing in public places or places of worship. Care should be taken by wearing clothing which may be considered revealing, for example low-cut dresses, very short skirts, or tight jeans. Men should always wear a shirt or top in public. At the hotel pool or on the beach however, trunks, swim-suits and bikinis are acceptable.
Although it is optional and entirely at personal discretion, it is common practice to tip service staff between 10% only if a service charge hasn’t already been added. This includes drivers, tour guides, bell boys, wait staff etc.
Some medicines appear on the list of restricted and controlled medicines in the United Arab Emirates. This includes some over the counter medicines such as Codeine. If you are carrying any medications which appear on this list it is necessary to;
Carry an accompanying doctor’s note or prescription to authenticate its use,
For a full list of restricted and controlled medicines in Dubai visit the following Government of the United Arab Emirates, Ministry of Health website here.
The kind of visa needed to enter the UAE can depend on several different factors such as nationality, the purpose of the planned visit and the duration.
For those on an Australian passport you do not require pre-entry visas to enter the UAE, you are able to enter, on arrival with 30-day visa granted.
The UAE authorities have taken many steps to make this process as straightforward and easy as possible. Citizens of 39 countries — GCC nationals plus nationals of listed countries — do not require visas prior to arrival.
Citizens of the following countries also do not require pre-entry visas to enter the UAE:
|Andorra||Hong Kong ||Poland |
|Australia||Hungary ||Portugal |
|Austria||Iceland ||Romania |
|Belgium||Ireland ||San Marino |
|Brunei||Italy ||Singapore |
|Bulgaria||Japan ||Slovakia |
|Canada||Latvia ||Slovenia |
|Croatia||Liechtenstein ||South Korea |
| Cyprus||Lithuania ||Spain |
| Czech Republic||Luxembourg ||Sweden |
|Denmark||Malaysia ||Switzerland |
|Estonia||Malta ||United Kingdom |
|Finland||Monaco ||United States of America |
|France||Netherlands ||The Vatican |
|Germany||New Zealand |
Note: If your country is not listed above, please check with your nearest UAE Embassy/Consulate for any updates.
For more information please visit our website Visit Dubai
Travellers to Dubai can get the latest information on what to do with the Dubai Tourism app. With this mobile inspiration engine, it includes different ideas of what and where to explore based on the time of day, location, and interests.
It has categorical listings of events, attractions, and deals, a customisable ‘My Trip’ itinerary tool, helpful info about Dubai culture and etiquette, and the ability to order a taxi and even call for emergency assistance with a single click.
This is one app that makes sure your smartphone lives up to the title.
Never been to Dubai? Check out our interactive map here.
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