United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is a Constitutional Federation of seven independent emirates. The Emirates is located on the Arabian peninsula. It borders Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The north of the country is washed by the Persian Gulf and the east is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Oman. The capital city is Abu Dhabi.
The climate is dry tropical. In summer, the temperature can be as high as +35°C and in winter, the average temperature is +20°C. We recommend travelling to the Emirates in September, October, April or May.
The population of the Emirates follows the Islam. The official language is Arabic.
The lovers of beach holidays will be delighted with the luxurious beaches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The beaches in Fujairah are ideal for the active tourists as there are everything they need for surfing, canoeing, and fishing. The coast of the emirate Sharjah is known for its coral reefs and blue bays.
The Persian Gulf attracts the divers.
If you prefer out-of-town entertainments you can go on safari in Dubai. In Dubai, the tourists can also visit a Bedouin settlement and see the wadi, a dry riverbed. Take a trip to the Hatta Rock Pools near Dubai to enjoy quietness and calmness. In the Hatta mountains, there is the oldest settlement in the Emirates. The village is 2.000 years old.
Abu Dabhi, Khor Fakkan, and Dubai are centres of shopping and city entertainments.
A flight is the fastest and the most comfortable way to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the CIS and EU citizens.
Aeroflot, Emirates Airlines, and Transaero offer direct flights from Moscow to Dubai.
There are flights by Etihad Airways from Moscow to Abu Dhabi. Air Arabia offers the flights to Sharjah from Ekaterinburg, Moscow, Kazan, Ufa, and Rostov-on-Don. One can also take a flight by S7 Airlines to Dubai from Novosibirsk and by FlyDubai from Samara, Mineral Waters, Krasnodar, and Ufa.
Air Astana, Pegasus Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Ukraine International Airlines offer transit flights.
There are direct routes between the UAE and Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan.
International buses run between UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan. We recommend the route from Oman to OAE.
The citizens of CIS countries and EU must obtain a visa to travel to the United Arab Emirates. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival or online.
Very important criteria to get a visa to UAE is your previous journeys to Japan, Switzerland, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, and the countries of the European Union. If you have ever visited these countries you will not face any problems in obtaining a visa to the United Arab Emirates. If you have never visited these countries, some additional documents can be required.
A tourist can be rejected a visa to the UAE if there is a visa to Israel.
The Customs legislation of the United Arab Emirates does not restrict the import and export of any currency. However, the sum exceeding 100.000 dirhams must be declared.
The tourists can import the following goods duty-free:
- alcohol and tobacco;
- perfume (the cost must not exceed 3.000 dirhams);
- personal belongings.
It is not allowed to import to Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai vegetables and fruits from the zone of cholera and seafood. There is a general prohibition concerning the import of fresh poultry from Asia.
Pets over 4 months can be imported provided there is a special permission.
It is prohibited to export from the UAE:
- fruits and seeds of palm trees;
- wild animals;
- items having artistic, cultural, and historical value.
The tourists who came to the United Arab Emirates have a unique opportunity to try traditional dishes of the Arabic cuisine. The Islamic faith prohibits eating pork so in the Emirates, you will be offered goat, beef, veal, and poultry.
You should definitely try Guzee (lamb with nuts and rice), Tikka (a kebab), Kustileta (a mutton chop with herbs), Makbus (meat with spices and rice). Do not leave the Emirates without trying a real Arabic Shawarma, barbecued marinated beef or mutton, Arabic kebab, and Shish-kebab.
Poultry dishes are also popular here. Try Dajaj-Tannouri (hot chicken), Tikka-Dajaj (barbequed chicken), Brgani-Ajadj (rice with chicken), Haris (chicken casserole), and Samman (quail).
The traditional cuisine is incomplete without vegetables and greens. The tourists can try Hummus, Uarak-Anab (stuffed grape leaves), and Bulgur (corn porridge).
The lovers of seafood can treat themselves to a fish pilaf Makbus-samak, Hamur (sea bass), red mullet (Sultan Ibrahim), Zubaidi, Shaari, and dishes with shark meat.
Those who have a sweet tooth will not be disappointed as they can choose from many desserts. They can try Umm-ali (a delicate pudding with raisins and nuts), Ash-asaya (a substantial cheesecake), a pistachio pudding Mehallyabia, honey donuts Ligemat, baklava, and sweet sherbet. A dessert is traditionally served with Arabic black coffee, light coffee or coffee with cardamom.
Alcohol is prohibited in the Emirates so the tourists can find alcoholic beverages only in restaurants and bars on the resorts.
The national currency in the United Arab Emirates is the Dirham (AED). In circulation are the banknotes from 5 to 1.000 dirhams and coins (fils).
The currency is pegged to the US dollar and during many years 1 US dollar is equal to 3.665 dirhams. The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, private exchange bureaus and offices. Do not forget that Friday is a day off.
Dinners Club, Visa, American Express, and Master Card are accepted. Ion the UAE, there are ATMs. Many large banks accept traveller’s checks.
There is no tax-free system in the country as there is not VAT.
In general, the United Arab Emirates is a safe and stable country. The criminal situation is favourable.
Details of interest
You have been waiting for your holidays for so long and, at last, you have found your fellow travellers and arranged all the issues. Now you should decide what sights to see and what gifts to bring from the country.
Customs and Traditions of the United Arab Emirates
There are very strict rules in the United Arab Emirates that provide the safety of the locals and the tourists. Make sure you know the main rules and prohibitions.
- Alcohol is legally prohibited in the United Arab Emirates. It is not allowed to walk with alcohol along the streets. We recommend buying and consuming alcoholic drinks in restaurants and bars in hotels.
- Try to wear clothes covering your legs and arms.
- It is prohibited to swim and sunbathe topless.
- Do not disturb praying people.
- Never enter a mosque in clothes opening parts of your body and do not take pictures of people performing the namaz.
- It is prohibited to take a video or pictures of people without their permission.
- It is not allowed to take pictures public and military facilities.
Sightseeing in the UAE
- Burj Khalifa is a building in Dubai the form of which reminds a stalagmite. It is believed to be the highest skyscraper in the word. In the Burj Khalifa tower, there are parks, boulevards, and lawns. The total cost of the project is 1.5 billion dollars.
- The Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai is the best in the Middle East.
- A musical Dubai Fountain is an enchanting spectacle of water, sound, and light.
- The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is the largest aquarium recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. It is located in the Dubai Mall.
- The World Islands in Dubai. The archipelagos World and Universe will give you a chance to see the whole world for two hours.
- Cultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud and Oases Areas) are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- The SkiDubai in the Mall of the Emirates is unique skiing trails in the heart of the desert.
- The hotel Burj Al Arab in Dubai. It has another name – a Sail.
- Sharjah Fountain in Al Majaz Waterfront is one of the biggest fountains in the Gulf, sending jets of water soaring 100 meters high in the air.
- The Palm Islands is an artificial archipelago in Dubai.
- The Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai is the largest mosque in UAE and a great example of the religious Arabic architecture.
- A historical and ethnographic Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi.
- Siri Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi with its famous wild nature park.
Souvenirs in the United Arab Emirates
In Sharjah the tourists usually buy frankincense and dates. Look for jewellery in Abu Dhabi. In Ras al-Khaimah, you can buy carpets, expensive textile, pearl and gold jewellery, and coffee sets. In Umm al-Quwain, look for dates, traditional Arabic hookah (Shisha) and aromatic tobacco. Delicate carpets, pearl necklaces, furs, gold jewellery, Arabic coffee, souvenirs, and very beautiful smoking pipes are sold in Dubai. The best traditional coffee pots and Oriental sweets can be found in Ajman.