The United Arab Emirates is a country where you can fully experience all the delights of the Eastern world. However, travelers need to know some points so that their vacation is not overshadowed by misunderstandings or even more by communication with law enforcement agencies. Tips for tourists in the UAE will cover a variety of aspects.
Language, prohibitions, money – the main tips for travelers
The official language in the UAE is Arabic, however, both in hotels and in malls, shops and train stations, at airports, the staff knows English, as well as other languages. You can often meet Russian-speaking workers, but it is best to focus on English. Travel tips for the United Arab Emirates is a list of rules that are best not to break.
What not to do in the UAE:
- you can’t drink alcohol on the streets, beaches – in general, the ban is valid in all public places;
- you can’t take pictures of local women, even so that they accidentally get into the frame – this is a very strong violation of local laws;
- local men cannot be photographed without asking their permission;
- it is forbidden to photograph government institutions, buildings – this ban is not so strict, but still experienced tourists do not recommend doing this;
- topless sunbathing is not allowed – on the beach at the hotel you can sunbathe in a bathing suit, however it is highly recommended that it is not defiantly open and sexy.
In general, useful tips for the United Arab Emirates are as follows: do not forget that you are in an Islamic country. Centuries-old traditions and the local way of life are indisputable for the inhabitants of the country. Do not intentionally violate the way, as negligence can turn into trouble.
Where to exchange dirhams:
- at the airport (minus – unfavorable exchange rate, it is better to exchange the minimum amount for the first time);
- at the hotel (minus – unprofitable, but there is a plus – exchange offices are open from 8 am to 10 pm);
- in banks and exchange offices in shopping centers (the most favorable rate, but the opening hours are limited).
Alcohol in the UAE can be freely bought on site or in a restaurant. An exception to the rule is Sharjah: here alcoholic beverages are under a total ban.
UAE: Money and currency of the UAE
The UAE currency is dirhams and fils (100 fils equals 1 dirham). In the world classification, the currency unit is designated as AED (ISO 4217 standard), however, in practice, in shops, restaurants and other places you can often find such designations: DH, Dh, Dhs. For the convenience of tourists in the Emirates, there are almost everywhere international designations, and purely local, Arabic, can be found only in non-tourist places.
According to Existingcountries.com, the exchange rate of the UAE dirham against the dollar is 1 AED = 0.272294 USD, while the reverse rate is 1 USD = 3.6725 AED.
In the UAE, it is customary to round amounts to 25 fils, but there are coins of 1, 5 and 10 fils in circulation. They say that 1 fils is practically a rarity, such a coin is extremely rare, it is recommended to keep it as a souvenir, but it is unlikely to pay with 1 fils. The country uses old and new coins at the same time – they differ in design and alloy from which they are minted. They can also be distinguished by size and weight.
About what currency in the United Arab Emirates, it is better to find out before the trip. Most often, exchange offices are located at airports, large malls. Small merchants accept dollars and euros for payment, but the exchange rate is considered unfavorable. In addition, due to the specifics of Emirati banknotes and coins (they have Indo-Arabic numerals), you can fall for scammers and be left with nothing. Experienced tourists recommend taking euros or dollars on a trip to the UAE – they can be exchanged everywhere, the rate is more or less stable.
Nuances of currency exchange in the UAE:
- at airports, the exchange rate is unfavorable, so you can exchange a small amount for the first expenses;
- in banks, the exchange is profitable, but not very convenient – firstly, the opening hours of banks are limited (usually until 2 pm – it is better to find out in advance where to exchange the dirham of the United Arab Emirates so as not to waste precious time), and secondly, you will have to submit documents;
- in exchange offices at hotels, the exchange rate is very unfavorable, however, it is captivating that you do not need to go anywhere, and the work schedule of exchangers is convenient – from 8 to 22 hours;
- in the shopping center or on city streets, you need to look for Money Exchange or Exchange points – they offer a favorable exchange rate, and besides, a number of additional services (cashing travel checks, Western Union transfers, photocopies of documents and even buying a local SIM card).
UAE: UAE Cuisine
There is an opinion that you can only try local dishes from food in the United Arab Emirates. But this is far from true. Here you can find everything from McDonald’s to gourmet French restaurants. But national dishes are still in the greatest demand.
As in any other country in the world, the culinary traditions in the UAE have been formed mainly due to climatic conditions and religion. So, due to the peculiarities of the Muslim faith, pork is not eaten here, and the national cuisine of the UAE consists of dishes prepared from goat meat, beef, veal and fish. Here, as in other countries of the Arab region, poultry meat and eggs are also widely used in cooking.
Speaking of bird dishes, they are very popular in the Emirates. The list ” What to eat in the UAE ” must certainly include the following positions:
- chicken stewed with tomatoes;
- jaj tannuri chicken with spicy spices;
- kharis – casserole with chicken or veal;
- samman – the most tender quail fillet.
Meat dishes occupy a key place on the table of local residents. They are prepared without adding fat, frying in a well-heated frying pan. The most popular dishes include:
- guzi – lamb meat cooked in combination with nuts and rice;
- kubbe – the Arabic version of meatballs;
- tikka – varieties of local barbecue;
- machbus is a dish of meat, spices and rice served with dakkus sauce.
First course lovers will appreciate soups with peas, rice, potatoes, capers and beans. The invariable ingredient of such dishes is fragrant herbs that add a touch of piquancy.
Due to the geographical location of the country, fish dishes are also popular here, which are often cooked on coals. In the UAE, you can taste crabs, lobsters, shrimp and even shark meat.
It is impossible to imagine national dishes in the United Arab Emirates without the addition of spices, herbs and vegetables. They can serve as a side dish (for example, fresh vegetable salad), or as a separate delicacy. Mezze or appetizers deserve special attention. These include:
- hummus – pea puree with lemon, garlic, sesame paste and olive oil;
- baba ghanoush – baked eggplant in tandem with olive oil, nuts, pomegranate or lemon juice, sesame seeds;
- mutabal – squash or eggplant puree with a special sauce.
Next on the list are oriental sweets. Sherbets, baklava, as well as mechalabia and umm-ali puddings should certainly be included in the must taste category. The first contains pistachios and rose water, and the second contains milk, nuts and raisins.
Drinks should not be neglected, especially since there is a special “coffee cult” in the UAE. You can quench your thirst with a variety of fruit juices or ayran (fermented milk drink).
But the attitude to alcohol here is somewhat different than in European countries. So, in Sharjah, alcoholic beverages are banned, and drinking them in public places is fraught with consequences. For this, a considerable fine or even arrest is provided.