United Arab Emirates

Country Information

The United Arab Emirates, commonly referred to as UAE is a federation of seven emirates located on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. UAE is a modern country, different from its neighbor as its more liberal and adjusting to the changes in the world. Thus, it is one of the biggest tourist destination for people from the west as it provide an environment similar to their while providing a tourist treat that is unique to the Arabs.

Dubai is the hub for these tourist activities. It provides a skyline that is unmatched with the tallest building in the world, The Burj Khalifa and the grandest hotels such as the Burj Al Arab and a metro the moves across this skyline. UAE, especially Dubai is the shopping centre of the world. On an ordinary day shopping markets and Souks is a feast for those with a love for shopping but with a month long festivals it just gets obsessive and  magical. Spices, silk and clothes are what steal the show. Alcohol is widely available in the city restaurants and resorts, something is almost absent is other Arab nations.

And outside these grand cities lies the vast expense of less explored but historically rich desert. It’s as much for the history buffs as it is for those who are adventurous at heart with dune bashing as a favorite pass-time. The Emirates caters to anyone who is pulled in by its allure.

Even though the official language is Arabic it is not very widely spoken, especially in Dubai where a large portion of the population is made up of immigrants who have very limited knowledge of Arabic. Thus, Arabic is mostly used for legal and official purposes only. The lingua franca is English due to its wide-spread use to caters to the huge inflow of tourists throughout the year. English is common as UAE was once a colony of British and English, at least basics are taught in the school throughout the country. Due to large number of immigrants from Indian Subcontinent, Hindi and Urdu are also extensively used.

The official state religion of UAE is Islam (85% are Sunni Muslim, while Shi’a Muslims are 15%) and it is also their largest religion. However, UAE has a policy of tolerance and non-interference with non-Muslim religions. But interference with Islamic practices or ways is not allowed either.

The climate in UAE is dry throughout the years with only a few days of rain. The water that is used to maintain the grass swaths in all public parks are obtained through desalinization of sea water. The temperatures fall from November to Mid-March making a pleasant and a very busy tourist season. The summer temperature sometimes goes as high as 50 °C (122 °F) making outdoor activities an almost impossible feat.

Emirates are proud yet very welcoming people. But they always expect respect from the tourists and visitors. Revealing clothing can be offensive to the local people due to their conservative style of living though they do their best to keep up with the trends of the world. Beach wear isn’t allowed anywhere but on the beaches.