The local climate is sub-tropical, with a very high seasonal temperature variation. In summer (March to October) it is very hot, with temperatures around the 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) mark during the day. Winters are much more bearable with a drop to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at times.


The phenomenal growth in the population of Dubai, which expanded by 25% between 1995 and 2000 alone to 826,387, is one of the factors that explains the emirates 10% plus annual growth in GDP over the past decade. For an expanding population creates economic growth just by expanding.The population of Dubai was estimated at 971,000 in 2001. (Source: Ministry of Planning).


The City of Dubai is located at sea-level.

Moving Around

You will find that when you drive in Dubai, it can be worse that driving in France or Italy, be aware of pedestrians and cyclists

Who rules the UAE .

While Abu Dhabi is the centre of  all  government policies, most departments have main offices in Dubai.


Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and Dubai has two Christian churches, St Mary's (Roman Catholic) and Holy Trinity (inter-denominational) the business language in English

Road conditions

There are very few times when road-concerns could have a hand in your vacation. If you are concerned, check with your rental-car service or your hotel. You must present a valid international driver's license and a passport to rent a car. Temporary local driving licenses can be obtained as long as the driver can present a valid national license, passport and two photographs/photo IDs. Driving in Dubai is on the right side of the road.

Money exchange

There are many local and international banks represented in the city. Because there is no exchange control and the Dirham/Dh (Dubai's monetary unit) is freely convertible.

Taxes and Taxation

In Dubai there are no personal taxes other than import duties (mostly at rates up to 10%), a 5% residential tax assessed on rental value, and a 5% tax on hotel services and entertainment


All traveler, excluding AGCC nationals (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia) are required to have a locally sponsored visa. Sponsors include hotels, or local companies. A visitor may apply for an entry service permit (14 days), a visit visa(60 days renewable), or a tourist visa (30 days nonrenewable). All current regulations should be checked before traveling as they change regularly.  

Renting a car

Cars are available from rental companies only if the driver has an international driver's license.  A temporary one may be issued to any person holding a national license from one of the following countries: New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Canada, United States, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden Luxembourg, Cyprus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Poland, UK, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Spain, or Germany.  You must have a passport, valid national license and two photographs to rent.

Health Concerns

Most health risks in Dubai are related to the heat--you are in a desert! The United Arab Emirates are hot and dry, so it is important to keep yourself well hydrated and protected from harmful UV rays. Carry a water bottle with you, and make sure you have proper sunscreen on whenever you go out into the hot Arabian sun. We recommend you wear a hat or head covering to keep cool, and that you invest in a quality pair of sunglasses, as the sun can reflect on the sand and harm your eyes. The tap water is perfectly safe to drink, but most visitors prefer mineral water that is locally bottled and served in most restaurants and hotels. Dubai is well-equipped medically, and is home to the finest medical facilities in the Middle East, however, if you have any health concerns, make sure to contact your doctor before traveling. Best to be safe than sorry!

How safe is Dubai

Crime is practically non-existent in Dubai, however, there are always a few precautions you ought to take.  In any country you go, it is important to keep your passport and visas in a safe place.  Sometimes, locking such personal items in a hotel safe are going to be the safest.  In Dubai, you shouldn't need these papers when traveling around because tourism is such an important part of the economy and the people want to make sure you are at home.  Try to be as respectful as you can by following the basic rules of thumb.  Never leave anything valuable unattended, especially credit cards or other money, as loosing these things while over seas would be a big hassle.  Accept the hospitality of the local people, but try not to be lead far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Just use your common sense and you should be fine.

Night life in Dubai 

Most people expect an Islamic country to have a relatively tame nightlife. This is definitely not so in Dubai. Except for Mondays (which tend to be pretty dead), Dubai is alive after 10:00 with people, music and dancing. There are just a few things you need to know. The first is this: alcohol is not accepted in the Islamic culture, so most of the bars that can serve alcohol are located in various hotels around the city. There are a few exceptions (as there are for almost anything), but for the most part this rule will always apply. Secondly, the legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 and no one under 25 will be admitted to nightclubs.  Interestingly, clubs are not allowed to refuse entrance to someone, even if the club is private, but member only clubs will charge non-members a  high rate to enter. Most clubs don't get busy until 10:00 p.m. and all clubs must close by 3:00 a.m. Crime in Dubai is next to unheard-of so don't worry about riding a cab or even walking to your hotel late at night. Finally, in almost every club and bar in the city, there is a basic dress code: no shorts, sandals, local dress or jeans, basically stick to smart-casual. Always keep in mind that Dubai has a dominantly Islamic population, and that rules like these are in place only to help keep the city thriving. Enjoy your night out on the town, but make sure to save some energy for all of the other exciting things that can be found in the city!

Useful information

Here are a few useful tips regarding local customs:

Don't sit in such a way that the soles of your feet are pointing at someone else.

Show your respect during Ramadan by abstaining from the consumption of alcohol or food in public.

Do not drink alcohol in public places.

Don't take any pictures of military installations or national women as both are infringing on the local traditions. Out of courtesy, ask permission before you take pictures of Muslim men. In general, photographing is accepted, just be respectful of these basic ideas.

Dress comfortably, but modestly. 

Arabs are very hospitable people, and as a sign of friendship and welcoming, they may offer you Arabic coffee (strong coffee spiced with cardamom served in a small cup with no handles). It is proper to accept 1-3 cups and then shake your glass side to side a few times and set it down.


The Khaleej Times and Gulf News are daily English-language newspapers. Arabic newspapers include Al Bayan, Al-Ittihad and Al-Khaleej. Foreign newspapers, especially British and Asian, are readily available in hotel bookshops and supermarkets. What's on is a colourful monthly magazine which covers social and cultural events within the UAE.


Dubai's culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and the visitor is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people. Dubai society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and, provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted.

Despite rapid economic development in recent years, Dubai remains close to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional robes and headress. Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.

Local Time

The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT.


Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in about 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.

Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling, but the inhabitants built up trade too. By the turn of the century, Dubai was reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast, with 350 shops in the Deira district alone.

Commercial success allied to the liberal attitudes of Dubai's rulers, made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran, who began to settle in the growing town. But, while trade developed, Dubai remained politically a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian peninsula.

On the British withdrawal in 1971, Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

This was shortly after the discovery of oil in 1966, which was soon to transform the emirate and its way of life. Dubai's first oil exports in 1969 were followed by a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today's modern society. Much of the credit for this development can be traced to the vision of the late Ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ensured that Dubai's oil revenues, despite being relatively modest by the standards of the region, were deployed to maximum effect.

His work has been continued by the present Ruler, HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his brothers, Their Highnesses Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, and General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence. The result is that Dubai is constantly building up its infrastructure of transport facilities, schools, hospitals, tourism developments and other amenities of an advanced society.

Dubai Health Cards

Health cards issued in 10 minutes flat

DUBAI - The Health Card Centre of the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) is now issuing and renewing health cards for expatriates and citizens in 10 minutes, according to Mohammed Khamis, Head of the Health Card Centre at the Dohms.

Mr Khamis said the health card section has devised a way to distribute the workload at the different counters in a more efficient manner, thus ending the problem of overcrowding and the long waits. He said there is now a counter for each type of health card, a total of 17 counters staffed by 17 employees serving clients.

There is now a special counter for companies that need to issue health cards for a number of their employees, a separate counter for citizens and one for expatriates, as well as a counter for those with one or two health card applications and a counter for those with more than two health card applications. There is also a special counter for ladies.

Mr Khamis said that these changes came about following the Dohms decision to simplify procedures and save people the need to wait for long periods at health card counters. He said the health card issuance procedure at the health card centre is very simple and straight forward requiring only a passport copy, a photo, and a copy of the residence visa for non-citizens.
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