Reasons to Visit UAE

UAE has the biggest mall in the world

Dubai Mall, currently the largest mall in the world and every shopaholic’s dream come true, is really truly unique. Not only does it have every single shop and entertainment imaginable, the atmosphere inside the mall is like a mini-community or city; where most of the residents of Dubai gather every weekend to catch up with each other.

90% of the population are expats

United Arab Emirates is unlike almost any other country in the world because of its incredibly high number of expats and immigrants. Dubai is one of the most diverse and international cities in the world therefore, which makes it a truly unique and diverse place to visit or live.

The international food scene

Most big cities around the world will have a wide array of good food, but Dubai’s food scene is pretty unique due to the variety. From delicious food stalls on the beach to five-star restaurants serving gold with their food, from local Emirati cuisine to the most diverse culinary scenes because of the number of expats; you’ll never have any trouble feeding your wildest food craving.

From nothing to something in just few decades

Dubai has boomed since the country’s independence, and it’s hard to imagine that just a generation ago many people were still pearl divers or fisherman in the little coastal town of Dubai. The extraordinary growth of the city was not only made possible by the discovery of oil in the region, but also by the innovation and the hard working spirit of both the Emiratis and the immigrants and expats who moved to Dubai.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the perfect city for those looking for a thrill. Only in the capital can visitors have the unique experience of riding the fastest roller coaster in the world. Formula Rosa is located in Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World and accelerates to 240km/hr in less than 5 seconds. This will guarantee to make anyone’s trip one to remember. For those more faint of heart, the indoor theme park still has several fun attractions, Ferrari expositions and even a simulator that gives you the feeling of driving a Ferrari.

Yas Marina Circuit

Abu Dhabi has made itself known worldwide for holding Formula 1 races. The capital has a state-of-the-art, luxurious racing circuit and some of the most famous races in the world have taken place here. Yas Marina Circuit is definitely an attraction to see – and maybe even race in. The circuit offers experiences for those who don’t want to spectate only, you can rent cars and actually race in the circuit. Definitely makes the trip to Abu Dhabi worth it!

Tallest building in the world is in UAE

Dubai also has the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, that lights up the city from wherever you look. You’ll never tire of looking at it, and its light shows and fireworks at New Years are just another reminder why this city is so special.

The vibrant array of different cultures and religions

Because of the high number of expats, Dubai has become a truly global city, with a huge number of different religious spaces, restaurants, language schools, and cultural events throughout the year. There will always be something exciting to look forward to during the weekend because of all the different cultures celebrating one holiday or another!

The extravagance

Although there is a relaxed atmosphere due to the many international cultures that mix in Dubai, it still is one of the most extravagant cities in the world. From the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Hotel and its $35,000 dollar a night Royal Suite to the luxurious Burj Al Arab Hotel, commonly referred to as the “7 Star Hotel”, and from the Lamborghini police car in the UAE to the gold infused coffee you can casually order at brunch; Dubai definitely has its moments of extreme extravagance.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This is undoubtedly the most beautiful mosque in the UAE. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a sight to see, with pure marble walls decorated with gems, this construction truly is an architectural piece of art. The mosque welcomes visitors from all faiths – the only requirement is to dress and behave respectfully. This incredible mosque is perhaps the most beautiful place to visit in the UAE and it is of course located in Abu Dhabi, where the late Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE was from. The mosque takes His Highness’ name as it was the Sheikh’s vision to build it.

Emirates Palace

For those who are impressed by the Burj Al Arab, the Emirates Palace will be a true jaw-dropping sight. This hotel, better known as a palace, is definitely the most luxurious in the entire UAE. The hotel has gone down in history as the most expensive to ever be built, costing approximately $3 billion to construct. It is also the best spot in Abu Dhabi to sip on delicious cappuccino – with flakes of real gold! Yes, Le Cafe at the Emirates Palace offers visitors the chance to try a golden cappuccino, making this a must visit destination.

Best Time to visit UAE

The best time to visit UAE is during the winter months, from November to April. January and February see heavy tourist traffic because of the Dubai Shopping Festival, which makes Dubai come alive. Here’s a monthly breakup of UAE’s climatic conditions so you can plan when to go:

November to March : UAE winters are from November to April and this is the best time to visit UAE. The weather is pleasant and suited for all kinds of outdoor activities. What’s more, the much loved Dubai Shopping Festival is held during Jaunary-February and that is when you will see Dubai actually crowded. Since this is the peak season, hotel rates and airfares tend to go really high. Book well in advance to get the best rates possible and avoid any inconvenience.

April to October : The temperatures begin to rise by April and May and during peak summers, even start hitting the late forties. Summer months in UAE are really, really hot and humid, making it almost impossible to explore the outdoors. However, all malls/stores are air-conditioned and you can indulge in as much retail therapy as you would like.

Essential Information

Visas

Citizens of 49 countries, including all EU countries, the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, are eligible for free 30-day single-entry visas on arrival in UAE.

Time Zone

GMT+ 4 and No Daylight Saving Time. Most Public Offices and Schools start from 0700 until 1500 while malls and shopping centers open from 1000.

Languages

Languages spoken: Arabic, English, Urdu. Most people in UAE speaks very well English.

Currency and Payment

UAE's currency is Dirhams (Dhs or AED) which is pegged to AED3.65/USD. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted in all malls and shopping centers. Currency exchange shops are also easy to find.

Etiquette

UAE is modern and by and large tolerant, but visitors should also respect that it is a Muslim country. Here are some do's and don'ts:

Dress – Both men and women should dress modestly. Swimwear is acceptable on the beach and by the pool only.

Public affection – Holding hands is OK, long kisses or hugs are not.

Drinking – Don’t indulge in excessive public drinking, and never drink and drive.

Greetings – Use your right hand to greet someone or take or give something. Don’t offer to shake hands unless it is extended to you first.

Sitting – Pointing the soles of your shoes at anyone or crossing your legs is considered rude.

Language – Swearing and using rude hand gestures could lead to fines.

Photos – Always ask before taking a photo of locals.

Conversation – Don’t bring up controversial topics, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.