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General facts and information

Climate

Dry and hot humid summer with comfortably soft winter. The best time to visit is between October and May. Temperatures range from a low of around 10C (50F) in winter to a high of 48C (118F) in summer. For up to date weather reports, log on to www.bbc.co.ua/weather and choose your destination.

Time zone

4 Hours ahead of G.M.T

Currencies

The local Currency is UAE Dirham (AED) = 100 fils.

The Dirham is tied to the US Dollar.

Notes are in denominations of AED1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of AED1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils.

Most hotels will handle the exchange of foreign currency.

The import and export of both local and foreign currency are unrestricted. Amounts over AED 40,000 must be declared at the Customs Counter at Dubai International Airport.

Credit & debit cards: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.

Traveller's cheques: are widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Banking hours: Sun-Thurs 08:00-13:00, Thurs 08:00-12:00. Some also open Sat-Wed 16:30-18:00.

Water

The tap water is heavily purified and safe to drink, but we would recommend the locally bottled mineral water.

Electricity

The electricity supply is 220/240 volts and 50 cycles; the socket type is the same as the three pin British system; most hotels have adapters for electrical appliances.

Telephones

The national telecommunication services providers are Etisalat and Du.

The telecommunication tariffs are reasonably fare.

The international dialling code of the UAE is +971.

UAE city codes: Abu Dhabi (02), Al Ain (03), Dubai (04), Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain (06), Ras Al Khaymah (07), Fujeirah (09).

Driving rules

If you don’t hold a UAE RESIDENT VISA, you can only drive in the UAE with an international driving licence accompanied by the licence from your country of origin only a rented vehicle.

 In the UAE you drive on the right hand side of the road. It is mandatory to wear seatbelts in the front seats. Children under 10 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front of a car.

Most of the roads are monitored by both fixed and movable radars. Speed limits are usually 60-80 km around town and 100-120 km on the freeways. The speeding fine is around AED 600.00

There is a paid parking system in Dubai (you will find the meters in the parking lots, failure to obtain a parking ticket will result in the fine of AED 150.00), but it is free in other emirates.

Salik is Dubai’s new electronic toll collection system that has been launched in July 2007.

There are few tolling points (for vehicles driving in both directions) – look up for the signs.

Each time you pass through a Salik tolling point, the toll of AED 4 will be deducted from your prepaid toll account (but no more than AED 12 will be charged per day).

Your vehicle will be identified to the system through communication with the small, thin Salik sticker tag affixed to your windshield.

The fine for crossing the toll gate without subscription to the system and/or installing the Salik sticker tag on the windshield is AED 100 for the first offence, AED 200 for the second and AED 400 for the third and further offences. There is also a fine of AED 50 that is being imposed each time the toll gate is crossed without enough credit on the account (account is being toped up using the cards similar to the prepaid phone cards, but it doesn’t apply if you are a visitor and hire a car in Dubai:

All rent-a-car vehicles are equipped with a Salik sticker tag.

As for your race vehicles, being the subjects to the temporary import: you may either avoid the tollgates or open an account with Salik.

Visit www.salik.ae or call 800SALIK for more details.

The Traffic Police exercise a zero tolerance on drinking and driving!

If you are involved in a traffic accident, however minor, you must remain with your car at the accident scene and report the incident to the Traffic Police (by calling 999).

The Dubai Police website (www.dubaipolice.gov.ae) offers all information relevant to driving (traffic violations, road maps, contact numbers etc).

Airports

It is worth taking a look at the websites of the airports where you will be arriving to learn about the facilities, regular and e-services and value added features:

The following items may be imported into the United Arab Emirates without incurring customs duty: 2000 cigarettes and 400 cigars and 2kg of tobacco; 2l of spirits of more than 22 per cent alcohol, and 2l of wine (non-Muslims over 18 years only); a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use.
Note: It is prohibited to bring alcohol into Sharjah and usually not allowed if entering the UAE by land.

Prohibited items : firearms and dangerous weapons, drugs, religious propaganda, pornography materials, unstrung pearls except for personal use, raw seafood (only when visiting Dubai and/or Sharjah), fruit and vegetables from cholera-infected areas, a number of medications (if you are on a medication please, check whether it is allowed in the UAE before you leave).

Car Hire Companies
Taxis

Call +971 4 2080808 to book a taxi in Dubai. All the cars are equipped with trip meters.

Breakdown services

For the round the clock roadside assistance (mechanical repair, towing services, battery boosting, fixing a flat tyre, lockout service, emergency fuel delivery) throughout the U.A.E you may contact Arabian Automobile Association (AAA)at a Toll Free number 800 4 900.

Petrol stations

Petrol stations in the UAE are numerous and run by Emarat, EPPCO and ENOC (Adnoc in Abu Dhabi). Most offer extra services, such as car wash, oil change. Almost all of them have little supermarkets.

UAE must be one of the few countries where diesel fuel actually costs more than other fuels.

Photographs

Normal tourist photography is acceptable, but it is courteous to ask permission before photographing people. Do not take photos of the Arabic women.

In general, photographs of government buildings, military installations, ports and airports should not be taken.

Vehicle spares and services and franchises

We recommend to use the services and to buy the spares from the official car dealers of the UAE.