Foreign Currency Exhange Shops
Favorite thing: If you don't trust Automated Teller Machines (both the money to money exhange kind and the International ATM consortiums) and don't want to use credit card and have hard currency to exhange into UAE Dirhams, then you can exhange your US Dollars, European EU's, Australian Dollars, etc, into UAE Dirhams at these money exhange shops that are numerous in in shopping malls, souks, in some hotels in and around UAE and in Dubai. most major foreign currencies can be changed in these shops and the exhange rate changes everyday.
most of these foreign exchange shops are open everyday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm except friday mornings (prayer time for muslims).
Fondest memory: since islam does not allow interest, you are not charged a commision fee for your transactions, however the exchange rate is slightly lower than in using the money to money ATM's as they offset the no commision allowed via lower exhange rates for your money to be changed into UAE dirhams as to make a profit.
- Food and Dining
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
International ATM Machines
Favorite thing: If you don't have enough cash to change into UAE Dirhams in your wallet and you don't want to use your credit card that much when in Dubai, then your next option will be to withdraw money from International ATM machines in and around Dubai. Dubai has thousands of ATM's that mostly accept international ATM consortiums like Cirrus, Plus, Discover, Maestro, etc.
However, every withdrawal you make carries a surcharge of 20 AED per transaction charged to your ATM Card, whatever the amount you withdraw so be sure to withdraw one time and make it a large withdrawal (as a 500 AED withdrawal and a 3,000 AED withdrawak carries the same 20 AED surcharge). The local Dubai ATM surcharge is on top of your local bank in your country charges as a surcharge when using International ATM's.
Fondest memory: there are thousands of ATM machines in and Around Dubai where you can withdraw money.
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Foreign Currency Exchange ATM's
Favorite thing: the foreign curency exchange ATM's are different from the international ATM's in that you can exhange you US Dollar, European EU, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars and other selected currencies like the Saudi Arabian Riyal, Kuwait Dinar or the Bahraini Dinar into UAE Dirhams via a fixed exchange rate via these automated teller machines, without the additional commisions added in changing at the money exhange shops or the additional surcharges incurred via withdrawing money from the International ATM Machines.
you only put your money inside the machine (like a 100 US dollar) and press change into UAE dirhams and wait for a few seconds and viola! Instant UAE Dirhams!
the machines have engish, arabic, japanese, chinese,french, spanish languages and you just press the button to transact on what language you want and then viola.
Fondest memory: the foreign currency exchange ATM's are available at the Airport, at selected malls and banks around Dubai.
they are very convenient and you are not charged a commision fee or a surchage!
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Business Travel
The UAE Dirham
Favorite thing: the United Arab Emirates Dirham is the main currency of the Country and of the Emirate of Dubai since 1978. The Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar at 1 Us DOllar is 3.67 Dirhams since 1997 hence other currencies either have more or less exchange rate to the dirham, depending on the currency fluctuations but the US Dolllar to AED Dirham remains the same.
UAE Dirhams are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 bank notes and 1, 5 and 10 Dirham coins. there are many foreign exhange shops in and around Dubai where you can change your money into AED Dirhams
Fondest memory: the Different AED Dirham Denominations of Bank Notes and Coins
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
Dubai amazing buildings
Favorite thing: The most exiting thing in Dubai and UAE in general is the buildings, maybe because i am an architect i am saying this, but really there are so nice views you can see when moving through the streets, but those beautifull buildings appears as no one is leaving there (as in photos) because people avoid to move in the streets or sit in the balconies due to the strong heat and high humidity rate in summer, for me i like walking, so some times the only person moving by feet was me !
Fondest memory: The most thing i have missed in Dubai is the rapid development of all things around you, like roads, buildings, services, etc. and every day you can touch a new thing has happened
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
romance in Dubai
Favorite thing: My husband and I just returned from Dubai. We were told that we shouldn't hold each other hand on public and so on. But we did, we behave just naturally, but sure respectfully. Don't worry) You will get your little romance)
Have a nice travel!
Bus stops with air condition.
Favorite thing: One thing that really impressed me in Dubai is that all the bus stops have air con and are small shelterd boxes.
This is in many ways logic because it's so damn hot, but i have been to many other hot places where they did not have these things yet.
I did, to be honest, never take the bus in Dubai, but i walked a lot around the city by foot and when it got too hot i often took a break inside one of those bus stop cabins to cool a little down and regain energy.
Let's have some of these in other hot countries around the globe.
- Road Trip
Ramadhan: The Muslim Holy Month
Favorite thing: I've noticed that in the Western World, there's a lot of confusion about Islam & its traditions. So I wanted to share my experience, understanding & perception of Ramadhan with you here:
In 2012, Ramadhan will take place from approx. July 20th until Aug. 18th.
For over 1 billion Muslims throughout the world, Ramadhan is the 9th lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It was the month in which the 1st verses of the holy Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH = Peace be upon Him). It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self-control:
-- Restraining the stomach from food & drink & the "private parts" from temptation.
-- Restraining other body parts: the tongue must avoid bad-mouthing, insult & lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things considered as unlawful or haram; the ears must stop from listening to conversation or songs that spoil the spirit of fasting.
-- Restraining heart & mind from indulging themselves in things other than Allah.
There are also clear rules about who is exempt from fasting:
> Children (before reaching puberty) & Pregnant & nursing women
> Women having their menstrual period
> Travelling people
> People performing hard, physical labour (especially outdoors)
> Sick people (diabetics, flu, etc.)
> Elderly people
> People on medication or who have a disability (physical or mental)
Muslims who were unable to fast may redeem their fast after Ramadhan has finished.
IFTAAR is to "break the fast" = breakfast.
This is done when the sunset prayer "maghreb" is heard. After breaking the fast (recommended are fresh dates & water or camel milk or Laban (drink yoghurt), they perform "vudoo" (=ritual washing before prayer), then pray and may then eat & drink a full meal.
Before the sunrise prayer "sohur", Muslims rise early from their beds to have a hearty meal before the day of fast begins.
Fondest memory: You will notice that many gather in typical Ramadhan tents, either as part of hotel restaurants, or in a tent in front of their residence. They sit together for many hours, spend time with the family & discuss matters of life.
The sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadhan proclaims the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. (2-3 days public holiday).
Gifts are exchanged, especially for children (new clothes, school items, etc.) This is also the time that Muslim women usually visit beauty salons to have their hands & feet painted with "Hennah". Sometimes I go together with my mother (she is Muslim).
TIP: To wish someone a happy Ramadhan, say Ramadhan Kareem.
The greeting during Eid is: Eid Mubarak.
And remember: during Ramadan people may get a bit ratty towards the end of the day due low blood sugar level or feeling desperate for a cigarette!
Expatriates & visitors alike also enjoy traditional Ramadhan evenings, sitting on large pillow, gathering for "Sheesha" & Arabic specialities (hommous, falafel, etc).
CHECK HERE for a list of Arabic dishes:
CHECK HERE for information on Sheesha:
TIP: If you wish to see the traditional, quiet side of Dubai - as well as the hectic shopping malls, street scenes & nightlife, why not arrive during the last few days before the beginning or the end of Ramadhan?
You can then experience both "sides/faces" of the city.
CHECK HERE for facts about nightlife & other restrictions during Ramadhan:
News Article: RAMADHAN EXPLAINED http://www.timeoutdubai.com/dubai/features/review.php?id=1632
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
My point of view
Favorite thing: + amazing modern architecture (skyscrapers, Burj Khalifa, everything lighten up by night)
+ friendly locals
+ people diversity (Old Dubai/ modern areas)
+ best cars in the world (never seen so many RR, Maybach's, Ferrari's or Bentley's in one place at the same time !)
- sandstorms (means poor visibility , sand everywhere, itchy eyes)
- sometimes too loud mosques (especially old part of Dubai, means early wake up but we have to respect local culture :) )
- HUGE airport = really long waiting times ( about an hour from landing to leaving airport building)
Metro suitable tickets for you
Favorite thing: Nol Red Ticket
For the Occasional Traveller
Nol Red Ticket is a paper-based ticket that can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time for only AED 2. It can be loaded with up to 10 Single Trips. Currently, this ticket can only be used on one mode of transport at a time (e.g. on Metro only, Bus only).
Low ticket price
Can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time
Allows you to pay for the exact trip only
Nol Silver Card
The perfect starter card
Nol Silver Card is a smart card with an e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 500. Enjoy the ease of getting this card immediately from any ticket office for only AED 20 (includes AED 14 e-purse value) and enjoy the convenience of using one card on all modes of transport.
Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deduct it from your e-purse
Valid on all modes of transport
You can get it for a low price and use it immediately
Valid for 5 years
silver card goldcars bluecard red card
Daily Fare Cap 14.00 14.00 1 14.00 n/a
Short Trip ( 3km) 1.80 3.60 1.80 2.00
Within 1 Zone 2.30 4.60 2.30 2.50
2 Adjacent Zones 4.10 8.20 4.10 4.50
More than 2 Zones 5.80 11.60 5.80 6.50
Student, senior citizen 2,3 N/A N/A 50% N/A
Disabled 4 N/A N/A Free N/A
Children 5 Free Free Free Free
Read more: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/United_Arab_Emirates/Dubai/Dubai-1857296/Transportation-Dubai-MISC-BR-1.html#tip=2206305#ixzz1kYaTzLsw
Favorite thing: Wasta is a word often heard in Dubai in the UAE. It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities.
The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the UAE are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the UAE don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident. Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively. Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past).
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.
Wasta and Bribes
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them. And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties.
Night life and rules
Favorite thing: Dubai's nightlife scene has come along in leaps and bounds since the mid 90s. Although Dubai is not quite Ibiza, Berlin, New York, etc, it certainly has enough noise and laser beams in the various watering holes to keep most boys and girls looking for a party satisfied now.
Most, if not all, of the clubs listed are open until 3 am. At which point the music stops and the lights come on. Abruptly. There are apparently large fines levied on the establishment if music continues even seconds after the gong. During Ramadan check to see if they are open. Many will be closed, and the ones that are open will be very subdued - no live music or dancing is allowed then.
The rest of the year, many Dubai nightclubs have a lively atmosphere with some world class DJs appearing on a regular basis in recent years. For example Hed Kandi and Groove Armada (at Trilogy), Paul van Dyke, DJ Tiesto (at Madinat Arena - not a nightclub), DJ Krafty Kuts (at IBO), Eric Morillo (at Trilogy), Ferry Corsten and Schiller at Peppermint Club, and more.
From December 2007 to February 2008, outdoor venues were ordered by the DTCM (Dubai Department of Tourism, Commerce, Marketing) to turn the music down, to a level where you'd look like a bit of a muppet if you were dancing. Which seemed to confirm the rumour that the DTCM is not actually an organisation that wants to promote tourism in Dubai. Nevertheless, as of mid-February 2008 this restriction seemed to have been lifted - check with club first. The fish in the vicinity of 360 will just have to stop their whining and go and sleep somewhere else.
Cover Charges to enter nightclubs in Dubai
Until the early 2000s, it was rare to have to pay a cover charge for a bar or nightclub in Dubai. But with more people, more sophisticated clubs and more well-known DJs playing more regularly, the number of places trying to squeeze a few extra dirhams out of the punters is on the rise. Expect to pay 50-100 dhs for normal entry which sometimes includes a drink or two. And 100-200 dhs for top DJs. It's not all bad though, many places still have free entry, especially on weeknights. Sometimes women will get in free and men have to pay. Market forces overrule equality of the sexes ...
Thursday is the biggest night with Fridays not far behind. Friday nights may become more popular since the Dubai weekend changed from Thu/Fri to Fri/Sat in September 2006, but there are still large numbers of people who work on Saturdays so Thursday night is expected to remain popular.
Door Policies at Dubai nightclubs
Like most countries, women and couples will have an easier time getting in to a night club in Dubai than men (solo or in groups). If you're a bloke or a couple of blokes on your own, you may be able to persuade some friendly females in the nightclub queue that you head in together as "couples".
A few clubs in Dubai will have big angry looking chaps looking important with wires in their ears and clipboards to which they'll refer and then say you're not on the list if you don't look right. There may well genuinely be a list - you could always try booking ahead and getting your name on it. In some of the swankier Dubai night clubs you may have to book a table and a bottle (allow a few hundred dirhams for the bottle).
Some clubs in Dubai don't bother with the clipboard and just permit or deny entry in accordance with random, erm, house rules. Officially, there's no racism and several press articles have investigated accusations of racist door policies at Dubai nightclubs. Reports of different entry fees for different nationalities are of course denied. Unofficially? Um, no comment.
Men wearing local dress (dishdashas, kandooras) will usually be denied entry. Not because of nationality but because it is apparently against the law to wear local dress in bars and nightclubs in Dubai. Presumably the same applies to women in abayas.
During Ramadan you may be asked what religion you are. Muslims will be requested not to enter Dubai nightclubs and bars.
List of nightclubs in Dubai (and Lounge Bars)
360° - rooftop of the building at the end of the groyne jutting out from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Very chilled or cool (in more than one sense of those words in mid-winter). Fishing rods not allowed.
400 Club - Fairmont Hotel, scheduled opening was December 2005. If you stood in the queue then, you'd have waited a year before the doors opened. UK club music, french decor. Worth the wait? Probably. Exclusive/expensive, tel +971-4-3324900
Abaya Nightclub - Dubai Park Hotel, SZR (Tel +971-4-3992222). Curiously named Arabic nightclub (the Abaya is what Emirati women wear). Live music and belly dancers.
African Star - Marco Polo Hotel, Deira (Tel +971-4-2720000). African nightclub.
Al Zumorrod - Carlton Tower Hotel, Deira. Iranian nightclub. You probably won't see the Ayatollah there though.
Alpha Club - Meridian Village / Le Meridien Dubai Hotel, opened 22 May 2008, prides itself on a massive sound system. Go on, go and give your ears an acoustic enema. Open 2100-0300, from 2000 on Thursdays, and 1600 on Fridays. Tel +971-4-7022640.
Amnesia - next to Hard Rock Cafe on SZ Rd. Used to be popular when it was called the Atlantis (back in the days that the only other choices were The Lodge and The Diamond Club). Closed June 2007?
Apartment, The - in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, getting a good reputation.
Arbat Club, The - Carlton Tower Hotel, Bur Dubai. Russian nightclub.
Bang nightclub Dubai - open end October 2008 in Old Town Burj Dubai, run by Boudoir so expect a fussy entrance policy. Tel +971-4-4397444 to get on the entry list (or expect to be bounced). Modelled on the Crystal Club in London? Website www.clubbang.ae (not available). Update: maybe ClubBang were too fussy. Opened with a bang (lots of loud press releases), closed in early 2009 with a fizzle. Last update on Club Bang Facebook page was December 2008.
Bar Zar - Madinat Jumeirah, used to be a very pleasant relaxed bar with a large outdoor area overlooking the water, not really a night club but open late with good music. The "Come As You Are" slogan literally meant that, until they got fussy with dress code in 2008, attempting to move into the more pretentious prestigious league of bars in Dubai. Go to Barasti instead if you're looking for somewhere casual.
Barasti Bar downstairs - indoor/outdoor sort of lounge club. Excellent venue, relaxed dress code.
Beach Club - Palm Beach Hotel in Bur Dubai, nowhere near a beach. African band, small, different, tel +971-4-3931999.
Billabong - Holiday Inn, Deira. Australian nightclub (if you can have such a thing).
Blush - club night rather than a club, no longer operating?
Bollywood - Regency Palace Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3556633). Indian nightclub with live music and dancers.
Boudoir - they like to make a big thing of their bouncers with clipboards (you don't get in if you're not on the list). Has a snobby reputation.
Buddha Bar - Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina (+971-4-3998888), more of a lounge bar. Chilled, worth a visit. The first time you visit, make sure you walk up the staircase shortly after (
Fondest memory: Diamond Club, The - like The Lodge, a great place in its heyday but has not reopened since being shut down in 2001 after promoting a "Miss MoneyPennys" night. Shame.
Double Deckers - similar to JD and RB. Bouncers have a reputation for being a bit heavy-handed.
Downtown Africa - President Hotel, Bur Dubai (Tel +971-4-3346565). African nightclub where the soft drinks are firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +971-4-3477793, website www.thefridgedubai.com.
Geri Halliwell nightclub Dubai (rumoured) - the "Ginger Spice" chick reportedly wants to open a s
Alcohol licences obtaining one
Favorite thing: Alcohol Licence - obtaining one and why you should have one
An Alcohol Licence (or License) gives expats in Dubai and the UAE permission to drink alcohol - they need a residence visa before applying for an alcohol license. It is shown at off-licences or liquor stores in Dubai when making purchases. In theory it could be asked for at a bar or club but in practice it almost never is. Apparently the law says that only hotel guests may drink at hotel bars but it's unheard of for that to be enforced.
14 Nov 2006 news. A court case acquitted a resident for drinking in a bar because he did have an alcohol license, although the police arrested him because they claimed the license only allowed residents to drink alcohol at home.
Tourists do not need an alcohol licence since they are not in Dubai on a resident's visa.
Muslims are not permitted to have an alcohol licence (the application form asks what religion the applicant is).
Alcohol licenses are a legal requirement when buying alcohol from bottle shops like MMI, and A&E, and Spinneys in Abu Dhabi. How often it is asked for varies depending on emirate. Almost always in Dubai, sometimes not in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, and rarely, if ever, in Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.
Alcohol purchases can be made without a licence (illegally) at several establishments in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. Or you can present your license and buy alcohol legally. Where you're likely to get into trouble is if you have an accident between shop and home, and the alcohol is found in your car. Sharjah especially would be more risky as it is a dry emirate. Checkpoints with car searches are a possibility but very rare. If you do have a license then you are permitted to transport alcohol for personal use between shop and home. However, for those living in Dubai, you would be expected to buy alcohol in Dubai.
On 03 July 2006 there was a report in the Gulf News of alcohol purchasers being followed from Ajman into Sharjah by conmen, made to pull over and threatened with being reported to the police unless a ransom was paid. Figures were reported as being 2000 dhs to 10,000 dhs. An Ajman police official apparently told the reporter that non-Muslims were allowed to transport legally purchased alcohol through any emirate to their home. Note that you need to present your alcohol license in these 'hole-in-the-wall' establishments in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, etc to become a legal alcohol purchaser.
The licence shows a monthly limit for purchases which depends on the applicants salary. Usually the limit is somewhere between 500 dhs and 1500 dhs per month.
Tax on Alcohol
There is a 30% tax added to all alcohol purchases made when presenting an alcohol licence (last confirmed June 2006).
Your company obtains one for you. There'll be fees of around 200 dhs per year to pay, and you'll need the usual paperwork (passport with residence visa, photos).
You apply for one yourself. The easiest way to do this is through one of the alcohol shops in Dubai - A & E or MMI. They have the forms and will obtain the license for you (about 200 dhs per year).
General Dubai Info
Favorite thing: Hi!
1. I'm not sure about package deals for Dubai - I've found that everything tends to be cheaper by booking once you're here.
2. There are several places which you can get a triple room or an apartment - Oasis Beach Towers (apartments) in JBR would be a good start. Look on booking.com etc for other options.
3. There is only 1 hop-on-hop off bus and that's a tourist bus which takes you to the sights. You buy a one day ticket at AED220 (approx AUD$62) and it goes all over town. Quite good if you want to see everything. Don't rely on it as transport though, just as a day out seeing things.
4. Search the accommodation websites like booking.com, agoda, asia rooms etc. They all have good rates. Hotels over here are second to none. 5 star MEANS 5 star! (you pay for it too unfortunately).
5. Taxi fare from the airport depends on where you stay. They all have a AED20 flag fall ($5.50) e.g. to Deira (creek) apporox AED40, City and Burj Khalifa AED50, Jumeirah (Burj Dubai area) AED70, Marina AED90. A hotel transfer will be about AED150 each way. Rip off. Just get a taxi - they are safe and you can get a family (pink with a lady driver) taxi if you're worried. Taxis are cheap as well. A normal taxi is AED3.50 flag fall and it's unusual for a taxi to cost more than AED50 ($13) each way (from Marina to the city (20km) for example).
6. Tips: taxis just a couple of dihrams or the small change, restaurants will depend on what's already included but 10-20% is normal. Bell boy? Not sure! AED5-10? Tipping is a way of life in Dubai.
7. Money changers over here are plentiful and rarely charge commission. The current rate is AED3.6 to the Aussie dollar.
8. Tours - try North tours. They tend to be cheaper than the others for the same thing. You shouldn't have to pay more than AED180 per person for a desert safari. Others charge AED300!
stock up with alcohol at the airport
Favorite thing: If you like a drink then you can buy alcohol at the airport once you have passed customs and collected your baggage. There is a duty free shop just before you leave air side so get stocked up as you won't find price's this cheap anywhere else in Dubai.
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