United Arab Emirates Local Customs
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Because the United Arab Emirates has coasts along both the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, commercial fishing has for centuries been an important part of the lives of the Arabs who lived on the coasts. Traditionally, wooden fishing boats called sambuk, wooden boats with a mast for a sail, were used, but now more conventional diesel-powered craft are employed. Techniques for catching the fish historically included nets and special cages made from palm fronds. Nowadays, however, nets are almost universally used. The men still take to the sea to catch fish, and the women sort and sell the fish. In the late afternoon, visitors can watch the fishermen bring in the catch in ports along the coast. There are about 300 varieties of fish in the waters off the United Arab Emirates, and fish is a food staple along the coast. (Inland, camel and goat meat are staples). Popular types of fish available...
Photography of Muslim Women
Photography of Muslim women is generally considered offensive, and anyone caught taking pictures may face the wrath of their male relations, or may have to answer to the police. Therefore, anyone wanting to take pictures of women in their abayas should do so discretely and from a distance.Most female citizens of the United Arab Emirates are Muslim, and therefore normally dress in the abaya (also called the shaili), a black full-length covering. Under the abaya, women wear loose sirwal, or trousers, and a kandura, a dress frequently embroidered in gold or silver. Koranic law dictates that the abaya be worn whenever in public, and this includes the beach. It is not uncommon to see groups of women dressed in abayas walking along the beach, or wading up to their ankles in the water.
Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates. Unlike in some of its neighboring countries, other religions are tolerated, and even officially sanctioned. There are Christian churches in most of the larger cities and towns. Alcohol is available to non-Muslims in hotels in all of the emirates except Abu Dhabi. Western tourists may wear shorts, and it is not uncommon to see Western women in bikinis on the beaches. However, visitors should keep in mind that what may be acceptable on a beach or in a hotel may not necessarily be acceptable on the streets. Despite the openness toward other beliefs, Islam is nevertheless an important aspect in the lives of the citizens of the United Arab Emirates. Mosques are to be seen everywhere, from the largest cities to the smallest towns, and the call to prayer is heard throughout the country five times per day. Most Muslim women still wear...
Historically, the camel was the most important animal in the lives of the nomadic Bedu (sometimes called Bedouin) of the Arabian Peninsula. It was the main form of transportation, it served as a general beast of burden, its meat and milk were food staples, and its hides were used for leather. (In Oman I tried camel's milk. See my "Restaurant" tip on my Oman page to see what it was like).Nowadays, many rural people in the United Arab Emirates still tend herds of camels, and it is common to come across camels anywhere in the desert. Although their meat and milk are still used, most camels are raised for racing. Each emirate has its own camel-racing track, except for Fujairah, where bullfighting is popular. Most race tracks are circular, but the one in Digdaga in Ras al-Khaimah emirate is a one-mile (1.6-kilometer) straightaway.
Dhows are a type of wooden boat traditionally powered by sail that have been used for centuries on trade routes between the Middle East, India and East Africa. The name is not Arabic, but comes from a Swahili word, dau, meaning "boat" or "ship." The Arabic word is al boom.Pearls from the Persian Gulf were traded for gold, precious stones, and ivory from Africa, and oils, ointments, and spices from India. Nowadays, however, most trade is in electronic goods and canned food, although some dhows are used for smuggling. And now most dhows are equipped with diesel engines, radar, and navigational aids and are seldom powered by sail. It is common to see dhows in ports all along the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Oman.
Cooling (or wind) towers, designed to catch the smallest breeze and bring it down in the house, the air conditioning system of the pre-oil Arabia.Out of aesthetic reasons, this architectural element is present today in modern blocks, as you can see here in Sharjah.
96 hours visa
Transit passengers in the UAE are entitled to receive a 96 hours visa (i.e. 4 days).Formalities are pretty straightforward and free of charge: hand in the passport to a “96 hours visa” desk in the airport and you’ll receive it back together with the paperwork and forms already filled in in less than 30 minutes. Head to the passport control, take some biometric tests, passport stamped and you are in the UAE.In “common” language, in case of a 96 hours visa the airline company “sponsors” you. You do not need to bring photos or let the airline know in advance.
The noble birds, and fastest ever animal in the world, using the gravity laws a falcon fall down with a speed up to 300 kms in hour to make small chances for surviving to the target poor animal victim, Falcons are the sign and favorite animal of the wealthy Sheikh's of UAE, and they coast loooooots of money, and there are big efforts and daily job to tame them, in the end it is a prestigious and great friend of Arab noble chief's...thus Arabian princes are called Falcons.
Sculptures In Traffic Circles
In the United Arab Emirates, as in many Arabic countries, human representation in artwork is forbidden according to Koranic law. Therefore, public art often consists of abstract scupltures in traffic circles. In addition to the gigantic coffee pot pictured here, I saw huge ceramic pots, a clock tower, ancient cannons, a replica of the Koran, an eagle, mountain sheep, and large lanterns.
In many Middle Eastern countries there is a tendency to ask for tips or baksish by everybody. This is a practice which is encouraged by gullible tourists who don’t know better. Don’t feel obliged or pressured into do so, just to get them off your back. Would you tip someone at home when you feel they don’t deserve it? I wouldn’t think so. Tipping can be a sensitive issue, because you don’t want to appear mean or tight, however you don’t want to look like a total mug either. I usually only tip for a service (e.g. a porter which has just hauled your 3 suitcases from a taxi up 20 flights of stairs) or when I feel it is merited. If you are staying in a hotel for a longer period of time, you don’t need to tip every time you get out of a car when someone opens your door. I usually tend to tip a higher than normal amount to the porter when I actually leave the hotel. My general rule is if you...
Top 3 Hotels in United Arab Emirates
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
9 Reviews and 604 Opinions this is a wonderful hotel, living like royalty! 1.3 km pvt beach, beautiful gardens, massages, tea...
Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Reviews and photos of United Arab Emirates local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for United Arab Emirates sightseeing.