Not a warning, but advice. You are in a Muslim country, so respect their traditions.
Bikinis are fine on the beach and at swimming pools, but dress modestly elsewhere.
In Dubai, alcohol is available in hotels, which have bars, British-style pubs, discos and licensed restaurants. (Resident non-Muslims have a Liquor Licence to buy take-away alcohol from liquor stores. Non-resident visitors cannot). Enjoy a drink, but do not drink and drive! There is zero tolerance for drink drivers, even a tiny amount of alcohol will land you in jail.
The United Arab Emirates experiences hot, sunny weather almost all year round. However, occasional rain falls from December to March, and cloudbursts are possible. Because there is little or no vegetation, there is nothing to absorb the rain as it falls, so flash floods are a danger that should be kept in mind. This is especially the case in mountainous areas, where a wall of water can rush down a wadi, wiping out everything in its path. These flash floods can even occur in areas miles from where the rain fell. Therefore, low areas and wadis are places to avoid in the event of rain, even if it occurs far away.
During my trip to the United Arab Emirates, there was a short, heavy rain in the desert. (The picture shows the rain falling on a small village along the side of the road. I thought rain in the Arabian Desert was an event worth photographing). Although the rain did not cause any flooding, many of the wadis and low areas were awash in mud the next day.
Off-road desert adventures are an activity that is popular among visitors to the United Arab Emirates. There are sand dunes, mountains, wadis, and pools and waterfalls to explore. Because of the dangers of desert travel, anyone wishing to participate in an off-road trip should go with an experienced guide. Otherwise, getting stranded in the desert can be fatal. It is easy to lose a sense of direction, especially because in the deep desert, all sand dunes look alike. It is very easy to become hopelessly bogged down in the sand and very difficult to get out. And the intense heat, especially in the summer, can impair the judgment of almost anyone.
For those who choose to go into the desert alone, there are certain precautions that should be taken to ensure a safe trip. First of all, a plentiful supply of water must be taken. In hot weather, a person needs about four pints (two liters) of water per day. Also, a medical kit is a must.
For driving in the sand dunes, it is necessary to slightly deflate tires so they will have adequate traction in the sand. An air pump will be needed to re-inflate the tires after leaving the sands. And drivers should proceed at a slow, steady speed. Accelerating and then quickly braking can cause a vehicle to become stuck in sand. A shovel for digging out, and planks of wood or mats to be placed under the tires can be helpful in getting out of the sand
As an example of how easy it can be to get stuck, during my birdwatching trip to the United Arab Emirates, my group's minibus became stuck in the sand along the coast. We were following a roadway, and the sand did not appear very soft or deep. We tried to push the vehicle, but it just became more bogged down. It was only after deflating the tires that we could drive right out of the sand.
The LP warns and advices about driving manners in the Emirates. However, what appeared more risky to us were….the poor traffic conditions….in other words, while at noon it took us just 20 minutes to arrive in Dubai from Sharjah (12 km on a 4 line motorway), the way back was a nightmare: same 4 lines, over 1 hour!
It was simply as if an entire city was evacuating….tens of thousands of cars heading outside Dubai. Only some advice from a passenger on where to get off and catch a cab on a “normal traffic motorway” prevented us from missing the plane!
It was unbelievable that such a rich community did not think of the use of another ways of transport than by car….
A real great place full of everything, indeed everything you need, but it is the easiest way
to lose your money, without even feeling how...!
Extraordinary restaurants, and shops and bars
if you ever have the will to enter this place, get ready to pay a lot and get ready not to be sorry for this fact, because you will not resist for sure!
In April 2005, a British tourist was jailed for having codeine in her blood. It's a banned drug under UAE law. Even if you don't have the tablets but it's in your bloodstream, you're in big trouble! This is a common ingredient in over-the-counter painkillers in the UK & Australia, and maybe other countries, so check your medication very, very carefully before you take anything with you.
The lady in question apparently caused a problem in the aircraft at Dubai Airport, the police were called and she was tested for drugs. The codeine was found in her blood.
ok, it is legal to drink and get blind inside any club that sells booze in dubai. BUT technically is it illegal to leave the premises drunk. instant jail if caught drink driving. you can be arrested if the taxi driver doesn't like you or you are being loud or stupid in his cab. taxi drivers have the right to drive to the nearest police station. you can be arrested for walking home drunk or riding a push bike.
DONT debate any police men while drunk!
FACT good contacts and legit name dropping can avoid all police incidents that involve booze and also one drug incident that i know of.
unfortunately for dubai, the booze laws are a dark grey area for them. they want the west to come to them and spend it's money and enjoy but it also is a country that is arm in arm with islam (cool) maybe they need some sort of zoning for dubai or the uae in general. we can't have a law for westerners and one for persian/arabs. so please have fun but be careful on your way home. and DONT carry any booze outside of clubs onto the streets etc.
Al Ain (UAE) and Buraimi (Oman) have always been called the two sister oasis: The border was pretty much invisible and the two were essentially one single town.
Now the UAE have constructed a border fence with barbed wire at the top right through the oasis, seperating Al Ain from Buraimi.
In Nov 2004 crossing into the Omani part was still possible at two points without checks, but the passport signs and checkpoint buildings etc. were already there.
A local told us that future arangements were under discussion. Whatever will come, be warned that in future it may not be possible any longer to visit the Omani side, i.e. Wadi Madbah, Kithnah etc. as well as the pittoresque route through the mountains to the Hatta Pools and Hatta that easily.
The border fence btw. extends already over tens of kilometers also far outside of Al Ain: it looks, as if the UAE wanted to generally seal off its borders to poorer neighbours.
Some guide books mention Dibba Beach (the northern end, already on Omani territory) as a good spot to camp.
When we were there two possibly Indian or Bangla Desh guys came up and asked to have their photo taken: them being next to the car and me 10 meters away! I also noticed that there was no film in the camera ...
Anyway, it did not work out for them in our case, but when they then decided to sit some 50-100m away from us, watching us while the darkness was closing in, we decided to head for another spot.
Definitely better spots are around the mountain behind the beach, alongside the entry into Wadi Khab a Shamis (direction to Khasab).
The highways of the UAE seem to be deceptively open to rash driving. Be warned that all the major highways of the country, especially the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway (named Shaikh Zayed Road in the Emirate of Dubai to honor the President of the Federation and named Al Maktoom Road in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the honor of the founding ruler of Dubai), are strictly regulated.
There are open and hidden cameras. The speed limit is 120 Kms.
You may find some people driving over 120 Kms, but then remember that they have to pay a fine of Dirhams 200 (i.e. US$ 55 ), if caught. Why these people drive fast? There are many reasons, but the major is that the drivers bank on seeing a camera upfront and reduce speed as they near its shooting zone.
During our last two trips to Dubai, we counted no less than 22 open cameras on Shaikh Zayed Road alone while entering Dubai (see picture).
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi used to be liberal, but now we have observed many new camera installations.
In addition to those cameras that can be seen, the traffic department people hide in the bushes with a moveable traffic control camera that cannot be detected in advance not allowing the speed to be reduced to escape it. Also, as in the USA, police cars are in hiding for any traffic offense.
If you are a woman, men will stare at you.
They are not deliberately being rude and are 99% unlikely to ever touch or even speak to you.
75% of the population is made up of male workers and those earning under a certain wage (most of them) are on bachelor contracts and not allowed to bring their families. Therefore, they only see their wives and children once every two years for a couple of weeks (if they are lucky)
Add this to a population 85% of whom come from societies where women do not show arms or legs...in fact, women who show arms and legs are very loose.
Therefore, we are a great show for them! I am not condoning it, I hate it myself, but it is understandable.
This applies equally to when you are alone or with friends/ partner (male or female).
I variously say hello, stare back or wave, or ask them to go away. Usually this embarrasses them and they do.
Sometimes at the beach they will try to take photographs with their mates in front of you, pretending it's their mates they are taking shots of! Shout NO! GO AWAY! STOP!
VERY occasionally men will have a fiddle in their pockets when they watch you. Tell them you are calling the police or pretend to call this police on your mobile.
If you are EVER verbally or physically harrassed, call the police immediately (999). This is a very serious offence and the police will take it very seriously.
Do not do this lightly as the perpetrator will very likely be physically discouraged not to do this again.
They have a hard time dealing with Western Women, so much so your treated like second class citizens, especially in the shopping areas. My best tip is to ignore them. However do be polite even if they do skip the "q" and enjoy what Dubai has to offer in the way of hospitality and beautiful golden sandy beaches.
The UAE are the most safest place in the world,check out this dialogue with a clerk at a car rental:
me: what about theft insurance?
me:theft insurance for the car!! i mean they steal cars in europe...
clerk: man,there are no car theft's,we are in the UAE! i even leave my key in when i park the car!
and it really was like that!
Driving is a hazard here because kids like to drive fast and recklessly. When changing lanes be extra cautious. You never know what might zoom into you at 130 mph (185 kph). Plus, at the bazaars and shops they like to exploit the naivete of foreigners (Westerners, usually), so dont feel shy to haggle with them and bring the price down, or just walk out on them.
Driving in the desert
* Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
* Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.
* Don't assume that your cell phone will work in the desert - it may not.
Stay with your vehicle and signal for help. If you must walk for help, wait until sunset and leave a note telling which way you went. If you have water, drink it, don't ration it.
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