United Arab Emirates Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit United Arab Emirates in 2023

Welcome to United Arab Emirates

From a long desert that extends throughout the country to watch splendid sunsets, to the ancient history combined with modern architecture and skyscrapers. This is the United Arab Emirates, a country you can't miss on a trip to the Middle East.

In this ultimate United Arab Emirates travel guide, you will find everything you need to know before embarking on this adventure.

COVID Restrictions in the United Arab Emirates

Document Checklist for the United Arab Emirates

  • Visa
  • Valid passport
  • Sufficient funds
  • Return airline ticket
  • Birth certificate of minor (if necessary)

Essential United Arab Emirates Travel Information

  • Currency - The UAE dirham (AED). USD 1 is equivalent to approx. AED 3.67.
  • Daily budget for 1 person - The approximate budget is AED 294 (USD 80) for one person.
  • Languages - Arabic is the official language. Gulf Arabic and English are spoken as well, the former by Emirati locals and the second as a common foreign language or “lingua franca”.
  • Socket type - The plug type is G. Dubai operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
  • Time zone - UTC+04:00 (United Arab Emirates Standard Time).
  • Top 3 cities to visit - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Burj Khalifa, Al Qudra lakes, and Emirates Palace.

Visa Information for the United Arab Emirates

The UAE government offers a tourist visa, a travel authorization that allows certain nationalities to make short tourist trips or business trips.

The United Arab Emirates eVisa Explained

The eVisa is an electronic document, so you can get it online and present it to immigration authorities by printing it out. You don't have to go to the embassy or consulate. This visa is good for Single Entry and valid for a stay of 30 days in Total.

The UAE Immigration Department requires all visitors to have a valid passport for at least six months.

Typical Costs and Budget for the United Arab Emirates

Daily spending per person- On a low budget, you should keep available around AED 294 (USD 80) per day for your vacation. On a mid-range budget, AED 740 (USD 201) should suffice.

  • Meals - Most travelers spend around AED 153 (USD 42) on meals for one day.
  • Transport - Transportation costs can be close to AED 48 (USD 13) daily.
  • Hotel - A hotel room for a couple in the United Arab Emirates costs around AED 941 (USD 256).

A vacation to the United Arab Emirates for one week can cost up to AED 5,180 (USD 1,410) per person.

Best Ways to Travel around the United Arab Emirates

The excellent road structure in the most popular cities makes transport a marvel, given the routes, streets, bridges, and other infrastructure, are in perfect condition. However, the UAE also has a great public transport system, including trains, metro, taxis, buses, and bicycles which can be rented in cities.

Here we will expand on these options, and it will be up to you to choose which one you prefer.

  • Train and metro

The train network is fairly new and is used to transport cargo. However, the metro is a magnificent transport system and one of the most developed in the world. In Dubai, you will find one of the most popular metro networks in the world.

  • Private transport or renting a car

You can take private transportation by using a taxi, mainly for going from the airport to and from the hotel.

You can also find private intercity transfers that take 1 to 4 people to their destination. These are mostly standard cars or minivans.

If you want to rent a car, keep in mind you need an international driving permit. You can also even go for a luxurious and extravagant car rental experience, such as a Ferrari or Lamborghini in Dubai!

  • Bus

Contrastingly, a non-luxury but cheaper option is the bus. You can find air-conditioned and comfortable buses for long-distance journeys.

Safety in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a safe country to travel to, so you don't have much to worry about.

Some natural disasters can occur, such as sandstorms and electrical storms. There is also risk of terrorist attacks, so it is advisable always to check the local news and locate your nearest embassy, if any issues may arise.

A few more tips:

  • Read about the local laws keeping in mind they are quite connected to the main religion, Islam.
  • If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask the UAE authorities.
  • Remember that drugs are illegal.
  • Respect local traditions, given their beliefs are extremely significant to them.
  • Always keep the contact number of the emergency consular assistance on you, in case you lose your passport during your trip and need an emergency travel document.
  • Get international travel insurance for medical facilities. If you are sick, you can access a full medical examination and get financial compensation.
  • Please keep in mind that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the United Arab Emirates face legal challenges not experienced by other residents and travelers.

Weather in the United Arab Emirates

For your trip to the UAE, we recommend you travel between October and February because of the cooler temperatures. If you want to enjoy the beaches, October, March, and April are your best bet when the weather is warm but pleasant. From June to September, the weather is humid and hot.

Popular Cities and Towns in the United Arab Emirates

UAE has a lot to offer, from cities with high skyscrapers to traditional villages. Here's some local advice for tourist attractions and shopping.

  • Dubai is famous for its shopping centers, modern architecture, and dynamic nightlife. You can visit and enjoy the famous Atlantis Resort, The Palm, and the most famous landmark, the extravagant Burj Khalifa.
  • Abu Dhabi, the capital, is modern and traditional t the same time. It is also known as a paradise for buying luxury brands.
  • Sharjah is known as the city of art. It will dazzle you with its history and heritage. There are many museums to visit, and there’s a significant cultural sense you won't find in other cities.
  • Fujairah is located on the east coast of the UAE. It is known for its magnificent beaches that run along the Gulf of Oman.
  • Dhaid is one of the most important cities in the United Arab Emirates. Here you can visit traditional markets to buy carpets, fabrics, ceramics, dried fruits, and even make a camel ride through the desert.

Must Do and See in the United Arab Emirates

  1. Burj Khalifa - The largest building constructed by humans standing at 828 meters. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the top and the fantastic shopping centers inside.

  2. Al Qudra Desert - This desert is one of the closest to Dubai. Enjoy the desert during a jeep ride with your friends or family, an incredible experience. In addition, you have the option to stay the night in a luxury glamping tent.

  3. Emirates Palace - Located in Abu Dhabi, this palace exudes both typical Arabian and modern vibes.

  4. Atlantis, the Palm - This luxury resort hotel in Palm Jumeirah is an architectural benchmark awarded for its grandeur and beauty. Its design is based on the mythology of Atlantis. The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago of Dubai, and is shaped like a palmtree when seen from above.

  5. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization - The perfect place to learn more about the roots of Arab and Islamic culture. Admire the manuscripts and artwork from the 7th to 19th centuries, showing the local laws and culture of that time.

Typical United Arab Emirates Food to Try

  • Luqaimat - Fried meatballs with a sweet taste, made from milk, sugar, butter, and flour, and covered in syrup. It is a popular traditional dessert.

  • Fattoush - This vegan dish consists of fresh lettuce, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, mint leaves, onion, garlic, lemon, and olive oil, and can be accompanied by Levantine bread or pita toast. A perfect traditional dish to try if you love salads or if you are vegan.

  • Chabab (Emirati Pancake) - This thin and crispy bread has a sweet taste, very similar to an American pancake. Its ingredients are flour, egg, melted butter, and yeast, and are flavored with cardamom or saffron.

Vaccine Information for the United Arab Emirates

To find out which vaccinations you need, and to get other health recommendations to travel to the UAE, go to the CDC website.

Visiting the Burj Khalifa in the UAE

Designed by Adrian Smith, the Burj Khalifa resembles a spider lily and is the tallest freestanding structure with the highest observation deck in the world. There are actually two decks: At The Top on the 124th and 125th floors and At The Top Sky on the 148th floor.

Burj Khalifa has one main entrance, in Dubai Mall. As you head to the Burj Khalifa elevator on the ground floor, you will see two different lines for those who have purchased At The Top Burj Khalifa tickets and for those who wish to explore other levels without tickets.

To avoid waiting in long lines, it is best to purchase skip-the-line tickets online.

Fun Facts about the United Arab Emirates

  • The world's first artificial intelligence ministry was created un the UAE. The development of the technology industry is vital for the UAE.
  • The police drive luxury cars, such as Bugatti, Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Chevrolet Camaro, and Mercedes, among others. So seeing them out there is quite a spectacle.
  • The UAE has no natural rivers. They do have“wadis”, which are natural freshwater channels that fill up with water during the rainy months.
  • The population includes more than 200 nationalities. In a population of 9.89 million, more than 80% of its residents are foreigners.
  • A monarchy governs the country. A separate royal family rules each emirate of the UAE, but the emir of Abu Dhabi is the country's president and head of state. In contrast, the emir of Dubai serves as the nation's prime minister.
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