Between November and March a moderate, warm climate prevails during the day at an average temperature of 26°C, with cooler evening temperatures averaging 15°C. Humidity levels rise significantly in the summer months, between June and August, making this the most popular times to travel to the UAE.
There are no currency regulations and foreign currency of almost any denomination is readily exchanged in the UAE. The dirham (pronounced dir-ham) is the official currency of the UAE. The prefix is written as AED or Dh. The dirham is index linked to the dollar and the official exchange rate is Dh3.671 = US$ 1.00. Foreign banks have branches in the UAE and ATMs are readily available in all urban centres.
Across the seven cities that comprise the UAE, Arabic is the official language. Farsi (also known as Persian), however, is also commonly used. Rest assured, English is primarily used, widely spoken and understood by the majority of the locals. English speaking travellers will also take comfort in their ability to read the majority of signs, with English interpretations stated on a majority of them.
Unlike some parts of the world, tipping is not compulsory but is common in the UAE. Gratuities to staff at hotels, and tour guides is at your own discretion and majority of restaurants will add a service charge to your bill prior to you paying. Service fees in Abu Dhabi are 16%, Dubai 10% and Sharjah 15%.
According to the international travel industry, the UAE is one of the safest places that an individual can visit, in the world. It is still, however, strongly suggested that all travellers purchase travel insurance and take normal precaution when it comes to safeguarding yourself and your valuables.
The UAE is considered, for the most part, conservative in regards to clothing and dress code. Although the attitude to clothing is relaxed, respect for local culture and customs in public places by visitors is strongly advised; swimsuits, bikinis, shorts & skirts (above the knee), bikinis and revealing tops (singlets) should be confined to beach resorts. Men should not leave the beach topless, and women should keep their thighs and shoulders covered.
At some beaches, specifically, Sharjah, women are not allowed to wear swimsuits on public beaches.
The general shopping hours in the UAE are between 9am-1pm and 4pm-9pm. In Abu Dhabi and Dhabi (and other large tourist locations), most shops will remain open all day and close later, and some supermarkets are open for 24 hours.
Although shops and shopping malls are fully air-conditioned, the cool of the evening makes it the most favourable time to shop for locals.
Although Friday is the Islamic day of rest, shopping malls and majority of shops are open but close for Juma prayers during the times of 11.30am-1.30pm.