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United Arab Emirates

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| image=[[Image:Abu Dhabi skyline.jpg|noframe|250px]]| location=[[Image:LocationUnitedArabEmiratesUnited Arab Emirates in its region.png|noframe|250px]]svg| flag=[[Image:Ae-flagFlag of the United Arab Emirates.png]]
| capital=[[Abu Dhabi]]
| government=Federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
| timezone=UTC+4
}}
The '''United Arab Emirates''' [http://www.uaetourism.ae/en/] is a federation of seven emirates on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It has coastlines on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, with [[Saudi Arabia]] to the west and southwest, and [[Oman]] to the southeast and also on the eastern tip of the Musandam Peninsula as well as an Omani enclave within its borders. It is a country rich in history and culture and an easy starting point for travels in the [[Middle East]].
==Understand==
===People===
The population is incredibly diverse. Only some 20% of the population of the Emirates are 'real' Emiratis; Most the rest come from the Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh (some 50%); other parts of Asia, particularly the Philippines, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka (another perhaps 15%); and "Western" countries (Europe, Australia, North America, South Africa; 5-6%), with the remainder from everywhere else. On any given day in, say, Dubai or Sharjah, you can see people from every continent and every social class. With this diversity, one of the few unifying factors is language, and consequently nearly everyone speaks some version of English. Nearly all road or other information signs are in English and Arabic, and English is widely spoken, particularly in the hospitality industry. On the other hand, there are elements that would be unsettling for overseas travelers, such as fully veiled women, but as this is "their way", tourists should show respect and will be offered the same in turn.
===Holidays===
*[[Khor Fakkan]]
*[[Sharjah]] - A cheaper destination, dusty and chaotic in places but with its own unique charm.
*[[Umm al Quwain]] - The most peaceful Emirate of UAE, free from the hussle and bussle of city-life.
==Other destinations==
Citizens of most industrialized countries will receive a 30-day visa on arrival in the United Arab Emirates free of charge. This can be extended for up to 90 days after arrival for a fee of Dhs 500. The countries are listed below:
[[Australia]], [[Andorra]], [[Austria]], [[Brunei]], [[Belgium]], [[Canada]], [[Denmark]], [[Finland]], [[France]], [[Germany]], [[Greece]], [[Hong Kong]], [[Iceland]], [[Ireland]], [[Italy]], [[Japan]], [[Liechtenstein]], [[Luxembourg]], [[Malaysia]], [[Monaco]], [[Netherlands]], [[New Zealand]], [[Norway]], [[Portugal]], [[San Marino]], [[Singapore]], [[South Korea]], [[Spain]], [[Sweden]], [[Switzerland]], [[United Kingdom]] (except BN(O) passports), [[United States of America]] and the [[Vatican City]]. (Note that bearers of Official or Diplomatic passporst are NOT eligible.)
Several other countries are eligible for free hotel/tour-sponsored tourism visas. See '''UAE Interact''' [http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/visas.asp#visa] for the latest details.
The UAE takes an infamously strict line on '''medicines''', with many common drugs, notably anything with containing '''codeine''', '''diazepam''' (Valium) or '''dextromethorphan''' (Robitussin) being banned unless you have a ''notarized and authenticated'' doctor's prescription. Visitors breaking the rules, even inadvertently, have found themselves deported or jailed. The US Embassy to the UAE maintains an unofficial list [http://abudhabi.usembassy.gov/restricted_medication.html] of what may not be imported.
However, as many people have noticed even when having all the correct documentations in both English and Arabic have not been enough to be able to bring in some medication and have resulted in both refusal of entry into the UAE and in some cases fines or jail time. It is advised not bring any kind of medication with you if you can manage without them.
Don't even think about bringing in narcotics: possession of even trace amounts leads to a minimum of four years in prison. Using Khat/qat (a flowering plant that contains an alkaloid called cathinone) which is popular in other nearby countries (notably [[Yemen]]) is also illegal, with life prison sentences possible.
===By plane===
[[Image:DubaiAirportUAE.jpg|thumb|230px|Dubai airport]]
The main hub for air transport in the United Arab Emirates is [[Dubai]] airport, which is served by several major airlines, most notably Dubai-based Emirates [http://www.emirates.com/]. Direct flights connect Dubai to [[Durban]], [[Johannesburg]], [[London]], [[Sydney]], [[Melbourne]], [[Karachi]], [[Tehran]], [[Riyadh]], [[BombayMumbai]],[[Kolkata]], [[Hong Kong]], [[Paris]], [[Zurich]], [[Frankfurt]], [[Milan]], [[Madrid]], [[New York City]], [[Los Angeles]], [[San Francisco]], [[Toronto]], [[São Paulo]] and many other major cities in [[Europe]], [[Asia]], [[Australasia]] and [[Africa]].
After Dubai, the airport at [[Abu Dhabi]] has the next best international connections. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways [http://www.etihadairways.com] now offers direct flights from [[New York City|New York]], [[Toronto]] and many other airports in [[Europe]] and [[Asia]]. Other major airlines serving Abu Dhabi include British Airways [http://www.britishairways.com] from London-Heathrow, KLM [http://www.klm.com] from [[Amsterdam]], Lufthansa [http://www.lufthansa.de] from Frankfurt and Singapore Airlines [http://www.singaporeair.com] from [[Singapore]] and [[Jeddah]].
==Talk==
The official language is [[Arabicphrasebook|Arabic]], but it is safe to say that the majority of the population doesn't speak it (Iranian, Indian, Asian and Western expatriates are more numerous than Arabs in Dubai, and usually have very limited knowledge of Arabic). English is the ''lingua franca''. As the UAE was a British protectorate, most locals would have learnt English in school and would know at least basic English. Hindi or Urdu is another language widely spoken and understood.
Other languages widely spoken in the UAE include Hindustani (Hindi & Urdu)Malayalam, Malayalam/Tamil, Farsi (Persian), and Tagalog (Filipino). Most people possess at least a basic command of English, though it is not uncommon to meet people whose English is limited.
In Dubai, most shops, hotels, and commercial businesses conduct business in English. Generally speaking, Arabic is spoken by government departments and the police; however, in Abu Dhabi and in the Northern Emirates, Arabic is much more widely spoken.
Cash and travellers' cheques can be changed at exchanges located at the airports or in all the major shopping malls. ATMs are numerous and generously distributed. They accept all the major chain cards: Visa, Cirrus, Maestro etc. Credit cards are widely accepted.
 
If you pay with an overseas credit card, most merchants will attempt to apply ''dynamic currency conversion'', charging several percent more than the issuer conversion would have cost. The credit card terminal will offer the choice of whether the conversion should be accepted. The merchant will ''not'' ask you about this, and will choose to accept the conversion. If you pay attention, you can intervene and ask for "No" to be answered. If you ask upfront, some merchants will have no idea what you mean, but many will.
===Costs===
There is an impressive number of super-luxury hotels, most notably the sail-shaped Burj al-Arab (Tower of the Arabs), a Dubai landmark popularly known as a "7-star hotel" — a nonexistent category, but still opulent by any standard. The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi also aspires to the same standards, at a fraction of the price.
 
==Work==
 
Much of the work force in the UAE are foreign expatriates - hence the country's population makeup being so diverse, with Emirati citizens being a minority in their own country. All Emirati citizens receive profit sharing cheques from the government, and mostly do not work. Migrant workers from the Indian Subcontinent and the Philippines are mostly employed in the service and construction industries, toiling for low wages in scorching temperatures. Many mid-level jobs are filled by Arabs from other countries, and many high-skilled and management positions are worked by Westerners who typically enjoy a very good standard of living. If you're interested in working in the UAE there are opportunities in oil and gas, banking, engineering and education. The public school system in Abu Dhabi is hiring a large numbers of English-language teachers from Western countries. These teaching jobs in the UAE are accessible through [http://adec.footprintsrecruiting.com official recruiters of the Abu Dhabi Education Council].
==Respect==
Emiratis are a proud but welcoming people and, when not in their cars, are generally extremely civil and friendly. Like most peoples of the world, they welcome visitors who are willing to show some amount of respect and can be extremely generous. (Some expats and visitors do not understand that revealing clothing can be quite offensive to some people, even if nothing is said to the offenders.) Their culture is unique and can be highly conservative, but overall they are quite attuned to the ways, customs, events, media, and manners of the world.
Local men usually wear a "Kandoura"(more commonly known as a ''dish-dash''), a long robe (typically white), and ghutra, a red-checked or white headdress. Local women wear a black robe-like garment (abaya) and a black head scarf (shayla).
The UAE is more conservative than most Western societies, though not as much as some of its neighbors. Travelers should be aware and respect the more traditional outlook in the UAE, as there are behaviors typical in the West (for example, making "rude and insulting gestures") that will result in arrest in the UAE. On the other hand, Western travelers will find most of the UAE quite comfortable.
The heat in summer can reach 50°C (122°F), so avoid outdoors activity at the height of the day and watch out for signs of heat stroke. Be sure to drink lots of water as dehydration happens easily in such heat. If travelling off road (most of the country is desert), ensure you carry sufficient water to allow you to walk to the road should vehicles become bogged.
Although the UAE is somewhat more accommodating to handicapped travellers than other countries in the Mideast, it would nonetheless be a difficult country to navigate in a wheelchair. Curbs are high and there are few, if any, ramps or other accommodations. This includes an almost complete lack of handicapped-friendly bathrooms.
==Contact==
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