The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT, and there is no time change during summer.
The domestic supply is 220 volts and British-style 3-pin electrical plugs are used (Type G or 13 amp plug). Socket adaptors are readily available in local stores. Most electrical goods sold in the UAE have European 2-pin plugs.
Weights and Measures
The UAE uses the metric system, although even the British and US standard weights and measures are understood.
Clothing & Dress
Typical light-weight summer clothing is ideal for Dubai weather. Usually, casual clothing is used. It is best to avoid swimsuits, shorts, bikinis, and revealing tops, and confine them to beach resorts. (see dress code)
Most public toilets at the shopping centres, museums, public gardens, are clean and well-maintained. The public toilets in souq and bus stations usually have only gents toilet. On the city outskirts, although there are public toilets available at petrol stations and restaurants, they usually lack toilet paper and may not be in good condition.
Food and Water
The standard of food hygiene and water quality is usually high, especially in larger centres, although in smaller cafes of remote areas, one cannot be very sure about the conditions. Water is usually desalinated, and so normally safe to drink, but, it is better to use bottled water, and you may need to drink plenty of it, in the scorching heat.
The United Arab Emirates Dirham (UAE Dirham) is the local currency. There are no currency restrictions in the UAE, and all major currencies in the world are accepted and exchanged.
These come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 dirham, while coins are used in denominations of 25 and 50 fils and 1 dirham. The dirham is index-linked to the US dollar. All banks offer cash withdrawal facilities from ATMs scattered across major hotels and malls. Do not involve in money exchanges on the streets, as it is not a permissible transaction, due to the possibility of fraudulent notes being offered.
GSM services are available and the mobile phone code within the UAE is 050. A particular SpeakEasy GSM mobile service helps tourists and visitors who are unable to use their own mobile phones in the UAE. You also have the option of purchasing a temporary SIM card and use it in your own handset with a temporary card. Etisalat can be contacted for further details by dialing 101.
Most four and five-star hotels offer internet to their guests for free or with small hourly rates. You will also find FREE internet service available at certain stores, restaurants, or even in some public spaces around Sharjah.
The General Post Authority is quite efficient. The post offices function from 8 am to 11.30 pm (Saturday to Wednesday), while on Thursdays it functions from 8 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. Fridays are closed.
Normal shopping hours are from 9 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 10 pm although the majority of the shops stay open all day. Some supermarkets are even open all 24 hours. However, on Fridays, being the Islamic day of rest, all shops close for prayers between 11.30 am to 1:30 pm.
All government establishments work from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Private offices have their own working hours that are usually longer. The government offices are usually closed for their weekend holiday at mid-day on Thursday, and open only from Saturdays. The weekend holiday of private offices, however, may vary.
Arabic is the main language in Dubai. The majority of the local people here can understand and speak English.
Religion and Etiquette
Sharjah strictly adheres to Islamic Laws. Islam, being the official religion in Dubai, it is better to not publicly criticize or distribute any material against it. Eating in public is prohibited from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
Other common western habits that attract stiff penalties are swearing, rude remarks, public display of affection, choices of clothing such as women revealing bare arms, legs, or midriff.
Also refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public places between sunrise and sunset, during the month of Ramadan.
Taking photographs of sensitive UAE military and civilian sites or foreign diplomatic missions could result in arrest, detention, and prosecution by local authorities. Further, engaging in mapping activities using GPS equipment, without coordination of UAE authorities, will have serious consequences. For photography and film-making please arrange a permit in advance through Sharjah Government Media Bureau.
Sharjah is one of the safest places in the world, given, the tough laws that it implements. Respect the laws and their culture, while also enjoying your vacation in Dubai.