Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the world’s most prosperous and rapidly developing cities. In little over half a century it has seen a dramatic transformation from a small Bedouin settlement to a thriving business and tourism centre of global stature. The island city of Abu Dhabi is a lush, modern metropolis, complete with treelined streets, futuristic skyscrapers, huge shopping malls and international luxury hotels.
The city is surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf which offer a striking contrast to the large parks and green boulevards spread across the island. Abu Dhabi has entered a new era of dramatic development that will, over the next ten years, lead the Emirates to become one of the world’s major centres of excellence in tourism, culture, infrastructure development, business, and social activity. The physical transformation will be truly spectacular.
A series of massive investment projects promise to establish Abu Dhabi as one of the architectural wonders of the world. The hallmarks of these developments will be innovation, harmony, quality and style. Most of these developments will exist outside the city centre, thus ensuring that construction for the future does not spoil enjoyment of the present. For more information about Abu Dhabi visit visitabudhabi.ae.
A tropical and semi-dry climate. Sunshine can be expected year-round. All through summer, from early June to early September; the weather is hot and humid, with temperatures averaging typically above 40 C. From end of September to end of May, temperatures average a pleasant 28 C – 20 C. Air-conditioning is used in all vehicles and buildings including hotels, conference and exhibition halls and shopping malls.
Visitors (both men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places, as a sign of respect for local culture and customs. Some places such as nightclubs require guests not to wear shorts, caps or sport shoes on their premises. Unless otherwise indicated, official events usually require non-locals to wear formal attire; a suit and tie for men and an evening dress for women.
As for the weather recommendations, lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year (summer, spring and autumn), though a light sweater or cardigan could be handy when visiting a shopping mall, hotel or restaurant where the temperature might be kept low to counter the outdoor heat. Slightly warm clothes are needed for the short winter season, especially in the evenings.
Abu Dhabi’s culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.
The Abu Dhabi society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and provided reasonable discretion is shown; the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted.
Despite rapid economic development in recent years, Abu Dhabi remains close to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional attire and headdress. Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.
The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.
Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and welcomed.
Normal tourist photography is allowed, however it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to request permission before photographing men.
The monetary unit is the Arab Emirate Dirham (dirham) which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US Dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$ 1 = AED 3.67. The local time is GMT + 4 hours.
Passport holders from over 40 countries are granted free visa on arrival, and citizens of all other countries are required to follow normal visa procedures prior to their trip. For more information please visit the following website: visitabudhabi.ae
Nationals of the below listed countries are eligible for a free-of-charge visa stamped on their passports upon entry into Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Airports: