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Dubai - General Information

Geography
Dubai is located on the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf. The second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates (the others are Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman,

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Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah), it is sparsely populated outside the main city area and characterized by desert vegetation.

Population
The population of Dubai was estimated to be 971,000 (according to official figures at the end of 2001). Dubai has become the most populous city in the UAE, accounting for more than a third of the urban population.

Culture
Dubai is welcoming and tolerant. It is an Islamic country, but other religions are respected. Swimwear is acceptable on the beaches and around swimming pools, but both men and women should ensure their shoulders and knees are covered when in public places. Alcohol is freely available in hotel restaurants and bars, but not in outside restaurants. Normal tourist photographs are acceptable, but it is considered offensive to photograph Arabic women. The weekend here falls over Thursday and Friday. The main religious celebrations are Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha (a celebration that follows Pilgrimage), Lailat al-Mi'raj (the Ascension of the Prophet), the Prophet's Birthday and the Islamic New Year. Secular holidays include New Year's Day (1 January) and National Day (2 December). Ramadam is the month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk - next year it commences on the 3rd October - and there are restrictions on alcohol, outdoor dining and entertainment during this period. Please note that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques.

Airport
Dubai International Airport. (There are no departure taxes payable).

Time difference
GMT + 4 hours

Currency
The Dirham (dh) is the official currency. It is linked to the US dollar at approximately US$1=Dh3.67. International credit cards are widely accepted.

Electricity
220 volts. European plugs with 2 circular metal pins.

Language
Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken. (Almost 87% of the population are foreign nationals, with 65% coming from Asia).

Climate
Dubai has a sub tropical arid climate with negligible rainfall. Its high season falls between November and April when the temperatures are at their most pleasant. During the summer it can get very hot and the fall in hotel prices reflects this.

Events
The 'Dubai Shopping Festival' is a major event held every year from mid-January to mid-February and includes fireworks, children's entertainment and free raffle tickets with every purchase. The 'Dubai Summer Surprise' is held in June and features displays of traditional culture, cooking demonstrations and art shows. World-class tennis tournaments, boat and horse races, desert rallies and one of the world's largest air shows also attract thousands of visitors.



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