The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is situated on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman, with coastlines on both the Gulf and Indian Ocean. The country comprises seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate, occupying over 80% of the country. With an area of 3,885 square kilometres, the emirate of Dubai is the second largest.
Sunshine, shopping, seaside, sports and safety - five of the key ingredients that have earned Dubai a growing reputation as one of the world's most attractive and rapidly developing leisure destinations.
Long established as the trading and commercial hub of the Middle East, the emirate combines the excitement of a bustling commercial centre with the wide open spaces of a luxurious resort.
Located at the cross-roads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Dubai is well positioned to attract tourists looking for somewhere new and different, a destination combining the traditions of the east with the comforts of the west.
Both business travellers and tourists find that Dubai offers the highest standards of comfort and luxury. As befits a dynamic and prosperous business centre, Dubai's ultramodern hotels offer every luxury. Yet the comforts of the 21st century co-exist comfortably with the emirate's rich Arab-Islamic culture.
An intriguing land that combines old-world souks and modern shopping malls, rolling sand dunes and championship grass golf courses, remote Bedouin villages and an array of five-star hotels, Dubai defies easy definition.
Location: Dubai is the second largest of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates.
Local Time: GMT +4 hours.
Language: The official language of the UAE is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood.
Currency: The monetary unit is the UAE dirham (AED), which is divided into 100 fils. The exchange rate is US$1 = AED 3.67.
Climate: Sunny, blue skies can be expected throughout the year although June to September is hot and humid with temperatures averaging above 40C. The weather is pleasant from October to May, and evenings in January and February can necessitate the use of a sweater.
Air-conditioning is present in all vehicles and buildings.
Clothing: Lightweight summer clothing in cottons or blends is ideal for the majority of the year. A sweater, light jacket or shawl may be needed for cooler evenings. The dress code in Dubai is very relaxed. However, extremely revealing and inappropriate clothing may be considered offensive.
Business Hours: The official weekend is Friday, although government offices are closed on Friday and Saturday. Most shops and malls open by 10am and close around 10pm. Banks, embassies and consulates are open from 8.30am to 12.30pm, Saturday to Thursday.
Electricity: The electrical system is based on 220/240 volts AC. US-made appliances may require an adaptor.