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Guide: United Arab Emirates




United Arab Emirates

CAPITAL: Abu Dhabi GOVERNMENT: Federation of Emirates
NATIONAL DAY: December 2 (Independence Day)
LAND AREA: 83,600 sqkm (a bit smaller than Mindoro Island)
LOCATION: South Eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula
TERRAIN: Flat, barren coastal plains and gravel deserts
CLIMATE: Summer: April-September (weather is hot and extremely humid); November-March: infrequent rainfall; occasional sandstorms; and some winter mornings that bring fog.
NATURAL HAZARDS: Frequent sand and dust storms
POPULATION: 5.06 million (est 2009)
PEOPLE: Arab, Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Yemenis, Omanis, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Iranians, Afghans, Filipinos and Western Europeans
LANGUAGES: Arabic, English
RELIGION: Islam (Sunni and Shi'a) as the majority; a portion of Hinduism and Christianity
WORKING WEEK: The weekends are Fridays and Saturdays, which means that the work week officially starts on a Sunday.
CURRENCY: United Arab Emirate Dirham (AED or DHS), Exchange Rate 1 AED = 11.600100 PHP (as of August 2011)
CODE: COUNTRY DIALING =  +971     INTERNET  =  .ae  
TIME DIFFERENCE: UTC/GMT +4; Philippines is 4 hours ahead of UAE



The UAE is a Muslim country and the culture, customs and traditions practiced by its people are purely Arab, based on the teachings of Islam. 

1.  UAE is less strict in terms of foreigners' dressing habits.  Non-Arabs and non-Muslims relatively enjoy the freedom of sporting modes of attires of their choices.  However, guests should give due respect and consideration to local sensibilities and dress modestly.

2.  Women should avoid low-cut tops, short skirts and bare arms.  Men and women should not walk around in swim-wear or bikinis, unless they are at the beach or pooside.

3. When a man meets an Emirati woman, do not offer to shake her hand, unless she extends her hand towards you first.

4.  Most men shake hands to greet and bid farewell to each other.  Some Arab men even hold hands and walk as a sign of great brotherly love.

5.  Accept refreshments only with your right hand, which should also be used for eating and drinking.

6.  Avoid showing the soles of your feet or pointing your foot at anyone.  Crossing your legs and sitting in front of an important guest or official is also deemed rude.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset. 

7.  Non-Muslim OFWs should refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of employers, associates and the public.

8.  The importation of narcotics, pork products and pornographic books and and materials is forbidden.

9.  The penalties for drug trafficking, smuggling and possession, of even residual amounts, of drugs are severe.  The possession and/or import of even the smallest amount of drugs can result in a minimum prison sentence of four years.  The presence of drugs in the blood stream is counted as possession.

10.  Co-habitation, sex outside marriage, having a baby out of wed-lock, adultery, and homosexuality are strickly prohibited.

11.  Drinking and driving or appearing in public drunk is not permitted.

12.  Swearing & making rude gestures and all forms of road rage can lead to heavy penalties including a jail sentence.

13.  Public displays of affection are not permitted.  You can be arrested and jailed.

14.  Do not offer any alcoholic refreshments or food with pork to your Muslim guest.

15.  Avoid taking photographs of mosques, military installations or other people, especially Arab women.

16.  Do not beckon or ask someone to come to you with your finger.  If you wish to use a hand gesture, use the whole palm and fingers.