Here are some useful Dubai facts and figures plus basic information for travellers.
Currency: UAE dirham. US$ 1 = AED 3.67.
Time: GMT + 4.
Electricity: 220/240 v; sockets are three pin.
Weather: Temperatures range from a nightime low of around 10°C in winter (Dec-Mar), to a daytime high of 49°C at the height of summer (Jun-Aug). The best time to visit is from October to April, with perfect temperatures for long, comfortable days at the beach and balmy evenings outside.
Vaccinations: No special injections are needed.
Visas: GCC nationals do not require a visa. Citizens from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and most Western European and Far Eastern countries are entitled to a free, 30-day extendable visit visa on arrival. Others must obtain a visa through a local sponsor or hotel.
Duty Free: There is a useful Duty Free shop by the baggage reclaim belts in the airport. The incoming allowance is 400 cigarettes or 250 grams cigars, 200ml perfume and four litres of wine or spirits.
Drugs and alcohol: Drugs are forbidden and associated penalties are very severe, and while alcohol is served at licensed restaurants, bars and clubs, it cannot be bought around town. Drink driving is another absolute no-no, with very heavy penalties for offenders.
Clothing: Loose-fitting cottons suit the year-round sunny climate best, with hats for the heat of the day. Winter evenings can be surprisingly cool, and it is best to come equipped for ferocious air conditioning. Although Dubai is generally permissive, you should dress modestly when around town, and long skirts or trousers and short sleeves are a must when venturing further afield, especially during Ramadan.
Public behaviour: Personal behaviour in public should be restrained – drunkenness and overt displays of affection are offensive to the Muslim culture and illegal.
Safety: The fact is, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world, with very low crime rates meaning travelling around the city is very safe. That said, Dubai is a big world city and common sense precautions should be observed. Women should have little trouble exploring the city alone. However, a modest sense of dress will ensure less unwanted attention in the more traditional parts of the city.