UAE – Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain

Dubai was calling me for a long time, but there was never the right time to go.  The opportunity presented itself the winter break 2019-2020 with direct flight and reasonable air fares on Emirates. Add warm weather and enough amusement parks to keep the kids busy and the deal was sealed.
Dubai is indeed, an alluring city.  It is ever-growing, international, tourist friendly, easy to navigate, offering plenty of entertainment, culture and adventure from Arabian Gulf to the desert – it should satisfy many flavors.  
Some things to know about Dubai and UAE.  It is a very young country, established as recently as 1971, with Abu Dhabi as an official capital. Comprised of 8 Emirates, each is governed by a different royal  family.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi, being the commercial and business capitals, are more culturally tolerant than other Emirates, following stricter religious rules. 

Currency: The UAE currency is Durham.  The ATM machines are widely available, and most credit cards are accepted at all cultural attractions. Communication is easy through WhatsApp, as most residents and visitors alike use the app to send free texts and make phone calls as long as you are in a WI-FI zone.

Visa: US citizens receive Visa on Arrival at the airport.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a tricky subject. Only residents can purchase at the store if they have license. As a visitor, however, you may purchase what you need at the Duty Free when you enter the country.  Alcohol is taxed very high, and even duty free prices carry a sticker shock.  Many hotel restaurants serve alcohol, while public places don’t.  If you are set on having an alcoholic beverage with your meal, just call ahead and ask if the establishment is licensed to serve.

Dress Code: As visitors to Dubai, women do not need to cover their head, wear long dresses, or stick to pants.  A rule of thumb is exercise common sense, and don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear to meet your future mother in-law for the first time.  In the streets and restaurants, you will see anything from full hijab to cut off shorts.  Same rules apply to men.   

There is no shortage of attractions in and around Dubai.  The dilemma is to choose what to do and how to spend the time that you have.  To read more about our family trip to Dubai, please check the Dubai Blog.