Where is Dubai, What is the Dubai currency, and 4 other Questions about the UAE

Where is Dubai, What is the Dubai currency, and 4 other Questions about the UAE

Dubai is one of the most mysterious and exciting cities on Earth, and for good reason. So if you find yourself thinking “What is Dubai?”, or “What is the Dubai currency?” don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the UAE.

Dubai sunset view of Sheikh Zayed Road.jpg

“Where is Dubai?”

Great question! Dubai is an Emirate within the United Arab Emirates, a collection of Emirates which formally combined together to form the UAE in 1973. Dubai itself is next to Abu Dhabi, the capitol, to the South, the Emirate of Sharjah to the North, the country of Oman to the East and above Saudi Arabia which is below the country to the South.

While many people don’t know where is Dubai located, Dubai is one of the most connected cities on Earth, and Dubai International Airport (DXB) sees more international passengers than any other airport on the planet.

Located within an 8-hour flight of over 66% of the people in the world, Dubai is simply the most centrally located city on Earth with non-stop daily flights to over 200 destinations.

For more, read “Traveling to Dubai: Where is Dubai?”

“What is the Dubai currency?”

Another great question! The Dubai currency is the UAE Dirham (Arabic: درهم‎, sign: د.إ; code: AED), a popular name for many of the currencies in the Middle East, and it is pegged to the US dollar at 3.67 to 1.

The Dubai currency features notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 and coins of 1 dirham, 50 fils and quarter fils. Most groceries stores or vendors will round to the nearest quarter fil.

I’ve always struggled with keeping track of exchange rates and money while traveling, but it always helped me knowing the UAE dirham was pegged to the dollar and roughly 100diham was $30. Again, helped me a bit, I still spent way more than I wanted to most days :)

For more, read “Traveling to Dubai: Dubai Currency”

“Drinking in Dubai, is it allowed?”

This is one of the topics we get asked about the most, drinking in Dubai, and we understand why it may be confusing. It comes to a surprise to many that drinking in Dubai is not actually illegal, it is just different than drinking in many other countries.

First off, any tourist flying into DXB airport can buy alcohol at the Duty Free shops when they land, same goes for Abu Dhabi. However, some Emirates are more strict than others and Sharjah, for example, is a “dry Emirate” which means zero booze at all.

what doesn't suck couple on beach in dubai burj al arab hotel.jpg

Sticking with drinking in Dubai for this article, the main difference is that there are no shops which sell alcohol, unless you are a non-Muslim UAE resident and have applied for, and carry, your alcohol license with you to the shop. These shops sell everything from beer, wine, spirits, etc and your license gives you the right to purchase up to a 15% of your monthly salary in alcohol and allows you to have it in your home. Without this license, you are technically not allowed to have alcohol in your home.

However, this isn’t a problem for most people, residents or visitors alike, as nearly every hotel has an alcohol license, and the most popular bars and clubs in Dubai offer all the classics you’re used to. Haven’t been to a brunch in Dubai? Check out the 5 Best Brunches in Dubai you cannot miss for more ideas.

Just remember, you are a visitor in a conservative country. No fights, no nudity, no kissing in public, and no being loud of disrespectful. As long as you remember these things we promise you’ll have insane amounts of fun.

We have had so many friends come and visit us in Dubai with no idea what to expect and as soon as they are on a beautiful pool or walking down a gorgeous blue water, white sand beach with a cocktail in their hand they suddenly have a very different picture of Dubai in their heads.

Continue reading “The Complete Guide to Drinking in Dubai” for more.

“Are all women covered in Dubai?”

Fair question, and we see where the confusion comes from. While many think that Dubai, and the UAE, are ultra conservative Muslim countries, the Emirates are actually quite progressive, especially Dubai.

With almost more nationalities than any other country on Earth, everyone is pretty free to act as they wish, as long as they respect the local customs, religious laws, and traditions of the country.

While the formal attire of the Emiratis is the classic black Abaya for women and the clean, white Khandoura for men, this is by no means a requirement for all women, especially non-Muslims.

When visiting Dubai, you will see a wide range of clothing being worn, from western women in bikinis on the beach, to fully covered Muslim women with their families.

So no, if you are visiting Dubai as a women, you don’t need to cover up, especially at the beach, just bring a sweater or something to cover your shoulders or legs if you go to a mosque or to one of the 5 Best Malls in Dubai, but mostly just because of the air conditioning :)

Dubai pool 360 picture sunshine.jpg

“How expensive is Dubai?”

Dubai is linked with images of wealth and excess, gold and glitter, and everything in between. While Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East, it isn’t obscenely more expensive than many popular western cities.

In fact, for the first time in many years, both Dubai or Abu Dhabi failed to land in the list of Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World.

While Dubai is by no means cheap, the most expensive things for a visitor will be food and alcohol. Dubai has an excellent metro system which easily, and cheaply, connects much of the city, and the taxis have a fairly low base fare when compared to other cities.

Living in Dubai is another story as rents are quite expensive and many landlords expect their tenants to pay the entire year up front, or in two cheques, which can be a lot for many people.

All in all, Dubai will not be one of the cheapest places you visit, but if you plan it right it won’t completely break the bank, either. Just remember to look for happy hour options if you’re going to drink, stick to public transportation and watch what you order - they can all sneak up on you!

For more, read “Cost of Living in Dubai: Housing, Transportation and Food”

“Is Dubai safe?”

The UAE has consistency ranked very high on safety, which is why the Daily Mail named Dubai the 8th safest city in the world in 2018, right between Munich, Germany and Basel, Switzerland - are you surprised?

There is a certain respect that comes with having such an international city, and with so many expats who know they are visitors in another country, this leaves the vast majority of citizens and visitors alike well behaved.

Personally, we have never lived in a more safe feeling city and notoriously never locked our apartment door for over two years - heck, Anne never even had a key.

Not only is Dubai super safe, but friendly as well. The number of times we forgot iPhones or wallets in a taxi and they showed back up at our door, sometimes before we realized we’d lost something, to return it was always a happy surprise.

So there you have it, some of the most frequently asked questions about the United Arab Emirates. So the next time someone asked “Where is Dubai?” or “Dubai currency, what is it?” you’ll have the answers for them, and more!

Dubai aerial view from airplane of Dubai Palm.jpg