UAE Basic Information

What’s that sound? When you’re in the UAE, 5 times a day you’ll hear the adhan or call to prayer as delivered by a muezzin from each mosque or broadcast from a central location. Salat or prayer is spaced throughout the day according to the position of the sun in the sky with the first adhan around sunrise. Not sure when to pray? Don’t worry – there’s an app for that!

Visa Requirements

Australians going to or through the United Arab Emirates on holiday are required to obtain a visa before travelling. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate-General of the United Arab Emirates.

Currency

The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the UAE Dirham. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and UAE Dirham fluctuates constantly so it’s a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.

Food

Emirati cuisine, much like its population, is a blend of Middle Eastern and Asian foods but in a much broader sense really encompasses all international tastes. The traditional Emirati diet consists of meat, seafood and rice as staples accompanied by spiced coffee and tea. Cuisines from around the world are widely available and the standard of international restaurants ranges from Michelin-starred establishments to Western fast food chains. Shawarma and falafel are cheap and popular street food options. Alcohol is available in all emirates, bar Sharjah, in liquor stores, hotel restaurants and bars as well as clubs.

Nightlife

As the most liberal of the emirates, Dubai has the best after-hours scene although Abu Dhabi also has a burgeoning nightlife. International DJs and renowned club nights are frequent visitors to the UAE and you can also find live music venues, karaoke, Latino dance nights and more. Drinking venues include sky-high supper clubs, intimate cocktail lounges, retro-and British-themed pubs, sports and poolside bars and minimalist nightspots depending on whether you want to spend a little or a lot.