Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate, with blue skies and sunshine all year round.
- October- May – The best time of the year to visit the region with ideal temperatures between 25C and 35C and humidity at its lowest. As this is the most popular time of the year to visit, booking early is recommended.
- June – September – It’s hot and humid during these months with temperatures reaching over 40C, so if you are planning a day out an early morning adventure is your best bet. However, you will find that all the hotels, restaurants and shopping centres are air-conditioned.
Language and culture
The official language of the UAE is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood in business and commerce. The other languages that are commonly spoken and understood are Hindi, Urdu and Farsi – media, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio channels are available in all these languages.
Dubai has a diverse and multi-cultural society although it’s culture is shaped by the Islamic traditions of Arabia, with religion touching all aspects of everyday life in the country.
During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, it is important to respect the local customs during this holy month as well as enjoying the festivities it brings with it. During Ramadan you will notice a change in policy regarding alcohol, eating and entertainment (dates are dependent on the sighting of the new moon and therefore vary each year). Women and men should cover their shoulders and their legs (at least down to the knees) in public, for opening times of major attractions during this period please check the attraction websites.
Currency and time difference
The monetary unit is the Dirham (Dh or AED) which is divided into 100 fils. Its worth buying currency in advance, however you will have plenty of opportunity to change currency when and if you need it. All major international credit cards are generally accepted in shopping malls, larger supermarkets, stores, hotel and restaurants. Smaller retail shops and small restaurants however, prefer to deal in cash.
The local time is GMT+ 4 hours.
British citizens do not require a visa for entry into Dubai. If you or any member of your party is not a British citizen or holds a non-British passport, please check with your appropriate Government consulate or embassy.
Important things to note
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. Plug points are the same as in the UK. The water in Dubai is desalinated and very safe to drink. However, most families prefer to buy bottled drinking water – both imported and local mineral water is widely available from street-side cafes, supermarkets and hotels.
Due to the up and coming nature of the Arabian Peninsula, new hotels, residential properties, business parks and shopping centres will be in development for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it’s important to be aware that during your visit you will see, hear and most likely drive through areas where building work is evident. Don’t let this put you off, our repeat business to the area is testament to the fact that you’ll still have a great holiday in the region.
The developments are not under Beachcomber’s control, nor are we advised of them in advance. The potential disruption changes on a monthly basis and can be very different from the time of booking to your date of departure. If you are in any doubt about the work near your hotel, please keep in touch with us regularly and we will keep you updated accordingly.
What to pack for your Dubai Holiday
Due to the arid subtropical climate and cultural traditions we would advise you to consider the following:
- Lightweight summer clothing with sweaters or jackets for the evenings and during the winter months.
- Swim wear at the pools and beach only, please cover up and respect the local religion and culture in public places.
- During the evening most restaurants have a smart casual dress code.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in the UAE and can’t be brought into the country without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. Guidelines on carrying personal medication into the UAE and a list of controlled medicines can be found on the UAE Ministry of Health website.
Following changes in October 2018, the UAE Ministry of Health announced the requirement for all tourists and residents entering the UAE to complete an electronic form to obtain online approval to carry medication for personal use, prior to entering the country. The Ministry of Health has also published a user guide explaining how to complete the application and the supporting documents required. The British Embassy is currently requesting further information on this process and whether it is required for all types of medication.
For more information on controlled medicines and obtaining permission, contact the UAE Ministry of Health directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +971 2 652 0500. If you arrive in the UAE without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and you may be prosecuted under UAE law.
The Ministry of Health advise that you can bring up to 3 months’ supply of medication as a visitor or up to 1 months’ supply if the medicine is classed as controlled by the UAE.