United Arab Emirates

Seven previously independent states founded in 1971, the United Arab Emirates. They are located on the Arabian Peninsula and is bordered by Saudi Arabia in the west, the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast and the Arabian Gulf. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah - they all have beaches with clear, clean water and excellent service in first class hotels. A large number of excursion possibilities, such as Trips to the East Coast of the Emirates, the camel market in Al Ain, the Omani enclave of Buraimi or Jeep tours into the mountains or the desert, followed by barbecue, camel riding, sand boarding and belly dancing can be entertaining your stay. The shopping malls and beautiful oriental souks enchant every visitor. The first class hotel with its exquisite international cuisine will delight you. Since Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Emirates for travelers from all over the world are an interesting destination, we recommend early booking to avoid "last-minute disappointment".

view to the Skyline of Dubai  opinion of the blue Souks in Sharjah

General information about our offerings for travel to the United Arab Emirates

Climate / Clothing
Dubai has a sub-tropical and arid climate. During european winter from october till april sunny, blue skies can be expected and average temperatures of about 25°C as europeans only know in july and august.  Lightweight summer clothing is suitable, but a sweater or jacket maybe needed in the evenings and rooms with aircondition. Dubai has a very relaxed dress code compared with other countries in the Middle East. You should not forget your trunks and sunglasses. Hats or some protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight.

View from a mountain trip in Ras al Khaimah  View from the camel market in Al Ain

Entry requirements  Emirate:
To enter Dubai you need a passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Dubai. Passport-holders of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzeland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hongkong will receive an entry-visa without formalities upon arrival. Passport should be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival. Other nationalities might need a visa, please check with your local embassy. If you sent us your filled in "visa application form" we applied for the visa and upon arrival at the airport of Dubai you can pick up the original at the Visa-desk. Please don't take these visa as a souvenir and don't put them into your suitcase - you have to give them back to the authorities upon departure from Dubai! Or you applied for your visa already at your local embassy.  In case you have your transfers and/or visa arranged by us  our local guide will await you at the airport in Dubai about 20 metres in front of the airport (Terminal 3) or in front of the immigration (Terminals 1&2). He is carrying a sheet showing: "Reiseservice Graw * firstclasstravel.de" and your name.

Ramadan

This year The Holy Month of Ramadan is from about 23.08.-19.09.2009.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a special month for over two billion Muslims throughout the world. It is of a special meaning to Muslims as it is the Fourth Pillar of The Muslim Faith. Sawm (fasting) during the month of Ramadan represents more than an act of worship, as it is time for inner reflection, devotion to god and self – control. It is also thought of as a sort of tune – up for a Muslim’s spiritual life.  

What are the benefits of fasting?
The fasting of Ramadan is believed to improve the physical and mental health. It gives a rest for a stomach, which is working 24 hours a day for eleven months and has been proven to be a good method of losing extra weight. The month feels like going “into maintenance” and is almost like charging one’s batteries for the rest of the year. It is also a break from the routine of modern life. Fasting is also considered as a method of self-purification by cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry. It also teaches the meaning of self-control, patience, unselfishness, moderation, will power, discipline and social belonging.
 
Who fasts in Ramadan? 
Sawm or Abstention means complete abstention from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate sexual contact from dawn to sunset. It also means curbing of even the smallest of evil intentions and desires. Fasting of Ramadan is obligatory to every adult Muslim, male or female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Women in certain conditions (period of menstruation and nursing) are exempted from fasting but must make it up if they can otherwise they must feed a needy person for every day missed.
 
when is Ramadan? 
Ramadan is part of the Lunar Calendar and begins with the sighting of the new moon. Since the Lunar Calendar is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan comes eleven days earlier every year which allows fasting in various seasons and weather conditions. Ramadan for the year 2008 is expected on September 2nd depending on the sighting of the moon.
 
How is Ramadan in Dubai? 
Ramadan in Dubai is a unique and different experience due to the fact that people from different parts of the world live and bring their own cultural heritage to this cosmopolitan city.  The working hours are slightly altered During Ramadan and all restaurants and coffee shops remain closed from dawn to sunset. While Public Restaurants and coffee shops outside hotels remain closed during the day, Restaurants at hotels remain open during the day and food and drinks are freely served in those areas. Each hotel has a different policy on which and how many food & drink outlets are open so it is advisable to check with your hotel.
While non-Muslims are not required to fast, they are obliged by law not to eat; drink and smoke in all public areas such as streets, shopping malls, cars and public offices during the fasting hours. All hotels currently serving alcohol can continue to do so after Iftar i.e. from 19:00 until 02:00. 
Dubai is generally very tolerant with regards to clothing in public areas and on private beaches. In Ramadan It is advisable to have sensible attire when out in public areas especially during the day. Swim suites are allowed on Private beaches.
 
What goes on after sunset?
The city is bustling with life in the morning and until the early afternoon when it is time to break fasting (Iftar in Arabic). Traffic clearly slows down during the Iftar period. The city goes back to the very busy mode of the morning and remains so until the early hours of the morning. Shopping centers and Souks open up for business after Iftar and remain so until late at night. It is customary to see people doing their shopping as late as 01:00 or 02:00. 
Fasting people go out after Iftar to one of the hundreds of coffee shops in the city to enjoy the evening and stay up until late at night chatting, eating and drinking special Ramadan delicacies. Most hotels especially those on the beach set up their own (Ramadan tent) out in the open and by the beach to entertain guests all night.
 
What happens after Ramadan?  
The end of Ramadan is announced by the sighting of the moon and the festivities (Eid in Arabic) go on for three days. The 1st day of Eid begins at dawn when all Muslims go for prayer out in the open. Visits to relatives and friends especially the sick and the elderly take place all day and special sweets are made for the occasion and new clothes are purchased for the children. All public offices and some private sector offices remain closed for the festivities.

view to a Wadisat United Arab Emirates  view to the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai

Sports and leisure facilities
Besides the usual city tours we offer in collaboration with our local partners, shopping trips, cruises on the Dubai Creek, desert safaris, sand boarding and camel riding, wadi tours and trips to other Emirates. Bird Watching Tours will be organized in the Khor Dubai Bird Reserve. The Al Maha Desert Resort is a Reserve for Oryx- antelope. Other attractions in the Emirates, for example, old forts and museums, waterfalls and hotwater-springs, souks and markets. Dives and diving courses can be organized in the Dubai International Marine Club, or at The Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The Emirate of Fujeirah is an ideal place for divers. Here are three nature reserves to ensure the fish stocks and the Sea live, as well as to protect coral reefs. Hotel Le Meridien Al Aqah offers an excellent diving base. Windsurfing, water skiing and sailing, tennis and jogging, and is possible in nearly all of our beach hotels. Deep sea fishing can be organized in the Dubai International Marine Club, next to the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, or Hotel Jebel Ali. Power Boat races take place each year on the coast, before the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort. Dubai has the only fully-equipped go-kart in hall track in the Middle East. Enthusiasts of the Go-Kart Sports meet regularly on a track in the open air near the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & SPA. Two ice rinks are open throughout the year: one in Al Nasr Leisure Land, the second in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Be sure to mention, the winter sports center. where you cn runway sledding, skiing and snowboarding all year round in perfect conditions, (admission per adult approx Euro 14.00). Dubai is celebrating its annual Shopping Festival, with performances by international artists, discounted shopping offers, lotteries, dining booths with specialties from all over the world and many more

Duty-free allowance
Non-Muslim adults are allowed to enter Dubai with the following items: 2000 cigarettes or 400 cigars or 2 kg tobacco, 2 litres of spirits and 2 litres of wine, a reasonable amount of perfume and of course personal effects.

Currency
The monetary unit is the "dirham" (DH) which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US-Dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$ 1 = Dh 3,67. There is no restriction on the amount or currency of money you take with you (besides the currency of Israel). Cash money in all currencies and traveller cheques will be changed by local changing-offices and local banks. The dirham is freely convertible without any exchange control.
American Express, Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard and other credit cards are generally accepted in the main hotels and larger shops but some retailers in the Souks may offer better bargains for cash.

Electricity
The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. You may need an adapter for the plugs. Hotels usually have hairdryers installed in the rooms.

Local time
Germany, Belgium, Italy, France (MEZ) : During winter timing between the end of october until the end of march Dubai is 3 hours ahead. Great Britain (GMT) : You have to turn your watch 4 hours ahead when you reach Dubai.

Language
The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood. As most of the local workers are from Asia you will hardly find somebody speaking arabic.

Photography
Normal tourist photography is acceptable but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings and military installations should not be taken.

Tipping
Tipping practices are similar to most parts of the world. Some restaurants include service, otherwise 10 per cent is adequate.

Food and beverages
You will find the cuisines from all over the world in Dubai and the standard is very high. Usually the best restaurants are located in the hotels and for the "locals" and the tourists, too, it is common to dine outside and try the speciality-restaurants of each hotel. Breakfast is served as buffet-breakfast in your hotel. Alcohol is available in hotel and club restaurants and bars and at the Hard Rock Cafe. However, restaurants outside the hotels are not permitted to serve alcoholic beverages. The prices for alcoholic drinks are rather high and can be compared with the european prices in good hotel-bars. Tap water is supposed to be safe to drink, but we recommend to drink bottled mineral water only and don't take too much ice for your drinks.

Shopping & Souvenirs & Transport
Dubai is supposed to be a "shoppers paradise". Many big shopping malls await your visit and you should not miss a walk in the typical "Souks". Free of tax, many top brand-name products are cheaper in Dubai than in the countries of their origin. You will find a wide selection of products including audio equipment, VCR's, cameras, watches, designer clothes and perfumes. The gold-souk awaits you with hundreds of glittering gold-stores offering unbeatable value. The aromatic spice-souk is a "must" for hobby-cooks and photographers. Don't forget to bargain for the best price for whatever you are planning to buy. The beach-hotels offer free bus-shuttle to the shopping centers and the souks. The yellow taxis are equipped with taxameters and rather cheap. If you use taxis of another colour or a water-taxi to cross the Dubai Creek you should ask for the price before you step in.

Contact us

phone: (08152) 98 10 49
int'l calls: +49 (8152) 98 10 49

facsimile: (08152) 98 12 55
int'l fax: +49 (8152) 98 12 55

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Reiseservice Graw

Inh. Petra Graw
Seefelder Str. 102
D-82211 Herrsching
Deutschland / Germany

Fon: 0049 8152 981049
Fax: 0049 8152 981255
http://www.firstclasstravel.de
http://www.reiseservice-graw.de

E-Mail: info@reiseservice-graw.de