Abu Dhabi and Dubai Key Facts
Abu Dhabi, the UAE's capital, is the largest and most populated of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, with over 80% of its landmass. The emirate's population, now over 1.6 million, is expected to reach 3 million by 2030. Across the UAE, Emirati citizens make up nearly 20% of the total population; the other 80% are expatriates from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and North America.
The UAE is four hours ahead of UTC (Co-ordinated Universal Time - formerly known as GMT) and there is no daylight saving. Hence, when it is 12.00 midday in Abu Dhabi, it is 3am in New York, 8am in London, 10 am in Johannesburg, 1.30pm in New Delhi, and 6pm in Sydney (not allowing for any summer time saving in those countries).
Social and Business Hours
Generally speaking, government departments, embassies and consulates work from 8am to 4pm. Embassies and consulates may designate specific times of day for processing certain requests (such as passport applications) so always call before you visit. The Islamic holy day is Friday and most organisations operate a Friday / Saturday weekend. Shops and visitor attractions are open on both days, though usually towards the end of the day or in the early evening on Fridays.
During the holy month of Ramadan shops often change their hours by closing during the day, re-opening an hour or two after sunset, and staying open later at night. Food outlets and restaurants generally remain closed or offer takeaway services only during the day and then open up for Iftar after sunset.
For more information about Abu Dhabi, attractions and more, visit www.visitabudhabi.ae.
Dubai is a modern and vibrant city and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Dubai combines traditional Arabic buildings with unique, modern architecture and some of the world's most outstanding skyscrapers, like the world-famous Burj Khalifa, with over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories presently the world's tallest building. Dubai has become very popular amongst international travellers and also attracts business travellers due to plenty of opportunities.
Dubai offers a multitude of different experiences; from long stretches of sandy beaches to desert safaris, ultra-luxurious hotels, PGA-standard golf courses, traditional souqs, extravagant shopping malls, ancient, historical sites, camel rides, fun parks, scuba diving, parachuting, Dubai Autodrome for car and go-karting and much more.
For business travellers, there are a number of Free Zones including Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City.
Dubai also offers a vast variety of residential areas, from the tranquil Arabian Ranches to Silicon Oasis, Victory Heights, Green Community, Jumeira Triangle, Jumeira, Umm Suqeim, Mirdif to name just a few. For those preferring to live right in the middle of the city, numerous apartment buildings are available.