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About Abu Dhabi

Year-round sunshine, pristine beaches, spectacular sand dunes and a pulsating cosmopolitan lifestyle await every visitor to Abu Dhabi. These, combined with its distinctive Arabian hospitality, mystique and world-class infrastructure make Abu Dhabi an enchanting destination for experienced and novice travellers.

The Emirate hosts the United Arab Emirates’ capital – Abu Dhabi City. This island capital is characterised by its signature corniche, which fronts the amazing turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. In Abu Dhabi City, you’ll find all the conveniences of 21st century capital living with some surprising additions and the adventure of a unique Arabian experience.

It is a fascinating Emirate with beautiful buildings, excellent restaurants and nightlife, as well as white sandy beaches, culture and hstory that you can feel as you visit the souks, shopping malls, museums and hstoric buildings and sites.

Whatever you choose to do, you will meet with a welcome which has been extended to travellers throughout the ages.

Climate

The climate is tropical and semi-dry. Sunshine can be expected year round. All though summer, from June to September, the weather is hot and humid, with temperatures typically averaging above 40ºC. From October to May, temperatures average a pleasant 20-28º C. 
Air-conditioning is present in all vehicles and buildings, including hotels, conference and exhibition halls and shopping malls.

Clothing

Abu Dhabi is generally conservative but tolerant when it comes to dress code. The attitude to dress is relaxed, but visitors (both men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places, as a sign of respect for local culture and customs. This also applies to public beaches, where swimmers should avoid excessively revealing swimming suits. Most nightclubs require their guests not to wear shorts, caps or sport shoes on their premises. Unless otherwise indicated, official events usually require non-locals to wear formal dress: a suit and tie for men and an evening dress for women.

As for the weather requirements, lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year (summer, spring and autumn), though a light sweater or cardigan could be handy when visiting a shopping mall, hotel or restaurant, where the temperature might be kept too low to counter the outdoor heat. Slightly warm clothes are needed for the short winter season, especially in the evening.

Culture & Lifestyle

Abu Dhabi's culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and the visitor is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.

Abu Dhabi society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion; alcohol is served in hotels; and, provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted.

Despite rapid economic development in recent years, Abu Dhabi remains close to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional robes and headdress. Expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art form part of the Arab culture and folklore. Weddings and other celebrations are colorful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.

Language & Religion

The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.

Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and Abu Dhabi has two christian churches, St Mary's (Roman Catholic) and Holy Trinity (Inter-denominational).

Photography

Normal tourist photography is allowed; however it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to request permission before photographing men.

Currency

The monetary unit is the Dirham, 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= Dh3.67.