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  Your Guide To The UAE
Language | Burea De Change | ATMs | Banks | Tipping | Mobile Phones | Local Customs

Traveling in The UAE


Basic Niceties

Hello Marhaba
How are you? Kaif il haal?
Good morning Sabaah ilkhayr[kh=ch as in loch]
Good evening Massa’il khayr
Greetings A’salamu alaykum
Welcome Ahlan wa sahlan
Goodbye Ma’is salaama
Sorry Aasif

God willing Insha’allah
Please (to a man) Min fadlak
Please (to a woman) Min fadlik
Thank you (very much) Shukran (jazeelan)
Yes/No Na’am/laa
I don’t know Laa aarif

Who?/What? Man?/Maadha?
Where?/Why? Ayne?/Lee matha?
How much? Cost bekam?
How many? Kam?
The bill please Al fatourah min fadlak

Advanced Pleasantries
Do you speak English? Titkallam inglizi?
I don’t speak Arabic Ma atakallam arabi
Nice to meet you Fursa saeeda
What’s your name? (to a man) Ma ismak?
What's your name? (to a woman) Ma ismik?
My name is… Ismee
How old are you? (to a man) Kam oumrak?
How old are you? (to a woman) Kam oumrik?
What’s your job? (to a man) Ma heya wazeeftak? What's your job? (to a woman) Ma heya wazeeftik?
Where do you live? (to a man) Ayne taskun?
Where do you live? (to a woman) Ayna taskuni?
I live/work in… Askum/aamal fi
Congratulations Mabrouk
Happy Birthday Eid maleed saeed
With pleasure Bikul siroor
Have a good trip Atamana lak rehla muafaqa
Thanks for coming Shukran limajee’ak
Best wishes Atyab al-tamaniyat
Calm down (to a man) Ihda nafsak
Calm down (to a woman) Ihdi nafsik
When will I see you? Mata sa’araak?
Wait a little Intazarni kalilan
Can I help you? (to a man) Mumkin saadak?
Can I help you? (to a woman) Mumkin saadik?
Numbers & Time
Zero Sifr
One Wahid
Two Itnan
Three Talata
Four Arba’a
Five Khamsa
Six Sitta
Seven Saba’a
Eight Tamanya
Nine Tisa’a
Ten Ashra
Eleven Heda’ash
Twelve Itna’ash
Thirteen Talata’ash
Fourteen Arba’a ta’ash
Fifteen Khamista’ash
Sixteen Sitta’ash
Seventeen Saba’a ta’ash
Eighteen Tamanta’ash
Nineteen Tis a ta'ash
Twenty Ishreen
One hundred Meyah
Sunday Al ahad
Monday Al itnayn
Tuesday Al talata
Wednesday Al arba’a
Thursday Al khamees
Friday Al juma’a
Saturday Al sabt
Minute Daqiqa
Hour Sa’aa
Day Yom
Month Shahr
Year Sana
Today Al yom
Yesterday Ams or imbarah
Getting Around People
Airport Matar
Post office Maktab al barid
Bank Bank
Passport Jawaz safar
My luggage Shanati
Ticket Tath karah
Taxi Taxi
Car Say yarra
City Madina
Street Shaarah
Road Tareeq
Bridge Jisr
Mosque Jame’h or masjid
Bazaar Souk
Boat Markab
Beach Al bahar
Customs (airport customs) Jumrok
Library Maktabah
Shop Mahall
Museum Mathaf

Father Ab
Mother Umm
Husband Zauj
Wife Zaujah
Child Tifl

For Emergencies
Police 999
Ambulance 998 or 999
Fire brigade 997
Coastguard 04 345 0520
(a helicopter service is also available)

*If you dial 999 or 04 282 1111 in an emergency, Dubai police will send a police helicopter, which they guarantee will be with you within 8 minutes.
Bureau De Change

Rates vary from one place to another, but it is worth noting that the airport is the first place you can but the last place you should change your money. There are several money changers located in the city centers of most of the Emirates. They tend to only deal in cash but their rates (sometimes without commission) can be lower than that of banks, particularly if you are exchanging a large sum.

Travelers’ checks are accepted with ID in banks, hotels, and other licensed exchange offices affiliated with the issuing bank. Exchange houses make a profit on the difference between the rates at which they buy and sell.
The majority of banks and hotels in the UAE have ATMs, which are convenient for withdrawing UAE dirham (AED).
Most credit cards and Cirrus- and Plus- enabled cash cards are accepted. Check with your personal bank for charges regarding overseas cash withdrawals.

There are a number of international banks in the city such as HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, and Lloyds TSB, as well as locally based operations. Opening hours are normally between 8AM to 3PM, from Saturdays to Wednesdays, and from 8AM until 12PM on Thursdays. All institutions are closed on Friday. They offer comprehensive commercial and personal services, and transfers and exchanges are simple.


Hotel and restaurants usually include a 15% service charge in the bill. In the case where there is no service charge, adding 10% is normal if not obligatory. It is common to pay taxi drivers a small tip; rounding up the fare to the nearest AED 5 is normal practice.
For other services such as supermarket baggers, petrol pump attendants, and hotel valets, it is customary to give at least a couple of dirhams.

Mobile Phones
Dubai has one of the highest rates of mobile phone usage in the world.
A reciprocal agreement exists with over 60 countries, allowing GSM international roaming service for other networks in the UAE.
However, the main telecommunications providers, Etisalat and Du Telecom, have recently launched cheaper alternatives specifically for short-term visitors:
- Etisalat: Ahlan
- Du: The Visitor Mobile Line
Local Customs

Dubai is considered to be the most forward thinking emirate in the UAE, but that does not mean it has abandoned its traditional ways altogether. While visiting, it is important to respect the local customs and laws, so as not to offend anyone.

  • Don’t kiss in public even if you are married. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
  • Don’t wear overly revealing clothes. Dubai has decency laws that apply to clothing.
  • Don’t drink alcohol in public places.
  • Pork and alcohol are only served in licensed hotels.
  • Harassing women is illegal in Dubai. If you feel that you are being harassed by anyone, make sure to notify the police.
  • If you enter a mosque, always take off your shoes. If you’re a woman, cover your hair. When inside, be quiet and don’t interrupt others while they pray.
  • Be polite to people. Swearing and making obscene gestures could land you in jail.
  • Don’t buy alcohol for a Muslim. Muslims are not allowed to drink.
  • Some medications are illegal in Dubai. Check with local authorities to make sure that all your medications are legal. If they aren’t, ask your doctor to fax you a prescription.
  • Don’t take pictures of Emiratis (especially women) and government buildings.
  • Don’t put your feet up on chairs and tables in public. Showing the soles of your feet is considered rude.


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