The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It has coastlines on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia to the west and southwest, and Oman to the southeast and also on the eastern tip of the Musandam Peninsula as well as an Omani enclave within its borders. It is a country rich in history and culture and an easy starting point for travels in the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates is a modern and dynamic country. To some, it is an advanced and clean country, to others a touristy "Disneyland".
For most Western tourists, the UAE offers an environment that is extremely familiar. The malls are extraordinarily modern, filled with virtually any product available in the West (save sexually explicit material; movies are censored, as are, to some extent, magazines). The less well known side of the UAE includes remote, magnificent desert dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter and craggy, awe-inspiring wadis in the north-east bordering Oman.
The roads and other public facilities are modern if, at times, extremely crowded. Supermarkets offer a vast assortment of products from Europe and the U.S., depending on the shop, along with local and regional items. Major international chains such as Ikea and Carrefour have a presence and fast-food chains (nearly all from the U.S.) such as McDonald's and KFC operate widely. On the other hand, there are still a few crowded traditional souks filled with products from around the world, rug stores. These can be hard to find for the average traveler, as the malls tend to gain an overwhelming amount of attention. (Please note that contrary to what is printed in guidebooks, the souks in Abu Dhabi were torn down in 2006 and no longer exist. The souks in Dubai are still wonderful to explore, though).
Dubai has an advanced public transport system featuring buses, taxis, abras, water buses and the recent Dubai Metro. Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority is responsible for developing solutions for road, land and marine networks to keep pace with Dubai’s emirate’s economic development.
Dubai Metro is the latest project launched by Dubai. Virtual Transport gives you a virtual tour of the Metro and you can use Wojhati, an online journey planner to use multiple means of transport to get to your destination.
The Water Taxi service, the first of its kind in the region, covers public marine transport stations and berths of some hotels, tourist resorts and marine clubs in Dubai including the Dubai Creek area, Al Mamzar Corniche, Jumeirah Open Beach and Dubai Marina through to Jebel Ali, linking coastal hotels with historical areas like Al Fahidi, Al Shindagha and the Old Souk.
The service has 19 stations in the first stage which are served by 5 water-taxis (5 more will be added later). Each water-taxi can accommodate 11 passengers with seats designed for those with special needs. The taxi is also provided with the best navigational systems and security and safety requirements as recognized by the International Maritime Organization. This includes a wireless phone system, AC, global positioning system (GPS) and automatic identification system. In addition, the taxi features luxurious means of entertainment that passengers can use during their voyage including LCD monitors fitted behind comfortable seats that provide maximum relief and relaxation.
The new service is extremely flexible as it is not tied to a specific voyage timetable. Those requiring the service can call RTA’s free 800 9090 to request for a water-taxi between 10am and 10pm. Tariffs start from AED 50. For further information, click here.
See details of the Salik toll gates and fill in an application to get a Salik tag or top it up online. The Salik website provides complete information to subscribers and allows them to benefit from many electronic services. For international travel, you can book a flight online on Emirates.