Useful facts for your holiday to Abu Dhabi
Flight and Transfers
You can get direct flights from London and Manchester to Abu Dhabi International Airport. Flights from London take approximately 6 hours 45 minutes, while flights from Manchester take approximately 7 hours 30 minutes. Indirect flights usually have stopovers in either Doha or Muscat with varying stopover times.
A practical alternative is to fly in to Dubai International Airport, where there are more regular flights from the UK. This will clearly a much longer transfer to your hotel, but it can be worth considering, especially if you’re at all interested in visiting Dubai as well.
If you have pre-booked your accommodation with us, you’ll be met at the airport by a Tropical Sky representative.
British citizens do not require a visa before their arrival in the UAE. You will receive a 60-day visit visa on arrival at the airport, seaport or land border.
British Citizens travelling to U.A.E require a full British passport which must be valid for 6 months after departure from this country. All children and infants must also have their own passports. Please check up to date visa requirements with the Foreign Office
Arabic is the official language, but the majority of the population do not speak it – the majority of people living here are immigrants and expatriates from southern Asia, east Africa and the West, and they generally have a very limited understanding of Arabic, if that.
English is widely spoken although not necessarily fluently. Nevertheless, getting around and making yourself understood using just English is easy – most people, especially in the tourist areas, have a decent grasp of the language. You’ll find that most signs are written in both Arabic and English too, making things fairly easy.
The holy month of Ramadan will be celebrated in the late summer (23 April - 23 May 2020, 11 April - 12 May 2021). During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours. As a result hotels in the United Arab Emirates have restrictions on alcohol, food consumption and entertainment between sunrise and sunset. At nightfall these restrictions are lifted and normal eating, drinking and entertainment policies are resumed.
Eid Al Adha falls between sunset on 30 July - 3 August 2020 and 19 - 23 July 2021 and starts with a 24 hour dry day followed by a three day celebration. Please ensure you are aware of these restrictions, and that they are subject to change.
Abu Dhabi has a well-planned road system, which is good, as the road is the only effective way of getting around. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi does not have a metro and it doesn’t have a railway system either. Your options are fairly simply broken down into driving yourself or being driven, whether that’s in a taxi or a bus.
Self-Drive: It’s easy to hire a car; there are plenty of rental services based around the city. Most road signs are in English as well as Arabic, making Abu Dhabi an easy place to navigate. Unfortunately, this is where the positive aspect of driving yourself ends.
The mixture of nationalities in Abu Dhabi has brought an assortment of driving styles, almost all of them either aggressive, selfish or downright reckless. The road numbering is unusual, making it easy to confuse where you need to turn – this isn’t helped by the plethora of vehicles honking their horns behind you, if you’re even a little under the speed limit. Traffic jams are common too, although not to the same extent as Dubai.
Taxi: Taxis are one of the most popular ways to get around, and if you’d rather not drive, it’s definitely one of the best too. Official taxis are metred meaning you don’t have to worry about haggling over the price. Taxis can be flagged down at the roadside or booked over the phone. They are generally fairly cheap compared to western prices.
Bus: With a modern, air-conditioned fleet, the bus system in Abu Dhabi is actually relatively good. The pricing system is simple; you pay for a single ride, a day pass or a monthly pass.
The official currency is the United Arab Emirates dirham, which is abbreviated AED or dhs. Credit cards are virtually universally accepted at all but the smallest shops and restaurants.
Vaccination & Health
As health requirements change please consult with your GP or specialist travel clinic well in advance of your holiday for specific information related to your travel and medical history. The summer heat is as fiery as anywhere in the world, with temperatures reaching heights of 50 Celsius. These kinds of temperatures make it uncomfortable to do anything outdoors for more than a few minutes, as such it cannot be recommended you schedule any serious activity outside at the hottest parts of the day.
The water is completely safe to drink – every drop has to be desalinated meaning the flavour isn’t quite up to the standard you might expect. Nevertheless, the heat means it is important to take in plenty of water, so if you don’t enjoy the taste, buy bottled water.
All guests staying at any accommodation in Abu Dhabi will have to pay a local tax on check in - the fee will be levied per occupied room per night. Call us for further information.
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