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Burj Al Arab Hotel

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Resort

Sharjah Rotana Hotel

Coral Suites Ajman

Khatt Springs Hotel & Spa

Burj Al Arab Hotel
Dubai, UAE

 

Sheraton Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, UAE

 

Sharjah Rotana Hotel
Sharjah, UAE

 

Coral Suites Ajman
Ajman, UAE

 

Khatt Springs Hotel
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

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General Information

Area: 77,700 sq km (30,000 sq miles).

Population: 3,754,000 (official estimate 2002).

Population Density: 48.3 per sq km.

Capital: Abu Dhabi. Population: 527,000 (2002).

GEOGRAPHY: The Emirates are bordered to the north by the Gulf and the Musandam Peninsula, to the east by Oman, to the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the northwest by Qatar. They comprise a federation of seven small former sheikhdoms. Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate, and the remainder (Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain) are known collectively as the Northern States. The land is mountainous and mostly desert. Abu Dhabi is flat and sandy, and within its boundaries is the Buraimi Oasis. Dubai has a 16km (10 mile) deep-water creek, giving it the popular name of ‘Pearl of the Gulf’. Sharjah has a deep-water port on the Batinah coast at Khor Fakkan, facing the Indian Ocean. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth emirate in size. Fujairah, one of the three smaller sheikhdoms located on the Batinah coast, has agricultural potential, while Ajman and Umm al Qaiwain were once small coastal fishing villages.

Government: Federation of seven autonomous Emirates. Head of State: President Sheikh Khalifa since 2004. Head of Government: Prime Minister Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (Emir of Dubai) since 1990.

Language: Arabic is the official language of the UAE while English is the language of business, though it competes with Urdu as the lingua franca. You will have little trouble making yourself understood, though when you venture out to the rural areas you will find that English is not as widespread. Knowing the Iranian language, Farsi, will help you get by.

Urdu and Malayalam (the language of Kerala in India) can both be reasonably useful because of the large number of Pakistani and Indian expats.


Religion:
Most of UAE Muslim population are Sunni Muslims subscribing to the Maliki or Hanbali schools of Islamic law. Many of the latter are Wahhabic, though UAE Wahhabic are not nearly as strict and puritanical as the Wahhabic of Saudi Arabia.

There is also a smaller community of Shiite Muslims, descendants mainly from merchants and workers who crossed to the Trucia Coast from Persia in the late 19th or early 20th century.


Time: GMT + 4.

Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are widespread.

Communications:
Telephone: IDD is available both to and from all states. Country code: 971. Outgoing international code (Abu Dhabi): 00. Main area codes: Abu Dhabi 2; Ajman, Sharjah and Umm al Quwain 6; Al Ain 3; Dubai 4; Fujairah 9; Jebel Ali 4 and Ras al-Khaimah 7. There is a good local telephone network. Telephone calls within each state are free.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. Network operators include ETISALAT (website: http://www.etisalat.co.ae) There is also a GSM Satellite provider, Thuraya (website: http://www.thuraya.com).

Fax: ETISALAT offices at main centres provide a service. All hotels have facilities.

Internet: Internet cafes provide public access to Internet and e-mail services. ISPs include Emirates Telecommunication (website: http://www.emirates.net.ae).

Telegram: Services are run by ETISALAT, which has offices throughout the Emirates and are also available through main post offices.

Post: Airmail letters and parcels take about five days to reach Europe.

Press: English-language daily newspapers include Emirates News, The Gulf Today, Khaleej Times and UAE Press Service Daily News. Foreign newspapers are available in hotel bookshops and supermarkets.

Radio: BBC World Service (website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: http://www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

Climate: The best time to visit is between October and May. The hottest time is from June to September with little rainfall.

Required Clothing: Lightweights, with mediumweights from November to March; warmer clothes for evening

United Arab Emirates
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