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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

  • 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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