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Emirates TravelUAE guide / Getting around UAE

Getting around the UAE

The United Arab Emirates make up a diverse republic that is a great place to visit due to its natural wonders and its economic success
The United Arab Emirates make up a diverse republic that is a great place to visit due to its natural wonders and its economic success. Anyone wanting to visit the UAE should be prudent in preparing the passport and all other necessary documentation first. A trip to the UAE should be planned with help from a travel expert or help from friends who have been there. For couples wanting to honeymoon in the UAE, it is best to have the help of a professional travel agent. Sometimes it is possible to arrange a tour of the UAE with others of the same nationality so that the culture change will not be overwhelming. Once you plan a trip and arrive, there are many options for getting around in the UAE. You can travel by air, water, and automobile.

Air service is available to the UAE from almost any country on earth. People from every region of the globe have the opportunity to visit the UAE to get a taste of the Arab world. Airlines from international destinations are limited to the largest cities, like Dubai and Abu Dahabi. Therefore, to get to other places in the UAE, it is necesary to travel by road. The roads in the UAE are among the best built in the world. They have been carefully designed and constructed, and all the highways are maintained in excellent condition. Traffic control is also among the best in the world here, with clear directional signs and plenty of room for cars. The bus service in the UAE is limited, and in some cases downright inadequate. Larger cities like Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai have their own local bus services provided by the city's government. The buses in Abu Dhabi are not easily used for commuting, but the ones in Al Ain and Dubai are easy to use to get around, with many stops close to all the favorite destinations.

There are mini buses that run between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are convenient and useful compared to local municipal buses. They are reliable for getting from one city to another. The taxi cabs inside cities are metered to calculate the fare, making it plain how much a person has to pay, but in Dubai things are a little different. There are taxis in Dubai that do not have meters, and you have to haggle to settle on a price with the driver before leaving. Service taxis that are inexpensive are also available, but they run only when there are enough passengers to make it worthwhile. Because of cultural taboos, it can be difficult to travel with women using this mode of transportation. At hotels and airports, the rental of a car can be arranged easily. Believe it or not, there are water transportation services, with commercial and passenger ferries available in the coastal regions. Deira and Dubai also have water taxis.

In the UAE, traffic runs on the right hand side, which will take getting used to for those whose homes have different traffic laws. The roads are all of good quality, particularly near the major cities, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, and Sharjah. There are good roads connecting Sharjah with Dhaid as well. Roads from Dubai to points interior. But for small towns, the links between towns are harder to come by. However, most hotels have their own bus services to go to the airport, beach resorts, and city landmarks. There are also taxis in each town. The taxis in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi are metered, but fares for longer journeys should be negotiated in advance. Air conditioned taxis cost more than non-air conditioned taxis. When going from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, many travelers consider the taxi as the quickest mode of transportation.

The government issues visas for political or business visits. But for vacations, visas for tourists have to be arranged in advance by a sponsor. The sponsor could be a hotel operator or tour operator, or someone who lives in the UAE. These visas also serve as transportation visas. In order to get approval for a visa, the sponsor will need details of the visitor's proposed stay, and particulars of their identification. Meetings for business purposes are invitation only, and it is necessary for businesses to bring proof of a corporate trading license. The sponsor notifies the traveler when a travel visa has been arranged. Often this is done by fax. The sponsor will arrange to meet the traveler at the airport. This is typical of Arab countries.

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