It seems like a good and reasonable idea to start collecting or noting blogs about the emirate since it’s nice to read people’s personal accounts in the city.
If you want to share your blog or know of some, please post them in the comments section.
As Abu Dhabi continues to make efforts towards becoming the Cultural Capital of the region and even the world, there are a number of events that center around the arts within the city.
However, one major flaw in the art scene is that there is very little support for the local artists – mainly those who are not Emirati or Arab. We have a number of expat artists in the city from all over the world and yet there seems to be very little talked about in terms of their work. Hopefully, a stronger call for more support and exposure will rectify this in the future.
In the meantime, you can find out about what’s going on in the art world in these places:
**If you have more suggestions, please post them in the comments section!**
For the average expat in Abu Dhabi or the country in general, jobs are found prior to arrival, which takes care of the job hunting before knowing about the country or job-seeking scene. However, there are some people who visit or simply come with the hopes of getting a job once in the country. Or, in other cases, people arrive with a job that is temporary or less than satisfactory according to expectations and want to stay in the area, but with better employment. So, for the job seekers here are some recommended links –
If you are already in the city, it is generally better to use your best networking skills or put on your best suit, print out your current CV and go in to the location of interest directly to apply for a position.
For those readers who have experience with job hunting in AD, please feel free to post comments with advice or other sites!
Good luck and happy hunting!
In some cases people living in AD end up not having a residence visa. There could be a variety of reasons for this, from businesses not yet fully established to jobs not yet secured enough for a residence visa, etc. Therefore, there are a number of cases where people need to make “visa” runs to renew their tourist visas to be able to stay in the country.
The easiest way to do this is to drive to the UAE-Oman border and renew the tourist visa. One can take it as an opportunity to see Oman or as a quick fix to a visa issue – as you like.
The border name is Mezyad, it is the best from tbe Al Ain direction. The crossing right in downtown is for GCC (Gulf Country Citizens) only. You have to go to the one outside of town going toward Dubai as a non-GCC. The Omani border is a no-man’s land for about 50 km, so you have to get your UAE visa cancelled at the border for 35AED, then go to the Omani border crossing about 50 km away to buy an Oman visa for 200AED. The easiest way to do this is to take a taxi from the border, which will cost you between 150 and 200AED. Hold steady at 150AED and tell them that your friend got it at that price and that way they will deal.
The Hili border: You cross the UAE side into Buraimi and drive about 50 KMs until you reach the Oman border, which is a no-man’s land. If you just want to go into Buraimi, you don’t need an Omani visa, you can just show your passport/UAE Visa and drive straight through. If you need to go into Muscat, you park the car and then go into the Porta-Cabins on the left and then get your visa.
The Khatam Al Shikla border:This option can be much faster at times or may be more problematic. Just depends on the situation, time and the officer(s) sitting at the checkpost.
*Visa stamp takes up to half a page in the passport
*Visa lasts for 40 days, but count exactly from the first day so you won’t be fined– or go out at 1130 pm on the 39th day to be sure and then cross back after midnigh to get an extra day….
Alcohol, that is.
The answer is an interesting one especially to those whom have never lived in a Muslim culture before. As mentioned in a previous post (Some Basics), drinking in the UAE is possible, but there are rules to be followed.
It is considered illegal for any Muslim to drink liquor. That is not to say they all follow their rules, however.
As a non-Muslim tourist, you are not required to have a liquor license; however, you are only legally allowed to drink in your hotel provided the hotel holds a liquor license to serve it to you. Should you choose to venture out of your hotel to drink, then you are taking a risk in breaking the law.
Indeed, there have been stories of visitors getting into altercations or finding themselves in taxi accidents, where a request for a liquor license has been asked for and could not be provided. In some extreme cases, tourists have been arrested, fined or deported for breaking the law. However, it should be taken into consideration that this usually involves acting disrespectful towards the laws of the country and its people.
Generally speaking, though, this should not be a problem if you can maintain a sense of control over yourself when under the influence.
For all residents who would like to purchase or consume alcohol, a liquor license is required.
Obtaining a Liquor License
The license can be obtained at the Abu Dhabi Police Licensing Department located in Khalifa City A.
A list of what is required can be found through Abu Dhabi Week or GMP’s site, which also provides pdf downloads of the application form and directions to the location for submitting your application. Or…, here is a general breakdown:
* Completed liquor license application form – available in English and Arabic (in some cases, your employer may complete this form for you)
* Copy of your passport and residence visa
* A letter from your employer called a “No Objection Letter” to your purchasing a liquor license along with details about your salary
* 2 passport-size photos
* Cash payment for the license – calculated as 20% of the value of the license (see below for further details)
Your license will allow you to freely consume alcohol in licensed venues in the city such as hotels and some restaurants. It will also give you the ability to purchase alcohol at locales such as Spinney’s, African & Eastern, or GMP. (Note: some places may not ask you to show a license, but it is wise to have the license with you anyway. All places will be required to ask for it during Ramadan) Your license will come in booklet form, allowing space for vendors to note when and how much you purchased. This is because technically your license only allows you to purchase 20% of your salary’s value of liquor each month.
If you earn 10,000AED/mo, you will be allowed to purchase 2,000AED worth of alcohol each month. For even the heaviest of drinkers, this is quite a large amount of liquor.
Therefore, if your license is valued at 2,000AED, then the cash payment for your license will then be 400AED.
Please remember that you should always have your liquor license with you when you go out on the town or when you want to purchase it. It is smart to take it with you even if you are going to someone’s home for a party where alcohol will be present (you never know when a taxi accident might occur…). Usually one of the top two forms of identification will be this license should anything unpleasant occur involving the local authorities.
Better to be safe than sorry!
Here is some basic information about the UAE. If you have any further questions or more information to add, please post a comment or send email.
AED or Dhs = Arab Emirates Dirham
1AED = approx 3.67USD [the exchange rate is currently set with no adjustments]
A cheap meal might cost about 5dhs, while a high-end meal (including an alcoholic beverage) will cost around 150-250dhs per person.
Mother = Arabic
Commonly used = Arabic and English
Most prevalent = Tagalog and any one of the many languages of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or other Sub-Continent countries
Local Emirati muslims wear the traditional full-length “gowns” – white kandoura (for men) and black abaya (for women). Both will cover their heads with guthras (m) or shelas (f). Some women will fully cover their faces with burqas, but not all do.
For non-muslim foreigners the main requirements are modesty and respect. Women do not need to be fully covered, but should not wear short-short skirts or shorts and tank tops. However, wearing a bikini on the beach is accepted. You may see a number of tourists wearing immodest clothing and in general nothing will be said. Still it is important to remember that this is a Muslim country and respect should be shown as a visitor here. Men are generally okay wearing whatever they normally wear.
In an office or school setting, women are generally asked to wear skirts below the knees or trousers and 2/3 length sleeved tops (although short sleeve are passable, but no sleeveless tops).
Licenses are required for residents to purchase or even consume liquor. They are available through the AD Police Licensing Department (post to come soon on this). Visitors to the UAE may consume alcohol in the hotel of which they are a guest. All other consumption/possession of alcohol is considered illegal behavior.
However, people do drink without said licenses or as tourists visiting various establishments. Still, it is very important to be aware of these laws as there are cases of behavior leading to imprisonment, fines or deportation.
Travelers often find themselves with a few hours or more as a layover in Abu Dhabi. Some have asked if it is worth it to get out of the airport and explore the city? If the weather is good, then YES it is most definitely worth taking the time to see a few of the highlights or just walk the streets of downtown to get a taste. However, in warmer conditions, it can be more of a hassle than it is worth, especially if you are on a budget and/or prefer public transportation. It can still be a rewarding experience, but can also be more harrowing. If you are lucky, a couchsurfer (see below under accommodations) may be free to show you around, which is always the best way to see a city – from a resident’s POV.
Whatever you decide, here are some tips – leave a comment if you have further information or other questions!
Getting to and from the Abu Dhabi Airport and downtown is not very difficult, though ranges in cost and time.
The distance from the Abu Dhabi Airport to the downtown area is approximately 35kms. Taxis will cost around 70AED from the airport to any location downtown and another 45-60AED to return depending on where you start. Public transportation, of course, will cost less, but you are limited by the schedule. Bus routes are available on this site.
If you are wanting to visit Abu Dhabi from Dubai, take the E1 bus (look into the map above). You will arrive at the Abu Dhabi bus/taxi terminal (located between Muroor (#4) and Airport (#2) Roads next to Al Wahda Mall. You should check the schedule for a return to Dubai if you plan to return in the same day – take into consideration the fact that it takes about two hours of travel between cities (not considering possible traffic accidents/jams).
Some recommended highlights are:
*Sheikh Zayed Mosque
There is little-to-no cheap accommodations available for a quick stop in Abu Dhabi. Even budget travelers for longer stays find it difficult. Fortunately, there is a very active Couchsurfing group who offer their time and homes to travelers. (Please understand this is a network of exchanging time and stays and not a chance for free accommodations.)
Otherwise, you might be able to search online or stop into the numerous hotels and see what is on offer if you want to stay. Many perks are that the hotels have private beach access or gyms, etc.