Dubai is continually growing to be home to an exciting, diverse, multi-cultural blend of young, dynamic and professional people enjoying the unrivalled quality of life that the Emirate has to offer. It is no surprise therefore that Dubai has recorded that fastest growth in population in the world. More and more people emigrate to the city for quality of life, outstanding employment prospects and to experience the very best in the world of work and lifestyle.
For beginners here are some handy giudes compiled by us which should make your task of settling down in this city a little easy.
Although non nationals now have the opportunity to purchase a home in Dubai, many formalities have yet to be completed in another year or so until they are ready for occupancy. Therefore for now rental is still the main option. Dubai is the most accommodating place to live in the gulf and high quality accommodation is in good supply throughout the city. Many have excellent recreational facilities - gym, sauna, satellite television or in-house video and covered car parking are some of the available facilities that the residents can make use of.
Many expatriate executives choose to live in the Jumeirah suburb, which stretches southward along the coast from the city centre. For top-of-the-range villas, the choice is between larger independent properties or smaller villas in compounds. The latter usually have swimming pools, squash and tennis courts.
Most rented accommodation in Dubai is unfurnished (although kitchens may be partly or fully equipped). Many villas and new apartments have central air-conditioning already installed and a range of furniture and household equipment.
Main accommodation options are:
Click here to obtain a list of real estate agents in Dubai who can assist you in searching a house in your preferred location suitable to your budget.
Tip: Remember to ask for a copy of the estate agent's identification card and make sure you save copies of all receipts, contracts and other documents.
Dubai is growing in leaps and bounds, hence plenty of job opportunities are available here. Gulfnews, one of the biggest newspapers, offers three times a week an "Appointment" edition, where you can find all kind of vacancies in. These are also published on the internet on their website.
There are also a lot of recruitment agencies, which are helping you out with finding the right job.
Tip: Try and research about the company you wish to apply for, as well as the rules and regulations of the UAE.
Electricity & water along with sewerage are provided by Dubai electricity and water authority (DEWA). Click here to visit their website for more information.
Electricity - The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts and 50 cycles. Socket type is identical to thethree point British system. Adaptors can be purchased at any grocery or hardware shop.
Water - Tap water is safe to drink though locally bottled mineral water is preferred. Some of the water suppliers in Dubai are: Culligan: 800 4945; Desert springs: 800 6650; Nestle pure life: 800 4404; Oasis drinking water: 884 5656
Gas - Gas mains don't exist in Dubai hence individual canisters need to be purchased and connected to a gas oven via an outside tap. Keep the telephone number of gas suppliers handy and canisters can be delivered to you in less than 20 minutes of your call, anytime of the day.
Telephone - Currently the main telecommunications provider in Dubai. It is an efficient and innovative company, continuously introducing new services and even cutting charges from time to time. You will require a residence visa to get a landline but you can get a SIM card for your mobile phone without residency.
Internet - For connection to the World Wide Web, Emirates Internet & Multimedia is the sole provider of internet services through its UAE proxy server. Access to some sites is restricted. You can access Emirates Internet from any standard telephone line using a 56K modem.
Postal Services - There is no house address based mailing system in the UAE. All mails are delivered to the central post office and then distributed to centrally located post office boxes. It is also possible to rent a personal PO box in the UAE.
Television - There is a good selection of satellite channels to choose from in Dubai or video/DVD rental stores are plentiful in Dubai.
Tip: Due to extreme climatic conditions it is advisable to drink plenty of water in the heat, so carry a bottle with you at all times.
Medical facilities in Dubai are high both in public and private sectors. The Health and Medical Services Department provides medical care for all UAE nationals, visitors and resident expatriates. Currently expatriates can go to any hospital as long as they have a valid health card. However this may change in the future and all expatriates may require having private insurance coverage.
Pharmacies: Most medicines are readily available at pharmacies. You may check in the local newspapers for information. In Dubai you can call a 24-hour municipality emergency number - 04 2232323 which lists the locations of open chemists.
Click here for a list of clinics in Dubai with their contact details.
Tip: Check this website run by doctors and health professional in the UAE that contains information on where to find a doctor who speaks your language, pharmacies etc.
English is the medium of instruction in most schools which adopt variations of the popular Montessory method of instruction. Annual fees may vary. Some play-schools like the New Dubai Nursery (Satwa) accept children from 18 months onwards. An academic record of your child is required for admissions. Some schools conduct entrance tests. Schools offer GCSE, 'A' Levels, French, American, Indian, Japanese and other systems. Standards are above average.
Children with special needs: Handicapped centers supervised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs cater to those with hearing and physical disabilities, the visually impaired and others with special needs. The Ministry is constantly improving its facilities, at the same time emphasizing the role of the family in caring for the disabled.
Click here to view a list of educational institutions listed in Dubai alongwith their contact details.
Tip: Knowledge village is a key part of Dubai's commitment to improving educational services and attracting more international students to the country. Click here to visit their website.
Dubai offers an extensive horizon of things to do, see, experience and learn. It is surrounded by mysterious deserts, sand dunes and the stunning Hajar Mountains, it is divided by the Creek which is essentially an inlet from the gulf splitting the commercial centre of Dubai in two, and within the city you'll find amazing beach resorts, incredibly high tech buildings all side by side with old traditional houses and mosques giving you a peek of just what variety you can expect from your time in Dubai.
Click here to know more about what makes Dubai one the most sought after destinations in the world.
Tip: Although Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates is the most liberal part of the Middle East, there are still many Islamic rules that should be respected by visitors.
Public Transport: The car is the most popular method of transport in Dubai. In addition, the major tourist hotels provide shuttle bus services for guests. However, Dubai Municipality tel: 04 285 9401 or 221 5555 or 800 4848 (dedicated freephone information line); operates a reasonable public bus service on 36 routes, daily 0600-2300.
Abras: Basic wooden boats, locally referred to as abras, cross the creek from Bur Dubai to the Textile Souk area in Deira. These are operated by Dubai Municipality daily 0600-2400
Taxis: Air-conditioned taxis can be hailed on the street or prebooked by telephone. Metered taxis, operated by the Dubai Transport Corporation tel: 04 264 1111, are distinguished by their cream color and uniformed drivers.
Limousines: Limousines are offered by the main car hire companies and Dubai Transport Corporation tel: 04 264 1111.
Car Hire: A valid International Driving Permit, passport and credit card are required for one to hire a car in Dubai. Visitors from many European, North American and many Asian countries can obtain a temporary local driving licence if they do not have an international licence. A valid national licence, passport and two passport-sized photographs are required in order to do this.
Tip: If you are planning on a drive to the Sultanate of Oman, check whether your insurance covers you for the trip or this can be arranged on a short term basis, usually for no extra cost.