UAE dirham (Dhs)
Budget: Less than Dhs600
- Budget hotel room: Dhs250–450
- Cheap local eats (shawarma, vegetable curries, mezze) Dhs15–30
- Bus ticket from Dubai to Abu Dhabi: Dhs25
- Beer at happy hour: Dhs20–25
- Double room at a hotel: Dhs500–750
- Two-course dinner: Dhs150–450
- Car hire: more than Dhs200
- Cocktail: Dhs50–70
Top end: More than Dhs1400
- Five-star hotel room: more than Dhs1000
- Fine-dining meal: more than Dhs500
- Spa massage: more than Dhs450
- Big-ticket sights and activities: Dhs60–400
Bargaining isn't as much a part of the culture in the UAE as it is elsewhere in the Middle East. Malls and shops are all fixed price. It's only in the souqs where you can try out your bargaining skills.
- Bargaining should be a relaxed, genial affair. Being friendly and chatting with the vendor will get you a better deal. But don't be too enthusiastic about the item you're thinking about purchasing.
- It pays to shop around so you can check out the prices offered for the same item in different shops.
- Don't begin negotiations unless you definitely want to buy the item.
- Don't start off your bargaining by quoting too low. What you're working towards is about 20% to 30% off the initial asking price.
- If you can't reach a price both you and the vendor agree on, it's absolutely fine to walk away.
ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
Credit and debit cards can be used for withdrawing money from ATMs that display the relevant symbols, such as Visa and MasterCard. A charge (around 1.5% to 2%) on ATM cash withdrawals abroad is levied by some banks.
If you need to change money, exchange offices tend to offer better rates than banks.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted at shops, hotels and restaurants, and debit cards are accepted at bigger retail outlets.
The UAE dirham (Dhs) is fully convertible and pegged to the US dollar. One dirham is divided into 100 fils. Notes come in denominations of five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 dirham. Coins are Dhs1, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and five fils.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
Tipping is common practice but at your discretion.
- Hotels Tip porters Dhs5 to Dhs10.
- Restaurants If a 10% service charge is already included, a small tip to your server is greatly appreciated, as that service charge rarely reaches their pocket.
- Spas Tip therapists 5% to 10% of the fee for expensive treatments. Add an extra Dh5 to Dh10 onto the fee for smaller treatments.
- Taxis Round fares to nearest Dhs5.