Currency

Dirham (Dhs)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than Dhs600

  • Budget hotel room: Dhs300–400
  • Meal in a food court: Dhs20–50
  • Public transport: Dhs1–8.50
  • Happy-hour beer: Dhs20

Midrange: Dhs600–1200

  • Double room in a hotel: Dhs400–700
  • Two-course meal in a restaurant: from Dhs80 without alcohol
  • Entry to top attractions and sights: Dhs100–200

Top end: More than Dhs1200

  • Four-star hotel room: from Dhs800
  • Three-course fine-dining meal with wine: from Dhs400
  • Drinks in a high-end bar: from Dhs100

Bargaining

In malls and most stores, prices are fixed, but in souqs and outdoor markets, it pays to know some bargaining basics.

Bargaining 101

  • Compare prices at a few shops or stalls so you get an idea of what things cost and how much you're willing to pay.
  • When you're interested in buying an item, don't show too much enthusiasm or you'll never get the price down.
  • Don't pay the first price quoted. This is actually considered arrogant.
  • Start below the price you wish to pay so you have room to compromise – but don't quote too low or the vendor may feel insulted. A good rule of thumb is to cut the first suggested price in half and go from there. Expect to finish up with a discount of 20% to 30%.
  • If you intend to buy more than one item, use this as a bargaining chip – the more you buy, the better the discount.
  • Take your time and stay relaxed. You can come away with an enjoyable experience whether you end up with a bargain or not.
  • If negotiations aren't going to plan, simply smile and say goodbye – often the vendor will follow and suggest a compromise price.

Money

ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

ATMs

Credit and debit cards can be used for withdrawing money from ATMs that display the relevant symbols, such as Visa and MasterCard. Check with your bank about fees.

Currency

UAE dirham (Dhs) is divided into 100 fils. Notes come in denominations of five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. There are Dhs1, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils coins.

Changing Money

Exchange offices tend to offer better rates than banks. Reliable exchanges include Al Rostamani (www.alrostamaniexchange.com) and UAE Exchange (www.uaeexchange.com), with multiple branches in Dubai.

Credit Cards

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted and almost everything can be paid for by plastic. If you're asked whether you want to pay in dirhams or your home currency, always choose dirhams, as dynamic currency conversion charges added by merchants or their banks can be as high as 18%.

Exchange Rates

Since 1997 the dirham has been pegged to the US dollar.

AustraliaA$1Dhs2.60
CanadaC$1Dhs2.82
Eurozone€1Dhs4.25
Japan¥100Dhs3.27
New ZealandNZ$1Dhs2.39
SwitzerlandSfr1Dhs3.71
UKUK£1Dhs4.68
USUS$1Dhs3.67

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Tipping

  • Hotels Porters Dhs5 to Dhs10, room cleaners Dhs5 to Dhs10 per day.
  • Restaurants For decent service 10%, for good service 15% of the bill, in cash to make sure it goes to the servers.
  • Taxis Dhs5 to Dhs10 or round up to nearest note.
  • Valets Dhs5 to Dhs10.
  • Spa staff 10% to 15%.