Information on the United Arab Emirates
Temperatures UAE Dubai – London
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Um al-Qawain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The UAE is located in the southeast of the Persian Gulf and borders on Oman.
System of government:
The United Arab Emirates is a federal constitutional monarchy comprising seven autonomous emirates. The highest federal body is the Supreme Council made up of the rulers of the seven emirates. They elect the head of state and his representative from among their number, each of whom holds office for five years. Comprising 40 delegates, half of whom are elected indirectly and the other half are appointed by the emirs, the parliament has an exclusively advisory function. Political parties are not permitted in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi (approx. 1.2 million inhabitants).
Islam is the state religion (80 per cent Sunni, 16 per cent Shiite). Resident foreigners practice their religions without hindrance (e.g. Christianity, non-native Islam religions, Hinduism).
The official language is Arabic. English is also spoken and understood in business transactions and in hotels.
Subtropical to tropical desert climate with very low annual rates of precipitation (mostly in winter); extreme heat and humidity from May to October (max. daytime temperature of over 45 °C); average temperature in January 18 °C, in August 34 °C.
220-250 volt AC, 50 Hertz. Three-pin plugs are the norm here. Adapters can be obtained from any electrical store and all larger supermarkets.
Central European Time (CET) +4 hours. During European summertime, the time difference is +3 hours.
Making telephone calls:
The country code for international calls from the UK to the Emirates is 00971. When phoning the UK from the Emirates, the country code to dial is 0044, dropping the zero before the area code.
Country and people:
Islam restricts the consumption of alcohol in the UAE. A strict general ban on alcohol prevails in the Emirate of Sharjah in particular where alcohol is not offered in any hotel while it is served in the other emirates. During the fasting month of Ramadan, restrictions in everyday life (e.g. restaurants outside the hotels are closed during the day, shorter opening hours at official authorities) and increased sensitivity concerning religious matters and regarding the observation of Islamic traditions can be anticipated.
Eating, drinking and smoking in public, including in vehicles, is also forbidden for non-Muslims from sunrise to sunset. During this period, women should wear respectable clothing with long sleeves and men should refrain from wearing short leisure clothes.
Entry requirements for British citizens:
Adults and children must hold a valid passport to enter the UAE. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. British citizens do not require a visa before their arrival in the UAE and will be given a 30-day visa on arrival. Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.
Note: Entry requirements for British citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being made aware of this beforehand. Legally binding information and/or information on entry regulations going beyond this information can be obtained from the competent representation of the destination country. Before travelling to the United Arab Emirates, please check your visa requirements and make sure you have a valid visa if necessary. You are solely responsible for applying for, and presenting, any visa that may be required. RSD assumes no liability if you fail to do this. Please note that entry into the UAE is dependent upon the approval of the immigration authorities.
The currency is the UAE dirham (AED). 1 dirham = 100 fils. Exchange rate (August 2019): 1 GBP = 4.43 AED, 1 AED = 0.22 GBP.
Currency can be exchanged at banks during opening hours and at your hotel. Bank opening hours: Sat. – Wed., 8 a.m. – 3.30 p.m., Thurs. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.; some banks also open from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. The weekend in the United Arab Emirates is Friday and Saturday. International credit cards are accepted by hotels, car hire companies and several shops. Cash withdrawals using a PIN code can be made at ATMs. Travellers’ cheques are almost universally accepted.
Severe penalties will be imposed on anyone bringing weapons, drugs, forged currency or pornographic items into the country. Even the cover pages of some, more “permissive” magazines, may be construed as pornography. Video cassette recordings may be checked and even confiscated. E-cigarette imports are also prohibited and will be confiscated on arrival. Should you require more detailed information about customs regulations governing the goods which may be brought into the United Arab Emirates, please contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates directly. Only there will you be able to obtain legally binding information. Information on customs regulations governing the importation of goods into the UK is available on the Web site: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
In view of the general situation in the Near and Middle East, vigilance is also advised in the United Arab Emirates. You should act in a safety-conscious manner that is appropriate to the situation, especially in large crowds.
Crime: The UAE is one of the safest countries in the Middle East with an extremely low crime rate. Nevertheless, individual incidents of pick pocketing, e.g. in larger shopping centres, can not be ruled out.
Special criminal law provisions:
Strict Islamic moral values prevail in the UAE. Homosexuality and extra-marital sexual relations are prohibited and punishable by a prison sentence if reported to the authorities. Tourists sharing rooms in hotels do not generally experience any difficulties in this regard. Likewise, expressions of mutual affection (e.g. kissing, physical contact) in public can lead to fines or prison terms in accordance with Islamic law. Consideration of customs and traditions in the UAE is therefore recommended. Travellers should exercise restraint in public, and their behaviour should take consideration of the religious, political, cultural and social traditions of the country, as well as staying clear of any demonstrations or protest events. The possession and consumption of even the smallest quantities of drugs will also result in prison sentences. Even consumption of soft drugs some days beforehand can be established through blood tests and subject to correspondingly tough punishment. It is a criminal offence to photograph/film the following facilities: military facilities, ports, airports, imperial palaces, public buildings, industrial plants, crude oil / natural gas plants. In the event of a violation, at least the camera/film/chip will be confiscated.
Vaccinations: Please contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a countryby- country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Medical care: Healthcare facilities in the UAE are generally comparable with those in the UK, but visitors may be prevented from using them without travel insurance or without the means to settle any medical fees. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
All information subject to change – last updated August 2019
Information on People‘s Republic of China
Comparison of temperatures
System of government:
The Socialist People’s Republic of China (founded 01.10.1949) under the sole leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The country has a one-party system. The Chinese head of state is President Xi Jingping.
Peking (Beijing), metropolitan area: population ca. 21.5 million, including ca. 8 million migrant workers.
Atheistic state ideology; Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Protestant and Catholic “state churches” as well as independent home churches.
Standard Mandarin, various dialects of Chinese; various minority languages (Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Turkic languages, Korean).
Continental in the north, subtropical in the south.
220-250 volt alternating current, 50 hertz. An adapter is necessary.
Despite the very large surface area of China there is only one time zone (Peking Standard Time). The time difference with the UK is +7 hours in summer and +8 hours in winter.
Making telephone calls:
The dialling code for long-distance calls from the UK to China is 0086, and from China to the UK the dialling code is 0044. The zero is omitted when making local calls.
Country and people:
China has one of the world’s oldest civilisations and, with 1,382,000,000 inhabitants, has the largest population in the world. In order to limit further population growth, the one-child policy was introduced in the 1980s. In 2015 the regulation was relaxed and now couples are allowed to have two children, subject to state permission. When greeting a person, Chinese nod politely or make a small bow. Apart from the large crowds of people in which physical contact is unavoidable, Chinese do not touch anyone whom they don’t know. A smile is always preferred to a pat on the shoulder or a similar gesture. This rule should be observed with particular care in contacts with older people or with people in important positions.
Food and drink:
The main products are potatoes, tofu, crushed maize flour, rice and other types of cereals. Noodles are also widespread. Dishes with beef, pork and chicken or fish are popular but also very expensive. The specialities vary from region to region, from the typical Peking duck to hot and spicy dishes in the province of Sichuan Sheng. Chopsticks are the standard eating utensils. Food is placed in the middle of the table and can comprise more than one main dish. This is usually accompanied by rice. After the meal one does not place the chopsticks in the rice bowl but instead clean on the table.
Entry requirements for British citizens:
British citizens require a visa to visit mainland China and thus for this cultural tour (although not for Hong Kong or Macao). This visa can be applied for at the China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC).
Further information at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/entry-requirements. At the time you apply for the visa, your passport must be valid for at least another 6 months and must have at least two blank visa pages.
For further information and application, go to the CVASC website at: www.visaforchina.org.
Under “Please choose your location”, select “United Kingdom” and then select “London”, “Manchester” or “Edinburgh”.
We recommend that you apply for the visa directly through our visa service provided for you. The fee for the visa is £ 99 (as of July 2019).
Citizens of other countries are advised to ask the Chinese embassy about the entry requirements applying to them.
Whilst we endeavour to provide guidance where necessary, we can not be responsible for any problems encountered (whether at any point of entry or elsewhere) in the event that passport and visa requirements are not satisfied.
Your expert tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information about the country, people, history, culture, etc., and offer advice and assistance for organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that China has to offer, and learn all about the country and its people. Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras. We recommend booking the following packages:
Dinner package: The package includes a sumptuous dinner every evening in China, incl. 1 x Peking Duck: only £129 per person.
Cultural and gourmet package: The package includes 3 × typical regional lunches in China and the excursions to the “Yu Garden in the Old Town and the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai“, ”Tiananmen Square, the Emperor‘s Palace and the National Stadium in Beijing“, and “The Great Wall of China and visit to the Ming tombs“: only £169 per person.
The official currency in China is the renminbi (“people’s currency”). It is also known as the yuan (CNY). 1 CNY = 10 jiao. Exchange rate (August 2019): 1 GBP = 8.51 CNY, 1 CNY = 0.11 GBP.
It is best to exchange the money at a bank. Opening hours for banks: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 am – 5:30 pm; Sat. – Sun. 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Cash can be withdrawn from most ATMs using EC or credit cards. Fees may be charged. Cash payment is the usual method in China, with credit card payments becoming more and more popular. EC cards are rarely accepted as a payment method. wIt is best to exchange the money at a bank. Opening hours for banks: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 am – 5:30 pm; Sat. – Sun. 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Cash can be withdrawn from most ATMs using EC or credit cards. Fees may be charged. Cash payment is the usual method in China, with credit card payments becoming more and more popular. EC cards are rarely accepted as a payment method.
Duty-free import: 400 cigarettes, 2 bottles of spirits (750 ml each). Foreign currency: up to USD 5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currencies) for non-Chinese citizens. Otherwise an import declaration must be made. In addition, up to CNY 20,000 may be imported.
Export: The export of antiques is subject to strict regulations, with different specifications for the type and importance of the art items. Coins dating from before 1949 may no longer be exported at all, and most antiques only if they bear the red seal of the Chinese Cultural Office.
Foreign currency: Up to USD 5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currencies) for non-Chinese citizens. Amounts exceeding these limits only to the level of the previous import declaration. You can obtain further customs information on the import of goods from the embassy of your country of destination. This is the only source of legally binding information. You can find the customs regulations for the UK on the website of HM Revenue & Customs www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue customs/services-information, together with contact details.
Special criminal law provisions:
The security situation in China can generally be rated as good. Foreigners aged over 16 must be able to display a passport with a valid Chinese visa at any time. Police checks are possible at any time, especially as part of increased security measures associated with major events or days of remembrance. We recommend that you keep copies of your passport and airline tickets safe in your hotel and always carry your passport with valid visa with you so that you can display it during police checks. The import or possession of even relatively small quantities of drugs can lead to long prison sentences or even the death penalty. Khat has also been defined as a drug since 01.01.2014; import into China is forbidden and possession is a crime. Travellers are thus urgently warned against transporting items with unknown content on behalf of third parties. Photographing certain sites such as military installations is forbidden. One should first ask permission before taking photos of persons.
Vaccinations: Via its Travel Health Pro website the UK Government recommends various vaccinations depending on individual status and requirements (see www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/49/china „Vaccine_recommendations“ and www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/49/china#Vaccine_recommendations). Vaccinations against hepatitis A and tetanus are recommended for all travellers to China.
Diarrhoeal diseases: Most diarrhoeal diseases can be avoided by appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Here are a few basic rules: Only drink water from a safe source, e.g. bottled water, never water from a tap. In emergencies use filtered, disinfected or boiled water. Also use safe drinking water when cleaning your teeth at any time. With regard to food, cook it or peel it yourself. Be careful to keep flies off your food and drink. Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, always after visiting the toilet and always before preparing food and before eating. Regularly disinfect your hands and use disposable hand towels. Infectious diseases: Before travelling to the People’s Republic of China, consult a medical advisory centre or a doctor specialising in travel medicine about possible infectious diseases.
There is no system of practice-based physicians in China. As a result, medical care is concentrated in hospitals. Very large clinical centres with highly modern facilities can be found in cities, but in rural areas the available medical care may still be very rudimentary. Hygiene does not always meet European standards. The main problem in medical care for foreigners is the language barrier and the different medical culture. Due to a lack of Englishspeaking medical staff, communication without Chinese language skills can be very difficult. We urgently recommend sufficient medical insurance cover that is also valid for China as well as repatriation insurance cover. A personal first-aid and pharmaceutical travel kit is recommended.
There is no bilateral Social Security agreement between the UK and China, meaning that doctor’s bills or hospital bills will need to be paid in cash immediately after treatment. In most cases payment using a Chinese credit card is possible. Foreign credit cards are only accepted in a very few international clinics in a few cities.
The costs of medical treatment in China are not generally covered by English health insurance companies. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in China. Make sure you have private travel health insurance. Such policies usually also offer benefits not covered by state health insurance companies, e.g. the costs of repatriation. Customers should ensure that they are physically and psychologically fit for undertaking the selected trip and make the necessary queries concerning the level of physical and psychological fitness required. Please observe that the excursions are accessible by foot only and that the buses used for the roundtrip are not customised to transport wheelchairs or similar devices.
All information is subject to change/Last updated: August 2019