World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > United Arab Emirates

Getting Around United Arab Emirates


Daily flights link Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. Flights can also be chartered and there are small landing fields throughout the United Arab Emirates.

Departure tax

Usually included in the air fare.


Well lit, tarmac roads connect all emirates. Dubai is notorious for traffic and dangerous driving, but things can slow to a crawl during peak hour in some congested parts of the city. Most roads are well maintained, with one long highway known as Sheikh Zayed Road connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Side of the road


Road Quality

There are good tarmac roads running along the west coast between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah; between Sharjah and Dhaid; and linking Dubai with other northern states and the interior. Roads are clearly signposted in Arabic and English.

Road Classification

Motorways, A-roads and B-roads.

Car Hire

Most international car hire companies have offices at airports, hotels and malls. A passport, credit card and either a valid international or national licence are necessary for tourists.


Taxis are a quick and convenient method of travel within the UAE, as they are available everywhere with metered fares. Make sure you carry smaller notes – anything over Dhs50 note will inspire grumbling. Taxis are scarce around 1700. This is when the taxi drivers change shift and deliver their cars back to the depot.


Cycling has been slow to take off in the UAE, but the Dubai government recently started a campaign to promote cycling as a way of maintaining fitness. However, that does not mean drivers will recognize cyclists as road partners - many drivers have very little regard for the safety of cyclists. Bikes are prohibited on major roads and highways, and cyclists are encouraged to use smaller roads or UAE's growing number of dedicated bikeways. In addition, cyclists should take into account the brutally high temperatures in the Dubai desert summer and make sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after a ride.


Coach services in the UAE are of the luxury variety and many come with mini bars, massage chairs and TVs. Etihad offers an express service between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain. This is a free service for Etihad customers. There are also a number of bus companies offering a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing trip around Dubai or Abu Dhabi.


Speed limits are clearly displayed on road signs and are usually up to 60kph (37mph) in built-up areas, up to 120kph (75mph) on major roads, and up to 120kph (75mph) on motorways. Don’t be surprised when other drivers seem to ignore this.


An International Driving Permit is recommended, although it is not legally required. A valid national driving licence from the UK, Australia or the USA is acceptable.



Abra boats trips across the creek from the Deira Old Souk and Sabkha Abra Station at Dubai Old Souk Abra Station cost AED1 per passenger. The Dubai Ferry runs between Al Ghubaib and Dubai Marina. In Abu Dhabi there is a ferry service from Jebel Al Dhanna port to Delma Island. There are also a number of private boat journeys from Abu Dhabi to various islands.

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