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When You Arrive

When you arrive in Abu Dhabi, try to get your bearings. If you don’t already have one, purchase a map at the airport and follow your route to the hotel as you make your way there.

At the hotel, ask the concierge to help you orientate yourself in terms of the front entrance to the hotel – this way you’ll be able to go for a walk and more easily find your way home. You can also ask your concierge to help you mark on your map places that you might be visiting, such as your company, prospective schools and housing options.

Quiz the concierge about traffic patterns and get their opinion on travel times between different areas of the city. When combined with the opinions of others like your relocation agent and colleagues, you will be better informed to decide where you’ll live and where your children will go to school.

It’s a good idea to dress with respect for the local culture, which for women means covering shoulders and knees and avoiding transparent or low-cut clothing. The only time you need to wear an abaya or headscarf is when you’re visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (you will be provided with one on arrival). 

Holding hands is fine, and a peck on the cheek to say hello to a friend is tolerated. Anything more than that is not acceptable, so save kissing, cuddling and any other displays of physical affection for when you’re in private. Locals are genuinely offended by this and often won’t be inclined to turn a blind eye. 

You officially need a licence to purchase alcohol here. These are relatively easy to obtain as long as you’re a non-Muslim with a residence permit.