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Getting about the Gulf

Travelling from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates is easy and inexpensive. Flights leave almost every hour, take around 70 minutes and can cost as little as £40. Travelling between the emirates is also simple; a taxi from Sharjah, which merges almost seamlessly into Dubai, takes less than half-an-hour out of rush hour and costs around £20. Abu Dhabi is about an hour’s drive from Dubai, depending on the traffic on the notoriously clogged Sheikh Zayed Road.

Taxis: The UAE’s towns are laid out on the Los Angeles model, which is why Dubai’s raised transit is less useful than it should be; on arriving at your station, you often still have to walk long distances. Be sure to use a registered taxi and they should all have a meter. (Official taxis have “taxi” signs on the roof and in the UAE are mostly beige; in Qatar they are aqua blue.) Give drivers a nearby landmark, such as a major skyscraper or shopping mall, to help them find your address. Do not expect a driver from one emirate to be familiar with the geography of another.

Finding Alserkal Avenue is notoriously difficult. Tell your taxi driver to head to Al Manara Road and continue straight until the Home Centre junction. Turn right at the traffic lights on to 8th Street, and continue straight until the first traffic lights. Take the first right into the compound.

When in Rome… While Dubai is quite an open, cosmopolitan city, Qatar and Sharjah are more conservative, but all have customs that should be respected. Avoid public male-female physical contact and do not wear very short skirts or revealing tops. The consumption of alcohol is illegal in Sharjah and strictly limited to licensed venues, such as hotels and clubs, elsewh ere in the Gulf.