Life in the United Arab Emirates is leisurely, with locals appreciating every holiday and weekend. On these days, the tourist and public, social, infrastructure work is different from the normal work schedule. Therefore, tourists and independent travellers need to know the peculiarities of weekends in Debay, what they can do, how public and government offices and transport work.
Official weekends in Dubai
For a holiday in UAE resorts, it is important to be aware of the opening hours of entertainment centres, attractions, government offices and banks. Most of them are closed on weekends. Therefore, tourists need to plan in advance to visit these places. For Muslims, the only day off is Friday. Many public and tourist facilities are closed during this time.
How to plan a holiday during Friday in the UAE
- The beach. Pay more attention to relaxing on the beach, swimming in the Persian Gulf. This will help you relax, gain strength for your next holiday.
- There are no excursions to local natural or historic attractions on Fridays. However, you can visit them on your own by renting a car. It is important to find out in advance about the hours of operation.
- You can visit local holiday parks and plan leisurely walks along the promenade. But in summer, temperatures rise as high as 45°C, so be careful.
For information on public holidays in Dubai, visit the UAE Government website. Here you can find information on all holidays and national events. From 3 January 2022, the country switched to a 4.5 working week. Government services are open Monday to Thursday and Friday morning. Saturday and Sunday are official holidays in the UAE.
Friday for Muslims and tourists
For UAE Muslims, Friday is not just a day off. They dedicate the day to prayer, which can last up to 1 hour. In addition to prayers, sermons are held in the mosques. The time of day prayer in Dubai is now set at 1.15pm. This allows worshippers to reach the nearest mosque after finishing their work day. No active business or social life is allowed in Dubai on this day off. The exception to this is when Muslims gather to talk and deal with urgent matters.
Tourists on Friday should consider the following
- Shopping and entertainment centres. The mode of operation is the usual, except for a long lunch break. This is for Friday prayers. Some malls have sales and promotions on Friday.
- Cafes, restaurants, small shops. Most are closed, but in the tourist areas of Dubai they are partly open. You should check the timetable in advance.
- Liquor shops, supermarkets. They start selling alcohol in the afternoon or close completely on Friday.
- Public transport. Doesn’t stop, but can be overcrowded due to the large number of local residents.
On Friday, native Arabs from the UAE and expats alike want to relax. That’s why queues often appear at amusement parks, cafes and restaurants in Dubai on the weekend. One way out is to make reservations or buy entrance tickets in advance. This will help you get into the park or recreational area.
Islamic and national holidays in the UAE
Apart from Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend in Dubai falls on national and Muslim holidays. Public services are partially or completely shut down during these days, but private companies may offer their services. It depends on the holiday and the tourist season. Often tourists plan a trip to the UAE for the holidays. The reason for this is the organisation of entertainment events, concerts. In addition, there may be sales in shopping malls at this time.
List of national and Islamic holidays in the UAE with official holidays:
- New Year is 1 January.
- Sheikh Zayed’s day when he assumed the throne is August 6.
- Country Day is on 2 December.
- Al-Hijrah is the Islamic New Year.
- Eid al-Adha, a Muslim festival of sacrifice, is held for 4 days.
- Mar Mulud – the day the Prophet Mohammed was born.
- Leylat al-Mi’raj – the ascension of the Great Prophet.
- Ramadan, takes place in the autumn.
After the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims have Eid al-Fitr – breaking the fast. They exchange gifts after morning prayers. Each national or public holiday is celebrated officially and a day off is declared in Dubai and the UAE. An interesting tourist or sightseeing programme can be developed during this time.