Essentials in Dubai

All the little, yet simple things you ask yourself about the essentials in Dubai are listed below: electricity, trash / garbage, water, gas, telephone, internet, postal services, television and food and drink.


The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts and 50 cycles. The socket type is identical to the three point British system. Adapters can be purchased at any grocery or hardware shop.
Electricity and water along with sewage are provided by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). The phone number is: 04 224 5555.



This service is unique based on the area that you live in Dubai. For example, in areas like Arabian Ranches and The Meadows (more outlying suburban developments) your garbage will be collected on a set day each week. However, in areas like Al Barsha and Jumeirah, a large garbage unit is located within walking distance and residents are required to dispose of their own garbage.



Tap water is safe to drink though locally bottled mineral water is preferred. Some of the water suppliers in Dubai are: Desert Springs: 800 6650; Nestle Pure life: 800 4404; Oasis drinking water: 884 5656.



Gas mains don’t exist in Dubai hence individual canisters need to be purchased and connected to a gas oven via an outside tap. Keep the telephone number of gas suppliers handy and canisters can be delivered to you in less than 20 minutes of your call, anytime of the day. However, recently we’ve discovered some apartment blocks in Al Barsha that offer gas mains. These are newer developments.



Currently the main telecommunications providers in Dubai are Du and Etisalat.
You will require a residence visa to get a land line but you can get a SIM card for your mobile phone without residency. You can either pay as you go or set up an account. Keep in mind charges within the region are quite reasonable however out of the region mobile coverage is expensive.



Note that access to some sites is restricted. Internet is typically a part of a package with Du or Etisalat. Some areas in Dubai have not been allocated optic wires which restricts internet connection. It is best to check with your provider to determine areas still waiting to be updated.


Postal Services

There is no house address based mailing system in the UAE. All mails are delivered to the central post office and then distributed to centrally located post office boxes. It is also possible to rent a personal P.O. Box in the UAE.



There is a good selection of satellite channels to choose from in Dubai or video/DVD rental stores are plentiful in Dubai. Examples: Arab Media group (AMG), E-vision (Etisalat), Orbit, Techno SAT and Star Pay TV.



Modern supermarkets are prevalent in Dubai. A few popular chains are Spinney’s and Carrefour. These markets offer most items found in North America, Europe and Australia. The stores offer a wide range of goods and prices are comparable to those in most western countries. Outdoor markets sell fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and vegetables. Western fast food chains are plentiful. In addition, Arabic, Lebanese and Indian fast food outlets are available.


Tap water

It is said to be safe to drink it in the UAE, but most people choose to drink bottled water.



Available to non Muslims (even though, you see locals sipping their beers in bars with no problems) and is sold in most hotel restaurants and pubs. After receiving a Residence Visa you can apply for a liquor license which allows you to purchase alcohol in specialized outlets to drink at home. Liquor permits can only be used in the Emirate in which they are issued.