You’re in for an amazing journey!!!! This is a lovely, friendly and culturally educational part of the world. The Emirati people are friendly and introverted at the same time. There are also many ex-pats from all over the globe calling this home. Listen closely and you’ll enjoy many different accents and languages. The sand is lovely and plentiful. The architecture is amazing, creative and mind-blowing!
It is highly recommended for women to cover their shoulders and knees. Bring a wrap because everywhere inside has powerful air conditioners and outside it is very hot and humid. Yes, it is 104oF/39oC. I wear long shorts, jeans and t-shirts; my friends wear skirts, dresses and maxi dresses. Men can wear anything respectful. That’s the key: be respectful.
As for the tours, I suggest the Big Red Bus tour. It’s a hop on and off bus that goes thru the city, stopping at highlights. Pick it up at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Mall in Dubai. Dubai is pretty spread out, so you will want to see the big 5: Burj Al Arab, Burj Kalifa, Mall of the Emirates (where the indoor snow skiing is), Dubai Mall and Old Diera if time permits. Abu Dhabi has its own Big 5: Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque, Emirates Palace, Ferrari World, the carpet souk and Iranian Market and Heritage Village.
A helicopter tour sounds like great fun!!! I haven’t done it so I have no comments. Let me know how it it. There is sky dive Dubai, Snow Ski Dubai, Indoor sky diving and kite surfing are available in Abu Dhabi, as are stand-up-paddle boards, jet ski and sailing. The Formula 1 racetrack is in Abu Dhabi and the Atlantis hotel and water extravaganza is in Dubai. Of course, there are camels, zoos, aquariums and shopping in both Emirates.
Food is great here: Arabic mixed grille is popular and one of my favs. There is foods from all over the world! The dates are among the best in the world!! Bon appetite!
Be aware of uneven pavement when walking, sun, and dehydration. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Water is available (in a restaurant, if you don’t want Perrier or Pellegrino, ask for local water. It’s bottled water and delicious.) It’s SO VERY SAFE here. I lost a gold and diamond bracelet and it was turned in to the lost/found and saved for my retrieval.
The money is called Dirhams. The exchange rate doesn’t fluctuate. It’s 1Dhm = .27USD. I think prices are reasonable to inexpensive. There is no sales tax so the price in the tag is what you pay.
It’s a wonderful place and I know you’ll enjoy the scenery. I welcome you to my home.