The United Arab Emirates is more commonly referred to as the UAE. It is one of the more recent countries to exist in the world, having been created in 1971. Seven emirates are included in the United Arab Emirates, and all of them use the UAE dirham. These emirates are Dubai (perhaps one of the best-known of all), Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm-al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah.

What coins and notes are available for this currency?

The dirham is split into 100 fils, making it a decimal currency. There are precious few coins in use, with just three that you’ll see when you are out and about in the United Arab Emirates. Two are denominated as fils: the 25 and 50 fils coins. Aside from this there is another coin worth one dirham.

The relative lack of coins is more than made up for in banknotes though. These go up from 5 dirhams through 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 dirhams.

From past to present – the history of the United Arab Emirates dirham

When the UAE was created in 1971, the currencies in use were the Qatar riyal and the Dubai riyal. Abu Dhabi had also been using the Bahraini dinar. In 1973 the UAE dirham as we know it today was introduced across the region.

There has been speculation that the dirham may disappear at some point, to be replaced by a new currency for the Gulf, but this has yet to happen.

How to get hold of the United Arab Emirates dirham

Some countries definitely make it a lot easier for you to get the currency you need, and the UAE is one of them. There are plenty of cash machines throughout the country, and the tourist areas are very well set up to make it easy to get cash whenever you need it.

While traveller’s cheques are virtually unknown in some parts of the world, this is not the case in the United Arab Emirates. Providing you buy them valued in US dollars you shouldn’t experience any problems getting them exchanged when you need to. You can even exchange your own currency for the dirham once you get there. You can of course order your dirhams ahead of time before you leave home, so think about the easiest route to take.

How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the United Arab Emirates dirham

All you need to use is a currency converter, as this will determine the latest exchange rate between your own currency and the dirham. It is sometimes referred to as the Emirati dirham so bear this in mind if you have trouble finding it. Using the AED currency code is very often the quickest way to locate it.

If you are one of the many who want to learn more about the UAE before you visit, you can find out more information from the official website for the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London. This is at

Travelling safely with the United Arab Emirates dirham

The United Arab Emirates is a destination chosen by hundreds of thousands of Brits every year. There are some particularly popular areas people go to, but on the whole their visits pass without incident. It is however important to respect the fact that the country is Muslim. Even if you are not a Muslim you must respect their way of life while you are there. Their laws will apply to you too, so make sure you know what to expect so you can stay safe and out of the hands of the law.

The main thing to remember is to keep yourself out of potentially dangerous situations, just as you would in any country. Fortunately serious crime is rare and there are few incidents of it. The best advice is for females not to go out alone. If you do and you do so at night, make sure you take care and don’t go into any areas you are not familiar with.

Where to spend your dirham in the United Arab Emirates – and what to spend them on

You may have heard of the Arabian Peninsula. This is where you will find the United Arab Emirates. The northern part of the country faces the Persian Gulf, while the uppermost eastern side faces the Gulf of Oman before the border travels down on land to face Oman itself. The only other country that shares a border with the United Arab Emirates is Saudi Arabia.

The capital city of the emirates is Abu Dhabi, which is located just beyond the coast of the mainland facing the Persian Gulf – it’s actually on a small island there. Human history has roots here from many hundreds of years ago, but today it is a thoroughly modern place and you might want to visit if you are staying close by. There are many neighbourhoods that make up parts of the city, and one of these is called Al Lulu Island. This part of the world is no stranger to making their own land by reclaiming it from the sea, and this island is also manmade. The future of this island in terms of use is uncertain, but knowing how determined the people are to complete projects even bigger than this, no doubt the island will be developed in due course in one way or another.

As you might expect, Abu Dhabi has a good selection of towers and skyscrapers. To be honest, simply wandering around the area looking at the various structures is an activity that is well worth doing. It certainly makes you feel pretty small!

Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This is a building of incredible appearance, its white exterior looking quite amazing in its size and detail. According to one source, thousands of people contributed to the creation of this mosque, which only began in the mid-Nineties.

Let’s leave Abu Dhabi behind now to explore some other parts of the UAE. Dubai is perhaps one of the best known cities – and indeed locations – in the UAE. It is also one of the emirates and is home to the world’s tallest building to date. This is the Burj Khalifa and it stretches an incredible 2,722 feet into the sky. It definitely dwarfs everything else around it, so much so it has to be seen to be believed. You can get one of the best views of Dubai simply by heading up to the observation deck. You’ll need to go up an eye-watering 124 floors to get there, but fortunately the building does have lifts!

Dubai is also famous for the Palm Jumeirah, another of the emirates land reclamation projects. It is called the Palm because of the appearance of the land from above. If you want to stay on the island you can do, because there are lots of fine hotels in the area. Many people live here permanently, having bought one of the many villas that are arranged on the separate fronds of the palm design.

There are other things you can do and places you can go in the UAE too. If you’d like to take a road trip then why not head up Jebel Hafeet? This is a mountain, which is something you may not initially associate with this part of the world. There is a mountain road that takes you right to the top, and the views along the journey are quite impressive as the road twists and turns along. You could also check out the Hajar Mountains but as always with mountain explorations, particularly in hot countries, make sure you go prepared.

It might be worth venturing back to Dubai for a moment because this is home to Wild Wadi, a water park that is much loved by many of the people who visit this part of the emirates. There are lots of water rides here and many families come and stay for the entire day. From downhill slides to the lazy river, there are rides here that are an appropriate speed for everyone to enjoy. There is also a wave pool called Breaker’s Bay which is well worth a look if you’d love something a little more challenging than a regular swimming pool!

There are great tourist opportunities in the UAE so you’ll find plenty of excuses to part with a few dirhams. Even if you don’t visit Wild Wadi you can still enjoy many great destinations and experiences in this part of the world.


Many people choose the United Arab Emirates as a place to go on a family holiday. There are many reasons to choose this place and the more you find out about it and its tourist attractions, the more tempting it is likely to be to go there. However big or small your budget is for your next holiday, why not consider a trip to the UAE this year?

United Arab Emirates Dirham – AED

2 thoughts on “United Arab Emirates Dirham – AED

  • April 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I have read a bit about the United Arab Emirates because I know a lot of people from other countries go out there to work. You can earn a reasonable amount doing so as well, although I’m not sure it would suit me. Even though the UK leaves a lot to be desired, the UAE wouldn’t be top of my list of places to go to live abroad.

    I do have my hesitations on spending a holiday there as well. Their customs and traditions seem very strict and while I agree that we should be careful to respect them, I’m not sure I could visit somewhere that was quite this strict. The people seem nice though, at least from what little I have read.

  • April 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I agree with Ben. I wouldn’t head over to the UAE for any reason, although I’m sure those who do end up doing rather well out of it if they have the right working skills.


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