Travel advisory for those travelling to UAE for IPL7

Posted: April 8, 2014 in Sports
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Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah are three Emirates (States) in UAE.

The distances are roughly like this:
Abu Dhabi …>…140km.>…….Dubai ..>…25km.>……..Sharjah in that direction.

mapUAE
Quite clearly, since the IPL matches are evenly spread out, it means any which way you try and stay close to one venue, you will be far away from the other two. An interactive map with fixtures can be found here.

VENUES
The modern but modest Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi is about 25kms out of the city and the only easy way out from the city centre or coming in from Dubai side is by TAXI.

The swankiest of all, the Dubai International Stadium is even more remote. Dubai is very spread out, but this one is quite far, almost close to the halfway point to Abu Dhabi. If you are based in the heart of Dubai (called as Bur Dubai), closer to tourist attractions like Burj Khalifa, it will still be about half an hour’s drive by Taxi, on an average depending on your point of stay in Dubai.
The airport and Bur Dubai are close to each other. The bus transport hub is located in Bur Dubai. You will need to buy a NOL card, issued by RTA, Dubai, and which can be used in both buses and trains, and is mandatory.

The record-holding venue as host to most ODI matches, the least modest Sharjah Cricket Stadium is very close to the heart of the city, like a 5 mins drive and about 20 from Dubai city centre.

Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Courtesy The National

Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Courtesy The National

CURRENCY
1 dirham (DH) = 3.67 US dollar / approx. 16.3 rupees (INR)
Dollar to dirham is fixed, so make sense to bring US dollars and convert it once.
There are many exchange houses in almost every mall across UAE, and ATM networks are equally good. In short, no difficulty perceived here.

TRANSPORT
Taxis are easy to get and they, in fact, welcome long distance trips. However, travelling across Emirates is a one-way affair. e.g You cannot book a cabbie and set him up to take you to, say, Abu Dhabi from Dubai and set him up to take you back after the match. He can’t, even if he wants to.
But all cabbies in all three emirates are equipped to provide you with bills.

Buses across Emirates move from point to point. Which means you will have to travel from the official bus station of Abu Dhabi / Sharjah / Dubai to corresponding one in the other emirate and then take a cab to each stadium.
Only the Sharjah stadium is the nearest to the bus station as mentioned above.

Rent-a-car are by the dozen, but the cheaper ones are unreliable. Only the big brands have cars available with drivers.

There are private operators on the sly, too, but drop me a mail, if you need to know more.

TV grab from NDTV of the IPL 2014 which will be held in parts.

TV grab from NDTV of the IPL 2014 which will be held in parts.

FOOD & LANGUAGE
If you are from the subcontinent, there is nothing to worry. If you know Hindi or Urdu, you are good to go anywhere in the UAE.
Likewise with the food; Indian and Pakistani restaurants abound and perfect for the budget traveller.

HOTELS
A wide range of options are available, though can’t pinpoint any to any venue. I am sure there are hotel booking websites which can help you out like TripAdvisor or MakeMyTrip.ae here.
There are no hotels in walking distances in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but Sharjah, yes.

I haven’t touched on visa formalities because those are best left to the embassies and their websites for best guidance.

GET CONNECTED

The two mobile operators are government’s own Etisalat and Du. The latter has slightly better plans if you have to make international calls. There is also a Hello telephone card which you can use to make calls from your phone.

All venues and even homes in UAE have wi-fi. Still if you want to stay connected on the move, check out the data plans with the two operators. For Whatsapp, BBM and bit of surfing, a 100Dh card with data bundle from UAE is enough to get by.

TICKETS, would have been mostly sold out by now, but hurry and log on to Ticketmaster if you haven’t.
A big disappointment is that the venue seat maps haven’t been provided.
Another strange thing one noticed in the last few days was that, in the case of Sharjah atleast, the best seats – at a highest price of only 150 Dhs – were unavailable while the lesser ones – dirt cheap at 30Dhs – were still available online.

All the best for your planning.
After South Africa, UAE becomes the second neutral venue for the IPL, and may it rise above the shadow of match-fixing as I mentioned in my previous post.
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