Last update08/06/2018


Travels (101)

Did you know that you need to taste a culture, to really understand it? Yes we mean it quite literally too!

Food is an integral part of any vacation or travel. The aromas and flavours of different cuisines leave an indelible memory in our hearts, to be recalled while reminiscing and recounting our experiences. If youÔÇÖre adventurous enough, try out authentic street food, the true testimony to the local culture and tradition. ItÔÇÖs best to go equipped with enough foreign exchange, or quickly run up to the nearest ATM and withdraw cash from your pre-loaded travel card which can host upto 6 different currencies.

Get set to travel virtually to our three top street-food destinations in the world.

Bangkok - Bangkok is a street-food loversÔÇÖ paradise with a slew of options located in several different parts of the city. A u-shaped lane Soi Rambuttri and Soi 38 near Sukhumvit Road are the popular locations. From breakfast with soy milk and bean curd, to lunch and dinner, Thai street food has something for everyone. When in Bangkok, try chicken in green curry, pad Thai (stir fried noodle dish used with different meats or tofu), green papaya salad, and mango sticky rice. Yaowarat or Chinatown in Bangkok located in Thong Lor Soi 13 turns into a large ÔÇ£food streetÔÇØ at night, attracting locals and tourists from all over the world.

street food


Istanbul ÔÇô WhatÔÇÖs a cross between a bagel and a pretzel in Istanbul called? The simit. Istanbul is peppered with vendors and push cart sellers, on side walks and throughout the city, offering a veritable whatÔÇÖs what in food. From simits to durums (kebabs turned into wraps), kokorec (lamb intestines wrapped around sweetbreads on a skewer) to the gozleme (a Turkish grilled cheese), Istanbul definitely beckons the gourmet and the gourmand alike. And before you go out shopping, withdraw some Turkish Lira from the nearest ATM or carry your travel card with you.

Marrakesh ÔÇô Snail soup anyone? Snails are ubiquitous in the Jemma el Fna square and the snail broth is supposed to have restorative properties. If youÔÇÖre the kind who has adventurous taste buds, then descend like the rest of the worldÔÇÖs mortals on the famous medina at Marrakesh and give in to a sensory assault of colours, smells, sounds and of course flavours. Seasoned travellers advice is to avoid cafes and restaurants and eat street-food, and you wonÔÇÖt go wrong. From orange juice to herbal tea, BÔÇÖstilla (a special kind of pie) to MaÔÇÖqooda (deep fried potato balls), Marrakesh definitely is one of the top street-food destinations in the world. Currency used here is Moroccan Dirhams.

Well, now that weÔÇÖve got your taste buds salivating, whatÔÇÖs there except to get set, go and eat!
Bon app├®tit.

Health is wealth! This adage is true for all eternity.

Expats move out of their home countries to help build wealth for their families. What better way to build wealth than to stay healthy. So before setting out, you need to ensure your new environment helps you maintain good health. So consider factors such as population, pollution, safe drinking water facilities, electricity, healthcare systems, infrastructure, education, etc. before moving into a country.

To help you out, we have chosen a list of countries that rated highly on the above mentioned factors. These rating are based on a study published by The Lancet, one of the world's oldest and best known general medical journals and UNÔÇÖs sustainable development goals.


Number one on the list is Iceland. A country of 300,000 people, Icelanders are a tight knit unit. Iceland has long life expectancy, low rates of pollution levels and infant mortality rate. With a publicly funded health system it is considered as a role-model thriving in health and happiness. Icelanders maintain excellent nutrition, and the local produce uses minimal pesticides.


Bloomberg ranked SingaporeÔÇÖs health care system as the most efficient in the world, in 2014. Coupling it with the fact that Singapore is one of the most organised, clean and healthy countries in the world, you have yourself an amazing country to move into. Catastrophic health insurance (for people under 30 and designed to protect insurers during worst-case scenarios) is a must for all residents, although people can opt out too.

Healthiest Countries



Sweden has excellent health care facilities and the life expectancy for Swedish people is 84 years! They maintain a very healthy diet with renowned super-foods like blueberries, oats, and yogurt, being part of their daily intake. These factors have contributed to the eradication of illnesses like heart diseases and cholesterol in Sweden.


The life expectancy for Andorra is a massive 98.7 years. The high altitudes of Andorra create a great environment to live in, and help reduce respiratory and rheumatic problems. Andorra also has some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in Europe.

Abu Dhabi

The lifestyle here is excellent and luxurious and this contributes to the overall well-being of a person and their good health. Since January 2006, all Abu Dhabi residents are covered by a comprehensive health insurance program, and the costs are shared between employers and employees. Also, the countryÔÇÖs Ministry of Health is involved in a multi-million dollar expansion of the cityÔÇÖs healthcare facilities.

These countries are not only the healthiest places to travel, but are convenient to reach as well ÔÇô make sure you get your travel card loaded up and donÔÇÖt forget to get your travel insurance as well.

The Emirates is amazing and unique in so many ways. The history, culture, cuisine and ultra-modern lifestyle makes life worth an adventure here. So, if you are into exploring places and cultures similar to the UAE, get ready to visit these places.

Architectural magnificence
With impressive skyscrapers and architecture that can be described only using superlative adjectives, the UAE is an architectural marvel. If you are a connoisseur of such futuristic structural designs, then you will love visiting the following cities:

              ÔÇó New York, Chicago, USA
              ÔÇó Shanghai, Hong Kong, China
              ÔÇó Taipei, Taiwan
              ÔÇó Kuwait City, Kuwait
              ÔÇó Istanbul, Turkey
              ÔÇó Seoul, South Korea
              ÔÇó Tokyo, Japan
              ÔÇó Berlin, Germany

Culture and heritage
The Emiratis take immense pride in their culture and are known to be one of the most hospitable people in the world. Their culture and customs are greatly influenced by Islamic, Persian and Arabian tenets. Even though a large part of the UAEÔÇÖs population is made up of expats, the Emirati culture is still held strong everywhere. If you love hospitable Arabic culture and food, then you can visit the following countries:

             ÔÇó Egypt
             ÔÇó Oman
             ÔÇó Bahrain
             ÔÇó Jordan
             ÔÇó Algeria
             ÔÇó Morocco
             ÔÇó Libya
             ÔÇó Turkey
             ÔÇó Qatar
             ÔÇó Kuwait
             ÔÇó Tunisia

Travel places to remind UAE

Tax-free Income
This is one of the biggest reasons why the UAE is the hotspot for expats! The UAE as well as its surrounding GCC countries do not charge any personal income taxes. This means, no burden of income tax payments. If tax-free income is what excites you, then these are the countries for you.

            ÔÇó Qatar
            ÔÇó Oman
            ÔÇó Bermuda
            ÔÇó Kuwait
            ÔÇó Cayman Islands
            ÔÇó Bahrain
            ÔÇó Bahamas
            ÔÇó St. Kitts & Nevis
            ÔÇó Antigua & Barbuda

If you enjoy shopping and have already visited all the malls in the UAE, then you should head to these places for some fabulous experience.

           ÔÇó Seoul, South Korea
           ÔÇó Milan, Roma, Italy
           ÔÇó Paris, France
           ÔÇó Tokyo, Japan
           ÔÇó Los Angeles, New York, USA
           ÔÇó Vienna, Austria
           ÔÇó Amsterdam, Netherlands
           ÔÇó Singapore, Singapore
           ÔÇó Hong Kong, China
           ÔÇó London, England
           ÔÇó Berlin, Germany
           ÔÇó Oslo, Norway
           ÔÇó Stockholm, Sweden

Before leaving the UAE to visit these places, make sure you purchase your travel card and lock in the exchange rates. You can always depend on reputable money transfer services to sort out any Forex issues and ensure your trip is a successful one.

Happy Travelling!

Qatar is known for its spectacular architectural marvels as well as its natural wonders. There is so much beauty here that it is highly recommended that you take a break from your busy life and visit Qatar. Even though the country is primarily a desert, after the rain it turns into a green haven.

DonÔÇÖt miss out on visiting the unmatched terrains, flora and fauna mentioned below!

Ras Abrouq Rock Formations

These are limestone rock foundations sculpted by the wind and they look like gigantic mushrooms. This is a pretty isolated area, but boasts of spectacular sandy beaches and a wild deer reserve.

Dahl Al Misfir Cave

These caves have become the landmark of the Rawdat Rasid area of Qatar. This fascinating 40 feet deep cave often gives off a phosphorescent glow because of the enormous deposits of gypsum. These gypsum deposits also give rise to a geological phenomenon known as desert roses (clusters of rough rose-shaped gypsum crystals).

Qatar natural beauty


Al Thakira Mangroves

In the midst of the impenetrable desert lies the Al Thakira Mangrove ÔÇô a burst of greenery against the shimmery desert. This large patch of vegetation attracts bird of various species including herons and flamingos. You can also kayak around the mangrove and enjoy the view.

QatarÔÇÖs Beaches

With more than 560 kms of coastline, Qatar is a beach-loverÔÇÖs paradise. The water around is rich in marine life and boasts of species such as sea turtles, lion fish, dolphins and even whales. Al Ghariya, Maroona, and Fuwairit beaches offer an excellent spot for campers and picnickers.

Khor Al Adaid

The Khor Al Adaid or the Inland Sea is one of QatarÔÇÖs most impressive natural wonders. It is located about 60 kms away from Doha. This UNESCO recognised heritage site is actually a natural reserve with its own ecosystem. It is inaccessible by road and can only be reached by crossing the rolling dunes. This is also one of few places on this earth where the sea makes its way into the desert. It is also a great place to camp.

There is so much natural beauty in Qatar that you need to ensure you experience every one of them. Book your tickets well in advance and donÔÇÖt forget to load your travel card. However, Qatar also boasts of easy availability of money transfer service providers, so money transfers or forex will never be an issue.

DonÔÇÖt forget to pack your sunscreens and scarves to protect your head from the heat. Happy Travelling!

Yearning to travel but worried about the expenses? You shouldnÔÇÖt!

Travel doesnÔÇÖt have to break your bank. If you are living in the UAE and are on a tight budget, you can still travel to so many wonderful places and quench your wanderlust without busting your savings account. In this article letÔÇÖs look at five amazing countries you can travel to on a shoestring budget.

Georgia is quickly becoming a favourite tourist destination for the UAE residents. There are several attractive packages that are being offered and flight tickets are usually inexpensive too, if you book them in advance. Georgia is an exceptionally beautiful country nestled amidst rolling mountains and lush greenery and being pretty close to the UAE, it is the perfect destination for a short getaway.

Although Azerbaijan may not be a popular choice for people from around the world, it is quite popular among people travelling from the UAE. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan is easily accessible via budget flights, and this country is a perfect vacation spot ÔÇô no matter which season you are travelling. During summers, you can enjoy a traditional mud bath or just laze in the beaches by the Caspian Sea and in winter, you can ski here to your heartÔÇÖs content.

Places to visit from UAE

For most parts of the year, flight tickets to Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi are available at amazingly low prices. You can choose to fly down to any of these destinations and from there drive down to so many other cities. If you love the sea, then places like Goa or Kerala is ideal for you. For those who love the mountains, a trip across the northern part of India will bring them face-to-face with the mighty Himalayas.

Sri Lanka:
Colombo is an incredible place to explore the gorgeous beaches and beautiful scenic landscapes. The mountainous region of Kandy is also another must-visit place. Sri Lankan lifestyle is a combination of age-old traditions and modern technology and its cities are abundant with attractions worth seeing. Hunt for good deals online and avail inexpensive flight tickets easily.

If you are living in the UAE and havenÔÇÖt paid a visit to Oman, then you should, pronto! Oman is about an hourÔÇÖs flight from the UAE and is the perfect destination for budget-conscious people. The Musandam peninsula is an intoxicating blend of gorgeous mountains and stunning coastlines, while Muscat is a shopperÔÇÖs paradise. On a tight budget, you can explore and have tons of fun here.

When planning any trip, always ensure you purchase a travel card that lets you lock interest rates. This way, you can lock favourable interest rates and use them when the rates hit the sky. Travel cards are also super easy to reload, should you run out of money. With some planning and careful money management, you can easily take short vacations couple of times a year!

Happy travelling!

Moving into a new country, all by yourself?

Though the thought of new opportunities and experiences can be exhilarating, these expeditions can bring with them the unexpected, that can turn out to be really tricky.

To ease things up, consider these tips!

Find the right accommodation:

Make sure you conduct thorough research about the housing scenario of the new country before you move in. Once you reach there, make sure you interact with locals about the accommodation options available. Decide whether you want to stay alone or with a roommate. There could be bureaucratic hassles in terms of paper work and documentation. So ensure that your papers are foolproof and you have all the necessary documents.

Getting used to the local food:

Before you get there, you need to have a fair idea on the kind of food that will be available. Carry along with you, home food with longer shelf-life, to help you survive the initial few days. Cooking your own food is the easiest way to save some money. So start getting used to the local spices and condiments.

DonÔÇÖt forget to socialise:

New country will always mean new people. Socialising not only helps to get you adjusted but it will also ensure you are not alone anymore. There is no hard and fast rule for meeting people and making friends, but make sure you do.

Moving New Country


Develop new hobbies:

A new country will give you a chance to explore new culture and experiences. ItÔÇÖs a great way to pick up new hobbies, so that you will not be bored during your free time.

Use a travel card:

There are two issues that can arise when it comes to money in a new country. First, if you are a big spender, the probability of you facing cash shortage is always there. Second, it takes time to adjust to the currency conversion factor and the purchasing parity abroad.

While there is no easy solution for this, having a travel card could come in handy. If you are getting the travel card from a reputed money transfer company, then you can lock in the exchange rate and not worry about fluctuations causing you problems. Also consider setting up a bank account, whether local or international, so you can transfer money to it and ensure your funds are available to you, whenever you need it.

Taking the decision to move abroad on your own is a huge step. It's the perfect opportunity to explore the world, and nurture your own independence. Moving abroad will definitely be a challenge, but with the right kind of preparation it's totally possible and worth it.

Week-ends in Dubai, the shopperÔÇÖs paradise is spoilt for choice, with the large number of malls spread across. These malls are famous not only for their shopping experiences but also for all the entertainment and fun they offer.

Here is a peek into DubaiÔÇÖs top 5 malls.

Arabian Centre: Located in the Mirdif area of Dubai, occupying a space of 80,000 square meters and housing about 200 shops, the Arabian Center is a week-end haven. Apart from shopping, you can watch a movie, or dine with family/friends, enjoy fun-filled activities at the gaming center, or even drop your children in a nursery, so you can shop uninterrupted. You can get even complete medical check-ups and wrap-up your grocery shopping here!

Mall of the Emirates: Mall of the Emirates is the worldÔÇÖs first shopping resort because not only does it allow you to shop, but also provides unparalleled leisure and entertainment facilities. Occupying an enormous space of 233,467 square meters, and located in the heart of New Dubai, this mall is home to the world-famous Ski Dubai ÔÇô an indoor ski resort!

Ibn Battuta Mall: Ibn Battuta Mall is the worldÔÇÖs largest themed mall, occupying a space of 521,000 square meters, and was built to celebrate the travels of famous Arabic explorer ÔÇô Ibn Battuta. This mall includes 275 retailers, 50 restaurants and 21 cinema screens! This mall consists of six courts, representing each of which Ibn Battuta visited during his travels ÔÇô Egyptian Court, Indian Court, Chinese Court, Andalusian Court, Persian Court and Tunisian Court.

WhatÔÇÖs more? You will never run short of cash here, as the new branch of UAE Exchange just opened up in this mall!

Dubai mall

Deira City Centre: Deira City Centre redefined the concept of malls in this region, by becoming the first large scale shopping mall with restaurants, entertainment facilities and a hotel. It is located in the older part of the city on a cross road between Sharjah, Bur Dubai and the airport. This mall receives an annual footfall traffic of close to 20 million, making it the most visited mall in Dubai.

The Dubai Mall: This is the worldÔÇÖs largest shopping mall with over 1000 shops! It also includes amazing entertainment centres such as the Dubai Ice Rink, Sega Republic (an indoor theme park), Reel Cinema (a 22-screen cinema), Rainforest Caf├® and KidZania (an interactive theme park for kids). A new massive exhibit from the Jurassic Period, a Diplodocus longus dinosaur skeleton is also now on display at The Souk, in the Dubai Mall. ItÔÇÖs a 155 million year-old dinosaur skeleton and people can get up-close and take a look.

Ensure you wear comfortable shoes and clothing and top up your travel card, to enjoy hassle-free mall time!

Ever dreamt of owning your own house, as an expat? Though our budgets might be limited, our dreams are not.

Most of us have sneakily checked out houses that are way out of our budgetary limit, just for the heck of it. The inspiration and excitement we get when looking at houses that are momentarily beyond our reach, is impalpable. Shall we now peek into cities that have the most expensive housing?

This list is based on the 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, 2017.

Bournemouth & Dorset, UK: Bournemouth & Dorset is the 10th most expensive place to live around the world. The house prices here are 8.5 times higher than the average household income!

San Francisco, US: The Californian city came as the 9th most expensive place to buy a house. The average price of a house here is around $820,000.

Los Angeles(LA), US: LA is in the 8th position because the average purchase price of a home in Los Angeles is $507 per square foot!

Honolulu, US: The Hawaiian capital reclassified as a "major market" is the 7th most expensive place to procure a house. When tourists come to Hawaii, they just fall in love with this destination and keep increasing the stake to purchase properties here.

Cities with expensive housing

Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne is in the 6th most expensive place. ItÔÇÖs not just Melbourne, but entire Australia is deemed as one of the least affordable places in the world. Even a tin shed here can sell for more than a million dollars.

San Jose, CA, US: Another Californian city, San Jose is the 5th most expensive city to live in.

Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland is the 4th most expensive city to live in around the world this year. It was in the 5th position last year. In fact, living expenses rose so much that Auckland saw an outflow of many talented and skilled people who just couldnÔÇÖt afford to live here.

Vancouver, BC, Canada: House prices in Vancouver went up by the equivalent of a full yearÔÇÖs household income in only a year, making it the 3rd least affordable place in the world.

Sydney, Australia: Sydney is the 2nd most unaffordable place to live in the world. As already mentioned earlier, Australia, on a whole, is an expensive place to live in. A report also found one in eight Australians over the age of 35 expect to receive assistance from their parents in buying a house.

Hong Kong, China: Hong Kong has the least affordable housing market in the world! Price of houses and apartments are sky-high here, as are the house rents.

If you do live in any of these cities mentioned above and would want to buy a house, then start saving from early on!

ÔÇ£The question isnÔÇÖt who is going to let me; itÔÇÖs who is going to stop me.ÔÇØ ÔÇô Ayn Rand

Today, everyone is standing up and taking notice of everything a woman can accomplish ÔÇô they donÔÇÖt need to wait for anyone to tell them what to do! As women are finding their own sense of empowerment, they are becoming more eager to take in everything around them and discover the world. This is why travelling ÔÇô whether solo or with someone ÔÇô is taking precedent over most things in their lives. It does not matter who they are travelling with or where they go, they make the decisions and head out to new adventures.

Female travellers today are breaking boundaries and indulging in the most extreme adventure holidays and fun-filled tours. Here are some of the latest trends observed.

More active journeys: Gone are the days when women would like to travel to luxury destinations and indulge in spa treatments. Today women prefer active adventures and backpacking trips. They favour rough terrains and scenic natural beauty, and would rather indulge in activities like sky-diving and mountain climbing, then just lounge around and sip cocktails.

Local interaction: Women also like interacting with the local people and that is why they usually prefer to home stays to get a taste of the indigenous culture first-hand. They often choose to travel to places which are steeped in traditions and rich in cultural heritage.

Travelling Trends of Women Travellers

Solo travel: More and more women prefer to travel solo and because they are smart as a whip. They make sure they invest in travel insurances from reputed organisations and take advantage of the easy mobile recharge facilities these money transfer services offer, to ensure they are always connected to family and friends.

Budget-friendly trips: Women opt for budget-friendly trips because this allows them to take frequent multiple trips. A lot of female travellers also opt for travel cards, which they can load with the exact amount of money they need and they can also lock in the exchange rates ÔÇô ensuring they save and do not overspend.

Age-limit: There is no age-limit on female travel. Marybeth Bond said, ÔÇ£The average adventure traveler is not a 28-year old male, but a 47-year-old female. And she wears a size 12 dress.ÔÇØ And thatÔÇÖs the truth!

With women travelling so much, itÔÇÖs time countries started taking this into account and ensure that there is enough and more protection available for them. These trends are definitely here to stay and evolve, so companies associated with travelling and vacations need to start taking this in account and offer services and benefits that cater to female travellers.

Around the World Updates

Friday, 14 September 2018

┬áMoments of Celebrations, Contests and Community Outreach ÔÇô An Update from the Global Network of UAE Exchange

At the Bahrain Chapter of ICAI

Challenges, Opportunities, Fun and Celebrations in Bahrain

At the Digitalisation Training Programme India

Facilitating Digital Drives in India

At the 50 over Cricket tournament

Bringing Socio-Economic Reforms and Cricket in Rwanda

Feasting at the food festival Uganda

UAE Exchange Uganda Participates in Food Festival


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