Although the UAE is a Muslim country and Dubai a Muslim Emirate, it is probably one of the most liberal in all of the Middle East. Some faux pas must be avoided to avoid offending the local population.

Respect the local culture

Dubai is a Muslim city, and respecting the local culture and customs is important. Dress modestly when visiting mosques or other religious sites, and avoid public displays of affection.

    • Dress modestly: While in Dubai, it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. This means covering your shoulders, chest, and knees. Avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing.
    • Be mindful of public behavior: In Dubai, public displays of affection are considered inappropriate. It is important to avoid kissing, hugging, or holding hands in public.
    • Follow Ramadan etiquette: Remember the local customs and traditions if you visit Dubai during Ramadan. This means avoiding eating, drinking, or smoking in public during the day and respecting those fasting.
    • Respect the local customs: Dubai has a rich cultural heritage, and it is important to respect the local customs and traditions. For example, removing your shoes when entering a mosque or a local’s home is customary.
    • Use your right hand: In Dubai, eating or handing something over with your left hand is considered impolite. Always use your right hand, considered the “clean” hand.
    • Avoid public intoxication: Drinking in public is strictly prohibited in Dubai. It is important to avoid public intoxication and to only consume alcohol in licensed restaurants, bars, or hotels.
    • Be respectful during prayer times: Dubai is a Muslim city with five daily calls to prayer. During prayer times, it is important to be respectful and avoid loud noises or music.

Follow the rules and regulations

Dubai has strict laws and regulations, so it is important to follow them. For example, public drinking and smoking are prohibited, and there are heavy fines for littering.

  • Don’t litter: Dubai has strict laws against littering, and there are heavy fines for those who violate them. Always dispose of your trash in the designated bins.
  • Observe traffic rules: Dubai has strict traffic rules, and it is important to follow them to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. This includes wearing seat belts, obeying speed limits, and not using your mobile phone while driving.
  • Respect the local laws: Dubai has laws and regulations that may be different from those in your home country. It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws and avoid illegal activities, such as public drinking or drug use.
  • Be respectful in public places: Dubai is a family-friendly city, and it is important to behave appropriately. This includes refraining from using foul language or making loud noises that may disturb others.
  • Follow the dress code: Dubai has a dress code that applies to both men and women in public places. It is important to dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing or inappropriate clothing.
  • Pay your bills on time: Dubai has a strong credit system, and paying your bills on time is important to maintain a good credit rating. This includes paying your rent, utilities, and other bills on time.
  • Respect the local environment: Dubai is known for its beautiful beaches and desert landscape, and it is important to respect the environment by not littering or damaging the natural habitat.

Plan your trip ahead

Dubai has a lot to offer, so planning your trip to make the most of your time is vital. Research the top attractions and activities, and consider booking tickets and tours in advance.

  • Book your accommodation in advance: Dubai is a popular tourist destination, and it is important to book your accommodation in advance to ensure availability and avoid high prices.
  • Research local customs and traditions: Dubai has a rich cultural heritage. Researching local customs and traditions before your trip is important to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience.
  • Check visa requirements: You may require a visa to enter Dubai depending on your nationality. It is important to check the visa requirements and apply for a visa if necessary.
  • Plan your itinerary: Dubai has many attractions and activities to offer, and it is important to plan your itinerary to make the most of your trip. This will also help you avoid long queues and crowds.
  • Consider the weather: Dubai can get very hot during the summer months, and it is important to consider the weather when planning your trip. Plan indoor activities during the hottest part of the day, and bring appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Research transportation options: Dubai has a reliable public transportation system and taxi and ride-sharing services. Researching transportation options and planning your routes is important to avoid getting lost.
  • Consider cultural events and festivals: Dubai hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, and it is worth considering these when planning your trip. This will allow you to experience local culture and traditions.

Stay hydrated

Dubai can get very hot, especially during the summer months. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol.

  • Drink plenty of water: Dubai’s hot and dry climate can cause dehydration, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important. Keep a water bottle with you always and refill it as needed.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Beverages such as coffee and alcohol can dehydrate your body, so limiting your intake of these drinks while in Dubai is best.
  • Eat hydrating foods: Foods such as watermelon, cucumber, and oranges are high in water content and can help keep you hydrated.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day: The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4pm, so it is best to stay indoors or in shaded areas to avoid dehydration.
  • Wear breathable clothing: Light, loose-fitting clothing from breathable fabrics can help you stay cool and prevent excessive sweating.
  • Use a hydrating mist: Facial mists containing hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin can help keep your skin hydrated and refreshed.
  • Take breaks in air-conditioned areas: If you’re spending time outdoors, take frequent breaks in air-conditioned areas to cool down and avoid heat exhaustion.

Use public transportation

Dubai has a modern and efficient public transportation system, including buses, taxis, and the metro. Public transportation can be convenient and affordable to get around the city.

  • Purchase a Nol card: A Nol card is a rechargeable smart card that can be used to pay for public transportation in Dubai, including the metro, buses, and trams. Purchase a Nol card in advance to save time and avoid the hassle of buying individual tickets.
  • Plan your route in advance: Before using public transportation in Dubai, plan your route in advance using the RTA Journey Planner or Google Maps. This will help you avoid getting lost and save time.
  • Check the schedule: Make sure to check the schedule for the metro, buses, and trams, as they may run on different programs during weekends and holidays.
  • Know your stops: Make sure you know the name of your stop and keep an eye out for landmarks so you don’t miss them.
  • Use the women and children’s section: The metro has designated women and children’s section, which is separate from the general compartment. If you are a woman traveling alone or with children, it is recommended to use this section.
  • Respect local customs: When using public transportation in Dubai, it is important to respect local laws, such as not eating or drinking on the metro and giving up your seat to elderly or pregnant passengers.
  • Use the Gold Class: The metro has a Gold Class section, which is more expensive but offers a more comfortable and spacious ride. If you want to avoid crowds and have a more luxurious experience, consider using the Gold Class section.

Visit the souks

Dubai is known for its souks, or traditional markets, where you can find everything from spices and textiles to gold and diamonds. Visiting the souks can be a fun and unique shopping experience.

  • Perfume Souk: Located in the old town of Dubai, the Perfume Souk is the perfect place to find unique fragrances, essential oils, and incense. It’s a great place to pick up a special souvenir or gift.
  • Textile Souk: The Textile Souk is located in Bur Dubai and is known for its vast selection of fabrics, from silk to cotton to lace. You can also find traditional garments like abayas and kanduras.
  • Spice Souk: Located in the Deira district of Dubai, the Spice Souk is a must-visit for foodies. You can find a huge variety of spices, herbs, and teas from all over the world.
  • Gold Souk: The Gold Souk in Deira is one of the most famous souks in Dubai, known for its incredible selection of gold jewelry. You can find everything from intricate pieces to simple, modern designs.
  • Fish Souk: Fish Souk is located in the old town of Dubai and is the place to go for fresh seafood. You can find a huge variety of fish, shellfish, and other seafood, all caught that day.
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah: This modern souk is designed to look like a traditional Arabic market and is located in the Madinat Jumeirah resort. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts, with a variety of shops selling clothing, jewelry, and crafts.

Be mindful of Ramadan

If you visit Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, be mindful of the local customs and restrictions. Many restaurants and cafes are closed during the day, and it is important to respect those fasting.

  • Dress modestly: During Ramadan, it’s important to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees in public. This is especially important when visiting mosques or other religious sites.
  • Respect the call to prayer: The call to prayer happens five times a day during Ramadan, and it’s important to be respectful and avoid making noise during this time.
  • Don’t eat or drink in public: During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and it’s considered disrespectful to eat or drink in public during this time. However, non-Muslims are allowed to eat and drink in designated areas.
  • Plan: Many restaurants and shops close during the day and open only at night during Ramadan. Plan your itinerary accordingly, and check opening hours in advance.
  • Experience Iftar: Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast at sunset, and it’s a great way to experience Ramadan traditions. Many hotels and restaurants offer special Iftar menus during Ramadan.

Respect the local wildlife

Dubai has a variety of wildlife, including desert animals such as camels and gazelles. It is important to respect the animals and their natural habitats and avoid feeding or approaching them.

  • Don’t feed the animals: It’s important not to feed the animals in Dubai’s parks or beaches, as this can disrupt their natural feeding habits and create health problems.
  • Keep your distance: When encountering wildlife in Dubai, it’s important to keep a safe distance and not disturb them. This is especially important when encountering birds, as they can be easily frightened.
  • Respect protected areas: Dubai is home to a number of protected areas, such as the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s important to respect these areas and follow any rules or regulations in place to protect the local wildlife.
  • Avoid wildlife trade: The illegal trade of wildlife is a major problem in many parts of the world, and Dubai is no exception. It’s important to avoid purchasing wildlife products or souvenirs made from endangered animals, as this can contribute to the problem.

Be aware of the weather

Dubai can be very hot and humid during the summer, so it is important to be aware of the weather and plan accordingly. Wear light, breathable clothing and avoid spending too much time outside during the hottest parts of the day.

  • Stay hydrated: Dubai’s weather can be extremely hot and dry, especially during the summer months. It’s important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Dress appropriately: When visiting Dubai, it’s important to dress appropriately not only to conform to its laws but also for the weather. Light, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics is ideal, and hats and sunglasses can provide additional protection from the sun.
  • Check the forecast: Before heading out for the day, make sure to check the weather forecast so you can plan your activities accordingly. If the forecast calls for extreme heat or sandstorms, staying indoors or seeking shelter may be best until conditions improve.
  • Use sunscreen: The sun in Dubai can be intense, and it’s important to protect your skin from UV rays. Make sure to use a high SPF sunscreen and reapply it throughout the day, especially if you’ll be spending time outdoors.
  • Be prepared for sandstorms: Sandstorms are a common occurrence in Dubai, especially during the summer months. If you’re caught in a sandstorm, it’s important to seek shelter immediately and cover your nose and mouth with a mask or scarf to avoid inhaling sand.

Enjoy the nightlife

Dubai has a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Just be sure to follow the rules and regulations, such as avoiding public displays of affection and not drinking in public.

  • Know the laws: Dubai has strict laws when it comes to alcohol consumption, and it’s important to be aware of them. Alcohol can only be consumed in licensed establishments, and public intoxication can result in fines or even imprisonment.
  • Stay safe: While Dubai is generally a safe city, it’s important to take precautions when enjoying the nightlife. Stick to well-lit areas and avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
  • Explore different neighborhoods: Dubai has a wide range of nightlife options, from trendy rooftop bars to lively nightclubs. Explore other neighborhoods to find the type of nightlife that suits your preferences.
  • Take advantage of happy hour specials: Many bars and clubs in Dubai offer happy hour specials on drinks and food. Take advantage of these deals to save money and experience different venues.

Conclusion

To summarise, Dubai is a fascinating place with a lot to offer tourists. Dubai has something for everyone, from gorgeous architecture to world-class shopping, and an active nightlife. Yet, it is critical to be informed of local laws and customs, to respect local culture, and to take the required precautions to keep safe and healthy, especially in the face of inclement weather. Visiting Dubai can be a truly unforgettable experience with proper planning and preparation.