Visiting Dubai for the First Time? Here are Some Things You Need to be Aware of

September 12, 2022

Dubai is one of the most sought-after destinations for many vacationers looking for a relaxing and luxurious holiday. 

The massive shopping malls, aquariums, light shows, Miracle Garden, Dubai Fountain, Global Village and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, are some attractions that appeal to most visitors. Hotels like Crowne Plaza Dubai and Hyatt Regency Dubai are nestled in the heart of the city and can provide easy access to any attraction across the city. 

Dubai is a perfectly safe city for tourists and residents. However, visitors must be mindful of certain things if they are visiting the UAE for the first time. Here are a few local rules you need to know before you visit.

Wear appropriate attire

Being the most tolerant and liberal city in the UAE, visitors and residents do not have to wear conservative clothes. However, it is best to be mindful when it comes to your attire and wear modest clothing that is appropriate enough to wear in a public place or in the presence of a family. Females are generally not required to cover their heads in public. Still, they must do so before entering a holy mosque or any other shrine in the UAE.

Respect the holy month of Ramadan

If you visit Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, make sure you do not eat or drink in public. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise and break their fast at sunset and will thus expect visitors and non-Muslims to show sensitivity to their religion and beliefs. You are allowed to order food in a private room or hotel, but you must not drink or chew in public.

Emirati customs

It is essential to be aware of the local Emirati customs in Dubai since it is quite different from other cultures and traditions. For example, you will notice that Emiratis are very friendly and hospitable and will greet you warmly, but when it comes to an Emirati woman, you cannot shake her hand until she puts out her hand first. Whenever you enter an Emirati home, always remove your shoes and appreciate the meals served. Also, remember that excessive drunkenness and public displays of affection are prohibited in Dubai.

Photography in public

Photography in public places is allowed in Dubai, except in restricted areas. Certain government buildings, military sites, bridges or courts are not allowed to be photographed and will have prohibition signs. You will need the approval to take photographs in restricted areas. Failure to comply with photography or videography rules could lead to fines of up to Dhs5,000. Privacy is taken seriously in the UAE, and taking photographs of people (especially women) without their consent could land you in trouble.

Offensive language and PDA

Be cautious with your language while in Dubai, especially when out in public or conversing with a local. Using abusive or offensive gestures and swearing in public is frowned upon and is considered derogatory. Always watch your language while in public and avoid using vulgar language, swearing, obscene acts, rude gestures and insults. Kissing, holding hands and hugging in public is socially unacceptable in Dubai and could lead to jail time. Dubai also forbids unmarried couples from sharing a hotel room.

Noise ordinance and drinking alcohol

Outdoor events and venues having loud or noisy activities have to comply with the rules set down by the government. Depending on the area you’re staying at, loud music is not permitted after 10:00 p.m., as per Dubai Municipality.

There is no ban on alcohol in the UAE; however, only establishments having an alcohol license can serve it. The legal drinking age is 21 years, and drinking in public places like the beach is prohibited. Excessive drunkenness in public can lead to a 6-month sentence in jail and hefty fines. Also, drinking and driving is an offense in Dubai.