Every year umpteen number of people visit UAE, particularly Dubai. Some visit this place in search of work, while some come on a holiday. People dream of visiting Dubai; this land has welcomed people from all over the world all these years. If you plan to visit Dubai for whatever purpose that is, there are few things you should know before you get here.
People of Dubai are gracious, hospitable and polite, it is a fabulous place to visit. Having said that it is an Islamic country, but they follow a relatively tolerant policy. Visitors are expected to be respectful of their cultural sensitivities. Certain factors must be taken into consideration in terms of dress code and behaviour and you are sure to have a wonderful time. Respect the laws and values of the country and your stay will be an extremely enjoyable one.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind while visiting Dubai.
Attire – Be modest in your dressing, particularly in conservative areas and public places. Swimwear is acceptable at private beaches and swimming pools. Swimwear should not be worn in any other area outside the beach, water parks, or swimming pools. Shorts and T-shirts are suitable attire in many public places. It is advisable to cover shoulders, arms and legs while visiting mosques, older parts of the city and religious spots. Women need to cover their heads with a headscarf while entering a mosque. Cross-dressing is not accepted and can get you detained by the authorities. Any form of nudity is strictly forbidden, including topless sunbathing. It is not appropriate for men to walk along the street or malls bare-chested.
Gestures – Never point a finger at anyone, it is seen as offensive. If you want to gesture with your hand, use your entire hand to point in a direction. Obscene hand gestures in public can get you arrested. Avoid showing the soles of your feet or crossing your legs especially in front of important guests.
Drinking – The country has a zero-tolerance policy towards drunk driving. Getting drunk and misbehaving when drunk is public is unacceptable, this could result in fine or worse. Having alcohol and other illegal substances in public is prohibited. There are plenty of places in Dubai where one can indulge in drinking. Hit a bar or pub and you will be surprised at the variety of liquor that is served.
Photography – Be on guard while taking pictures. Always take permission before taking a picture of a resident of the UAE or a UAE national, especially women.
Greetings – Public Display of Affection should be minimal, no kissing or hugging in public. Holding hands is fine. When you meet a person of the opposite sex who is a Muslim, do not shake hands unless they extend their hand first. Women may prefer not to shake hands with the opposite sex due to religious reasons. Sexual Harassment or randomly addressing women in public, or taking their photos without permission, is strictly frowned upon.
Mind your language – Explicit gestures, noise disturbances, bad language and showing disrespect to Islamic religion or the leaders of UAE is forbidden. They could be legal consequences to these actions.
Fund-raising – Raising charity for humanitarian work or any charitable organisation unless done through legal channels with permission is considered illegal.
Bouncing of a cheque – This is considered as an offense. If the cheque presented has no adequate funds, you can face civil and criminal charges. You could go to jail too.
Holy Month of Ramadan–Muslims pray, fast and reflect during this month. One should follow rules issued by the government during the month of fasting. Many people would suggest you not to visit this country during Ramadan, abide by the rules and even Ramadan time can be a pleasant stay.
The following are also considered illegal – use or possession of drugs, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, having a baby out of wedlock, adultery and homosexuality.
One of the reasons I’m sure you are looking to travel to the UAE is to experience the deep, rich history and traditions the country has to offer. Dubai is a blend of historical and modern wonders. Visiting Dubai is an experience that one will cherish forever.
Note: The information shared above is a generic guide to visiting Dubai. In order to have an enjoyable stay it would be best to ask in advance about etiquette tips based on places you visit or stay at in the UAE.