If you are planning a trip to Dubai, then there are certain things you need to know, especially if it's your first time. Traveling to any new country, it’s likely you should expect that some things might be a little different. Their laws and cultures are likely very different from the country that you are from and that means it’s always best to tread lightly. What you may not know is that Dubai is literally one of the most visited destinations in the world mainly because it’s such an awesome place to go. It is not only the home of the tallest tower or the busiest international airport, but it is the home to a bunch of record breakers.
There are plenty of things that might want to take into consideration when you decide to travel to Dubai. The rules there could be very different from the country that you are from and you might end up getting yourself into trouble. There are also some misconceptions about the country and being informed is the best possible thing. Check out these 25 rules to follow when visiting Dubai.
20 Dress Conservatively at All Times
In the United States, for example, there is nothing that prevents a woman from wearing a skimpy bikini on the beach but things work a little differently in Dubai. To some extent, revealing clothing is unlawful in Dubai. It’s not to say that you can’t wear a bikini in Dubai, but it’s best to be as conservative as possible. If you are at a private resort or hotel than you are allowed to wear what you want. Make sure that your clothing reaches at least just above the knee and that your shoulders are covered when you are out in public.
19 On a budget
It is considered to be one of the most expensive places to visit. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be a celebrity or a millionaire to go there. Seeing Dubai can be done on a budget. There are plenty of millennial-friendly hotel chains like Hilton Garden Inn that are booming right now. There is also the metered taxis that are cheap to use to get you from one place to another. The metro is also a cheap avenue of traveling around. If you want cheap places to eat you can consider Al Rigga Road in Deira and restaurants on Al Muraqqabat Road.
18 They Have A Rich Cultural Heritage
Something you have to know about Dubai is that there are culture and heritage to be had on your vacation. When it comes to Dubai, sure they have awesome skyscrapers and it’s certainly a great place to shop. But there is some rich cultural heritage in Dubai that blends Arab, Bedouin, and Islamic traditions. If you want some great history lessons, then you can visit the Dubai Museum and the Etihad Museum. If that isn’t enough heritage for you, then you can go to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding to learn about the Emirati culture.
17 Not too much PDA in public
Again, this does not apply to private resorts or hotels because they cater to their guests from other countries. But if you are just walking around Dubai outside of a resort, it is best to not kiss your partner. Not only is it not allowed, but you can spend some time in jail for that little act of love. If anything, you should avoid all physical contact completely. It’s not just kissing, but also holding hands and cuddling are considered to be unlawful in public. It’s best to just be careful when you are traveling in another country; you don’t want to end up in jail because you could wait to kiss your partner.
16 Be mindful of religious holidays
When you are traveling to Dubai, you must be aware of Ramadan in Dubai which is their holy month. It changes every year but for 2018, it was in May. If you choose to travel during this time, then you have to be aware that you cannot drink, chew gum, eat, or smoke in public in daylight when you are out in public. Just because you don’t believe in the tradition of the Holy month doesn’t mean you don’t have to respect the traditions that are going on in another country. Nothing is permitted to go into your mouth between sunrise and sunset during that time.
15 Expect It To Be Hot
If you choose to travel in May, you may have some serious regrets. The heat is almost unbearable at that time and it’s a good idea to make sure that you have proper clothing for that time. One good piece of advice for hot and humid weather is to decide to visit the city very early in the morning before it gets too hot. If you do your shopping and sightseeing before lunch, then you can avoid the heat and spend the rest of the day by the pool or in your air-conditioned hotel room.
14 The Nightlife
Some people assume that Dubai is a dry country but it isn’t, not entirely anyway. Drinks are allowed to be served in licensed bars and restaurants all over Dubai. They are usually attached to hotels and resorts. They even have happy hour at the bars and who doesn’t love that? It’s recommended that you bring your photo ID with you because the legal age is 21. Nola’s usually has Ladies’ Night on Tuesdays which means you and your girlfriends can party for free.
13 Zero Tolerance
You should never drive under the influence, but it’s especially not recommended when you are in another country. It’s not going to be the same rules that apply in your own country. You should not expect leniency when you break the law in another country, so it’s best to just avoid any unlawful activity. If you do happen to drive under the influence, you can expect to do some time. You are entitled to legal representation or consular help, but we don’t imagine it going over very well for you. In short, be smart when you are vacationing in another country.
12 You Don’t Have to Cover up completely
You may assume that you have to cover your hair when you go to Dubai but do not fret, it’s just not the case. There are 85% of expats in the population, so let your hair flow freely. You can also wear shorts and T-shirts, just think more conservatively when you are in public. If you are at the pool, then bathing suits and bikinis will also work. The city is one of the most glamorous that you will ever go to so you will love dressing up for the club scene. When it comes to visiting mosques, malls, or souqs, that’s when you should respect the culture and dress as modestly as possible with your knees covered.
11 The Weekend Starts on Friday
For most of us, our weekends start on Saturday and Sunday, but for Dubai residents, they don’t go to work on Friday because that is the beginning of their weekend. Their weekend consists of Friday and Saturday. They have Friday off work because that’s when Muslims come together to pray. Their services for congregational prayer is at 10 a.m. There is a lot of business that will just close for a few hours in the afternoon and open back up. If you are looking for a party, then the busiest nights are Thursdays and Fridays.
10 Site Seeing
If you are a woman visiting a mosque, you must cover up as much as you can. If that’s something that makes you uncomfortable, then it’s best not to visit some places. Some people go to mosques to find a sense of peace. Lindsay Lohan, who lives there now, has said that she found peace in Dubai.
“I moved here for that purpose – I don’t have to be publicly seen all the time or discuss what I’m doing,”
she explained. “I get more work done because I don’t have the scrutiny and fixation on what I’m doing every second. I work all the time; my mind never stops.”
9 Don’t Make A Scene
We all have those friends that party too hard and make a scene. If that’s the kind of vacation that you are anticipating with your buddies, then you might want to book a resort package where you have a better chance of getting away with it. Swearing, arguments or public fights are not tolerated in Dubai. If authorities catch you they won’t bother arresting you; they will just throw you right out of the country whether you are a tourist or a resident. Now that’s harsh. It’s always a good idea to be on your best behavior when you are on vacation, especially if you are in another country.
8 The Paparazzi Is Illegal
That was one of the reasons why Lindsay Lohan said that she moved to Dubai. People can’t just go around taking pictures of you without your permission and that includes the paparazzi. Those rules go for the average tourist as well. You can't take pictures of people without their permission, it’s actually illegal in Dubai and if you are caught doing it, you can get a fine or even be deported from the country. Lohan herself says that she has felt panicky about being photographed.
“It can come across as a bit manic,”
she said. “When I’m looking around, it makes me look really distracted, but I’m just really protective about [my privacy].”
7 Use Gestures At A Minimum
When it comes to gestures, it’s best to keep them at a minimum because your hand gestures could be misunderstood in another country. It’s best not to beckon or point with your finger. Any gesture with your fingers should be avoided. If you do need to make a gesture, use your whole hand to do so. Do not ever make an obscene hand gesture while you are in a public place. If you, do it can likely land you in prison. Things that we do in our own country can be understood in another, but an obscene gesture is usually always understood, so it’s just best not to do it.
6 There Are Rules For Majlis
If you get an invitation to a majlis, there are just a few rules that you should follow while you are there. Remove your shoes at the entrance and never wear them inside. A man and a woman would likely be escorted to different sections. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just custom though it doesn’t always happen. If you are invited to a meal with your host and you wish to discuss business, it is always good manners to eat and have a drink before any business is discussed. The last thing you want to do is to offend your host after getting an invitation in the first place.
5 You Must Check Out The Spas
Spas are a hard thing to pass up when you are on vacation. Even if you are a picky person, you would love any of the spas in Dubai. If you are unaccustomed to a luxury spa, you are never going to want to leave Dubai. “Avoid the beauty clinics you find in the malls (although they do a fine mani-pedi), and head to the luxury hotels instead – they’re pricey but worth it. Jumeriah Zabeel Saray and The Palace Downtown Dubai are particularly fine, and (in summer especially) there are often discounts to be had.” (The Telegraph)
4 Dubai Malls Are Epic
You might not be interested in malls when you go on vacation, but Dubai malls aren’t like the average malls. You are likely to see ice rinks, ski slopes, aquariums, and cinemas just to start. Why wouldn’t you at least want to check it out? They are great fun at the very least even if you don’t necessarily go there to shop. Dubai even has a whole district that is dedicated to shoes. If you are a true shoe lover, how can you say that you would want to miss something like that?
3 Pay Attention to Dubai Greetings
When you are in Dubai, it is always good manners to stand up when a new guest arrives in the room or if the guest happens to be older or higher-ranking person. Men are always supposed to stand when a woman enters the room. It’s just a sign of respect. If you are greeting a member of the opposite sex who is Muslim, do not offer to shake hands with him or her unless they have extended their hand to you first. This is more of a custom that is common if it’s a woman you come into contact with, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2 Unusual Customs of Dubai
If you are at a resort, then it’s likely you don’t have to worry about these customs, but if you are out in the city or invited by a host, then these things are good to know.
“It is customary to accept food and drink with your right hand; this is also the hand you should eat with.
Avoid showing the soles of your feet, or pointing your foot at anyone. If you are sitting in front of an important guest, it is considered rude to cross your legs.” These are just gestures that are appreciated.
1 Book Reservations In Advance
On vacation, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and to not worry about making reservations for dinner. But Dubai is super popular and busy so if you want to dine at a particular place, it’s best to get a reservation in advance.
“Dubai isn’t the easiest place to be spontaneous. If you’re going out for dinner, pick a restaurant in advance and make a reservation.
Unlike many other bustling cities, it’s not so easy to just rock up somewhere and get a table, especially to the more upmarket eateries.”