Dubai is a modern, glamorous and cosmopolitan city. However, it also has a very different culture to the West, meaning you will notice some key differences during your stay. It is a good idea to be aware of certain dos and don’ts before you travel to Dubai, to ensure that you don’t offend the local population or, even worse, end up getting in trouble with the law. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your time in Dubai.
Use the Right Greetings
It is a good habit to use the appropriate greetings when you visit Dubai. You don’t have to master Arabic to do this, but at least try to learn to say ‘as-salam alaykum’ when you meet someone, which means ‘peace be with you’. If someone says this to you, respond with ‘wa alaykum as-salaam’, which means ‘peace upon you’.
Also, be careful when greeting people of the opposite sex. Don’t reach out to shake hands automatically as this may not be appropriate. To avoid any awkwardness, wait until they reach out their hand instead.
Know the Rules Regarding Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is only permitted in a place that holds a licence. Whatever you do, don’t drink alcohol in the street as you could get into trouble with the authorities. If you have any doubt at all, the best thing to do is avoid drinking alcohol.
You can always ask in your hotel for advice, and you don’t have to stay in the Burj Al Arab because many hotels are used to hosting Westerners. For instance, you can find some places at a fraction of the price that may have a licence for serving alcohol.
Dressing appropriately is one of the biggest issues for tourists. As a general rule, you should avoid dressing in anything particularly skimpy unless you are on the beach, as this could be considered inappropriate. Instead, wear modest dress and try to cover up as much as possible. Be especially careful if you enter a mosque. Men should wear trousers and a shirt, and women should wear something that covers their bodies as well as a head scarf. Everyone should remove their shoes before entering a mosque.
Avoid Public Displays of Affection
It is best to avoid any public displays of affection in Dubai to avoid any problems. You could get into trouble even if you are behaving in a way that is entirely appropriate back home, so don’t take the risk.
Be Respectful During Ramadan
If you travel to Dubai during the month of Ramadan, you should be particularly careful that you respect the local customs. This is a holy month for the Muslim population, who will be fasting during daylight hours. Do not eat, drink or smoke in public during the day and ask at your hotel for advice about how and where to eat.
Enjoy Your Time in Dubai
Dubai is a fantastic destination for a holiday, but make sure you observe the above cultural tips during your stay. You may not agree with all of them, but by respecting the local customs and laws, you will be able to avoid any problems during your stay and enjoy your time here even more.
Alex Kennedy will never forget her first trip to Dubai when she fell in love with the place. Also an avid traveller and writer, she likes to visit Dubai at every opportunity.