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Local Dubai Customs

Dubai, for all its 21st century trappings, is still a predominately Muslim city. Dubai is considered to be the most forward thinking emirates in the UAE, but that doesn’t mean it’s abandoned its traditional ways altogether. While visiting, it’s important to keep local customs and laws in mind so as not to offend anyone.

Although many Emiratis themselves are very sophisticated and could care less how visitors dress, a large percentage of the resident population comes from other much more conservative Muslim countries where such tolerance is unknown.

• Don’t kiss in public even if you’re married. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.

• Don’t wear overly revealing clothes. Dubai has decency laws that apply to clothing.

• Don’t drink alcohol in public places. Pork and alcohol are only served in licensed hotels.

• Harassing women is illegal in Dubai. If you feel harassed by anyone, make sure you notify the police.

• If you enter a mosque, always take off your shoes. If you’re a woman cover your hair. When inside, be quiet and don’t interrupt others while they pray.

• Be polite to people. Swearing and making obscene gestures could land you in trouble.

• Don’t buy a Muslim alcohol. Muslims are not allowed to drink.

• Some medications are illegal in Dubai. Check with the local authorities if the medications you have are legal. If they aren’t ask your doctor to fax you a prescription.

• Don’t take pictures of Emiratis (especially women) and government buildings.

• Don’t put your feet up on chairs and tables in public. Showing the soles of your feet is considered rude.

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