Dubai is an incredible city to visit. If you enjoy glamour, modern architecture, generally the finer things in life, then you’ll feel right at home here. Like with a visit to any new place though, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the customs of the place you’re visiting. You wouldn’t want people to turn up in your hometown and behave in a disrespectful manner, so you shouldn’t expect anybody else to put up with the same. In order to make the very most of your trip, here are some tips for your visit to Dubai on blending in with locals, as well as how to properly organise your itinerary.
If you look at nothing else on this list, then be sure to pay attention to these basic etiquette rules. Ensuring that you don’t make a scene will not only help your vacation run smoothly, it’ll help you avoid offending anybody else. The first piece of etiquette advice is very important and very simple; do not show overt affection in public. Don’t hold hands and don’t kiss when you’re out and about. In your hotel room, you can do whatever you please, but out in public it is very offensive. There have been multiple occasions where tourists have been seen kissing in public and have been arrested. If you’d rather not spend any of your holiday in a jail sell, then keep any displays of affection private.
The next etiquette rule is a little more nuanced than the PDA rule, but is equally important. The United Arab Emirates is a majority Muslim country and it is paramount to respect that on your visit. Owing to the Islamic faith, there are strict rules around drinking in Dubai. It is absolutely legal to drink, but just like kissing and holding hands, you can’t do it on the street. However, unlike kissing, you also can’t do it in private. It is only legal to buy alcohol for personal consumption if you have a license, so to stay on the safe side, it’s best not to. If you’re in a licensed bar or restaurant then ordering drinks is no problem, but only have a couple! If you’re caught drunk on the street it is punishable by law. Also, it should go without saying, but drinking and driving is obviously illegal.
For those who enjoy gaming whilst on holiday, they may find themselves short of options. Casinos are forbidden in Dubai and the legality of online gaming is a little cloudy. At Arabian Betting they’ve put together a list of the best online casino bonuses for sites that it is legal to access whilst in Arabian countries. If you’re a little concerned then they have a full list of information which explains the legality of online gaming in-depth. There’s also the option to place bets on some traditional Arabian sports, but again, not in person, online only.
The final note on etiquette is to show respect during Ramadan. Ramadan is celebrated for a whole month, so check the calendar to see if it coincides with your visit. If it does then you should refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public from the time the sun rises, until the time the sun sets. Muslims fast during this period of time, so it is respectful to follow these rules.
What to Wear
Your gender is going to strongly influence what you can wear on your visit to Dubai. A general rule to go by is classy, not trashy. Any clothing that is skin-tight, low cut, very short or transparent should be avoided, particularly for women. Men should also dress modestly and should be aware that it isn’t acceptable to go shirtless. Use these rules as an excuse to look your elegant best.
Ticking Off Some Beautiful Destinations
Now that all of the rules are out of the way, it’s time for the fun part! Dubai has some incredible places to visit, far too many to squeeze into just a weekend, but we’ll start with the absolute highlights. One of the most glamorous places to visit is the Palm Jumeira. This manmade archipelago was fashioned into the shape of a tree and is home to endless posh hotels, exorbitantly-expensive shops and top-class restaurants. If you’re planning to do this holiday on a budget, then stick to the Boardwalk, where you’ll be able to enjoy looking at the super-yachts for free and maybe pick up a tasty snack from a street vendor. It might not be quite as high-faluting but it’ll be a lot cheaper than the Michelin-starred options.
If you want to familiarise yourself with the Dubai of old, then visit the Al Fahidi Quarter. This part of the city was built in the latter part of the 19th century to house wealthy textile dealers. The architecture is a made of warm orange sandstone and is a striking contrast to the ultra-modern skyscrapers. Look up and you’ll see that most of the walls have wind-towers atop them. These towers worked like air conditioning, trapping the cool breeze and channeling it down to the houses below. It’s very special to be able to enjoy old and new so close together and definitely worth adding to your itinerary.