A glorious metropolitan city built atop the sandy Arabian Desert on the Persian Gulf, Dubai is a paradise for tourists. It is also known as the City of Superlatives due to its towering skyscrapers, old-world charm, beautiful markets, and extreme temperatures. It is also home to the world’s tallest tower, the largest man-made archipelago of islands, the tallest hotel, the world’s largest ‘performing’ fountain, etc., which attracts people from all over the globe throughout the year. So, if Dubai is your next vacation destination, take note of these things not to do in Dubai to avoid landing in trouble during your vacation.
15 Things Not To Do In Dubai
Under all the glitz, actually lies a conservative city that takes its religion and culture very seriously. Before you head out, check out this list of what not to do in Dubai.
- Do Not Use Your Left Hand To Greet Anyone
- Do Not Indulge In PDA
- Do Not Dress Inappropriately
- Do Not Cuss In Public
- Do Not Take Photographs Without Permission
- Do Not Carry All Your Medicines
- Do Not Eat-In Public During Ramadan
- Do Not Make Rude Hand Gestures While Driving
- Do Not Bring Prohibited Items
- Do Not Disrespect The Royal Family In Public
- Do Not Miss Visiting The Popular Tourist Spots
- Do Not Stay Together In A Hotel If You’re Unmarried
- Do Not Cross-Dress
- Do Not Drink In Public
- Do Not Dance In Public
1. Do Not Use Your Left Hand To Greet Anyone
When you are in Dubai, you must be careful while using your hands. You must never ever use your left hand to eat, to greet anyone, to open doors, and to hand over something, especially food items to someone in Dubai. Why do you ask? The reason is, in countries such as Dubai, India, etc. the left hand was used to clean up before the advent of toilet papers, toilets, and flushing water. Hence, it is considered unclean even today, no matter how clean your left hand is. It is, however, okay to drink with your left hand. So, if you are a left-handed person, you must try to be as ambidextrous as possible in public to avoid offending and earning a rude stare from the locals.
Must Read: 20 Exotic Dishes From Dubai Cuisine
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2. Do Not Indulge In PDA
There are certain things you can’t do in Dubai and PDA is one of them. In Dubai, holding hands, hugging, and kissing in public is considered socially unacceptable and if caught indulging in such acts, you might land up in jail. Many foreigners have already suffered the consequences. Do not join the bandwagon. This is considered one of the most important things not to do in Dubai. You should also avoid playing loud music and dancing in public too. It does not go down well with the locals. You must take care of this when you are visiting the tourist places in Dubai.
3. Do Not Dress Inappropriately
In Dubai, women are expected to dress modestly in public areas, including malls, markets, beaches, theatres, mosques, etc. So, even though Dubai is the hub of fashionable clothing, you are not allowed to wear short, tight, skimpy clothes that flash a lot of skin in public spaces. Other than this, wearing loose modest clothing can help you stay comfortable in the hot and dry climate of Dubai. So, when you pack your bag, carry enough loose and modest clothes that cover your arms, legs, and chest so that you do not attract unwanted attention, are not fined for wearing indecent clothing in public areas, and so that you can stay comfortable during your trips around the city.
4. Do Not Cuss In Public
You must be extremely careful with your language when in Dubai, especially when you are out in public or talking to a local. Control the use of vulgar language, and keep all the slang, cuss words, and profanity to yourself during your visit to Dubai. Also, refrain from passing any comment that may be deemed insulting toward Islam or Muslims. It is considered a punishable offense in Dubai and might land you behind the bars. And you would definitely not like to spend your vacation in prison!
5. Do Not Take Photographs Without Permission
One of the many essential things not to do in Dubai is snap people without permission. Dubai is a place of scenic beauty and it might tempt you to take photographs as you go around the city. However, you must be extremely cautious while clicking pictures in Dubai because modesty and safety are very important to the people and you are not allowed to take snaps of people without consent, especially if they are women and children. So, either store the images in your memory or focus on the sceneries.
6. Do Not Carry All Your Medicines
UAE has an extremely strict anti-drug policy, which means that one of the things not to take to Dubai are prescribed medicines and illicit drugs. No, not even your anti-anxiety drugs are allowed! Airports are always on high alert and if you happen to break the rule and get caught, you can face up to four years in prison. Not a pretty scene during a vacation, so check UAE’s official website to look up the medicines that are permitted and the ones that cannot be carried along with you. And if there is a medicine that you must take along, do not forget to carry its prescription too.
7. Do Not Eat In Public During Ramadan
If you are visiting Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, you must know that it is forbidden to eat in public, drink, and smoke from day to dusk, when the Muslims in the city are fasting. No, you cannot even snack in your car or even chew gum in public. You can, however, eat in the comfort of your hotel room or restaurants where they have screened off the eating area for guests to eat without being noticed. Children and pregnant women are allowed to eat but it is best to use discretion to offend anyone.
8. Do Not Make Rude Hand Gestures While Driving
If you are in Dubai and wish to amp up the thrill, drive a sports car around the city. There are many places in Dubai where you can rent a sports car for a day but you need to be very careful. While it might be okay to use rude hand gestures while driving to signal the other driver and show that you are displeased with something in your country, it is not okay in Dubai. If while driving, someone or something has made you angry, you must control your anger and not use any cuss words or make any rude hand gestures to offend him. Doing it can land you in big trouble and ruin your vacation. It is one of the most important what not to do in Dubai.
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9. Do Not Bring Prohibited Items
Well, you need to be extra cautious while packing when you are traveling to Dubai because not all items are allowed in the country. To start with, if you wish to read during your journey, avoid carrying books that have adult content in it including women fashion magazines. Next, you must not carry any products that are made in Israel, and you must absolutely abstain from carrying bacon or any pork items.
10. Do Not Disrespect The Royal Family In Public
You are bound to develop certain opinions while visiting a new country, and if you are travelling to Dubai for the first time, you might have some opinion about the culture, the royal family, the laws, the politics, the people, etc. Yes, it is natural but you must not discuss them openly in the public. It is not okay in Dubai to openly mock, criticize, or insult the Royal family, the politics, the culture, the laws, and the religion in public. It is taken very seriously even if you were not, and a defaulter can be severely penalized.
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11. Do Not Miss Visiting The Popular Tourist Spots
There are many pretty places to see in Dubai and when you are there on a vacation, do not stay coiled up in your hotel room. Go out and explore. Visit the Burj Khalifa that stands at 2,716 feet and is considered to be thrice as tall as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. If heights do not scare you, go up to the ‘At The Top’ point, which is the world’s highest observation deck and it has an outdoor terrace too. You can even snack at the restaurant on the 122nd floor, and check out the pool on the 76th floor, which is considered the highest swimming pool in the world.
Visit the Dubai Old Creek to relish the historic charisma and old-style buildings that reflect the Arabian architecture of this old town. You can also enjoy a wooden dhow ride across the city or during sunset to end your day.You must also visit the various souks, traditional Arabian markets that sell gold, spices, textiles, perfumes, and other things.And last, do not leave Dubai without taking the desert safari. Enjoy the Arabian Desert in its full glory any time of the day along with live dance and music shows, camel rides, a BBQ feast, etc.
12. Do Not Stay Together In A Hotel If You’re Unmarried
Whether you’re traveling from east or west, be aware that staying together even in a hotel without getting married is illegal in Dubai. A mere cohabitation can lead to jail, fine and deportation. So, if you wish to avoid going back as soon as you check into your hotel in Dubai, make sure you’re staying in different hotels if you’re one of those unmarried couples. This one surely tops the list of things not to do in Dubai, so essentially avoid this one!
13. Do Not Cross-Dress
As Dubai is not that open towards homosexiality, things may not turn in your favour if you’re planning a vacation to Dubai and you cross-dress. Dressing as per your gender is the rule in this land and going against the same may cause detention by the police. In 2008, the police arrested approximately 40 tourists for the same thing. This is one of the main Dubai rules for tourists that you must follow!
14. Do Not Drink In Public
Whether you wish to hold a can of beer in public and sip it throughout your journey till the next stop or simply chill with your friends in public having alcohol, Dubai is not the place for you. Staying drunk in public and drinking in public, both are banned by the law and offending the same will lead you to penalties and jail. Make sure you avoid this for a perfect vacation experience while in Dubai.
15. Do Not Dance In Public
Believe it or not, dancing in public is considered to be provocative and if you wish to avoid some serious fines, make sure you dance at licensed clubs or within the four walls of your room. Even listening to some loud music in Dubai is banned in public and can lead to a heavy penalty if found guilty. Well, don’t wait for the other things in this list about what not to do in dubai as a tourist and try and stay well within your limits to not break any law.
Further Read: A Guide To Etihad Museum In Dubai For All History Buffs
To conclude, do not let all the rules dampen your holiday spirit. Trust us, vacation in Dubai! Bon Voyage! is actually quite a fun, eclectic, and relaxing city that welcomes its tourists with open arms. All you need to do is respect the religion, culture, and laws of the people and not cross the line, and you are all set for a great
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things Not To Do In Dubai
Is it ok to wear shorts in Dubai?
Yes, you can wear shorts in Dubai when you are out in the city, visiting malls, and grabbing up lunch or dinner in restaurants. Please make sure that if you are visiting a religious/spiritual place, wear clothes that are sensitive and sustainable for the place.
Can unmarried couples go on holiday to Dubai?
Yes, unmarried couples can go on holiday to Dubai. It is perfectly alright to book a holiday together and stay in Dubai as an unmarried couple during your vacation.
Is it legal to drink alcohol in Dubai?
No, it’s not illegal to drink alcohol in Dubai. Tourists can have drinks in the restaurants and hotels. You can simply visit the desired establishment and show proof of age if necessary.
Is it safe to visit Dubai as a solo traveler?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to travel to Dubai solo and explore this exotic destination all by yourself. There are promising safety rules and regulations that ensure you have an amazing experience in Dubai.
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