21 Rules for Public Behavior in Dubai That You Must Know

In Dubai, which is part of the Muslim-majority UAE, there’s a balance between maintaining local customs and accommodating the diverse international community. Here’s an overview of the social etiquette and rules:

Dress Code Flexibility:

  1. Dubai’s laws are among the most liberal within the UAE. This flexibility extends to dress codes, especially for tourists and expatriates.
  2. Women visitors have more freedom in their choice of clothing compared to other Muslim countries, but modesty is still advised.
  3. Bathing suits are acceptable at hotel pools and private beaches. Public places like shopping malls and public beaches have dress codes, but these have become more relaxed in recent years.

Observing Ramadan:

  1. Ramadan, a significant Islamic event, involves fasting and is observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The dates vary each year.
  2. During Ramadan, everyone, including tourists, should avoid eating, drinking, smoking, and singing in public during daylight hours. This shows respect for the local culture and adherence to Dubai’s laws.
  3. After sunset, life in Dubai becomes more vibrant, with restaurants and malls staying open late.

General Etiquette:

  1. When offering an alcoholic drink, ensure that the Arab individual you are with consumes alcohol.
  2. Sit with your feet flat on the ground, not crossed, as a sign of respect.
  3. Use your right hand for eating and drinking, as the left is traditionally seen as unclean.
  4. Avoid showing the soles of your feet or shoes, which can be seen as disrespectful.
  5. Do not walk in front of or stare at someone while they are praying.
  6. Non-Muslims need permission to enter mosques.
  7. Pointing fingers at others is considered rude.
  8. Public displays of affection are discouraged. Holding hands, hugging, and kissing in public is considered socially unacceptable and if caught indulging in such acts, you might land up in jail.
  9. Aggressive behavior should be avoided.
  10. Always ask permission before taking photos of local people.
  11. Cussing in public in Dubai can lead to fines or arrest due to strict laws against offensive language and gestures.
  12. Twerking in public in Dubai is not advisable as it may be considered indecent or offensive under local decency laws.
  13. Chewing gum in Dubai is permissible, but it’s considered impolite to chew gum loudly or dispose of it improperly.
  14. Vaping is allowed in designated areas in Dubai, but using e-cigarettes in public places can attract fines.
  15. Having tattoos is legal in Dubai, but they should be covered in public places, especially if they contain offensive images or language.