Planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates? Here’s what you need to know to ensure you have a more meaningful encounter with the Emirati people and get the most out of your holiday.
The UAE is a Muslim country so it is important to adhere to a modest dress code. In order to respect the local culture and customs we recommend that you wear loose fitting clothing, comfortable footwear for walking as well as a sun hat.
In public spaces, please refrain from wearing shorts and sleeveless tops except when at the beach or by the pool. The general rule to follow is that clothing needs to cover shoulders, upper arms and fall below the knees. This dress code applies to both women and men. By following the recommended dress code you will avoid encountering any issues or offend any of the locals ensuring that you get the most out of your experience.
Whilst visiting a mosque it is important that you avoid wearing any sheer fabrics, short or tight clothing. All trousers and clothing have to be long with sleeves reaching the wrists. Women are required to wear a headscarf and cover their décolleté.
Alcohol is not part of the Islamic culture and thus only served in licensed restaurants and hotels. Please do not drink alcohol in public or outside of licensed establishments. During the Holy Month of Ramadan alcohol is served at licensed hotels to in-house guests only and is available through a 24-hour room service. It is strictly forbidden at all times to drive under the influence, which is punished with 48 hours in prison.
Smoking is prohibited in all closed public places such as shopping malls, hotel lobbies, restaurants, at most bars and on public transport.
In Ramadan it is not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in public. It is also advisable to refrain from swimming or sun bathing in wadis and on public beaches. Please be aware that most restaurants will be closed until just before sunset.
Single Lady Travellers
UAE is one of the few Arab countries where women can travel with almost no interference as long as a certain code of conduct is respected (see also Dress Code). Sit always in the back taxis; in Dubai there are taxis available that are dedicated for women and driven by women. You can recognise them from their pink top. Bear in mind that most Arab women would often travel with a male escort. If asked why you are alone a suitable answer could be that you are visiting family in the country or that you are there on a business trip.