Dubai Guide

12 Things you must not do in Dubai


There is no shortage of awesome things to do in the UAE. But, there are several things that should never be done in UAE, do you know these?

Are you planning to visit UAE? That’s amazing. There is no shortage of awesome things to do in the UAE. But, be prepared – there is also a list of things NOT to do in UAE to show respect for this amazing culture. The country has legal and cultural rules. It’s important to be well informed, so follow our guide on what tourists should never do in the UAE.

12 Things NOT To Do in Dubai

Here are the 12 things that you should keep in mind while travelling in UAE:

1. Drinking in Public

Drinking in Public

Although the United Arab Emirates has several bars and clubs that serve alcohol, visitors need to know not to drink in public. All places that do not sell alcohol are prohibited from drinking alcohol. This means not bringing beer to public beaches or getting spirited while walking the streets. There are several places where people can drink alcohol; these are the places that visitors should look.

2. Don’t Dress Inappropriately

Don’t Dress Inappropriately

Modern city or not, the conservative culture of Islam is deeply rooted in UAE’s veins. While Dubai is a stylish city full of modern fashions, it still has certain rules and restrictions about what can and cannot be worn in public places. For example, low-cut, tight, short, or revealing dresses are inappropriate and should be avoided in public areas such as shopping centres, markets, beaches, theatres, mosques, etc. However, Western clothing is permitted. But when visiting a mosque, tourists should dress according to religious rules. When visiting malls, it’s also advisable to dress more modestly.

3. Do not use your left hand

In Arabic culture, using your left hand is considered dirty because it is traditionally used for body hygiene. Therefore, one must be very careful about how one uses their left hand. When in Dubai, do not shake hands with someone with your left hand. Do not give someone food with your left hand. Also, do not use your right hand to eat. Even if you’ve cleaned your left hand, it’s still considered unclean. However, you can drink with your left hand, so make sure you don’t use your left hand. For those who are left-handed, you should try to be ambidextrous and use both hands equally.

4. Disrespecting Religion and Culture

Disrespecting Religion and Culture

It should come as no surprise that when visiting any country in the world, visitors should respect the religion and culture of the destination. However, people still find themselves in difficult to stay silent while in the UAE. Any disrespect to the culture of the Emirate, Islam, and the country’s rulers could land tourists in jail. Respect for culture and religion should also apply to all others; as the UAE’s population is over 80% foreigners, it is important to respect everyone.

5. There is no place for public displays of affection

public displays of affection

Avoid showing any sort of intimacy in public while visiting UAE. They view hugs and kisses as socially inappropriate, and if you are caught doing either in public, you could end up spending the rest of your vacation in jail. For married couples, however, holding hands is acceptable. Avoid engaging in such behaviour in public to avoid being caught. One of Dubai’s most crucial laws is this one.

6. Being Disorderly In Public

Drunk and disorderly conduct is a crime in many countries, and the United Arab Emirates is no exception. However, you don’t have to be drunk to be considered disorderly. Playing loud music and dancing in public is illegal in this country. This applies especially to the theme of prayer when music in public places is often muted. Therefore, travellers should keep their speakers low and leave their dancing to one of the many great clubs out there.

7. Do not take pictures without permission

take pictures without permission

There are cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These beautiful cities with breathtaking views may attract you to take photos. Even though taking pictures is perfectly acceptable, you must exercise extreme caution. Without their permission, taking pictures or videos of anyone, especially women and children, is illegal, and you risk fines or even jail time.

8. Don’t Use Illegal Drugs

It must be clear, do not use drugs in the UAE. The country has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs of any kind. People have been jailed for failing to test drugs used abroad. Tourists mustn’t use drugs while in the country because of the consequences of imprisonment and deportation. This also applies to prescription drugs.

9. Cross-dressing is not permitted


Being a conservative community, UAE is not yet accepting of homosexuality. Cross-dressing is not allowed in Dubai, so make sure you don’t do it while you’re there. 

10. Public eating is prohibited during Ramadan

Eating, drinking, or smoking in public places during the holy month of Ramadan is forbidden. Most restaurants close or cover their windows during these hours to show respect. It is strictly forbidden for anyone to eat, drink, chew gum, and even smoke in public during these hours, as that is considered extremely disrespectful and may cause discomfort to the eater. This rule does not apply to young children and pregnant women.

11. Do not insult the royal family

You may come from different religions or have your own beliefs. You may have different views on the culture and belief system of the UAE, but remember to keep that to yourself. If you openly criticize, mock, or insult the royal family, laws, culture, and religion of Dubai, they can put you behind bars or severely fine you. So when you’re in Dubai, just enjoy what the city has to offer instead of mocking it.

12. Do not bring prohibited items

Do not bring prohibited items

if you are going to Dubai or other parts of UAE, you must pack carefully. Make sure you are familiar with the things you are permitted to carry before you do that. Books with explicit content, products made in Israel, and the importation of pork are just a few of the items that are forbidden.

Every country has its traditions and beliefs. These things may seem unusual to you. However, if you’re going there to have a good time, you should follow the basic rules and guidelines rather than breaking them.

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