Dubai is fast becoming one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the Middle East. With its luxury hotels full of opulence, Dubai islands, fantastic shopping experiences and hot weather, it is no wonder that people are flocking there on vacation or, in some case, move permanently.
However, Dubai belongs to the United Arab Emirates and is a Muslim Emirate and as such, follows strict codes of law. Without knowing these laws and social rules, you can get into considerable trouble.
By following our list of simple rules and tips, you can ensure you are fully up to speed when you travel to Dubai and can holiday with a greater peace of mind.
It is okay for bikinis and swimming trunks to be worn on the beach or at a swimming pool in a hotel but topless bathing is definitely not permitted. You should not wear your bikini or swimming attire whilst you are away from the beach, or if you do you must cover up sufficiently so that the bikini is not visible.
And men should not go shirtless whilst walking around the streets of Dubai. Ladies will attract negative attention if they wear revealing short shirts, shorts or strapless tops, especially if they are in a public place such as a shopping mall.
You can buy alcohol at a Duty Free Shop when you are entering Dubai and your limit is four bottles each per person. However, you cannot buy it from a supermarket or wine merchant unless you are a resident of Dubai with an alcohol license.
Alcohol is only legally available to buy in hotels and bars within the city. You cannot drink alcohol on the streets of Dubai and and there is a zero tolerance on drinking and driving.
You will find that certain times of the year, such as public holidays or periods of mourning, alcohol will not be served in public places and drinking, smoking and eating in public during Ramadan will cause great offense.
Dubai has a zero tolerance on drug offenses, either taking drugs or trafficking, with very harsh sentences if caught. It also has strict regulations regarding controlled drugs, so you will need to check whether your prescription medicine violates these regulations.
Medicines such as codeine are restricted so if you are travelling with certain types then we advise only to take the amount you would need for your stay and to have a qualifying letter from your doctor. To check your prescriptions see here: http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/drug.asp
Homosexuality is banned in Dubai and any overt public displays of affection, including sex are definitely not advised and at very least will cause great offence, if not a prison sentence.
Unmarried couples should book separate rooms for their stay in Dubai as the Emirate State is governed by Sharia Law which states that sex should only take place between married couples.
You are not allowed to take photographs of any government buildings, military structures or members of the military. If you want to take photographs of people then you should always ask but you cannot photograph Muslim women.
Treat the roads in Dubai as if you were driving in Italy. The cars are fast and furious but you should always keep to the speed limit and when out walking, do not expect cars to stop simply because you are at a pedestrian crossing.