The United Arab Emirates can be a fantastic tourist destination, and thousands of people travel there every single year. It is home to a bunch of great tourist attractions, and activities, but many might not be familiar with the culture. There are certain things that are frowned upon or even illegal in Dubai, and you need to be aware of them before you travel there. Here are 15 things that you should never do in Dubai.
It's a very big risk to do recreational drugs because of the political climate in Dubai. There are very serious consequences if you are caught committing a drug offence in the country. Even things like painkillers can get you in some serious trouble.
Drinking in Public
The culture in Dubai results in drinking in public being a pretty serious no no. A lot of tourists make this mistake, but it is very important not to drink anywhere that is not a licensed venue to provide alcohol.
Singing and Dancing
While people in Dubai are just like you or me, and enjoy the occasional singing or dancing, it is not the best idea to do this on the street. Singing, dancing and making loud noises in the street is considered a public nuisance in Dubai.
Public Displays of Affection
It isn't the best idea to kiss or be physically involved in public in Dubai. PDA is generally frowned upon and is considered to be very rude in a public place. Be careful about where you show your affection in public.
Remember to dress modestly in Dubai. You'll catch a lot more than a few negative looks if you're underdressed. The same kind of fashion that flies in the U.S. or in Europe isn't a good idea to wear when you're in Dubai.
Both men AND women shouldn't be seen topless in Dubai. While walking around without a top on is a normal thing for a guy to do in many places, it's not the best idea in Dubai. Make sure to keep your clothes on here.
You can take as many photos as you like in Dubai, but it's important to be weary of what you're photographing. There are some buildings and places where photography isn't allowed, so just be wary of your surroundings and look for no-photography signs.
While swearing like a sailor is perfectly fine in many parts of the world, watch your mouth when you're in Dubai. It isn't okay to be crude or use rude language in public here. Or you'll receive more than a bit of criticism.
While there is actually a very low rate of crime in Dubai, and you should be fine generally speaking, there is still always a risk of pickpockets. Keep your things close by and don't get caught in any tourist traps.
The United Arab Emirates hasn't caught up to the rest of the world in terms of lesbian, gay and trans rights. Be careful when expressing your open sentimentalities, and just remember they aren't as progressive in their treatment of gay people.
Eating in Public
Don't worry, obviously you can eat in public! However, when people are observing Ramadan it can be a bad idea to eat in public during times when the sun is up. Why? Well, it's pretty rude to eat around a bunch of people who are fasting.
Don't Harass Women
The rules are actually a bit stricter in Dubai about what is considered harassment than in the rest of the world. Be very mindful of people's personal space and don't do anything to make people feel harassed--obviously, as you should anywhere else in the world.
Flipping the Bird
While giving someone the middle finger can be a very rewarding way to tell someone off, it is a terrible idea to do this in Dubai. Not only is it considered rude, it can even be considered a criminal gesture!
Smoking in Public Buildings
It is a bad idea to smoke in public spaces in Dubai. They are very progressive about their anti-smoking laws, and it is illegal to smoke in certain buildings. If you're unsure, ask or look around for signs, otherwise you could get a pretty large fine.
The Drinking Age
While many parts of the world allow you to drink at the age of 18, it is illegal to drink before the age of 21 in the United Arab Emirates. When you're in Dubai, don't drink if you're under the age of 21--or, at the very least, don't get caught.
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