Tuesday 29 September 2020
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UAE Travel and Culture Tips: Dos & Don’ts for Visitors

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Dubai and the UAE are great destinations for your next holiday. People here are genuine, hospitable and courteous. But it’s different from the other countries like the USA and Europe. They are steeped in centuries of traditions and very much devoted to their religion. Well, if you’re planning a trip here, you need to be aware of the proper etiquette when you’re in this Muslim country. As a rule of thumb, strictly follow and respect the laws and values of the country. There will always be a difference in terms of culture and belief system but we need to embrace them. 

Let’s settle first your flight. We have here Etihad which is known to offer a personalized experience, inclusive of options and choices every step of the way. You can also quickly check the status of your flight with the use of the live flight tracking system. You’ll automatically receive significant information and real-time notifications if there’s a sudden change on your flight. But first, let’s be equipped with the dos and don’ts for you to have a remarkable trip ahead. 

Alcohol Consumption

It is only allowed for Non-Muslims or travelers who want to drink in a licensed restaurant, clubs, bars, or even at home. However, purchasing alcohol in general stores such as supermarkets are not allowed. It’s only for the residents who have obtained a license to purchase alcohol for their consumption at home. Please be advised that drinking alcohol while walking in the street and being drunk in a public place is against the law. If the police caught you, you may be arrested. 


Don’t ever try to drive if you’re under the influence of alcohol. Remember, you’re in the UAE, meaning to say, that has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. If you’re caught, you can be charged and be imprisoned. It is recommended to get a cab or use the metro if you consumed alcohol. Other things that are prohibited by the law include tailgating, speeding, racing, lane jumping and using a mobile phone while driving. If you’re caught, be ready for the consequences since your car can be impounded. Of course, wearing a seatbelt is also mandatory. 


Consuming or carrying drugs can result in standard 4-year imprisonment and deportation since drugs are strictly forbidden. Don’t ever try to buy or sell narcotics, it is considered a serious crime and mind you, it can result in lifetime imprisonment. 

Doctor prescribed medications (painkillers/antidepressants)

Dubai and even the UAE has very strict laws when it comes to medication like over the counter medicines. If you’re using a doctor’s prescribe drugs or medications, you need to carry with you a doctor’s note. It should include the period of travel; description of your illness and the relative medicines prescribe for that. It would be better to check the banned substance list from your local consulate or embassy just to be sure. It is also helpful for peace of mind.

Smoking (including Vape and E-Cigarette)

Please be reminded that smoking in government areas, offices, and even shopping malls are prohibited. There are various designated areas where you can smoke. Unfortunately, E-Cigarettes and vaping are banned here, both in Dubai and the UAE. If you have one, your device will be confiscated at the airport upon arriving. 

Dress Code

Emirati knows to dress conservatively in their traditional dress. As a tourist, you are also required to dress appropriately especially when in public places like shopping malls, restaurants, and even parks. Don’t ever wear something revealing, transparent, or flashy. Even on your clothing, be sure it does not display offensive pictures or slogans. Here, any form of nudity is strictly forbidden. Just like for the swimwear, it should not be worn in any other area outside the beach, water parks, or swimming pools. Preferably, men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. Besides, men are not allowed to walk along the street or even malls bare-chested. 

Personal safety and security issue

Don’t worry too much, the UAE is relatively a safe country if you were to compare to others. Nevertheless, you still need to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. If you’re in a bar or club, do not accept drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended. It’s for your safety as well. You need to be cautious of your surroundings all the time. 

Respect for the religion 

Here, Islamic religious values are genuinely respected. Showing disrespect towards it is considered very offensive and you’re most likely to receive a heavy fine and/or imprisonment. 

If you’re visiting during the holy month of Islam – Ramadan, you should be willing to follow a few basic rules. It’ll be a wonderful stay since you get to observe the local culture. Aside from that, it gives you a unique and authentic holiday experience. 

During this period, eating, drinking, smoking, and playing loud music in public places during daylight hours is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. This includes those non-Muslims travelers. Although many big hotels have a special screened-off area for non-Muslims where they can eat or drink but alcohol can only be served after sundown. The pregnant women and the infirm are excluded from such practice.    

And don’t forget the end of Ramadan known as Eid Al-Fitr, it’s a three-day festival for all. Normally, families exchange gifts. There are also special public events that you can attend to and try out delicious Arabic cuisine.