What You Need to Know Before Visiting Dubai
Essential tips on what to do and what not to do.
· 3 min read
Dubai is a mesmerizing destination that seamlessly blends modern luxury with rich cultural heritage. Boasting iconic skyscrapers, extravagant shopping malls, and traditional souks, Dubai offers a unique and diverse experience for travelers. If you are planning a visit to Dubai, here are some essential tips to help you make the most of your trip while being mindful and respectful of the etiquette and local culture.
What is the dress code in Dubai?
While there is no official dress code, the UAE has certain customs and traditions that should be respected and followed. The general rule of thumb is to dress conservatively and modestly - meaning you avoid anything that is too tight-fitting or revealing, and wear something that covers your shoulders and knees.
Some places could have stricter requirements — for example, if you are visiting a mosque, you should also cover your arms and legs, and women should wear headscarves.
Visiting beaches and water parks
If you are visiting the beach or waterparks, you can wear swimwear (and you should wear swimwear at waterparks!). But, make sure that your swimwear is not too see-through. Women should also wear a one-piece swimwear. Note that wearing a wet shirt over your underclothing is considered offensive as the fabric will stick to your skin, making it considerably tight-fitting and possibly see-through.
Remember to change out of your swimwear before you leave the beach and water parks.
Dress code for ladies
The general dress code for ladies apply — something that covers your shoulders and knees, and is not too tight or revealing. So, yes - you can wear shorts or skirts - as long as they are long enough to cover your knees.
Headscarves are not usually required. But, if you are visiting a mosque or other religious grounds, you will need to cover your head. It could be a good idea to bring along a headscarf in case you need it.
What not to do in Dubai
Aside from the dress codes, there are a few things that you should avoid doing in Dubai:
- No PDA: Keep your public displays of affection to a minimum. It is fine to hold hands, but avoid hugging, kissing, or anything more in public areas.
- No alcohol consumption in public: Do not drink alcohol along the streets or at places where alcohol isn't sold. There are bars and clubs in Dubai that serve alcohol, and it is perfectly fine to drink at those places!
- No drink-driving: Well, you shouldn't be drink-driving anywhere in the world. But Dubai has very strict laws against drink-driving, so make sure not to do it.
- No eating or drinking in public during Ramadan: Ramadan is a month of fasting. To be considerate to those who are fasting, tourists should not eat or drink in public during the fasting hours (from sunrise to sunset) during Ramadan. If you need to eat or drink, you can still do so in your hotels or at restaurants/cafes.
- No loud music in public spaces: Blasting your music will be frowned upon and deemed as a public nuisance. Be considerate of your surroundings and keep your volumes down.
- Avoid swearing in public: Swearing, arguments, and fighting in public are considered offences that could get you into trouble with the law.
What to do in Dubai
Now that we know what not to do in Dubai, here are some things that you should do.
- Bring along your doctor's prescription: If you need to bring medication along with you on your trip, bring along a copy of your doctor's prescription. Be sure to also check if your medication is in the list of allowed medication, or if you will need to apply for approval to bring it in.
- Book your tickets in advance: If you are planning to visit the Burj Khalifa, remember to pre-book your tickets. Dubai's most iconic landmark, and also the tallest building in the world, the observation deck on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa offers an unparalleled experience. Pre-booking your tickets can save you some time while you're there; and if you really don't want to stand in the queues, consider getting a skip-the-line ticket. If you are visiting other attractions, getting a pass or combo ticket would also be cheaper.
- Visit during winter: Dubai is a desert, and the weather could get extremely hot, especially during summer. Winter is when you will get the most comfortable weather. And, there is also a shopping festival in December to January, making it a great time for shopping — shopping in Dubai is otherwise really expensive. It is important to note though that winter is also peak travel season for Dubai, so it could be really crowded.
- Bring sunscreen and your summer clothes. But also a windbreaker: Although Dubai's weather is really hot in the day, it could get chilly at night. So remember to bring along a windbreaker or jacket so you can layer up when it gets chilly at night.