You probably won’t see these ’10 things heavily enforced.
But I for one don’t want to be made an example of.
This is a list of what you should never do in Dubai.
Apart from this list, 1 thing you should never do is take this 18-hour flight from the US with an extra seat cushion on your flight.
Before you read these Dubai commandments, pick up this seat cushion that will make all of your flights feel like 1st class
Dubai looks like a city from the future as far as architecture and lavish lifestyles.
However, the people who were rich enough to create this utopia are used to rules that were introduced in the dark ages.
It may feel like the Flinstones have found a portal to the Jetson’s universe.
These rules are on the books.
Dubai is a Muslim City under a more contemporary form of Sharia Law.
There are also some things on this list that should be done out of common decency and respect for Dubai’s traditions.
Keep this list of What you should never do in Dubai, in mind.
However, don’t let these laws and rules and 10 things you should never do in Dubai stop you from booking your ultimate adventure and exploring Dubai
This is an over-the-top, amazing city in the United Arab Emirates and it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You can usually fly there for under $1000 using Passport Kings
Dubai’s culture is different from what we are used to in the western world.
When I was there I was amazed at how progressive everything seemed to be.
Thinking back on it, I think law enforcement was being pretty lenient with us tourists.
If they would have followed their rules to the letter, a lot of us could have gotten into big trouble.
Today on Passport Kings I am going to list the cultural rules that you should pay close attention to on your visit to Dubai.
The people of Dubai are very friendly.
They look forward to you striking up a conversation with them and they love to show you around their country.
They are very proud of the overwhelming metropolis masterpiece that their government has built out in the middle of the desert.
Yet some tourists have a hard time adapting to new rules or are too self-centered to be bothered by restrictions that the locals find normal.
There are so many rules that I will break this list up into 2 videos.
So, after you watch this one about what you should never do in Dubai, then be sure to click this link to see what you SHOULD do.
You will thoroughly enjoy Dubai but here are some very important things to keep in mind.
You’ve officially been warned!
10. Don’t wear swimwear away from the pool or beach.
Walking around in swimwear is OK when you are around pools and on the beach.
However, If you are walking down normal streets in swimwear, it is considered disrespectful.
It could get you in trouble.
And it is what you should never do in Dubai.
Women are expected to dress with modesty in public, with their arms and legs fully covered.
Have situational awareness when choosing what to wear in Dubai.
When you visit the mall, the dress code will be announced over loudspeakers.
While I was there, I did see some women who were obviously tourists, pushing this rule to the limits.
They were wearing Super short shorts and damn near bikini tops in the hotel lobby.
I wish I could follow them around all day and see what if anything would happen to them.
But I’m sure, following them around would have probably got me labeled as a creep.
Unfortunately, I was not able to follow up on that research.
For the most part, they seemed to be left alone by hotel staff and law enforcement.
I’m sure they understand that it can be hard to decide what to wear in Dubai as a tourist.
About 10 years earlier, 79 people were arrested for how they dressed during a 2008 crackdown on the country’s beaches.
This type of crackdown didn’t only apply to women…
In 2008 police arrested 40 “cross-dressing” dudes who thought it would be funny to dress like women.
Progressive people in America have gotten used to the trans community dressing how they feel, but Muslim countries still frown on this lifestyle.
To make matters worse, I feel the guys weren’t a part of that community.
They wanted to not only taunt the Trans people but also wanted to taunt the law of the land.
I guess those guys were so used to extreme travel, that they felt like just enjoying a city built like it’s from the future wasn’t enough of a thrill.
They looked for trouble and they found it.
9. Don’t lose your temper.
Cussing or waving your hands around like you’re going to beat somebody up in public, can get you into trouble.
Getting bumped while walking along the Marina may make you mad in other large cities like New York.
In Dubai, you are going to have to suck it up and act civilized.
It was most likely not on purpose anyway.
A wonderful thing about Dubai residents is they are peaceful and respectful to each other and tourists.
None of these religious residents are going to bump you on purpose or try to start a verbal conflict with you.
The Emiratis which they call themselves were willing to go all the way, out of their way to be helpful.
They love to take time to learn about you and the country you’re from and are eager to help people who are lost, puzzled, or bored.
8.No Public Displays of Affection.
Of course, holding hands while walking down the street with your significant other is fine.
But, going further is not taken as lightly as it would be taken here in the US.
You do not want to walk down the street holding on to your woman’s rump or have her pinned up against the wall in a long passionate kissing/make-out session.
Many people in the US don’t want to see all of that (We usually yell out, “get a room!”)
Public grouping is what you should never do in Dubai.
This behavior has a history of offending the Emiratis.
In 2005, a UK couple received a one-month jail sentence for kissing in a restaurant after a local complained.
They consider PDOAs (public displays of affection) inappropriate behavior.
Some people have gotten in the same trouble as recently as 2012.
Take the advice you get in America and “Get a Room”
7. Sex without marriage is against the law.
Even staying in the same hotel room as someone of the opposite sex that you aren’t married to (unless a parent or child), can result in your arrest.
By law, only married couples are allowed to have sex or even share a bed, in Dubai.
You wouldn’t think that things you should never do in Dubai, would follow you into the hotel room!
As far as they are concerned, the same rules apply.
Most times, hotels won’t ask for proof of your relationship when you check in with your partner.
But be careful!
If the cops have nothing to do and are in harassment mode you could get in trouble.
In one instance, a girl brought a dude back to her room who she met at a bar.
The cops caught wind of it and tossed them both in jail.
It was the opposite of a romantic evening.
Question about what you should never do in Dubai: (Answer in the comments)
- Have you ever been to Dubai or even Abu Dhabi?
- Were any of the rules too restrictive for your enjoyment?
In the comments section below and tell me about it.
I love reading and responding to you.
6. Don’t take photographs of government buildings.
In Dubai, normal tourist photography is fine
However, avoid photographing:
Secure Airport Areas
Police stations, and
The Mentality behind these rules is hard for me to understand.
Most people taking pictures mean no harm and cameras are everywhere.
Additionally, the shapes of most of these landmarks are literally structural works of modern art.
I think the architects need to be praised for what they were able to design.
Disappointingly, It’s their country and I’m just a guest.
I recommend we all do what’s recommended on this list of things you should never do in Dubai.
I did not see many cops running around checking for picture-snapping optical highjackers.
But, who knows what happened that I was unaware of.
5. Don’t drink and drive.
This probably should be number 1 because you shouldn’t drink and drive anywhere in the world.
It’s not fun and chances are you will hurt others far worse than you will hurt yourself.
You should know not to do this in the first place but now I’m informing you that drunk driving is what you should never do in Dubai.
You can barely stay on the road in the US after you have been drinking but driving around in a completely new place drunk is just dumb.
Drinking and Driving in Dubai is strictly prohibited.
If in case you are involved in an accident and there’s the smallest amount of alcohol in your blood, you will get locked up immediately.
I’m not sure how long sentences usually are, but I can only imagine that you will miss your planned plane ride home.
The streets of Dubai are long, inspired by creativity, and can switch from pavement to dessert at a moment’s notice.
Also, everyone drives very expensive and suped-up cars.
At the available speed, your reflexes need to be fast and pinpoint accurate.
4. Don’t use drugs.
If you get caught using drugs, you won’t be treated with compassion.
If you are caught escorting drugs into the country you will be detained.
I suggest not hanging around friends who have taken illegal substances.
Whatever problem the drugs cause will most likely land in your lap as well.
You’d also be a fool to buy illegal drugs from some random drug dealer on the streets.
This may look like a bustling metropolitan city where drugs are the norm, but Dubai is very religious.
In their book, Allah doesn’t like for humans to impair their holy bodily functions with substances they deem illegal.
Importing illegal things of any kind into Dubai can get really serious for you, including:
- Adult images
- pork and
- Illegal Drugs
In 2007, a Japanese engineer got arrested at the Dubai airport when customs found 77 adult DVDs in his luggage.
The same year, the popular Drum and Bass artist from the UK, Grooverider – was sentenced to four years in prison.
He forgot he had 2 grams of weed in his pants pockets.
He eventually received a pardon but he did do some hard times out there.
Additionally, Some prescription drugs and painkillers can get you in trouble as well.
In 2014, a 16-year-old Indian kid was arrested for carrying half a kilo of poppy seeds.
They were actually for his mom’s recipes but everyone knows poppy seeds contain opiates.
I guess the kid didn’t.
Never do this in Dubai.
Everyone needs to be aware of what they are carrying in their bag all over the world.
I wish he would have read my post before bringing in the Poppy
3. Don’t eat or drink in public during Ramadan.
In 2020 Ramadan in Dubai is from April 23rd til May 23rd.
The Residents will be fasting.
The holy month of Ramadan bans eating or drinking in public before sundown.
Either eat in your hotel room or go to one of the restaurants that realize this is a problem for tourists
Some of these restaurants stay open during the month.
In order to accommodate the fasting population and hungry tourists, the hosts will close all of the window blinds during the day.
They will also let you know about all of the etiquettes that are expected.
They are happy to tell you what you should never do in Dubai and what you absolutely should do in Dubai.
It is forbidden to eat or drink in public during daylight hours.
Imagine starving and some American comes walking by with what looks like a Turkey leg from Universal Studios.
I’ve read that 1 couple was fined for guzzling a drink at a gas station during Ramadan.
You will most likely be fine if you are eating at your hotel.
My best advice is to find out when Ramadan is and don’t book your trip to Dubai during those days.
Unless it’s for Ramadan research and you are documenting the holy days.
2. Don’t accept the first price – Haggle!
The prices you will see at little vendors are the starting price.
Your best bet is to start your offer a lot lower than what you want to spend.
Then start haggling!
Salesmen in stores expect it.
They will actually enjoy the challenge and your attempts to lower the price.
There are many years of tradition behind the art of bargaining for a price and it’s just a harmless part of the culture.
Don’t think that it makes you look cheap.
Make sure your wife isn’t around.
She will probably become embarrassed that you weren’t willing to pay full price, and beat your chest and boast about it.
This friendly game of tug-of-war is the norm in Dubai
Paying the advertised price is what you should never do in Dubai.
Realize that it makes you more connected to their culture.
1. Don’t be Gay
I hate to say it so crass but I would like to make it as clear as possible.
I’m sure there are plenty of gay citizens in Dubai but they don’t dare flaunt it.
If you can’t help it, just be as discreet as possible about being gay.
Follow the rules of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that the US military once had.
As I said before, Dubai’s police force is not scowling the streets looking for crime to pounce down on.
Things are very, very peaceful everywhere you go.
There is no government/religious task force searching for gay tourists to arrest.
With my own eyes, I saw a gay couple walking down the street holding hands.
I thought to myself, “this is not going to be good.”
Then, guess what?
It seemed like no one else even paid the 2 dudes any attention.
Gay sex is illegal in Dubai.
However, I didn’t expect cops are running up on gay people’s hotel rooms and dragging them out into the streets to beat them.
I was positive that Gay-dome would be hidden as much as possible.
There are rumors that there is a super gay community in Dubai.
At least that’s what one activist group member was infamously heard yelling, as he was tossed into the back of a Ferrari police car.
There may just be a hypocritical propaganda machine in play in Dubai but I would suggest you play it safe.
Now you should know what you should never do in Dubai.
If you like this info, please feel free to leave a comment and share the article.
I hope these rules don’t scare you off from visiting this Dubai in the UAE. (United Arab Emirates)
I had an excellent time in spite of all of these things you should never do in Dubai.
I hope you watch the entire video I made about my 1st visit to Dubai
I can’t wait to go back.
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Do remember that Dubai is an Islamic country, and follows a tolerant version of Sharia law.
Be respectful of this, and you’ll have a much better stay.
What you should never do in Dubai is many times common sense.
You’ll be more likely to meet locals and explore the heart of Dubai.
Insulting the Emirates with your behavior could have serious consequences, from fines to imprisonment.
Do understand that almost 10 million travelers visited the emirate last year without any problems.
All you have to really keep in mind before you book your ticket is:
“I will not be a doofus and disrespect these people’s religions or culture while I’m in their beautiful country”
Show respect and you will get respect, like a King.