Keep Public Displays of Affection in Check
As Dubai has a large Muslim population within its emirate boundaries, there are certain customs akin to that religion which are strictly followed. One such custom relates to public displays of affection. When visiting Dubai, it is proper to keep your public displays of affection in check while out and about on the town. For example, kissing is not something which one will see too often on the streets of Dubai. Therefore, try to be respectful and save such displays of affection for your hotel room.
Watch What You Wear
There are also local customs and laws which relate to how the individuals in Dubai dress. Those who live in Dubai and visit the region should not wear clothing which is too revealing. This does not mean that you should be completely covered from head to toe, simply think about what you are wearing and whether or not it shows too much. If it seems too revealing, then a change of clothing is probably in order.
Women Visiting Dubai
Dubai is known for its safe environment, so safe in fact that even women travelling alone can usually feel secure on their vacation. It is important to note that women by themselves may catch some glances their way as they are alone and without the company of a man. In addition, women from many other parts of the globe may dress and act a bit differently than the women who live in Dubai and this too may cause some attention.
When out on the town, remember that the culture is a bit different, especially with regard to the roles which women take in the region. Things which one may not think of in their home country, such as shaking hands with a man, is an important concept in others. While in Dubai, try not to be too forward with your approach. For example, wait until someone asks to shake your hand as reaching out to shake theirs first may be seen as too forward. Also, try not to dress in revealing clothing as this too may make you stand out more than you would like to.
Ramadan is a month-long celebration which many people throughout Dubai engage in. This celebration is one of great importance to Muslims and there are a wide array of events which occur during Ramadan. When you are visiting Dubai during Ramadan, it is important that you act appropriately by following a few simple tips. There are certain days when Muslims will fast and those visiting Dubai should refrain from eating in public areas during the fasting times yet you can eat at your hotel or resort. Also, be understanding in that certain businesses will be closed for periods of time during Ramadan, such as from dawn to sunset on specific occasions. Lastly, remember to experience the true culture and religious significance of Ramadan while learning more about this special time.
It is important to keep in mind that Muslims do not drink alcohol therefore it will only be available in certain locations. Most of the places where you will find alcoholic beverages for sale are in the hotel restaurants and bars (and there are tons of those places). Keep in mind that if you choose to drink while vacationing in Dubai, do not get behind the wheel as drinking and driving is not tolerated. Also, the neighboring emirate of Sharjah is a "dry" emirate. No alcohol is sold or consumed there. So if you plan on going there for sightseeing, it might be a good idea to go completely sober. By the way, if you're heading to the beaches, don't carry alcohol with you. The Police enforce this rather strictly.
Behavior in Religious Establishments
When you enter a mosque in Dubai, there are certain customs you must follow. Always take off your shoes prior to entering the mosque and if you are a woman you must cover your hair. Show respect and act in a quiet manner while in the building.
Behavior on the Streets of Dubai
When walking around Dubai, eating in restaurants and visiting tourist sites, always act politely. Make sure that you speak in a regular tone, do not curse and treat others with respect. In addition, refrain from putting your feet up on furniture or in the air as showing the soles of one's shoes or bottom of one's feet is considered offensive. Also, keep your photography limited to those in your party as taking pictures of local individuals is not a good practice to undertake, especially with regard to Muslim women. You also are not allowed to take pictures of certain buildings/property such as government establishments and military installations.
By keeping these local customs in mind, you will be best able to enjoy your trip to Dubai, stay out of trouble while you are there and respect the customs of the local individuals.