If you have arrived in Dubai very recently, and wish to stay here for quite some time, then you should get adapted to the cultural customs of the country. In 2017, about 15.8 million people traveled to Dubai – one of the biggest tourist and expat destinations. However, social customs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and surrounding areas can be subtle and particular. Even simple gestures can suggest a whole other meaning while in a different country. From the dress to greetings, it is important to know the proper customs of whatever country you are visiting. For more information on how foreigners can adapt to the customs and cultural norms of Dubai, keep reading!
Religion being an integral part of any society, it shapes the way its citizens dress, speak, and even eat. As a primarily Muslim country, it is custom to be conservative at all times. Ramadan is a popular time of year to visit Dubai, typically running from May into June. During this time, strict fasting is observed. Residents and visitors must refrain from eating or drinking in public during daylight hours during Ramadan. Of course, there are designated areas where non-Muslims are free to indulge. Buying and consuming alcohol is permitted in the UAE, except for certain religious holidays.
As mentioned previously, in Dubai it is a part of the cultural etiquette to be conservative. Visitors, especially women, should dress modestly. Typical Western attire is permitted, as long as it is modest. Well, it is a kind of a myth that is usually perceived for obvious reasons. You can always party with the coolest cloth on in Dubai. The term “Manhattan of the Desert” serves as proper coinage for Dubai. Many citizens in the United Arab Emirates will don a long and fluid white cotton robe known as a dishdasha or gandourah. The ceremonial garbs also known as abayas are often worn by women.
A person traveling to Dubai should study gestures that are deemed appropriate so as to not offend others. Simple gestures, such as using your left hand to eat, are unacceptable. The best way to greet Arab citizens is to shake hands, yet be gentle with the handshake as being firm can be seen as disrespectful. Accepting refreshments is also a basic practice in the UAE. Refusing coffee, water, tea, or even gifts is considered rude cultural etiquette. Language in Dubai is also important, as using profanities or threatening phrases toward someone is considered an offense and can bring criminal charges. Flashing the middle finger or other suggestive gestures can also warrant charges.
Safety On Roads
Dubai is one of the safest areas in the Middle East for tourists to travel to. However, there are strict laws and general cultural etiquette safety rules to follow. Certain safety precautions also should be considered when traveling throughout the United Arab Emirates. For example, one of the most common traffic violations in Dubai is speeding. Road fatalities in the region are quite rare, due to the excellent conditions of the roads and due to pedestrian and driver’s awareness of the rules and adherence to the same. Do not step into the roads thinking traffic will stop for you. Obey traffic signal crosswalks at all times while also checking for traffic. Traffic laws in Dubai are extremely stringent and are heavily fined if abused.