From the outside, with all the developmental initiatives, investment opportunities and exquisite vacation destinations Dubai can begin to look like one of the Western nations that endorse liberality as part of their tourist allure. But one must not forget that Dubai is an Islamic nation which informs a lot of the local culture. Visitors are expected to comply with the cultural norms otherwise they risk dire consequences.
Moreover, without even the fear of consequences, the concept of ecotourism embraces at its very heart the idea that the tourist must do his best to support the local culture and economy. You, after all, don’t visit a place to spoil it for others.
According to recent surveys, people from the UK are very likely to be arrested in the UAE in contrast with people from other nations of the world. Some of the things that make them more likely are behaviors such as public intoxication and offensive hand gestures which are considered normal in their home.
To help you enjoy Dubai without risking yourself, this article discusses some aspects of the culture of this multi-national populated country.
- Observe proper behavior (even when drunk)
From the availability of non-alcoholic minibars in hotel rooms to a controlled amount of alcohol which you can pass customs with, the systems put in place reinforce the culture of the people that despises drunkenness.
Sure there are local bars that offer incentives such as lady’s night on Tuesdays. True the people go to bars to blow off steam in the evenings after a long day at work. This does not mean that you get to behave as you wish while there.
There are licensed venues to drink, where you can be drunk but you could get locked up for being outside such venues. It is illegal to drive under the influence.
- Avoid public display of affections
While in western countries it is common to find people showing their love for one another in the presence of everyone else who does not necessarily care, the people of Dubai are reserved. Their affections are displayed in private and with good reason too.
We understand that you probably came to Dubai to celebrate your honeymoon but if you do not want to be embarrassed at best or to get some time in prison, just avoid the whole PDA, tempting as it maybe. You can hold hands or give a peck on the cheek but any behavior past that is not appreciated.
- What you do with your hands, matters
A common gesture with your hands that people use when they are pissed is giving someone the finger. Some people stick out their tongues. This may be seen as just rude in other places but it could get you a jail term in Dubai. Watch what you do with your hands when you are offended by another driver on the road.
Use only the right hand to eat or drink and don’t offer your hand to an Emirati woman unless they do so first.
The only exception to this is when you are at the swimming pool. Otherwise, the local culture of the people is such that they expect visitors to dress modestly. The indecent dresser could be punished under the law although this is rare. What is modest is not defined but you would do well to apply some wisdom to what you wear.