September 14, 2022

What is considered illegal or improper in UAE?

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Dubai is a dream city for many people across the globe. It is the single most popular travel destination in the Middle East. Dubai is a well know tourist destination with other emirates, hosting over 8 million expatriates every year. Many would say Dubai is akin to Spain or Thailand. Certainly, it is! – friendly environment, mouth-watering food, brilliant architecture and lovely beach.

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But there is a difference that you must consider while planning a trip to Dubai. Dubai is one of the major cities in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). And the UAE is a Muslim country which follows Islamic law. 

UAE acts as a bridge between different cultures and traditions. One of the valuable things to learn about travel is diversity, and each country has different culture and history. Learning about other cultures isn’t a token of love and respect.   

Although the rules are slightly less strict in Dubai, it is important to know what to do and what not to do. So that you’ll not go and break up any law, ending up in jail. 

In this article, you’ll find a detailed list of what do’s and don’ts that will help you stay within the realms of legality and make your memorable.

Drugs (or Medicines)

Do’s: – If you have an urgent need for some medicine, carry your prescription with you.  

Don’ts: – Drugs are a serious illegal thing to do in Dubai. The government shows a zero-tolerance policy toward the consumers. Although there is some relaxation, try not to get involved in the illegal smuggling case.  


Do’s: – Try not to point your finger to show something. Instead, use the whole hand while gesturing or pointing.  

Don’ts: Any obscene hand gestures will land you in serious trouble. Speaking bad languages or showing disrespect to its religion and leaders is absolutely forbidden. You should never use your left hand as a mode of gesture. The left hand is considered unhygienic and unclean due to some old traditions in Muslim culture. And you definitely shouldn’t use it for eating.  

Avoid PDAs

Do’s: – PDA means public displays of affection. Holding hands is the tolerated only for married couple. 

Don’ts: – PDA is a big no-no in Dubai. Many youngsters, even elderly tourists, get arrested for merely kissing in public. Try to be safe!   

Dress code

Do’s: – Dubai is a Muslim oriented city, that doesn’t mean that you’ve to wear a full burqa during your trip. Certain shopping malls will have a dress code needed to follow. Other than that, women should dress modestly. Swimwear is acceptable only in private beaches and private swimming pools. And while visiting a religious place, you should cover your head.    

Don’ts: – Men shouldn’t walk shirtless except on the beach. Cross dressing is frowned upon, and wearing short dresses or t-shirts is suitable only in certain places and strictly prohibited in the older parts of the city.  


Do’s: – Ramadan is one of the most important festivals of Dubai. If you travel during Ramadan, be on your best behaviour. Be respectful and humble. 

Don’ts: – During Ramadan, non-residents and visitors are expected to follow some attributes. Eating, drinking, drug consumption and smoking in public will be strictly forbidden during these days.  You know well what happens next!  

Alcohol Consumption

Do’s: – There are no do’s for this. Although there are many licenced bars and pubs where you can go have your drink but drinking in public place isn’t allowed at any cost. If you do, you may get in trouble with some undercover agents. Take it, easy, folks.  

Don’ts: – Being drunk in public and behaving disorderly is a serious issue and unacceptable in Dubai. Drunk driving will lead you directly to the prison.  


Do’s: – Wondering what photography can do any harm? Well, then read up. Photography should do with real caution. You need to ask first before taking any pictures of a national resident of the UAE, especially the subject is women.   

Don’ts: – Never take any picture of any local resident of the city.  

Invitations and Interaction

Do’s: – If you got an invitation to masjids or any religious place, remove your shoe at the entrance and then enter the place. Male and females must be escorted in different section.

If you are invited for a meal, first accept the food and refreshment, then move to the matter of any business. It is considered respectful to stand up for guests (both new and older generation) or any high-ranking people.

Men must stand when a woman enters the room. It is customary to accept food and drink with your right hand, and you should eat with right hand too.  

Don’ts: – While greeting any Muslim member, never offer the handshake first unless they extend first. Mostly avoid shaking hands if the member is a woman, cause due to religious reasons. 

Try to avoid showing the soles of your feet or pointing feet. Never cross your legs while sitting in front of an important guest. Never offer your Muslim guests alcoholic beverages or meat.

On Relationships

Do’s: – The UAE is a conservative country. Only married couples are permitted to live inside a private room together. Living in relationship is a big NO there. It is okay for married couples to hold hand and light peck over the cheek. But deep kissing isn’t allowed in public places.  

Don’ts: – Cohabitation, sex out of marriage, adultery, having a baby out of wedlock, and homosexuality are consider crime there. Yes! Homosexuality and gay relationship haven’t been legalised yet. Display of affection may lead you to unpredictable consequences.  

What is considered illegal or improper in UAE?

Islam Religion

Do’s: – Islam is a religion based on respect and love. If you act in a humble and respectful manner, you’ll receive the love and great hospitability of the people there.  

Don’ts: – If you insult Islam in any way, that’s the worst thing you will do in an Islamic country. Keep your opinion on the Islamic religion up to you. Do not say it aloud as it might be deemed as highly disrespectful. Blasphemy carries serious consequences, so keep your personal opinion up to yourself.  

Conclusion :

UAE as a country is a family-centric destination for many people around the globe. 

It is good to keep in mind that you need to arm yourself with all the do’s and don’ts before travelling to Dubai. We hope you find these bits and pieces of travel guide useful while first travelling to the Dubai. These do’s, and don’ts are not for discouraging your courage or make you nervous. This helps to make your stay pleasant and legal one. Lastly, the Dubai is full of Indians; you’d definitely find it familiar.