Dubai is a modern city with an amazing skyline, swanky hotels, enormous malls and everything that an ultra-modern city possesses. While the city reflects the Western cities in style and architecture, an important thing to remember is that Dubai is first and foremost a part of a Muslim country. Even though Dubai is quite liberal for an Islamic city, there are certain etiquette and manners that should be followed by expats and tourists. Here, we bring to you some of the etiquette that you need to follow when in the city of Dubai.



Drinking in Dubai is not illegal. On the other hand, you would find that alcohol is served in most of the restaurants and hotels in the city. However, it is best to drink within your limits as being drunk in public is considered to be a serious offense. Making a ruckus in public after getting drunk can cause you to get a fine, imprisonment or even deportation. Moreover, there is absolutely no tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving. If you have had a few drinks while out your friends or even alone, it is best to ditch your vehicle and take a cab. This would ensure that you do not fall into any kind of trouble.

2.Dress Code

As Dubai has such a modern outlook when it comes to their architecture, you may think that it is quite liberal when it comes to dress code too. While western wear is acceptable in the city, there are some rules that you need to keep in mind. Women should avoid wearing clothes that show their shoulder, cleavage and legs above the knees. Even men should avoid wearing too tiny shorts. Beach wear is acceptable but only in beaches and near pool areas. However, avoid wearing a G-string bottom or thong variety. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable at most places. However, if you are visiting a mosque in Dubai, make sure you legs and arms are covered completely.

                                         Also read – What to Wear in Dubai

3.Public Display of Affection

Dubai is a great holiday destination especially for couples. Nevertheless, PDA or public display of affection is inappropriate and can land you in legal trouble. While holding hands and pecking on the cheek are acceptable, it is best to avoid kissing, hugging or getting intimate in public places. You could be fined or even jailed for such behavior in Dubai.


Shaking hands is a common way of greeting each other in the modern world. However, when you are in Dubai, there are some rules that you need to follow. Muslim women may not shake hands with other men due to religious reasons. Even women should avoid offering their hand for a handshake with Muslim men. They can shake hands only if the men offer their hand first.

5.Hand Gestures and Swearing

Showing rude hand gestures to strangers or even to friends in public places can land you in deep trouble. Even while talking to someone, avoid pointing fingers at them. It is best to use your entire hand while talking or addressing someone. Apart from taking care of your hand gestures, refrain from swearing in public. Even if you are in a heated argument with someone, keep calm and do not swear. Swearing should be avoided in social media sites and even on instant messaging apps. If someone gets offended and complains, you may be fined AED 250,000 or may get deported too.


Dubai is a beautiful place and you would get loads of opportunities to take out your camera and click pictures. Nevertheless, one should refrain from taking pictures of military installations, government buildings and mosques. Moreover, avoid taking pictures of Muslim women. This is considered to be offensive. Also, if you want to take pictures of or with Arab men, you need to seek their permission first.

7.Additional Etiquette

  • Apart from the above mentioned rules and etiquette, there are some more that you should keep in mind while in Dubai.
  • Always receive food and drinks with your right hand. You must also eat with your right hand only.
  • Always stand when new guests enter the room. This also applies to people who are elderly and those who are higher ranking officials. Men should stand up when women enter the room.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting. Moreover, you must also not point your feet or show the soles of your feet to others.
  • Possession of drugs that are banned in Dubai would lead you to trouble. Avoid carrying drugs that are commonly available in your country but are restricted in UAE.
  • Avoid drinking and eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan. Most hotels and malls have dedicated places where non-Muslims can eat during Ramadan.
  • Adultery, homosexuality, having a baby out of wedlock, etc. are illegal in the city of Dubai.
  • Avoid insulting or talking disrespectful about Arabs or even the leaders of the city and the nation of UAE. This can put you in legal trouble.

Visiting Dubai is a delight as you get to enjoy this beautiful Islamic city without the stringent laws that most Islamic countries have. Nevertheless, they are some rules that you need to follow as a respect to the culture and traditions of the place. Knowing and adhering to these laws, rules and etiquette would ensure that you have a safe and memorable stay in the city of Dubai.