A view of the Dubai skyline.


7 tips for first-time travelers in Dubai

Dubai, the dazzling gem of the Middle East, invites wanderers from all corners of the world to experience its modern wonders and rich cultural heritage.

Before embarking on your journey to this amazing city, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the customs and etiquette that form the heart of its unique charm. Embracing these traditions will not only ensure a seamless adventure but also showcase your respect for the local culture and traditions.

1. Keep public displays of affection in check:

While holding hands is generally acceptable, public displays of affection beyond that might be frowned upon. Show restraint and respect for the local norms.

2. Know the photography dos and don’ts:

While it is generally okay to take pictures or film in public places in the country, always ask permission if you are taking photographs of other people, especially of women and families. The UAE law makes it clear that taking a person’s picture without their consent or in legally permitted circumstances shall be considered an invasion of that person’s privacy. Violators face confiscation of their camera, plus a fine and possible jail time. Be careful not to take photos of videos of restricted areas, such as military camps, palaces, courts, embassies and government buildings. Offenders can be jailed and fined up to Dh5,000.

3. Tipping:

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated in Dubai. A small tip for good service at restaurants or hotels will be well-received.

4. Mind what you say:

Avoid making loud or offensive comments about local customs or culture in public. Insulting or defaming people are serious crimes with penalties that include jail time and a fine of up to Dh500,000.

5. Respect religious sites:

When visiting mosques or other religious places, dress appropriately and follow any rules and guidelines in place. Also make sure to respect religious symbols and avoid inciting hatred by insulting religions, otherwise you could land in jail.

6. Don’t throw your garbage anywhere:

In Dubai, littering and spitting in public, including tourist spots and nature reserves, are considered an offence and residents caught tossing their garbage will be given a fine ranging from Dh500 to Dh1,000. Eagle-eyed inspectors will be around to fine violators. For motorists caught tossing their trash out on the street, the fine is Dh1,000 and six black points in their traffic file.

7. Learn basic Arabic phrases:

While English is widely spoken, locals appreciate the effort of foreigners speaking a few Arabic phrases like marhaba (hello) and shukran (thank you).

By following these tips, you will not only have a wonderful time exploring the marvels of Dubai but also leave a positive impression on the welcoming locals. Let the city’s magic sweep you off your feet as you immerse yourself in its captivating culture and embrace the essence of Dubai’s hospitality. MFD/Expat Media

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