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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to adopt when you are in UAE - Tips for a hassle free vacation

UAE is a country that is comparatively less reserved. However, being a Middle Eastern nation, there are certain activities that should be carried out differently than what you are used to.


Attire to Adopt

Tourists are allowed a certain freedom when it comes to attire, in the UAE. Men are allowed to wear almost any attire of their choice including shorts, tank tops, and vests. However, you should not go bare chested even if you are going to the beach. Nudity, even if it is going without a shirt, is highly frowned upon. Men are not allowed to dress in any article of women's clothing even in jest. This could earn you prison time. Women are expected to wear conservatively. Although they are not required to wear the abaya, women would often be subjected to stares from local men. It is best to avoid wearing bikinis to the beach even unless you are staying at one of the luxury hotels in UAE, where resident guests are allowed a lot of freedom.


No Public Display of Affection (PDA)

PDA is something that is largely frowned upon. If you are a heterosexual couple, you may hold hands and, if necessary, kiss on the cheek. However, kissing on the lips is strictly forbidden. It is best to avoid cuddling, snuggling, and smooching in public places as well. If you are a homosexual couple, though, it is best that you do not appear as a couple in public, as it is an offense punishable by law in UAE. These rules are somewhat slack in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but are strictly enforced in Sharjah. Thus, it is best to be prudent than regret later.


Self-censor your speech

There are certain topics that should not be criticised in UAE, even if you think you are alone. These topics include monotheist religions – especially Islam, the flag of the UAE, the country of UAE, its traditions and customs, the royal family of UAE, as well as any political topic. It is best you steer clear of any negative criticism of the country and its associated components as such criticism can land you in prison, even if you are a tourist.


General behaviour in public

Drinking and smoking in public are strictly forbidden. In fact, it is best if you do not venture to any public area if you have had a drink. Drinking is allowed only in some hotels like the Anantara Hotels, Resort & Spa, certain bars, and the luxury of your own home. You must also take care not to use obscene gestures or language in public. "Flipping the bird", for instance, can get you a prison sentence up to a month.


Special behaviour during Ramadan

As UAE is a Muslim country, a special code of conduct has to be adopted if you are visiting during the month of Ramadan. These special behaviour include not drinking even water in public and eating in public (not even gum). If your visit to UAE falls during the month of Ramadan, read extensively on the dos and don'ts before you go.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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