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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 10 Tips on Visiting Abu Dhabi – Know What You don't Know!
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10 Tips on Visiting Abu Dhabi – Know What You don't Know!

When visiting a foreign land, it is best to be in the know about the local etiquette. Here are some tips that would help you survive your trip to Abu Dhabi.


Book a hotel away from mosques

Unless your definition of a perfect holiday is waking up before sunrise, book a hotel that is not near a mosque. The morning prayers are broadcasted through speakers and it can get pretty loud. Any luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi the likes of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara will have their safe space with mosques.


Expect traffic

On weekdays and rush hours, it can be hard to move through Abu Dhabi. The traffic begins at around 7 am and ends at 10 am. Best way to travel is by avoiding the rush hours. Either plan on leaving your hotels in the early morning or late night to travel with ease.


Limit drinking

Abu Dhabi takes rules pretty seriously. Drinking is frowned upon but there are a few places you can find booze at. Make sure you drink only at places that permits it. Drinking outside bars, certain hotels, and some restaurants is an offense.


Be nice to the locals

The Emiratis make less than half the population of Abu Dhabi, but they always have the upper hand in everything. Make sure you don't offend one or upset one because that would mean trouble. They might steal tables and jump lines, but the locals get favoured treatment. So, it is wise to keep your cool all the time.


Say no to drugs

This is the universal rule but you should stick to this especially when you are in Abu Dhabi. The government is very strict about drugs and you would end up in jail if you get caught. If someone offers you, reject and be firm about it.


Have limited interaction with the opposite sex

Sounds like a strict high school but this has more to do with respect to the opposite sex. If you are using public transportation and sit next to a local male, he will most probably leave the seat. Don't get offended because it is out of respect.


Avoid the festival season

If you're planning on visiting Abu Dhabi, make sure it is not during the ninth month. That's when they usually celebrate Ramadan. Locals and Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan by fasting from morning to night. It would be offensive to be loud and have fun while they are respecting their religion.



Abu Dhabi is a very conservative country. Any public display of affection in forbidden in malls, streets and other places where large crowds gather. While holding hands can pass, kissing and hugging would make an official come to you and gently remind the rules.


Mind what you say

Always be respectful of Abu Dhabi's culture, its locals and especially religion. Cursing, inappropriate gestures and bashing are considered highly offensive. The Emiratis are very proud of their country and you could get into a lot of trouble.


Pack appropriately

Even though Abu Dhabi is a warm country, shorts, tank tops and bikinis are big no-nos. While a one-piece bathing suit is fine for the beach, that is as far as exposure could get. You could be in trouble if the officials find you in inappropriate clothing.