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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 26, 2020
Headline for Top 5 Things You Cannot Do in Dubai - Five Activities Visitors Cannot Take Part in When in Dubai
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Things You Cannot Do in Dubai - Five Activities Visitors Cannot Take Part in When in Dubai

As an Islamic nation, Dubai maintains safety by enforcing certain laws that prohibit activities that may be allowed in other countries. Here are 5 things tourist must refrain from doing in Dubai.


Using Drugs and Bringing Select Medicines

Dubai has one of the strictest laws to prevent illegal drugs from entering the local market and banning the use of a plethora of substances that range from hard drugs the likes of cocaine to less harmful opiates. Travellers who use party drugs the likes of cannabis, Xtasy and marijuana should never attempt bring these banned substances into Dubai as it will not only incur heavy fines but also land one in jail. British traveller Keith Brown was dealt 4 years in prison for carrying less than a gram of cannabis back in 2008 and the rules have not relaxed even somewhat since then. Those bringing prescription medications into Dubai should also carry a doctor's note to authenticate the need for the medicine.


Public Displays of Affection

As in most conservative Islamic nations, commonplace gestures of affection such as hand holding, hugging and kissing are prohibited in public spaces. While married couples are allowed to hold hands the practice is still frowned upon by the general public as there is no way of ascertaining whether a couple is truly married or are simply in a relationship. While tourists are unlikely to face any jail time for causing a PDA offence the fines should deter most travellers from engaging in affectionate behaviour outside the confines of their hotel room.



This may be an unusual local law but swearing and using vulgar language can also land one in serious trouble when travelling around Dubai. This not only includes profane words and insults but also rude hand gestures and behaviour such as mooning which are considered obscene. The local laws not only prohibit this type of rude behaviour or expression in the physical realm but also in communiqué as a man was once arrested for swearing in a WhatsApp message to a colleague. Those who are prone to use swear words should, therefore, be very careful about who overhears their conversations during a trip to Dubai.



While this may be a turn off for most revellers and partygoers, visitors should keep in mind that dancing is allowed in nightclubs and other bars, lounges and establishments where it is appropriate to dance. Dancing in public, on the other hand, is a faux pas that will not be tolerated. Public venues where dancing is prohibited include public parks, beaches and residential regions as moving one's body to music is deemed indecent and a provocation according to the Dubai Code of Conduct. Playing loud music is also banned in most places although those based at Oaks Liwa Heights or any other hotel suites in Dubai are entitled to dance inside the confines of their private space.


Unmarried Couples Sharing Rooms

Living together or cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex is strictly prohibited in Dubai. This also applies to tourists who are unmarried and vacationing together as well although travellers are rarely prosecuted. Couples who are exploring Dubai together may, therefore, wish to imply that they are married when booking accommodation in the country as two unmarried members of the opposite sex occupying a single hotel room is illegal.

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