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Updated by Joanna James on Feb 17, 2021
Headline for 10 Essential facts to keep in mind when travelling to Abu Dhabi – Some facts before travelling to the UAE
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Essential facts to keep in mind when travelling to Abu Dhabi – Some facts before travelling to the UAE

Abu Dhabi is a unique travel destination apart from the dessert there is something for everyone in the Arabian Kingdom. However, here are some important tips to keep in mind when planning your next trip to Abu Dhabi.


Cultural norms

Abu Dhabi is a nation rooted in Islam and governed according to Islamic laws; therefore, cultural beliefs and practices are much different than the west. Irrespective of gender it is best to dress modestly without exposing too much skin. Clothes should cover arms and legs up to the knee. Stick to the conservative dress even in Dubai, even though it is a cosmopolitan city many ex-pats prefer to dress in line with what is acceptable.


Behaviour in public

PDA should be limited when out in public. Other than holding hands any open forms affection are frowned upon and should be avoided. Heavy fines, jail time, deportation and hassle can follow if you don't stick to the cultural norms.


Call to prayer

In most Islamic nations the call to prayer is announced five times a day, and during that time most shops will be closed. Non-Muslims are not expected to do anything regarding the prayer times, except maybe listen and be respectful.


Prescription medicines

Essential items like medicines should accompany prescriptions or brand names, which specify the ingredients. The UAE has a zero anti-drug policy, even medicines containing narcotics like codeine can be confiscated or even charged. The death penalty is in place for drug trafficking, be aware of what you bring into the country and be mindful of your language in transits etc.



Any products containing pork or pork products are not permitted into the country and will be confiscated. The same applies to non-Islamic literature, trinkets and statues. Homosexuality is also illegal in Abu Dhabi; thus, discretion is recommended.


Alcohol use

Alcohol is served only in licensed clubs and 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi. If consuming alcohol it is best to indulge in the comfort of your accommodation and exercise moderation. Inebriated tourists misbehaving in public will be taken into custody and charged!


The Climate

Do not underestimate it the heat! During the summer between July and August the temperature rockets to around 106 F. The best time to travel is during the winter months, from December to February, where the temperature drops to 60 F. Thus, sunshades and sunscreens are mandatory.


The timing

The winter season is the best time to visit, but the accommodation and flights will be on the expensive side. The shoulder months from May to September are manageable, and hotels and flights will offer discounts. Try places like Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara for great deals and offers.


Mosque dress code

Ladies should cover their heads when visiting the mosque and refrain from wearing tight clothes, such as stretch pants, yoga pants etc. and tight t-shirts and dresses. Wear loose and comfortable clothing like kaftans and dress shirts. Men should abstain from sleeveless clothing and anything that reveals the knees.



It is customary to tip people like servers, valets, and hotel staff for their good service. In high-end establishments, 10 % service charge is added to the bill. So, check, however, rewarding the good service of a particular server is welcomed.