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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Important facts to know before visiting Abu Dhabi - Keep these in mind for your next visit
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Important facts to know before visiting Abu Dhabi - Keep these in mind for your next visit

Abu Dhabi the capital of UAE is a fascinating place, with many amazing attractions. However, visitors new to the region should be aware of certain cultural and religious norms.


Dress code

Ladies will have to keep their arms and knees covered at all times while in public. Although a head scarf is not mandatory, it can come in useful when visiting a mosque or any other religious site. Wear clothes that are loose and comfy given the scorching temperatures of dessert environments it will also protect the skin from the scorching rays of the sun.


The weather

Desert environments can be harsh, so go well prepared. The day time temperatures can reach around 45 C during summer time and falls to around 25 C at winter. Regardless, of the season that you visit, bring along plenty of sun protection with you. Evenings gets drastically cooler, so it is best to do most of the key sight seeing at that time. All interiors are air conditioned, but some so much so that it can be freezing cold. So, pack along a sweater, and lots of hand cream, lip balm etc. Make sure to keep the body hydrated throughout the day.


Best time to visit

A suitable period to travel to Abu Dhabi is during April and May. The time between the months of September to October is also a good choice. The spring and fall seasons, as well as the shoulder seasons, bring about nice weather. Furthermore, the crowds are and the many resorts in Abu Dhabi will also become more affordable. Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara are among the top resorts you can choose from. However, for the best weather, visit during the wintertime, from December to March. The weather is not too hot or humid and becomes very pleasant during the day.


Mosque rules

Women don't have to cover their heads while out in public at all times, but it is a mandatory requirement when visiting the Grand Mosque. Women cannot wear tight clothes, such as tight jeans or stretch pants either. Men and women, have to keep their arms and knees covered, so anything sleeveless is forbidden. Refrain from wearing t-shirts, tight polo necks shirts, cargo shorts etc. Wear loose clothing such as kaftans, baggy shirts and pants, kurta tops, long loose dresses and skirts. It is important not to express PDA with your significant others, be it friends or spouse. Touching one another is frowned upon, so take pictures in a respectful manner, especially when visiting Grand Mosque and the Shiekh Zayed Mosque.


Restricted items

Publications, as well as artwork material or electronics that counter Islamic values, are prohibited. Your items might be checked to see if you are carrying such items. If discovered, they will be confiscated and one may face a fine, jail time or deportation. Don't bring any food items containing pork, fat or lard, even in minute amounts.
Tourists should also be wary about the medicines they hold in their luggage from their home countries. Some medications may possess substances banned in UAE. So, always carry a doctor's prescription and a certification from the embassy. Make sure the number of pills is only for the duration of stay. There is no tolerance policy for drug-related penalties, both prescription or recreational drugs. Products like tobacco, poppy/opium seeds, betel leaves are also banned. Even the presence of drugs in the bloodstream in trace amounts is a chargeable offence.