The world is full of wonderful places to visit. Dubai is at the top of the list for many. The place has it all: beautiful buildings, interesting culture and lots of sunshine. Dubai is even becoming a key location for career professionals, with many industries offering plenty of exciting opportunities. But before you book your tickets and head off to Dubai for work or leisure, there are a few things to know.
It’s always a good idea to educate yourself on the place you are about to visit. Different regions of the world have different cultures and customs. Dubai is no exception and you need to be aware of certain rules to avoid getting into trouble. However, you don’t want to deter your trip because of these strict rules. Dubai is a fantastic place to visit – all you need to do is be aware of the following:
1. Be cautious with your photos
When you are exploring a new place, you want to take a lot of photos. But taking photographs in Dubai is something you want to be careful about. You shouldn’t take photos of other people without asking for permission first. You also shouldn’t snap photos of government buildings or the presidential palace and you might want to think twice about photographing the Dubai Metro or the airport. However, there are still plenty of things to photograph and you can always ask the guards or owners of the place if you want to make sure taking photos is allowed.
2. Avoid public displays of attention
Dubai is still quite a moderate city and the social etiquette is quite strict in terms of public displays of attention. While it’s not illegal in most cases, you still want to refrain from holding hands or kissing in public. In fact, if you are going for a holiday with your partner, your hotel might require you to show a marriage license. If you don’t have one, then you might be forced to book two separate rooms in some hotels.
3. Friday and Saturday are the weekend
Dubai’s weekend is slightly different to that in the West. The city celebrates the weekend on a Friday and Saturday, with Sunday typically being a normal workday. Whether you are off to the city on a holiday or planning to work in Dubai, it’s a good idea to know that these are the days when the metros and shops follow the weekend opening times.
4. Health insurance is a must-have
Traveling without health insurance is never a good idea. You never know what is going to happen and falling sick or getting injured in a different country can cost a lot of money. If you are going to Dubai for a holiday, then make sure you sort out your health insurance as soon as possible.
Furthermore, you need to have health insurance in Dubai if you are planning to work there. Health insurance is mandatory in the city and often provided by your employer. However, employers might only provide basic coverage and you might want to compare other health insurance in Dubai to get the best deal for your needs.
5. Taxi is a great way to get around
Dubai is a big city and distances can be extremely long. While the public transport system in the city isn’t the worst, you can also rely on taxis to get around. While hopping on a taxi can cost a fortune in some places, Dubai’s taxis are a rather affordable option. Be aware that not all taxi drivers are very fluent in English but if you are going to a known place, such as a shopping mall or an attraction, then you’ll get there without any problems. Do negotiate the price before you hop in!
6. You can drink alcohol
Many people have an image of Dubai as a ‘dry’ city. But it is possible to drink alcohol in Dubai if you are 21 or older and not a Muslim. It’s a good idea to have your identification with you. Where can you drink? You can buy alcohol in many hotels and some restaurants. However, keep in mind that you cannot drink in public places and the city is extremely strict about public intoxication. So do not get too drunk – but enjoying a drink after work or a glass of wine with your meal is perfectly fine.
7. Know the dress code
You might be surprised to know that it is perfectly fine to wear a bikini to the beach, especially when visiting a private one. You can also sunbathe by the pool in your bikini in Dubai’s many hotels. There are a few beaches that are more conservative in their dress code but these are clearly marked and usually only for the locals. When you are walking on the seaside, you might want to cover up moderately, however. A t-shirt and shorts or a beach dress are fine.
When you are out and about, then a similar dress code is just fine. It’s a good idea to have something longer to wear, such as a light cardigan, when visiting malls. They are quite chilly due to air conditioning! When you are off to historical or cultural landmarks, you want to dress a lot more conservatively. You have to cover your hair and wear modest clothing when visiting places like mosques.