Taiwan culture dos and donts: Giving gifts

Do’s and Don’ts in UAE Culture

A Traveler's Guide To United Arab Emirates Culture, Customs & Tradition: Do's and Don'ts in UAE. Things to know before visiting UAE.

Do's and Don'ts in UAE Culture

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage influenced by its Bedouin roots and Islamic traditions. As a visitor or expat in the UAE, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts of UAE culture to ensure an enjoyable and respectful experience. In this article, we will explore some of the key guidelines to follow, from respecting local customs and traditions to adhering to cultural sensitivities and laws.

Do's and Don'ts in UAE Culture

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Do's and Don'ts in UAE

As visitors, it’s crucial to exercise caution and consider cultural sensitivities in the UAE to avoid unintentional offense. While Emiratis are generally tolerant, this guide aims to help you navigate cultural nuances, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable experience in the country.

Respect Local Customs and Traditions

Show appreciation for the local customs and traditions, fostering positive relationships with the locals.

Respect Local Customs and Traditions

Dress Conservatively

Outside of tourist areas, dress modestly. Women should wear loose-fitting, knee and shoulder-covered clothing, and men should wear shirts and long trousers.

Greetings and Hospitality

Embrace Emirati hospitality by exchanging greetings. Common Arabic greetings like "As-salaam alaykum" and "Marhaba" are appreciated.

Visiting Dubai

Dubai, a more liberal city, still adheres to local customs, especially regarding modest dress and respect for Islamic values.

Respect for Friday and Prayer Times

Be aware of the significance of Friday as a holy day for Muslims, with shorter working hours for many businesses. Plan your activities accordingly.

Business Etiquette

When conducting business, be respectful and polite. Start meetings with greetings, handshakes, and the exchange of business cards. Punctuality is essential.

Greetings and Titles

Use titles like "Sheikh" and "Sheikha" when addressing individuals, especially those from prominent families. Be respectful when greeting and understand that some Emirati women may prefer not to shake hands.

Greetings and Titles

Ramadan Etiquette

During Ramadan, be respectful by avoiding eating, drinking, or smoking in public during fasting hours. Refrain from playing loud music during this time.


Tipping is customary in restaurants and hotels. Even if a service charge is included in the bill, leaving a small additional tip for good service is appreciated.

Traffic Rules

Follow traffic rules diligently, as traffic violations can lead to fines. Use seat belts, adhere to speed limits, and avoid using mobile phones while driving.

Environmental Conservation

The UAE places great emphasis on environmental conservation. Respect the environment by disposing of trash properly and avoiding activities that harm the ecosystem, such as littering in public places or damaging coral reefs while snorkeling or diving.

Insulting Islam or Local Customs

Insulting Islam or local customs is highly offensive and can lead to legal consequences. Show respect for the religious and cultural values of the country.

Disrespecting the Royal Family

Avoid any form of disrespect or discussions that may be interpreted as disrespectful towards the UAE's Royal Family.

Display of Affection During Ramadan

During Ramadan, it's essential to be especially mindful of public displays of affection. Kissing, hugging, or any intimate displays should be kept private and not conducted in public areas during this holy month.

Display of Affection During Ramadan

Alcohol Consumption

Consume alcohol only in designated areas such as licensed hotels, bars, and restaurants. Drinking alcohol in public or being under the influence in public places is strictly prohibited.

Drug-Related Offenses

The UAE takes drug-related offenses seriously, and penalties can be severe. Do not engage in any illegal drug-related activities.

Photography Restrictions

Be cautious with photography, especially in sensitive areas. Ask for permission before taking pictures of individuals or places and respect signs or guidelines regarding photography in religious sites and government buildings.

The multicultural nature of UAE

The UAE is home to people from various backgrounds, including Emiratis, expatriate workers, and tourists from around the world. This diverse mix of nationalities and cultures contributes to a unique and cosmopolitan environment.

Common Questions about UAE CULTURE DOS AND DONTS

In the UAE, it is important to be cautious when taking photographs, especially of individuals or sensitive locations. It is advisable to ask for permission before capturing someone’s picture and to respect any restrictions on photography in religious sites and government buildings.

Alcohol consumption is allowed, but only in designated areas such as licensed hotels, bars, and restaurants. It is strictly prohibited to drink alcohol in public or be under the influence of alcohol in public places.

Public displays of affection, such as kissing or hugging in public, are considered disrespectful in UAE culture. It is best to exercise restraint and keep displays of affection private.

Yes, non-Muslims can visit some mosques in the UAE, but certain protocols must be followed. It is crucial to dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering, and show respect for the religious nature of the place.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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