Everything You Need to Know about the Cultural Customs of Dubai

If you’re traveling to Dubai from a different country, you might experience of a culture shock during your stay here. We will explain Dubai’s cultural customs for you in this post. Traveling to other countries can be an exhilarating and eye-opening experience. Certain cultural customs are very different than typical ones.

In 2017, about 15.8 million people traveled to Dubai – one of the biggest tourist and expat destinations. However, social customs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and surrounding areas can be subtle and particular. Even simple gestures can contain a whole other meaning while in a different country. From dress to greetings, it is important to know proper customs of whatever country you are visiting.

For more information on how foreigners can adapt to the customs and cultural norms of Dubai, keep reading!



In Dubai, religion is an integral part of society. It shapes the way it’s citizens dress, speak, and even eat. As a primarily Muslim country, it is custom to be conservative at all times. Ramadan is a popular time of year to visit Dubai, typically running from May into June. Residents and visitors must refrain from eating or drinking in public in daylight hours during Ramadan.



As mentioned previously, it is a part of the cultural etiquette to be conservative. Visitors, especially women, should dress modestly. Typical Western attire is permitted if it is modest. Many citizens in the United Arab Emirates will don a long and fluid white cotton robe known as a dishdasha or gandourah. These ceremonial garbs are often worn by women.



A person traveling to Dubai should study gestures that are deemed appropriate as to not offend others. Simple gestures, such as using your left hand to eat, is unacceptable. The best way to greet Arab citizens is to shake hands, yet be gentle with the handshake as being firm can be seen as disrespectful.

Accepting refreshments is also a basic practice in the UAE. Refusing coffee, water, tea, or even gifts is considered rude cultural etiquette. Language in Dubai is also important, as using profanities or threatening phrases towards someone is considered an offense and can bring criminal charges. Flashing the middle finger or other suggestive gestures can also warrant charges.



Dubai is one of the safest areas in the Middle East for tourists to travel to. However, there are strict laws and general cultural etiquette safety rules to follow. Certain safety precautions also should be considered when traveling throughout the United Arab Emirates. For example, one of the most common traffic violations in Dubai is speeding.

Road fatalities in the region are extremely frequent, due to the poor conditions of the roads and the lack of pedestrian awareness. Do not step into the roads thinking traffic will stop for you. Obey traffic signal crosswalks at all times while also checking for traffic.


Cultural Customs in Dubai

Dubai may seem like a completely different world to Westerners, especially with the cultural customs its citizens adhere to. While visiting the UAE or any other regions, be sure to understand the proper social norms and cues, as well as safety precautions. Ensure you read up on safety precautions as well as traffic laws in Dubai before traveling. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today!

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