The culture of Dubai is rich and highly respected, and this is most apparent in the customs and costumes of its inhabitants. As a visitor to this wonderful city, taking the time to get to know and understand its culture and laws can ensure you experience an enjoyable and safe holiday.

Dubai Quick Facts


Capital
Dubai
Area
41132 km²
Population
2 213 8454 hab.
Language
Arabic
Currency
Dirham (AED)
Electricity
220 v / 50 Hz
Dial code
971
Time zone
GMT +4 hours

Dubai has a rich and distinctive cultural history, which is reflected both in the traditional attire of local people and in the common customs of the city's inhabitants. For many visitors, a big part of their trip to Dubai is the opportunity to experience and learn more about local culture. In fact, whatever your reasons for visiting Dubai, ensuring you are informed and aware of the local culture – and giving due respect to the laws and customs of the Emirates – can help you to have a more enjoyable, relaxing and stress-free holiday.

Traditional costumes and dress codes are perhaps the aspects of Emirati culture that are most visible to people visiting Dubai. For men, traditional dress means wearing the distinctive Arab dishdasha – also known as a kandura or throbe. This is an immaculate ankle-length robe, usually pristine white but sometimes in grey or other colours. It derives from the ancient Bedouin culture of the region, and is ideal to protect against the fierce desert sun. A headscarf, called a keffiyeh, may also be worn, sometimes held in place with a circular agal.

For women, traditional attire is similarly in the form of a long robe, called an abaya. This is often combined with a headscarf, called a hijab. Traditionally abayas were always black, but today you will see many different colours and designs. Indeed, Dubai women are very fashion-conscious, and the abaya has evolved with modern tastes and styles.

Dubai residents and visitors come from a wide range of backgrounds, and you will see a huge variety of traditional and Western dress here. However, the UAE as a whole is still a culturally conservative country, and you should dress modestly and respectably when in public areas such as shopping malls. Swimming wear should be limited to the beach and pool.

Whilst Dubai culture is in many ways very tolerant and respectful of private life, it is important to be aware of its strict laws in relation to sexual behaviour, drugs, and even swearing. Drinking alcohol is allowed in Dubai, but the the legal age limit is 21, and being drunk in public is a punishable offence. Take care not to cause offence, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. To ensure a trouble-free stay, take note of current government advice before you travel.

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Dubai 's Fantastic Four

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