Dubai City, Guide for Tourists Nightlife Dubai

Dubai City Travel Guide Nightlife

Dubai city is one of the most liberal places in the Gulf area, but that doesn't mean that anything goes. You will make more friends and enjoy your trip more if you show respect for people's values and customs. However, don't be terrified about putting a foot wrong; around 70% of Dubai city's population are expats, and UAE nationals are used to Westerners and their ways. They are more likely to laugh at your little mistakes than take huge offence. Still, you will take a lot of stress out of your holiday by doing some research before you go.

One of the key issues is alcohol, the great social lubricant for many of us on holiday. Although Dubai is not a completely "dry" city, it doesn't share Western attitudes to drinking. If your ideal night out ends with puking in the gutter, go to Ibiza instead.

You can drink alcohol in private or in a licensed venue, and non Muslim expats can purchase a license to buy alcohol for their own consumption, but don't offer alcohol to a Muslim, even if it seems like the polite thing to do. Be extra careful during Ramadan (see our page on the Dubai moon calendar for more about Ramadan), as even drinking water or tea in public is banned. It goes without saying that drink driving is a definite no no. If you think Dubai city is too strict about drinking, you should see nearby Sharjah, where there is a complete ban on alcohol.

All these teetotallers don't make Dubai a city of killjoys. If you get the chance to visit an Arab home, you should jump at the chance, as their hospitality is legendary. In fact, Arab hosts are so generous that you should avoid admiring any items in the house in case they insist on giving them to you. It is polite to bring some kind of gift, like cakes or sweets, and polite to dress modestly (no shorts). Avoid showing the soles of your feet when sitting. You should always accept at least one cup of tea or coffee, too.

When you're packing your suitcase, bear in mind that you will be expected to dress more modestly than you would at home in similar temperatures. Women should wear clothes that are loose fitting and not too revealing, while men should avoid short shorts and bare chests. You are allowed to wear a bathing suit on the beach, but not off it. However, women may find that they attract unwelcome stares on public beaches, so you might want to cover up a bit more. Which brings us to another point don't stare at Emirati women, even if you have the most innocent intentions. Taking photographs of women without permission is also a no no.

Part of the fun of visiting Dubai city is finding out all the little quirks of the place. It isn't possible to research absolutely everything in advance. Some of it, like not offering pork to Muslims, is common sense, but you might not necessarily know that the working week is Saturday to Thursday lunchtime, or that non Muslims are generally not admitted to mosques.

Dubai is a rapidly changing city, and trends and social mores change along with it. The key is to be sensitive to your surroundings, and above all remember to enjoy yourself!