Heading to Dubai soon? Before you jet off, it’s essential to be in the know about a few key things. You may have heard of a huge list of restrictions in Dubai, but don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds. Here are some unusual laws in Dubaifor tourists, so you can make the most of your visit without any stressful situations:

  • Respect Cultural Sensitivities
  • Alcohol Regulations
  • Photography Guidelines
  • Public Behavior
  • Dressing Restrictions
  • Respect for Islam
  • Ramadan Etiquette

Keep reading this article if you want to discover more about these important rules.

Photography rules in Dubai

Dubai Laws Every Tourist Should Know

Dubai offers incredible photo opportunities, and respecting these rules is very essential for tourists. Always be aware of your surroundings and the specific regulations in different settings.

  • Privacy and Respect: Always respect people’s privacy and seek permission before taking their photos, particularly in more private or residential areas.
  • No Military and Government Buildings: Avoid photographing military installations, government buildings, and other sensitive areas, as this is strictly prohibited.
  • Respect Religious Spaces: Refrain from taking pictures in mosques, particularly during prayer times. It’s advisable to check and adhere to any specific rules at religious sites.
  • No Photography at Airports: Avoid taking photos at airports, especially of security checkpoints and personnel. This is generally not allowed.
  • Respect Cultural Norms: Be mindful of local customs and sensitivities. Some individuals may not wish to be photographed due to cultural or religious reasons.
  • No Photography in Restricted Areas: Respect any signs indicating restricted or private areas where photography is not allowed.

Dress Restrictions in Dubai

In Dubai, there are certain dress restrictions that visitors should be mindful of to respect the local culture and traditions. While Dubai is known for its modernity, it remains a city within a conservative country. It is advisable to dress modestly, especially in public places and religious sites. For women, this often means covering the shoulders, cleavage, and knees. Men are generally expected to wear long trousers and avoid overly casual attire. Swimwear is appropriate only at designated beach and pool areas. Understanding and adhering to these dress restrictions not only aligns with local customs but also ensures a comfortable and respectful experience during your stay in Dubai.

Ramadan Etiquette in Dubai

During Ramadan, it’s important for visitors to be mindful of certain restrictions in Dubai. The laws for tourists in Dubai during this holy month are in place to respect the fasting and prayers of Muslims. Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours, as it’s not allowed. Dress modestly as a sign of respect for the local culture. Respecting these unusual laws in the UAE is very important during the sacred month of Ramadan in Dubai.

Alcohol restrictions in Dubai

  • You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol in Dubai.
  • Drinking or being under the influence of alcohol in public, including the beach, is strictly prohibited.
  • Alcohol consumption is limited to hotels, resorts, bars, restaurants, and clubs. Numerous approved venues have the correct license, ensuring visitors can enjoy alcohol within dedicated areas.
  • Tourists can obtain a temporary liquor license lasting up to one month. To get this license, visitors need to read and understand the provided code of conduct, covering rules for purchasing, transporting, and consuming alcohol. The license is free and allows buying alcohol from designated shops outside licensed premises.
  • Dubai offers a variety of great places for enjoying drinks, from lively evenings with music to quiet gatherings in cozy bars. Respecting local customs ensures a hassle-free and enjoyable experience.

Smoking Regulations in Public Places in Dubai

Smoking in Dubai is subject to specific regulations to maintain public health and cleanliness. Smoking is generally prohibited in indoor public spaces, including malls, restaurants, and public transportation. Designated smoking areas can be found in certain outdoor spaces, but it’s important to follow these designated zones. Additionally, smoking is not allowed during the holy month of Ramadan in public spaces during fasting hours. To respect local customs and laws, visitors should be mindful of where they smoke and avoid any violations.

Respect Islam

It’s essential to be respectful to both religions in Dubai. Islam is the main religion, and there are also large Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist communities in the city.

Showing respect for Islam is highly important in the UAE. Avoid saying anything out loud that might be considered disrespectful, as blasphemy is treated seriously and can result in severe punishments. Keep any strong opinions on Islam to yourself to ensure a smooth and respectful experience.

Unusual laws in Dubai

While Dubai is known for its modern skyline and luxurious lifestyle, it’s equally famous for its distinctive legal landscape. For tourists, keeping in mind these unique laws is very important to make sure their visit goes nice and without any unexpected issues. From dress codes to public behavior, Unusual laws in the UAE might surprise you. So, before you pack your bags, take a moment to discover the peculiar regulations that make Dubai stand out on the global travel map.

Do Not Dance In Public

Did you know that dancing in public is seen as not cool in Dubai? To avoid big fines, stick to dancing at clubs or in your room. And guess what? Blasting loud music in public is also a big no-no, and you could get in trouble for that. So, there’s a bunch of stuff you should avoid as a tourist in Dubai. But hey, don’t let all these unusual laws in Dubai ruin your vacation vibe. Dubai is actually a fun city that loves having tourists around. Just be respectful of their religion, culture, and rules, and you’re good to go for an awesome trip. Bon Voyage!

Dress Accordingly to Your Gender

Dubai isn’t very open to cross-dressing, especially if you’re on vacation. It’s important to stick to dressing according to your gender, or you might end up in trouble with the police. In 2008, about 40 tourists got into legal issues for not following this rule. So, remember, it’s a key law in Dubai for tourists!

Avoid Sharing a Hotel Room if You’re Not Married.

Regardless of your origin, note that sharing a hotel room without being married is against the law in Dubai. Cohabitation can result in imprisonment, fines, and deportation. To ensure a trouble-free stay in Dubai, unmarried couples should opt for separate accommodations. This is a significant rule to keep in mind during your visit.

Do Not Bring All Your Medicines

Dubai has strict rules about drugs, even prescribed ones. You could end up in jail for up to four years if caught with prohibited medications. To avoid trouble, check the official UAE website for the list of allowed medicines. If you must bring a specific medication, bring its prescription too.

Do Not Use Offensive Language in Public

One important guideline for tourists is to avoid using swear words in public spaces. Dubai has this interesting mix of modern and traditional vibes, and maintaining a level of politeness is key. So, as you explore the city, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the laws in Dubai for tourists, just be mindful of the language you use in public. It’s all about respecting the local culture and traditions! 

Avoid Public Displays of Affection

Some actions are restricted in Dubai, for example, holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public are seen as extremely inappropriate, and if you’re caught doing them, you could end up in prison. Many tourists have faced huge problems with police for such behavior, so it’s best to avoid it. This is definitely one of the most crucial laws in Dubai for tourists, so it’s very important to be mindful of these cultural norms. 

Avoid using your left hand when greeting others

In Dubai, you’ve got to be mindful of how you use your hands. Never use your left hand for eating, greeting, opening doors, or passing things, especially food. Wondering why? Well, in places like Dubai and India, the left hand was historically reserved for personal hygiene before the days of toilet paper and modern facilities. Even though things have changed, using the left hand is still seen as unclean. Interestingly, drinking with your left hand is okay. So, if you’re a lefty, try being a bit ambidextrous in public to avoid any unintended awkward moments with the locals.

Exposing the undersides of your feet

In Dubai, it’s considered impolite to reveal the soles of your feet as they are considered the dirtiest part of the body. Make sure to wear sandals or shoes when you’re in public.

Hidden Facts

Dubai Laws Every Tourist Should Know

Avoid Summers of Dubai:

  • Dubai’s summers are incredibly intense and extreme, making outdoor activities challenging. The high temperatures force people to spend most of their time indoors or in air-conditioned spaces. If you want to know more about Dubai’s seasons, read our blog about the best time to visit Dubai for detailed insights.

No Casino in Dubai:

  • In contrast to a widespread misconception, Dubai does not have a single casino, and this holds true for the entire UAE. Tourists expecting a vibrant casino scene should be aware that this is not a feature of Dubai.

Shopping is Expensive:

  • While Dubai is known for its luxurious malls, shopping can be expensive, especially outside of sale seasons. Visitors planning a shopping trip should consider waiting for sale seasons to get better deals.

Sunday is a Working Day:

  • Unlike many countries where Sunday is a holiday, in Dubai, Sunday is a regular working day. The weekend starts on Thursday, with Friday being a designated holiday. This is a departure from the typical Sunday-Saturday weekend structure found in some other places.

For more intriguing insights into Dubai, delve into our previous article exploring interesting facts about Dubai.

Solo Travel in Dubai

The city is known for its safety, modern amenities, and diverse attractions, making it an ideal destination for solo travelers. While traveling alone in Dubai, keep in mind this set of rules:

  • Respect Local Customs: Respect local traditions and laws, including those related to public behavior, alcohol consumption, and dress codes, especially in religious and conservative areas.
  • Stay in Safe Areas: Choose accommodations in reputable and safe neighborhoods for solo travelers.
  • Use Reliable Transportation: Rely on official transportation services or reputable ride-sharing apps for commuting.
  • Inform Someone: Keep a trusted friend or family member informed about your itinerary and plans.
  • Secure Valuables: Safeguard your belongings and avoid displaying expensive items in public.
  • Emergency Numbers: Save local emergency numbers and contacts in case of any unforeseen situations.
  • Health Precautions: Be aware of health guidelines and carry necessary medications.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Respect the local culture, customs, and traditions during your solo adventures.
  • Stay Connected: Make sure your phone is charged, and stay connected with local networks or have a local SIM card for communication.

Solo travelers in Dubai can have a fantastic experience by being mindful of these guidelines.


  1. Can unmarried couples go on holiday to Dubai?

    Unmarried couples officially can’t share a hotel room in Dubai. Be sure to research your accommodation options and local etiquette beforehand!

  2. Is it legal to drink alcohol in Dubai?

    Yes, drinking alcohol is legal in Dubai, but there are specific regulations. To consume alcohol, individuals must be at least 21 years old, and it is restricted to licensed venues like hotels and bars. Visitors can obtain a temporary liquor license for up to a month to purchase alcohol from designated shops, but it’s crucial to adhere to the outlined rules and code of conduct. Additionally, smoking is also subject to restrictions in public areas, so it’s essential to be aware of designated smoking zones.

  3. Is it safe to visit Dubai as a solo traveler?

    Dubai is generally considered safe for solo travelers. The city prioritizes security, and its low crime rates contribute to a safe environment. Just remember to respect all laws for tourists in Dubai and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. 

  4. Is it ok to wear shorts in Dubai?

    Yes, it is generally acceptable to wear shorts in Dubai in more casual settings like hotels, resorts, and tourist areas. However, it’s important to be mindful of the local culture and dress modestly when visiting religious sites or more conservative areas. Keep in mind, wearing very short shorts in public places may attract attention, so it’s advisable to choose appropriate lengths.