Dubai is a very cosmopolitan place. But it still remains a Muslim Emirate. There are customs that one must respect. Prior to starting your vacation in Dubai, it is a good idea to learn about the local customs of the area. Doing so is the best way to help you to act appropriately while visiting this exciting vacation destination and will provide you with the best possible vacation experience overall.
It is important to keep in mind that Muslims do not drink alcohol therefore it will only be available in certain locations. Most of the places where you will find alcoholic beverages for sale are in the hotel restaurants and bars (and there are tons of those places). Keep in mind that if you choose to drink while vacationing in Dubai, do not get behind the wheel as drinking and driving is not tolerated. Also, the neighboring emirate of Sharjah is a "dry" emirate. No alcohol is sold or consumed there. So if you plan on going there for sightseeing, it might be a good idea to go completely sober. By the way, if you're heading to the beaches, don't carry alcohol with you. The Police enforce this rather strictly.
Bouncing a cheque
Checks or cheques are commonly used in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and UAE for bill payments but less frequently for day-to-day shopping. Bouncing a cheque in the UAE is known as check fraud and is a criminal offence that can (and often does) result in arrest and a jail sentence as punishment.
When walking around Dubai, eating in restaurants and visiting tourist sites, always act politely. Make sure that you speak in a regular tone, do not curse and treat others with respect. In addition, refrain from putting your feet up on furniture or in the air as showing the soles of one's shoes or bottom of one's feet is considered offensive. Also, keep your photography limited to those in your party as taking pictures of local individuals is not a good practice to undertake, especially with regard to Muslim women. You also are not allowed to take pictures of certain buildings/property such as government establishments and military installations.
There are also local customs and laws which relate to how the individuals in Dubai dress. Those who live in Dubai and visit the region should not wear clothing which is too revealing. This does not mean that you should be completely covered from head to toe, simply think about what you are wearing and whether or not it shows too much. If it seems too revealing, then a change of clothing is probably in order.
By keeping these local customs in mind, you will be best able to enjoy your trip to Dubai, stay out of trouble while you are there and respect the customs of the local individuals.
Public Displays of Affection
Again as a Muslim country public petting, kissing or anything more heavy could land you in a lot of trouble. Please be considerate, if you are a married couple you can hold hands in public but please don’t kiss in front of other people. Keep that for your home.
Flipping the Bird
Giving someone “the finger” is seen as a direct insult, it will land you in jail if the wrong person takes offence. Certainly do not get het up whilst driving, one bird can mean a month of “Bird” behind bars. Keep calm and carry on.
Fighting is going to land you in prison. If you know that you can’t handle a beer without a punch up we strongly suggest you refrain from either drinking or visiting Dubai. Violence against others is simply not tolerated – so please keep your cool.
Drugs, Theft – Crime in General
One strand of the wrong substance stuck to your shoe can result in a jail sentence. Just don’t even consider use of drugs or carrying and drugs into the UAE. Penalties are severe and you will not be seeing home again for a very long time. Just don’t chance it – if you cant go on holiday without it – really consider another holiday destination.
There are certain bars that may have very friendly clientele like every other country in the world. Please be careful. Your hotel may take offence if it’s a family place. Keep in mind that just like anywhere else in the world your health should take priority.
Not the wisest place to be out and proud, keep it low key and don’t play the public camp card and you should be fine. Homosexuality is against the law in Dubai, although to be honest the police have bigger fish to fry, don't play the martyr and keep low profile and enjoy your vacation.
Dubai enjoys one of the lowest rates of crime in the world, also the lowest rate of public violence and what I consider the most polite people you will find. If you are polite, considerate and law abiding you will have a great time in Dubai. Despite what you may have heard to the contrary the local police are both tolerant and polite and will assist you where required. They want you to have a great vacation and life in Dubai; they police the Emirate very well and are always on hand should you need them. Just don’t do anything daft, be polite and considerate and Dubai will prove to be one of the best vacations you have had.