The UAE is an Islamic country and while it has a multi-cultural population, it’s important to understand, respect and follow its customs and laws. Public displays of affection should be kept to a minimum, and shake a person’s hand only if they offer theirs first. Lightweight, looser fitting clothing is preferred, both for climate and cultural reasons; avoid any clothing that is too tight or revealing. Swimming costumes should be worn only at the beach or a pool area. Behaviour in public areas should also be respectful and polite at all times. Both English and Arabic are widely spoken in the UAE.
Before you arrange your trip it’s worth checking whether it falls during the Holy month of Ramadan. During this month, most of the Muslim community will fast, foregoing food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Non-Muslims are not expected to fast, but should only eat or drink within specially designated areas in public places during this time.
Alcohol is available to everyone over the age of 21, but is limited to hotel bars, restaurants and nightclubs.