- Know Social and Cultural Etiquette
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Seth Clarke
Dubai and any of the other emirates welcome tourists from over the world and treats everyone equally. If you are on a trip to Dubai and are willing to know more about the city, its history and culture, try to gel with the locals. If you are really interested in being a part of them and do not wish to stick out like a sore thumb, understand and respect the culture of Dubai. Practice the famous saying ‘Be a Roman when in Rome’ and you will fit in fine!
It is said that dressing style is a pivotal aspect of any culture. Following them will help you respect the country’s culture and keep unnecessary attention and hard stares at bay!
As westerners are known to be less conservative when it comes to dressing up, it would better to tone down your clothing style if you are an American or a westerner as Arabs and most Asians in Dubai and UAE generally dress more conservatively than Westerners.
Here are few tips about how to dress appropriately as a tourist when you are in Dubai:
While Residing at Hotel:
When residing at beach hotels in Dubai, you can wear anything you like including bikinis and thongs, but when you are out in the other areas of the hotel such as shops, stores and restaurants, covering up more is advisable.
While on the Beach:
As said earlier, wearing beachwear such as swimsuits, bikinis and thongs is fine if you are at the pool or on the beach. Going topless is not forbidden but it will certainly get you a warning from beach manager. Wearing shorts, T-shirts and sandals invite no problem.
While Out in Public Areas:
Dubai, being an Islamic country, is quite conservative when it comes to dressing styles while in public areas. Westerners can wear freely whatever they like as long as Dubai’s Muslim culture is respected and public decency is not offended. So, when you are out, leave the bikini and low-cuts behind. In general, most “normal” clothing styles are welcomed as long as they do not dishonor or disgrace the culture and the people in Dubai. However to be respectful to the culture of UAE, wearing clothes that cover shoulders, knees and everything in between is advisable.
It is most commonly heard that women have to cover themselves up with veils when in Islamic countries but the fact is, women do not have to cover their faces, hair, heads with a scarf or similar when in public. Wearing a veil or covering shoulders is not needed in public within the tourist areas like malls, restaurants etc. but when you are in the restaurants or shops on the outskirts of town, wearing it is more advisable.
While Visiting Religious Places:
As all the emirates including Dubai are far more religious and conservative, mosques or religious places are directly linked to their religious faiths and not offending them requires you dress according to the religious expectations and cultural norms. When visiting mosques such as the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, it is necessary for men to wear long trousers and for women to cover hair and legs even if you are a foreigner, tourist or even an expat. As a solution for those who do not have anything to cover their heads or hair, scarves are made available at the mosques.