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The right attire and behaviour in Dubai

Behaviour and dress in Dubai

As a visitor to Dubai, you should consider how you dress and how you behave towards the locals. You are expected to respect local customs and rules, something that is sometimes presented as strange and difficult, but is actually quite simple. 

Tips for dress and behaviour in Dubai

  • Dress so that you are covered from knees to shoulders. This applies to both women and men. So avoid short skirts or shorts. Pirate pants are perfect for those who don't want to wear long trousers when it's hot. Avoid dresses that do not cover the upper chest and shoulders. Women should not wear clothes that are too tight or show through. A smart tip for women is to buy a shawl that can easily and quickly cover the shoulders and upper body.
  • Never wear swimwear or other challenging clothing in the city or in shops. If you leave the beach or pool, even for a short time, get dressed before you leave. This applies to both men and women. Of course, it's fine for men to go bare-chested at the beach or pool, but not at the supermarket or ice cream parlour.
  • If you don't follow this advice, you risk offending residents and some won't hesitate to point it out to you. If that happens, apologise. Don't contradict, don't start an argument. You don't want it to become a police matter. Otherwise, it go like this.
  • Never go topless. Avoid string bikini bottoms.
  • Don't show your feelings in overtly physical actions. In plain English: don't make out with other people.
  • Some Muslims do not want to shake hands with people of the opposite sex. Wait for them to extend their hand first - if they don't, greet them by nodding and smiling.
  • Muslim women usually don't want to be photographed, so be sure to ask permission before taking a picture.
  • Avoid being drunk in public.

Tips! Book attractions and excursions in Dubai

Heading to Dubai? Don't forget to book tickets for sights and excursions. You do it safely, conveniently and with the lowest price guarantee through our partner GetYourGuide. Below are some suggestions and here you will find everything you can book in Dubai.

(Page updated 2015-06-29.)


  1. Malle

    Is it forbidden for a guy to wear shorts/swimwear and a t-shirt in public places? And is it forbidden for a girl to wear a skirt/dress (not very short) with a tank top/sleeveless top?
    Is it forbidden to hold hands in public?

  2. Jonas


    So swimming trunks and a tshirt (typical summer attire) are forbidden in the city?
    How do they look at things like holding hands in public with a girl? Doesn't sound like a major problem 🙂


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