Travel tips, dress code and customs

Make your trip as seamless as possible with these helpful tips on currency, what to wear in Dubai and more

When you arrive in Dubai, the possibilities for exploration are limitless. When you’re planning a trip, however, or looking for essential information, it’s helpful to have everything you need in one place. Do I need a visa? What are the most important things to know about Dubai’s culture? How can the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) help? Get answers to all these questions and more.

Helpful facts and tips

  • The Dubai time zone is GMT + 4.
  • The monetary unit is the Dirham (Dhs or AED), which is divided into 100 fils. The Dirham has been pegged to the US dollar since the end of 1997 at a mid rate of AED 3.67. Use our currency converter
  • Electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. Plug points are the same as in the UK. To operate US-made appliances and equipment, you’ll need a transformer to convert the 220V to 110V and an adaptor for the plugs.

Dress code and customs

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city that is a melting pot of diverse cultures and religious faiths. All attires and cultural preferences are generally acceptable. Swimwear is permissible on beaches, pool and spa areas and for water-based entertainment but is not considered appropriate in areas such as business districts and shopping malls. It is pertinent to note that in the more historical quarters of the city and places of religious worship, dressing conservatively is appreciated. In mosques, clothing that covers shoulders, arms and legs and head scarves for women, are required.

Local tradition provides that handshakes should be initiated by women as a sign of respect and that public displays of affection are kept to a minimum. Holding hands is acceptable; but kissing and hugging in public areas is not permitted.

Alcohol is served in licensed establishments such as hotels, bars and specialised shops to those over 21 years of age. However, drunk and disorderly conduct and drunk driving are not acceptable. Use or possession of illegal drugs is also strictly prohibited.

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