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Visiting UAE: 9 Things to Know Before You Go

UAE Travel Guide Blog

The UAE is a popular destination that caters to tourists. It sees nearly 12 million visitors every year and has all kinds of clubs, attractions and landmark tours. While it’s mostly Islamic, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure you have the best time. It's a new culture and you want to avoid faux pas with the locals.

Here are 9 things to know about visiting the UAE if you’re a tourist:

1. Make Your Tour Reservations in Advance


Some popular tourist spots have long waiting lists. If you’re hoping to visit the Burj Khalifa which is one of the tallest skyscrapers, you’ll need to make your reservation early. Peak seasons are November through March so plan accordingly. To help you avoid sold-out dates, book the At The Top observation deck, the SKY observation deck and the lounge in advance.

Other attractions include Ain Dubai, one of the largest ferry wheels in the world. Or, Warner Brothers World Dubai and the 4,000 acre Aladdin City. You might also want to check out the 200,000 square-foot Cityland Mall (wear comfortable shoes).

2. Crime Isn't a Concern


Visiting the UAE isn’t like some parts of the U.K. or the U.S. The UAE is very safe, even at night. There are lots of clubs and nightlife, so you won’t have to worry about crime. You can still keep your guard up wherever you travel.

3. The Airport Lines are Extremely Long


Dubai International Airport has extremely long lines so be prepared. You can find lines even at 2 or 3 am. The lines are so long, you need to allow about 3-hours for check-in and the security inspection when you're ready to catch your departing flight.

4. Surf the Internet Safely


While the UAE is safe, you should still take precaution with free wifi from the airport, hotel or any cafes. As a traveller, you might not be aware of man-in-the-middle attacks that target tourists. This is when you get on the internet and use the free wifi but a cyber thief intercepts the connection to try to steal your data. Hence, the need for a good VPN in the UAE so you can surf the net securely.

5. Avoid Products That Aren’t Permitted


You can’t bring illicit drugs like marijuana or even prescriptions into the UAE. You also can’t have sex toys or any porn magazines so don’t hide these in your luggage.

6. Driving is 'Fast and Furious' - So Be Prepared


If you’re renting a car in the UAE, brace yourself. There’s a lot of speeding and some drivers can exceed 140-kmph. They also do a lot of tailgating. Avoid the fast lane and ensure you are not drinking and driving. Take a cab instead.

7. It’s Cheaper to Buy Alcohol Duty-Free from the Airport


Hotels and some clubs are about the only places where you’ll find alcohol. If you find a liquor shop, they might only sell the bubbly to you if you have your own liquor license.

8. Kissing in Public is a No-No


You can hold hands in some areas, but kissing is frowned upon. You can’t be arrested for it but if you get too cosy in public, the cops might warn you and people might become uncomfortable.

9. The UAE Is Only Conservative in Some Areas


If you’re visiting a mosque which is considered a holy place, then you have to cover your arms and legs and hair. But, visiting a mall, while you might see a dress code displayed at the entrance, most people don’t observe it. Both men and women wear shorts and t-shirts. Some women can be seen in short dresses. The same can be said if you want to go to the beach or a party. You can wear what you want.

You'll find that the UAE is a wonderful place to visit. If you have any questions about travel to the UAE, let me know in the comments.


This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.



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