Going to the UAE? Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your trip.

Most people may think Dubai and Abu Dhabi are countries, however, they are not. They are actually 2 of the seven Emirates that make up the country, United Arab Emirates (UAE). And while these 2 places are often featured in movies and TV shows portraying a purely opulent lifestyle, where people party and drive cars that are comparable to house mortgages, there’s more to these Emirates than just glitz and glam.

The most important thing that you must realize about the UAE is, that it is a total Islamic state and they observe the Sharia Law. What is Sharia Law you ask?

It’s the law derived from the religious principals of Islam and it governs the country. It is held in higher regard than even the military law. Now, I know what you’re thinking, what if I’m not a Muslim? So what! You will respect these laws or you will find yourself in a lot of trouble.

There is no sense in arguing or debating with officials about how free the country you come from is, or how you believe in freedom or this or that. When in the Emirates, you will do as the Emirati or they will arrest you. Your country’s laws hold absolutely NO weight there and depending on the degree of the offense your embassy may not be able to intervene.

All it takes is remembering a few key rules and your trip will be awesome sauce!

 

Bringing goods into the UAE

Items such as, pork or pork byproducts, electronic cigarettes and pornography are illegal in the UAE and will more than likely be confiscated at customs.

Drugs are also illegal but, hold a much more harsh consequence. Carrying even the smallest amount of drugs in to the UAE can result in a minimum 4-year jail stint.

 

Alcohol

Non-Muslims can drink in licensed hotels and clubs but it is absolutely illegal to drink or be drunk in public.

 

Dress Code

Everyone must dress modest, Muslim or not. No, tourists DON’T have to wear the traditional Muslim garb, but, when in public, your shoulders, back, the top of your arms, and legs to the knees should be covered. Some public places like shopping malls will deny you entrance if these conditions are not met. Also, swim attire can only be worn at beaches or swimming pools

 

Offensive Behavior

Displaying what can be considered lewd acts will get offenders either jailed or deported. Those things include but are not limited to, swearing, being overly affectionate with another person (including kissing in public), cross dressing, arguing with police or others in an official capacity, etc. To play it safe, be sure to be on your best behavior!

 

Relationships

I know, I know…you’re an adult and what you do is your business right? Not in the UAE. Sex outside of marriage is ILLEGAL, no matter who you are. They don’t care how long you’ve been together, how many kids you have, if you already live together in your country, unless you can produce a marriage certificate (and YES, you may be asked to produce one), you cannot check into or share a hotel with someone of the opposite sex. Also, same sex marriages are NOT recognized and furthermore, homosexuality is illegal. They don’t want to hear anything about GLAAD or being homophobic, it’s still illegal. While in the UAE, if you have sex with someone you are NOT married to and officials find out, you will be arrested.

 

Stealing

If it’s not yours or/and or you didn’t pay for it, leave it alone. Punishment for stealing can result in you loosing a limb…really!

 

No Littering

The country is pristinely kept and they frown on littering of any kind. There are plenty of waste receptacles all over…use them.

 

One may think that these laws are super extreme but, because these rules are followed to the letter, the plus is, the UAE has one of the world’s lowest crime rates. I can honestly say that this was the foreign country that I felt the safest in. I never felt like people were trying to price gouge because I was a tourist and didn’t know any better. Also, we went shopping and when we got to our next destination, my friend realized she had sat her shopping bag down and forgot it. Guess what, 2 hours later we went back and her bag was still there. NO ONE touched it and there were hundreds of people passing by.

Although, the rules may seem abundant, there is still an enjoyable time to be had!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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