Dubai is an incredible place to travel to and it’s somewhere that I absolutely loved during my trip there.

If it’s your first visit to Dubai you’re likely to have heard conflicting stories about what to expect there from various different people. The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and there are strict rules on what you can and can’t do there.

1. What to Wear

This was something that I really struggled with before I visited Dubai. I had no idea what to wear or what to pack and my countless Google searches were bring up conflicting information and confusing me even further.

The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country, so there are things that you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to what to wear.

When you’re out and about, in malls, sightseeing, shopping or anything else in public places then I’d advise ladies to have their shoulders covered and not to wear anything that reveals too much cleavage or leg.

When you’re in a hotel then it’s pretty much anything goes. Hotels are considered to be international zones, so the same rules don’t apply to what you should wear.

I saw women in various states of dress during my visit to Dubai and there were definitely girls who I don’t think were dressed appropriately in a country with conservative views. Whilst it’s unlikely that anyone would say anything to you if you’re underdressed, it’s always best to be respectful and try not to offend anyones culture or beliefs.

2. PDA

Thomas and I are quite an affectionate couple and we love holding hands etc when we’re out in public. As The UAE is an Islamic country, public displays of affection are not permitted at all. Kissing, holding hands and cuddling in public are not allowed and can warrant jail time.

We made sure to be respectful at all times and saved our hand holding etc for the privacy of our hotel room.

3. Getting around

Taxis are so cheap in Dubai that it’s an amazing way to get around quickly and easily. The reason taxis are so inexpensive there is that gas works out at around 30pence per litre. Bargain!

If you take a taxi from a hotel they’ll generally ask you whether you want a ‘normal taxi’ or one of the hotel taxis (usually a Lexus or similar). The hotel taxis are more expensive than normal taxis and there isn’t really much benefit to them, other than leather seats and a driver in a suit.

Top tip: Check the meter is running in your taxi before you set off, or agree a price first. 

4. Plan in advance

If you’re planning on trying out a few different restaurants during your time in Dubai then you’ll find out that you mostly need to make reservations in advance. Restaurants in Dubai are pretty much always busy, thanks to the large number of tourists and the amount of money there. If you want to eat in one of the more exclusive restaurants you may have to book weeks in advance, otherwise a few days is usually fine.

5. Ramadan

Ramadan is Holy Month in The United Arab Emirates and at this time you’re not permitted to eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke in public in daylight. Nothing is allowed to pass through the mouth between sunrise and sunset, and foreigners must abide by Ramadan in public areas.

6. Alcohol

As The UAE is a Muslim country, alcohol isn’t permitted anywhere other than in hotels.

If you go out to dinner in a restaurant that isn’t contained within a hotel then there will be no alcohol served there. When you’re in a hotel it’s perfectly acceptable to have a few drinks, however, the law states that you should not appear drunk at anytime.

7. Call to prayer 

Muslims are required to pray five times every day and there is a call to prayer at each time. You’ll definitely hear the call to prayer at some point during your stay in Dubai, and depending where you stay you might just find that it provides you with an early wake up call each morning!

8. There’s nowhere else like it

Dubai really is like no other place I’ve visited. The sheer level of opulence, excess and wealth is absolutely staggering and it can be quite hard to comprehend. Dubai is a place where building the tallest, largest and most impressive things in the world are the norm and where skyscrapers and developments are thrown up at an alarming rate.

It seems to be a place that people either love or they hate and I absolutely loved it. I loved the absolute over-the-top-ness of everything and felt like there are still so many more things that I want to see and do there so I’m already planning my return!

Have you visited Dubai? What did you wish you’d known before your trip?