Dubai is a fun and frivolous playground on the Persian Gulf, but don’t consider it the Vegas of the Middle East. While this eclectic city is one of the most permissive, relaxed, cosmopolitan destinations in the region, you do have to watch your behavior to some degree. What’s considered appropriate in your home country may be inappropriate if not illegal here, so bone-up on the local rules before visiting. Cross the line and the consequences may be dire. In fact, many a foreigner has been thrown in jail for unwittingly committing an offense. Don’t be alarmed or put off, however. Just adhere to some basic guidelines and cultural sensitivities and you can have a good time without offending anyone or breaking any local laws.
Here are 20 definite things not to do when in Dubai.
1. Don’t Use Your Left Hand
The left hand is traditionally used for “body hygiene” in Muslim cultures, therefore be mindful to avoid using it in certain circumstances. Don’t greet anyone with a left-handed shake. Don’t open doors with your left hand. Don’t hand somebody something, especially food, with your left hand. Definitely don’t eat with your left hand. It’s just considered unclean even if you’ve just washed up with a vat of antibacterial soap. It’s okay to drink with your left hand, however. Naturally, left-handed people should try to become ambidextrous as best they can in these situations to avoid offending the locals.