As it is one of the more liberal cities in the UAE, many single men and women come to visit for work or for vacation. However, it is important to remember that Dubai still abides with certain rules and traditions regarding things like sexuality and modesty.
As a single woman travelling in Dubai, you will do well to remember a few rules and guidelines to help make your trip more memorable and hassle-free. Here are some of our tips and suggestions.
Modesty Rules in Dubai
One of the most frequent questions that come up is with regards to dress code. After all, it is still well-known that there are places where you need to dress up more modestly such as mosques.
As such, knowing when the dress code applies is important to know for single women looking to navigate Dubai.
The general rule is that clothing should cover shoulders and knees. Women are also discouraged from wearing sleeveless garments, sheer or see-through clothing, or showing cleavage in public.
The lengths of skirts and dresses can be worked around to some degree. But we strongly advise refraining from really short ones that could potentially show your underwear.
On the other hand, leggings can be worn under dresses to cover your legs. However, women are advised to avoid solely using leggings as pants without another accompanying lower garment.
The dress code doesn’t apply to your private quarters – but in most public areas, it definitely applies. Some establishments like bars and restaurants expect a level of modesty from female and male patrons alike.
And likewise, while underwear should be hidden from public view, you can wear swimwear at the beach. Of course, be mindful that apparel like thongs (for both men and women) are highly discouraged.
Swimmers are also advised to change out of their swimwear and into something more appropriate when leaving the water and going to a store. That said, topless sunbathing is illegal as well.
Public Displays of Affection
It is important to note that there are rules regarding public displays of affection for both men and women. Unmarried couples are advised to avoid physical contact like hugging, holding hands or making out in public.
Some relatively benign things like shaking hands may not always get the friendly reaction you might be expecting as well. Some residents may not appreciate extensive eye contact either.
Lastly, sex before marriage is forbidden in Islamic law. People who engage in premarital sex, even visitors and expats can be jailed by authorities.
Single women are able to own their own home in Dubai. But remember that Dubai law forbids unmarried members of different sexes to live together in the same house.
Avoid renting an apartment with an unrelated male person. Even tourists can get thrown into prison for violating these living rules.
Dubai is a beautiful city which would definitely make for some interesting photographs. However, while photography in itself is not illegal, it can be challenging to pick out which spots and buildings to take your pictures in.
For one it is illegal to take any picture in front or inside of a public building in Dubai. It’s also illegal to take photos of any stranger without their consent, even if they just happen to wander in the shot as you take the photo.
Respect and Decency
Lastly, it is important to brush up on the other rules that everyone needs to keep in mind. Any gender is discouraged from activities that disrupt public order like getting drunk, bringing and using illegal substances, and swearing in public.
When it comes to greeting strangers with a handshake or giving them a gift, never use the left hand. It is typically seen as unclean since it is commonly associated with personal hygiene.
The best advice single and working women can have when navigating Dubai is really about respecting its culture and traditions. A lot of things will feel different from the country you came from and understanding those differences will be essential.
With its world-class venues, business opportunities, vibrant social life and other services, Dubai can really be a great destination for single women.