What can I eat and drink in Dubai?

Many tourists are concerned before visiting Dubai as they have rigid laws and customs. However, if you follow these laws and research customs before you go, your visit is likely to be safe and harm-free.

There is a range of different cuisines in Dubai and one of the only laws to be aware of is the consumption of pork. Although pork can be bought and consumed domestically, restaurants must be licensed to sell pork and you cannot import it through customs.

There is a range of traditional drinks available in Dubai, from Arabic coffee to Karak chai, a spiced tea. However, there are restrictions on alcohol and these are listed below.

Public Displays of Affection in Dubai

Visitors should be aware that public displays of affection are not tolerated in Dubai, such as holding hands or kissing. Although married couples may hold hands, it is generally advised to avoid any type of public display. This is seen as public indecency and there have been several arrests for kissing in public areas.

Smoking and Alcohol in Dubai

Smoking is allowed in designated areas in Dubai. However, it is banned in shopping centres, offices and government areas, and e-cigarettes and vaping are also banned.

Alcohol is only legal when served from licensed restaurants and hotels if you are non-Muslim. Alcohol that is sold in shops must only be bought by residents with an alcohol license. You must be aware though that it is illegal to drink or be under the influence in public areas and you can be arrested for this.

Other Laws to be Aware of

When travelling to or in transit through Dubai, smuggling drugs into the country can leave you with a 4-year prison sentence, even for traces on your clothes or in your bloodstream. Swearing and making rude gestures is also not tolerated and you could be sent to jail for this. Additionally, sexual relationships outside of marriage and homosexual relationships are illegal, and couples must not share hotel rooms. For more information about the laws in Dubai, you should follow the UK Government's Travel Advice.

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