The impressive and continuing rise of Dubai as both an economic hothouse and tourist magnet means that more and more visitors from around the world are paying their first visit to this Emirate on the Arabian Gulf. Unlike many countries in its region, Dubai does allow the sale of alcohol although it comes with many restrictions. As with many places across the Middle-East, Dubai is a place in which visitors should know a little bit about the local customs; this is especially true for those who come here to party.
Photo by atomicjeep
As a Muslim country, Dubai has stricter laws surrounding behaviour between the sexes and the consumption of alcohol than most other global holiday destinations. This probably explains why, despite the glorious weather and fantastic infrastructure, the wilder partying such as stag nights have stuck to more traditional destinations within Europe or the sublimely tacky Las Vegas.
The pubs and clubs of Dubai tend to be attached to large hotels where westerners gather and are off limits to ‘normal’ locals. In these establishments western standards of behaviour are acceptable and this is where most of the partying is done. Groups tend to stay in the same hotel and all party together in the bars and clubs, only leaving to relax on the beach.
Visitors often decide, especially on longer stays, to visit a neighbouring hotel’s drinking establishments. When doing this, be aware that drinking in public is forbidden, so taking that beer with you ‘for the road’ is a bad idea. As with anywhere in the world, drinking and driving is a really stupid idea and one that could easily land you in jail.
Heading to the beach in Dubai is a fantastic opportunity for visitors from cloudy European countries to top up their tans, but remember to bring some sun protection as the rays can be damaging. Women will need to cover up more than they are used to at home but this shouldn’t be a major issue.
While in public, visitors should be wary of being affectionate with either a member of the same or opposite sex. This can be tricky as it is second nature at home but frowned upon in Dubai. In the hotels this causes no problems so just be aware when visiting the city or the beach.
Since Dubai is becoming ever more popular with the glitterati, a holiday here is a good chance to do some celebrity spotting. For many people this means spending the evenings drinking in the bars attached to very expensive hotels and catching sight of Hollywood A-listers or pop royalty. Just remember that the more expensive bars usually have strict dress control and an almost fascistic face control policy. Dress up, act the part, and hope for the best.
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