It is easy to fall in love with the quality of life in Abu Dhabi – Champagne bars; year round sun, state-of-the-art hotels and luxury shopping malls all lead to very glamorous holidays in this Emirate.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and very tolerant and welcoming of visitors from other nationalities and religions; however, just because the sun is out, you should not forget that you are a guest in a Muslim country. Recent press reports about lewd beach behavior, in neighboring Emirate Dubai, highlight the need to remember the general guidelines of courteous behavior whilst holidaying here:
There are no restrictions of dress for women but, please unless you are on the beach or in the pool area of your hotel, you should dress modestly. If your skirt is too short or top too revealing, you will be causing an offense to UAE nationals. You must wear swim wear on the beach/pool – no skinny dipping in Abu Dhabi. During Ramadan visitors are asked to dress modestly i.e. t-shirts that cover shoulders and not wearing short skirts/shorts in public places.
Not drinking alcohol in a public place (i.e. beach, street). It is an offense to be or appearing to be drunk in a public place. Including not drinking and driving – if you are in an accident it is not only the driver who will be penalized, (drink related offenses command severe penalties) passengers too may be held for knowingly getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking. Play safe and take one of the ‘limousine style’ taxis back to your hotel.
The age limit for being served alcoholic beverages is 21. This is strictly enforced and if you look under age you must carry ID with you.
If you are pregnant, then take your marriage certificate along with you. If you need medical assistance you will be required to show that you are married before you can receive antenatal medical assistance.
Be sensitive about taking pictures. You should never photograph national Emirati women or any military establishment.
During Ramadan, which lasts for one lunar month, it is forbidden to drink, eat or smoke during in a public place during daylight hours. This includes chewing gum. Hotels will make arrangements for you to either dine behind a screened area or room service.
If you hire a car and you are involved in a road traffic accident you must stay with your vehicle until the police arrive.