Dubai: Never indulge in this popular holiday activity in UAE or risk going to prison

Dubai: Never indulge in this popular holiday activity in UAE or risk going to prison

Dubai holidays attract plenty of Western holidaymakers in search of sunshine. However, it’s key Britons remember that the way of life in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is different to the UK. Local customs and rules differ greatly from what British travellers are used to. Breaking the laws could see tourists landed in jail – and there’s one popular activity that travellers should be very careful with.

Dubai tourists should take care when it comes to drinking alcohol. The Muslim country has strict rules when it comes to booze.

It’s illegal in Dubai to drink or be drunk in public and is a “punishable offence under UAE law,” states the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) online.

This law can be very confusing for British tourists as drinking alcohol itself is permitted, but only in licensed venues.

“It is possible for tourists and visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants and clubs,” explained the FCO.

There have been instances when British nationals have been arrested and charged under this law.

However, the FCO added that this was “often in cases where they have come to the attention of the police for a related offence or matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour.”

The drinking age in Dubai and all other Emirates besides Sharjah (where drinking alcohol is completely illegal) is 21.

There is a zero-tolerance towards drink driving in Dubai so Britons shouldn’t get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

Dmitrijs Zaznovs from has shared his advice on driving in Dubai. 

“We always advise customers not to drink at all when renting a car on a holiday,” Zaznovs told

He added: “Take Dubai, while there isn’t a total ban on alcohol and both residents and tourists can consume alcohol in various licensed restaurant and bars linked to hotels, there is zero-tolerance and driving or attempt to drive under the influence of alcohol is a crime.

“According to Article No 49.6 of the Traffic Law, the punishment of any driver caught drinking and driving or attempting to drive while drunk include imprisonment and a minimum fine of AED 25,000 (almost £5,400).

“It’s always better to be safe and have a holiday to remember not one to forget.”

Getting drunk isn’t the only thing in Dubai which could see holidaymakers accidentally end up in trouble.

Swearing in public is completely forbidden in Dubai and uttering the “F-word” in particular is a total no-no. 

Saying “f***k” is a crime in Dubai as the swear word “disgraces the honour or the modesty” of a person according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code.

Consequently swearing in public in Dubai can land you in prison for up to a year. There is also a huge fine for swearing, amounting to as high as Dhs 10,000 (£2,000).

Published at Sat, 07 Sep 2019 05:01:00 +0000