Dubai At Night

Important Information

Introduction to Dubai

By using the sub-menu above, those making their first visits to Dubai will be able to find quick answers to many of the questions they may have. Other topics that require longer answers, such as the Best Ways to See Dubai, Places to Visit and Things To Do in Dubai, and even our Brief History of Dubai can be accessed through the main menu on the left.

If you know what to expect and how to act, your Dubai holiday or business trip will be something you'll remember, hopefully fondly, for many years. And hopefully, it'll be the first of many such trips.

But first here's a brief overview - Dubai is a fascinating and widespread multicultural city where under 20% of its inhabitants are native Emirati. The rest of the population is made up of expats from a whole range of countries. English is widely spoken in most places but not to any great degree by officialdom such as the police.

Your first holiday in Dubai? Look at Where To Stay in Dubai and Hotels in Dubai.

Dubai is a young city in terms of its development and its population. It's a work hard, play hard sort of place. Any Westerner working in Dubai, and you can't go to live there unless you have a sponsored job to go to, is likely to be a well educated go-getter. Apart from an occasional tourist, you'll not find the 'drongo' sub-species of angry, illiterate, 'the world owes me a living' down and outs or lifestyle benefit recipients living here that you'll find in many western countries. This makes for a better life for everyone.

However, it is not a classless society and it is not a democratic society. It is a tiered society in, from the top:

  1. The Dubai Royal Family headed by HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Saeed al Makhtoum
  2. Native Emirati
  3. Other Arabs
  4. European and other Western Expats
  5. Asian/Oriental manual and service workers - including taxi drivers.

Remember, Dubai is a Muslim state and you need to be aware of this. For a greater insight into the political structure see our pages on Power And Politics in Dubai and the Emirates as a whole.

You'll see plenty of Arabs in their traditional clothing which is always clean, pressed and very smart, but check out the men's shoes. You'll see the men always have somewhere on their traditional clothing for sunglasses, a pen and at least one mobile phone! The ladies have some fantastic outer traditional clothing but look discreetly (do not stare) and you'll often see the jeans underneath. Sit and people watch for just a few minutes in a shopping mall & you'll see plenty of examples.

For an idea of what's expected of you, have a look at our sections on Dress, Behaviour, Tipping and Drink and Drugs.

Enjoy your holiday in Dubai, it's a great place to visit, but check out the pages in the sub-menu above to learn more about the place and how to behave, which in turn will make for a better holiday.

Return to Richard's Dubai Guide homepage

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