The Fairytale Traveler

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Safety in the UAE: What You Can and Can Not Do

When choosing a travel destination, safety plays a role. You probably find yourself questioning if the attractions in a dangerous or politically unstable area are worth any risks involved. And, if you’ve debated going to the Middle East, you may wondering about safety in the UAE or Qatar.


In advertising brochures of travel agencies, you often find phrases like “This is an absolutely safe country for tourists,” “Here you won’t have to feel afraid for your personal belongings,” “When visiting the streets of the city at night, you do not need to fear for your life,” and so on.


Very often, it is a marketing trick to convince the client to choose a particular country. But in the case of the Arab Emirates – it is the truth. It is difficult to find a safer country for tourists than the UAE.


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Safety in the UAE

The Safety of Foreigners is Not a Myth.


The absolute safety for human life, health, and property is confirmed by tourists, residents, and experts.


Tourists walk freely through the streets of the cities, even at night, and residents lock their houses and offices with symbolic locks.


Experts compile various safety ratings and find it surprising that the UAE, as a country with a huge number of immigrants (most of them from poor countries) and tourists, remains a real island of security in the Middle East.


The reason is that the government invests huge amounts of money in the police and security services, which maintain impeccable order in the territory of the state.


Safety in the uae


Sources of Danger in the UAE for Foreigners


It is not fair to say that there are no dangers to foreigners in the UAE. They are there, just not as numerous and extensive as in other states. And yet, if you want to avoid problems, it is worth knowing where the danger may come from.


The authorities of the United Arab Emirates claim that there is no crime in the country. In fact, it is not entirely true. Petty theft and fraud happen in areas of large crowds of people, especially tourists: shopping malls, markets, attractions, beaches (public, because private are well protected).


The most dangerous emirate for tourists is Dubai, especially its shopping areas. But the occasional petty crime is a drop in the ocean, given how many foreigners live in the UAE. Moreover, even if any criminal incident happens, you can always turn to criminal lawyers in Dubai.


Migrants and tourists often complain about the original attitude of local residents to the rules of the road. From those not used to driving a car on the roads of the UAE, especially Dubai, it is quite difficult.


Local drivers very rarely drive at the speeds stipulated in the traffic rules, moving quite fast. Common violations committed by drivers in the UAE include overtaking in prohibited areas, cutting off other road users, and changing lanes without using a turn signal.


But on a positive note, driving under the influence of alcohol is a rarity in the UAE. It is severely punished, which means that it is rare to find anyone driving under the influence of alcohol.


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What Not to Do in the UAE if You Don’t Want to Get in Trouble


Foreigners often joke that the main source of danger in the UAE is the police. Indeed, people in uniform are strictly watching for any violations of law or order, not giving a single chance to offenders to get away with it.


Often tourists have problems because they are not acquainted with the traditions and laws of the UAE, so they unknowingly violate them. The list of “what is prohibited in the UAE” is quite long, so let us cover the main points.


To stay out of trouble, you must not:

● Drink alcohol on the streets.

● Express love in public.

● Touch or argue with policemen.

● Go out on the street without taking your documents with you.

● Take pictures without permission of places of public importance (government buildings, airports, police stations, etc.).

● Engage in a relationship with a partner of your own sex.

● Gamble. This entertainment is not available to tourists in the UAE.

● Litter or destroy vegetation.


Safety in the UAE, women clothing


Advice for Ladies:


Fearing that women unburdened by the norms of morality will be attracted to the Emirates, the local authorities even forbade single ladies unaccompanied by men to cross the borders of the country in the 90s. Today no one mentions such a ban. Ladies may come to rest in the UAE, get a job here or register a firm.


Very often female tourists brag that they do not have to worry about clothes that are too revealing as in other Muslim countries. They say that tourists, who contribute to the treasury of the state, are allowed a lot of freedom.


Yes, a loyal attitude to the tourists is a feature of national policy, but at least out of respect, you should not offend the religious feelings of the locals.


It’s a good idea to take modest clothing with you on vacation. Such clothing should cover the shoulders and knees, from non-transparent fabrics and without the deep cleavage. 


Dressing modestly may also protect you from indiscreet males’ glances and assaults (whether by disgruntled locals or bored migrant workers).


If you are insulted by a man, do not try to deal with the offender yourself by shouting at him. It is better to draw the attention of the policeman to the brewing conflict.


For insulting a woman the boor will be severely punished. If you feel danger coming from an unfamiliar man, and there are no policemen in your sight, look for help in the protected organizations nearby: hotels, stores, banks, restaurants.


As long as you make yourself aware of local laws and take the same precautions you would take anywhere, you’ll find that you don’t need to worry about your safety in the UAE, even in Dubai.


Carissa Shuman

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