It’s okay people-who-don't-live-in-Dubai we totally get it, the media either portrays Dubai as a materialistic city where we're using 1000 dirham notes to blow our noses or as some super strict, conservative country where we're Ubering around in the hottest sports cars but it’s not true - except for the part about the Ubers, they rock! - so let’s get into it, these are the questions Dubai expats are tired of hearing.
Do you have to wear a scarf?
Not unless it *really* goes with my outfit. People have the misconception that it’s super strict and conservative in Dubai. Not true. In fact growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, I'd say where I come from you'd get alot more stares and disapproving looks wearing a risqué outfit than you would in Dubai where people are way more tolerant. It might have something to do with the mix of nationalities and different cultures because after a while, it’s like you've seen it all. Generally speaking you’ll dress more or less the same as you would in your home country unless you’re visiting a cultural site like Sheikh Zayed Mosque for instance then you will be required to cover up.
Does it ever rain in Dubai?
Yes, since we live in the desert we just shoot clouds and water magically falls from the sky. I’m over simplifying but it’s actually a true story. The process is called cloud seeding. Salt is shot into the skies to boost rainfall by retaining moisture in the clouds until the level of saturation cannot be contained and then it rains. You can read more about it here.
Is there alcohol in Dubai?
Have you seen the amount of South Africans, British people and Australians who live here? Yes. There is definitely alcohol here. You can buy alcohol at any licensed outlet in the UAE which is pretty much the case anywhere in the world. Only difference is if you'd like to purchase it for home, then you require a personal alcohol license. It’s a simple process which takes about two weeks in total to fill out the form and get the license. You can read more about the process here.
Is it expensive in Dubai?
This depends on your lifestyle, where and how you want to live. Obviously if you're going to stay in Al Barsha it’s going to cost less than staying on the Palm. There are places to eat which cost less than back home - and some cost more - especially if you're into fine dining and Michelin star chefs. Eating out costs about Dhs250 in an average (not pricey) restaurant for a main meal and a glass of wine but buying food from Waitrose for example is the same as Woolworths back in my home country (unless its fruit or vegetables as these are imported into the UAE and will cost more). Fast food around Dhs30-Dhs60 for a meal. Ubers cost the same but are better quality. Bread, milk and eggs cost less. Your expenses depend on how you want to live.
Are you allowed to wear a bikini on the beach?
Yes you may. Although if you've seen some of the swimwear choices you might wish it wasn't the case but I guess everyone is on their own journey. Basically, you can wear any swimwear that you'd wear on the beach in your own country. In fact, a lot of people tend to really go all out at certain beach clubs in terms of bling and beach accessories so it can be quite a fun, glam affair. If you’d like to know what to expect at beach clubs in Dubai, check out my top picks here.
Do you have to hide your religion if you're not Muslim?
Not only do you not have to hide your religion but to answer the other commonly asked question - are there churches in Dubai? Yes, you can go to a church every Sunday with likeminded people if you choose to and praise Jesus all you like. The UAE recognises and respects all religions. You can practise your religion openly as long as you respect the main religion after all, it is a Muslim country. The Christmas celebrations, decorations and festivities are on another level - I mean, this *is* Dubai.
Are there any other questions that you've wondered about living in Dubai or are constantly asked about Dubai? Comment to let me know.
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Check out more Dubai lifestyle posts here.
5/22/2018 10:58:33 am
They will ask if there is pork and if you can hold hands.
7/5/2018 06:28:04 am
I want to go to Dubai! Even more now after having read this... ;)
7/5/2018 07:22:50 pm
Dubai is high on my bucket list! Thank you for breaking down some of the misconceptions
7/5/2018 10:35:21 pm
I could not help but smile reading your post and could relate to it. Have been asked quite similar questions as an expat in Malaysia a while back. Do not blame people for asking those questions though as the exposure is limited for many and these come from curiosity, and sometimes just an ice breaker.
7/8/2018 03:37:08 am
7/6/2018 08:31:09 am
THank you so much, you have answered some of our own questions regarding Dubai!
7/8/2018 03:37:43 am
Glad I could help :).
7/6/2018 12:14:57 pm
It's on my bucket list. One Day!
7/7/2018 12:28:04 am
I agree. I enjoy living in Dubai and it’s not expensive it depends in your lifestyle 😊
7/7/2018 06:24:36 am
Very informative regarding customs and appropriate behavior! Thanks so much for sharing!
7/7/2018 01:35:31 pm
The way you write is so entertaining! Thanks for the useful info about Dubai!
7/8/2018 03:35:04 am
Thank you Aleese :)
Neil Alvin Nicerio
7/7/2018 05:42:46 pm
Seriously?!! It rains in Dubai? Hahaha just kidding.
7/8/2018 03:36:13 am
Yes you must, you will love it.
7/8/2018 01:15:07 am
An interesting post about way of life in Dubai
7/8/2018 11:10:39 am
There was time going to Dubai was a thing for me but after a certain news, my thirst to visit this place crashed. Thanks for this post.
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