Abu Dhabi – General Tips

Abu Dhabi: Strict Rules and Regulations

Please note that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are very strict cities and any crime is severely punished. It is essential that travels are aware of the strict laws of this part of the world and not fall into trouble as there have been countless stories of tourists being punished while the tourists were completely unaware of the local laws. So I request you to go through the information provided below and avoid getting into any kind of unnecessary trouble.

  • Dress modestly, particularly in a place of worship. However, at the beach, you can wear swim shorts and even bikinis are allowed.
  • Smokers can use smoking rooms provided at many places. Smoking is banned in public areas.
  • Any behavior that disrespects the local Government, their Rulers, their Religion or even the Local culture is not tolerated can get you into deep trouble very quickly. Avoid offending local sensitivities, foul language, rude gestures or and be mindful of your posts on social media when you are in that part of the world (e.g. liking posts, sharing controversial posts, and such comments). Punishment is quick and can be an arrest, detention, and also prosecution by the local authorities.
  • Always refrain from clicking pictures directly or indirectly of strangers especially women.
  • Do carry your marriage certificate as you may be asked to produce it in the hotel or outside. Do not question if you are asked to produce documents.
  • You can be randomly questioned by the police and asked for documents. carry them with you all the time. E.g. Passport, Visa, hotel booking details.
  • Sexual conduct and behaviour are not tolerated at all. Homosexual relationships are considered strictly illegal and fully punishable by law. And sex without marriage (also termed adultery) is severely punishable even if though are a tourist.
  • Even if it’s your wife, PDA (Public display of affection) is prohibited.
  • The punishment for offenses like drug smuggling, trafficking, and possession (of any quantity) include capital punishment or the death penalty.
  • Alcohol must only be consumed on licensed premises or at home providing the alcohol has been purchased with a license. There is zero tolerance for drunk-driving, public drunkenness, drinking in public places, illegal drugs, and drug-related offenses. Failure to comply will result in imprisonment
  • For all the above points, please note that even if police are not around, even locals can report you and get you in trouble. So best is to refrain from anything that will cause trouble.

Public transport system

Unfortunately, the Metro is under construction at the moment. But its well connected by Public Bus System and Taxis though not as well connected as Dubai. Please find a bus route map online or a paper map at the airport or bus station and use it to travel.

Interactive map

Plan your journey well in advance using maps as Taxi can be a really expensive affair. To locate your way around Abu Dhabi, rely on interactive map services and journey planner. It helps you track your car and bus routes. These are provided by the official Transport department of Abu Dhabi. www.darb.ae

Rent a car

Just like Dubai, you can rent a car and drive yourself if you have an International Drivers License. The city is driving friendly, but huge fines apply for non-compliance of traffic rules and regulations. So do understand the local driving practices and traffic system/ laws before you rent one.

Local Food in Abu Dhabi

You get a really wide variety of options from cheap to super expensive. The choice is yours. On offer are Arabic, Moroccan, Jordan, Lebanese, Indian and Pakistani cuisines as well.


Here you have the option to buy ready to eat food and/or fresh food. There are supermarkets like Carrefour and Lulu locally and they are really cheap! But you can utilize food apps like Zomato which deliver food at your hotel.

Tipping Rules

Tipping is neither required nor expected (in Arab countries), however, you can do so at your free will. It’s possible that some hotels may add ‘Service Charge’ to your bill to cover the tip.

Safety tips

  • Officially agencies like Police, Government, and Law enforcement agencies are strict. Thus, it is a very safe city with a low crime rate. There is tight control over security and safety.
  • Safe at any time of day or night, but wise to take precautions for your safety. Stay safe and use common sense. There have been no incidents of tourist traps or any high crime rate areas.
  • Safe to travel at night. No need to be concerned about security whilst traveling in public transportation or any other mode as well.

Travel apps/websites in Abu Dhabi

  • Official tourist information website and has information on Addresses/timings/holidays of all attractions in Abu Dhabi: Visit Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi Public Bus, Ferry Service information: Here

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