Culture

Religion: 

95% Muslim (80% Sunni, 15% Shia), 4% Christian.

Social conventions: 

Though the UAE is fairly modern, it is an Islamic country and women may feel more comfortable when dressed modestly. The UAE is fairly liberal and foreign women can dress as they please, however covering the shoulders and knees is a requirement in public areas like shopping centres and also during periods of religious significance. Men are also expected to dress with respect. Homosexuality and adultery are both illegal and while non-married couples aren’t lawfully permitted to stay together in the same hotel room, it is common practice and rarely enforced.

Alcohol is tolerated, with non-Muslims allowed to drink alcohol in the cities’ plentiful hotel bars and restaurants (except for Sharjah). Tourists are permitted to bring four litres of alcohol into the country, though under 20s are not allowed to drink alcohol or buy cigarettes. It is illegal for everyone to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours of the holy month of Ramadan, and on the day or eve of days of national importance, alcohol isn’t sold and bars are shut. As in all Muslim countries, it’s best to keep displays of affection private – kissing or embracing in public is not only considered disrespectful, it could lead to police caution or even arrest. Holding hands is generally fine, but swearing, rude gestures and drink driving are all punishable by imprisonment. Drugs are a strict no-no and could land you in serious trouble. It’s worth checking what medicine and painkillers you bring into the country, as even some common pain medications like codeine are prohibited.

Language in United Arab Emirates

Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken and used as a second language in commerce.

Language phrases: 

Hi = Salam سلام
Thanks = Shokran شكرا
Welcome = Marhaba   مرحبا
How are you? = Kaifa haloka/ haloki (women)  كيف حالك؟
Good morning = sabah ala-kheir صباح الخير
Good afternoon = masa' al-kheir مساء الخير.
I'm lost = Ada'tu tareeqi  أضعت طريقي! أضعت طريقي!
How much is this = Kam howa thamanoh? كم هو ثمنه؟
Excuse me = Men fathlek/ fathleki (female)  فضلك
Sorry = Aasef!  !أسف
No Problem = La moshkelah   مشكلة