The Scarlett Guide To…What Not To Do In Dubai

A week before I flew out to Dubai, Trailfinders sent me a PDF file of things that you’re not allowed to do in the country – which was basically a huge list of everything that’s remotely fun with big red crosses through it.

Now, I’m all for respecting people’s religions, cultures and traditions and I’m totally into the whole ‘When in Rome’ thing. If I’m in a good mood I even shut up when people inflict their daft opinions on me on the daily basis… but am I the only one who thinks that to actually send tourists a file of what not to do before they arrive, is a bit much?!

As it happens, I wasn’t actually planning to have sex in public during my stay; as I was with my parents this was pretty much off the cards anyway… and considering that the Muslim women conceal their entire bodies except for their eyes I had pretty much figured that sunbathing topless was a bad idea.

Did you know you’re not even allowed to hold hands in public!? Well try telling that to my Dad who, even at the age of 23, still grabs my hand when I cross the road.

Instead of outlining the punishment I would suffer should I have indulged in a bit of alfresco fun, (which, FYI Trailfinders, I’m pretty sure is outlawed in most countries anyway – and something I wish someone had told the couple I tripped over at midnight on Brighton beach a few weeks ago, as it could have saved me a really awkward few minutes) it would have been really fucking helpful if they had actually given me some useful tips instad.

So I’ve decided to do their job for them.

The Scarlett MINI Guide To… What Not To Do In Dubai

  • Don’t accidentally walk into the men’s prayer room at the airport thinking it’s a toilet.

As with many elements of the Arabic culture, men and women are segregated in prayer… so as you can imagine, a drunk English bird stumbling in – even when it’s outside of the designated prayin’ hours – really, really pisses people off.

In my defence though:

  1. I was only drunk because my mother’s terrible fear of flying requires that she has at least four pints before boarding any type of aircraft – and what type of daughter would I be if I let her drink alone?
  2. If you ask me, putting the ladies next to the men’s prayer room is a design flaw at the best of times, not to mention when it’s the closest toilet to the only pub in the entire airport.
  3. It was an Irish pub.
  • Don’t end up locked in an attic surrounded by fake bags

This is probably one of the most important things they should have told me; if you’re in the Souk and someone tempts you away with the promise of the best fake handbags in the world, but don’t had an obvious stall nearby, don’t follow them.


You’ll only end up getting herded down an alleyway by two men and up a flight of stairs into a tiny attic room – where, if you’re experience is anything like mine, someone will stand against the door and you’ll end up buying a blackberry just so they let you out. A blackberry that, of course, only comes with an instruction manual in Arabic… if anyone knows how to lock the screen please GOD let me know!

And just a final tip…

  • Beware of toilet water levels

This is one for the girls… and something you probably think is a trivial tip whilst you’re sat reading it in you’re comfy house with normal toilet water levels – but after accidentally putting you’re hand in your own piss three times in one day, I swear you would wish someone had told you too. Girls, for some inexplicable reason, the national toilet services of Dubai have decided to fill the bowls up stupidly high. So when you have a wee you’re about a millimetre away from being sat in a puddle of your own making – keep this in mind when wiping or throwing tissue into the water…

12 comments… read them below or add one

Stefanie November 29, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Eww! That toilet thing grossed me out! And it’s cute that your dad still holds your hand when you cross the street :) This post reminded me of Sex and the City 2 – so funny!


Adam J Williams November 30, 2011 at 1:10 am

It sounds to me like they are willing to pay the (raised) water bills purely to subjigate women


Melissa November 30, 2011 at 2:31 am

Um, that toilet thing? That is just terrifying!! I do not want to sit in my own pee! The one thing that amazed me about Greece is their lack of good bathrooms too. More often than not there weren’t any toilet seats- no clue why. I had to learn to kind of hover over a dirty porcelain hole and it was just… Awful.


Jenn November 30, 2011 at 6:31 am

Thank you for stopping by Wine-n-Chat to comment :) What a great post about Dubai!! I enjoyed your mini list of things they forgot to include in the tourist do and don’t’s list!! I love the design of your blog as well–very cute!!

Cheers, Jenn


Jen November 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

The toilet thing was proper gross girls – not because of the actual cleanliness of them, (I’d just arrived from Bangkok where you’re given a hose and a hole in the floor, which is… interesting) – but they’re just filled so high with water you have to position yourself REALLY carefully x


Simply Paul November 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

A very amusing post as always, which has made me smile whilst reading it at work.


plantdotty December 1, 2011 at 12:20 am

I m laughing my head off.


Jen December 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

thanks guys :) x


Christina Majaski December 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Funny. You should write all of the mini guides for visiting other countries. I mean, this is the stuff we need to know.


Jenny December 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

HAHA that last one cracked me up. Seriously, they do that? Wow… Must bring my own wee box. *nods*


Ian [EagerExistence] December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

How can I get my hands on this PDF?


Pete December 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

Hilarious!! Great tips


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: