Solo Female In Dubai (Expats and Tourists)
Surprisingly I get a lot of questions about how it is to live in Dubai as a woman, especially from my friends from Europe.
Many people are under the impression that women have a lot of restrictions, cannot move freely in public and have to cover up.
I believe this perception comes from what people see on TV about the Middle East, mainly from the information that is being shared in the news and then they project that to Dubai.
Dubai is much more modern and liberal in many ways. In fact, it is one of the safest places in the world to travel to and live in, even as a woman.
So whether you consider a move to Dubai or just plan on going for a holiday, as a solo female you will be just fine!
That doesn’t mean though that there aren’t some rules you have to follow.
The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country with very strong religious roots, and as with any country, foreigners are expected to respect the local culture and customs while there. Common sense, right?
There is no problem at all if you wear a dress, shirt, skirt or pants that do not cover your shoulders or knees whenever you go to any of the beaches, restaurants or bars.
I have been doing it for years and trust me, there is no issue at all and everyone is dressing up like in any other destination in the world.
When you go to shopping malls though, you should be a little bit more considerate. Ideally wear a shirt that covers your shoulders and pants or a skirt that are a little bit longer covering your knees.
There are signs on all entrance doors to the malls that ask visitors to dress moderately.
Out of respect, I recommend to do that and anyhow – the air conditioning is so strong that you would want to keep on a few more layers.
There will be some nationalities that stare at you a lot if you are a single woman walking around. But that’s about it. It is not a big deal because there are many solo women and it really is limited to staring.
No one will harass or trouble you.
The maximum that might happen is a taxi driver or sales person at a souk asking you where you are from and if you are married. Just don’t be too over-friendly. Be firm (maybe pretend that you are married) and you will have no issues.
There are also lady taxis available if that makes you feel more comfortable.
In general Dubai is very ,very safe.
You wont need to watch out for your handbag or belongings (if you lay by the beach for example). Pickpockets don’t really exist.
Maybe it has to do with the structure of the population. 80% of the people living in Dubai are expats and unless they are on the husband/wife visa, they do need a job in order to stay in the country.
Most of the jobs are well paid. There are also people who earn very little such as the construction workers from the Indian subcontinent which would never dare to get into a crime because that would mean they will be send back home and lose their income they need in order to support their families.
The remaining 20% are actual Emirati locals who usually have plenty of money.
Bottom line, for whatever reason, theft is almost non-existent.
Like in any Muslim country there a some more restrictions during the holy month of Ramadan. Those rules obviously don’t only apply to women but to any foreigner.
And against some beliefs, it doesn’t matter if you are a Muslim or not, you will be expected to adhere and respect the rules. If not, be prepared to pay some fines.
I would generally not advise to travel to Dubai during Ramadan, not only because of the restrictions, but also because this is the time when many bars and restaurants undergo renovations, the bars will be more quiet and often have no entertainment.
Souks have shorter opening hours and the pace of life slows down a lot (which of course also has its advantages).