Dubai Shopping Festival is @ its full Charm But Do's & Don'ts of the City:
Bikinis: DO wear a bikini at the beach or swimming pool but, out of respect for local culture, please cover up in public areas. Due to local sensibilities, topless sun-bathing is not allowed and G-strings are not deemed appropriate.
Tipping: DO tip in restaurants if you wish. A service charge is often added to the total bill but, if it isn’t, a figure of 15% is standard.
Photos: DO take photos as memories of your trip but avoid military sites and do ask permission if you want to photograph a local person (ladies in particular). Most people will be happy to pose for a photograph but make sure you have their approval first.
Censorship: DO be aware that international magazines and newspaper sold in Dubai are censored. Anything deemed risqué (ie: pictures of scantily clad women) will be marked out in black and intimate scenes in films shown in Dubai will be cut out. Bear this in mind when bringing magazines into the country.
Drugs: DON’T forget that there is a zero tolerance of drug use in Dubai and that conviction could earn you a four year prison sentence. While you're extremely unlikely to be offered drugs in Dubai, if it happens - just say no.
Kissing: DON’T be too passionate in public with your partner. UAE is a Muslim country and when it comes to public displays of affection – anything more than a kiss on the cheek may offend those around you and may get you in trouble with the police.
Alcohol: DON’T drink or be seen to be drunk outside of licensed premises in hotels. Drinking alcohol is not a part of Muslim culture and drunken behaviour in the street and drink driving are both punishable offences which could lead to a jail sentence.
Taxis: DON’T expect taxi drivers to carry change. Many struggle to provide change for any note greater than AED 50. We recommend you have a ready supply of smaller notes if you are taking a cab within the city.
Hand gestures: DON’T make rude hand gestures if you're driving. Venting your frustrations either physically or verbally can result in your arrest.
Thanks Nisha, very helpful information. There are a few other points I'd like to add.
Be discreet when holding hands in public places - I've seen at least one major shopping centre which displayed signs that hand-holding is not acceptable.
The other major don't is one should refrain from any negative comments about the ruling classes - (i.e President, Prime Minister, Rulers, Crown Princes) - one should always be respectful of those in power in the UAE.
Re taxi drivers, I think that those in Dubai are some of the best in the world - but having smaller notes is always helpful.
Our experience was that locals did not want photos taken and would look away or put their hand in front of their face if they saw you taking a photo.
It is important for women dress conservatively. Please do not disrespect these people in their home land.
Homosexuality is a criminal offense with possible deportation.
Use common sense and when in doubt don't.
I think Desert Safari and Dubai Dhow are the mandatory things to do in Dubai.
[Edited: 2013 Jan 15 16:10 - The Travel Camel:11053 - Link removed, No dropping commercial links on tis thread, thanks.]