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Abu Dhabi Etiquette


Greeting someone in Abu Dhabi

Greetings can be protracted affairs as an Arab may enquire after you and your family's health. The polite reply is that all is well, thanks be to God. It is usual to use 'Sayed' (Mr) or 'Sayeda' (Mrs) followed by the first name. The name should always be prefixed with the honorific title when conducting business. The Bedouin custom of offering food and shelter to strangers in the deserts is preserved today by the coffee ceremony. Business often starts with a tiny cup of cardamon-flavoured coffee poured from the traditional metal pot or dallah. To indicate that you have had enough, guests must wiggle the cup from side to side.

Tipping advice


Any service charge on a restaurant bill usually goes to the restaurant rather then the waiter, therefore, even if tips aren’t expected, they are very much appreciated.

Abu Dhabi dress code

Clothing should be conservative and smart. Women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, especially in rural areas, and go for loose clothing such as loose-cut trousers and long dresses.

Local Customs

The United Arab Emirates is the most liberal part of the Persian Gulf, however still very conservative by Western standards. This means that great offence would be shown by wearing revealing clothing or in any way showing disrespect in Mosques or other public places.


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