What Areas of Dubai Should Tourists Avoid and Why?

Are all areas of Dubai safe and open for visitors, or are there any areas to keep away from? What areas of Dubai should tourists avoid?

Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. Not only is it an incredibly beautiful, luxurious and hospitable country, but it is very tourist-friendly.

From my experience in Dubai, there are no such place in Dubai that are taboo for tourists, nor is there any place that is dangerous. However, pickpockets, thieves and murderers do exist in every country, and Dubai is no exception. It is always best to avoid traveling alone after dark.

The tourist areas of Dubai, like Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah and other places, are perfectly safe for all tourists. Dubai is comparatively much safer than other countries that have many pickpockets and conmen watching out to exploit tourists. The shopping malls have a safe environment, including the Dubai Gold souq and Dubai Mall.

My hotel stay in Dubai was also completely safe. From hotel managers to the cleaning staff who visited my room and made sure that I felt secure. I would often leave my valuable belongings in the room and never find anything missing. The same goes for shopping centers. There was nothing found missing. The people around were perfectly respectable and well-behaved.

However, there are certain places tourists cannot visit unless they are appropriately dressed. It’s okay to wear crop tops and short revealing dresses in Dubai’s nightclubs and beaches but not anywhere else. You do not have to cover your head but must wear modestly when shopping or in any public tourist site. You must cover your shoulders and avoid wearing anything above your knees.

If there is any place to avoid in Dubai, I think it would be the beaches during the summer. Dubai’s Summers are unbearably hot. Leave alone the beaches; don’t expect to step outdoors at all. If you are planning to visit Dubai in the summer, your hotel rates are bound to be very cheap, but you will not be able to enjoy your vacation outdoors.

The same applies to the deserts of Dubai. Don’t ever try to explore the deserts by yourself, because you could get lost very easily. There are many guides who will take you on tour, so be cautious. Dubai’s deserts are very hot. Even if you were lost for a day, you could easily die of extreme dehydration.

There are labor camps situated out of Dubai town in Deira. This is the place in Dubai where Dubai’s construction workers and hotel employees live. These high-rise blocks may seem a bit scary or shady to you, but the people living there are perfectly welcoming and safe. Most of them are Muslim and Hindu laborers from South Asia.

I know there is a lot of speculation surrounding this area. Most advise tourists not to visit these areas, but I have never found anything dangerous or inhospitable in these areas. If you feel unsafe, then don’t travel alone. However, I think it’s important not to judge the safety of an area based on the social status or nationality of the residents. Wealth does not define moral character.

Likewise, the Sonapur camp is an insecure place in Dubai, located 13km from the Dubai airport,  that looks like a slum. These makeshift camps comprise the poorest people who can’t afford to live in central Dubai. There is no particular reason to stay away from these places, but tourists are generally advised to avoid these places. I think it’s more to do with maintaining the luxurious image of Dubai rather than the area actually being dangerous.

Read this interesting post on the dark side of Dubai for more information on the Sonapur camp.

Let me also warn you that Dubai is teeming with prostitutes who come alive at night. Though they are respectable in their trade, it is always best to be cautious.

What Areas of Dubai Should Tourists Avoid: Summary

In reality, there is no particular place in Dubai that you have to avoid as a tourist, as it is a very safe city. There are many hidden policemen in shopping centers and roads to prevent mischief. But be cautious wherever you are, and avoid traveling alone at night.

Most people advise tourists to avoid some poor areas like Diera and Sonapur Camp, but personally, I don’t think those areas are dangerous. Nevertheless, it’s always best to exercise a sensible degree of caution.

Also read: can you wear crop tops in Dubai?

*All pics are taken from


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