Foreigners are free to practise their own religion and the dress code is liberal. Women are able to drive and walk around unescorted. Among the most highly prized virtues are courtesy and hospitality, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people. Despite the speed of economic development over the last 30 years, UAE continues to promote traditional cultural and sporting events, such as falconry, camel racing and traditional dhow sailing.
UAE nationals usually wear traditional dress in public. For men, this is the kandura - a white full length shirt-like garment, which is worn with a white or red checkered headdress, known as a ghutra. This is secured with a black cord (agal).
In public, women wear a long, loose black robe (abaya) that covers their normal clothes - plus a headscarf (sheyla).
The abaya is often of very sheer, flowing fabric with intricate embroidery and beadwork along the wrists and hemline.
Sheylas are also becoming more elaborate and a statement of individuality, particularly among the young. Headwear varies with some women wearing a thin black veil covering their face and others, generally older women, wearing a leather veil (burka), which covers the nose, brow, cheekbones and lips.