Whilst travelling is often seen as a freedom that everyone should be able to enjoy and almost an entitlement, we need to be mindful and respectful to our respective hosts culture wherever we travel, none more-so than visiting the Arabia’s.
A very conservative country, the United Arab Emirates tourism industry has boomed in the last few decades, it’s now high on the bucket list of many western travellers and as a country, it’s made some significant concessions when it comes to what to wear in Dubai. Visitors are advised and frequently reminded to dress modestly and respectfully, particularly women. It does however pose a very important question as to what is considered modest? After all you are on holiday in a country where temperatures hit 40 degrees C on a regular basis.
There are some basic tips for what to pack and what you can wear in Dubai without fear of upsetting the locals and worst still, the authorities.
- Headscarf – You don’t need to wear a headscarf in Dubai, however it’s a nice touch and might find a light headscarf is useful for keeping sand out of your hair and the direct sun off your head.
- Full-length dress / skirt – You don’t need to worry about a full-length dress / skirt, however when in public places, it’s expected to wear a garment to below the knee. Mini-skirts and hot pants a big no-no here and let’s be honest, they’re not exactly ‘en-vogue’ anywhere anymore. But that’s getting personal now.
- Shoes – You don’t need to cover your feet, however flip-flops best saved for the pool and beach.
Can I wear a bikini in Dubai?
Bikini’s and other swimwear considered ‘normal’ to western visitors is ok in private hotel pools and on the beach, Dubai and the UAE in general is very liberal in this regard and has allowed the countries tourism industry to flourish. However, if not explicitly sunbathing, you should always cover up within reason. Any top / dress that covers the shoulders and to the knee is recommended, something light is fine, however you’ll likely attract unwanted attention wandering around in your swimwear. Remember, it’s a case of staying on the right side of the cultural acceptances, showing respect to your host country and as importantly staying on the ride side of the law for your own personal safety and security.
Official guidance is changing all the time, dressing appropriately and modestly will endear you to the locals and keep you out of trouble and danger when visiting Dubai, but one thing is for sure, don’t let the fear of what to wear in Dubai put you off, there is so much to see and do in Dubai, everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.