Dubai is one of the most beautiful cities in the world that should be on every traveller’s must-see list. The city is full amazing attractions to visit and see, in addition to a wide variety of amazing restaurants and hotels. There’s a new project in the city all the time, making it a great destination for those who like to get out and explore whatever city they’re in.

But like every other city in the world, it has its own culture and customs that all travelers should respect when visiting. Dubai is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates and the most tolerant in its dress code requirements for foreigners.

Many who would like to visit the wonderful city of Dubai might hesitate booking their flight because they don’t know what to wear in a Middle Eastern city. But rest assured; dressing for a fun vacation in Dubai isn’t has hard as it may seem. There are simple ways to dress for a fun vacation while still being respectful of the city’s culture.

The most common questions regarding the city’s appropriate dress code often involve if women need to wear a shawl over their heads and if they can wear a bathing suit while enjoying a day on the beach. Many often also wonder if they should pack shorts or short dresses when visiting Dubai.

Here’s a helpful guide on what to pack the next time you make your way to Dubai.

In the Souks, Streets or the Mall

When you’re scoping out the city, shopping at the malls or out and about in the souks, it’s advised that women wear skirts or shorts that fall to the knee and have their shoulders covered. An ideal outfit for a woman would be long Capri pants and a loose blouse that covers their shoulders. Men can also wear knee-length pants but are advised to skip muscle tees.

If you plan on visiting any gold, spice and textile souks in the older part of the city, women should dress more conservatively by wearing pants and a long-sleeved shirt to avoid uncomfortable stares.

At the Pool or Beach

Feel free to pack your favorite bikini or swimming trunks for a fun day at the beach or just lounging at your hotel’s pool. You just don’t want to walk about the streets in such attire. Women should also avoid wearing thong bikini bottoms and you cannot sunbath topless since that is illegal.
A good tip to keep in mind is that even though you’re at your hotel, other guests visiting might be from more conservative Gulf countries, so to avoid making them feel uncomfortable by wearing a cover up when walking through your hotel and definitely wear clothes on your way to the beach if you have to travel by walking any streets.

Out In The Desert

If you plan on going on a desert safari while in Dubai, you can wear anything you feel comfortable wearing since not too many locals go on them. So in winter, a jacket is useful, but in the summer, it gets pretty hot out there. Many people recommend open shoes, but the sand can be hot and a pair of shoes you don’t mind filling with sand may be more suitable.

At Mosques

Just to note, there aren’t many mosques that are open to non-Muslims, but if you decide to visit one that does, respect tradition and dress appropriately. For these types of visits, women need to wear longer pants or ankle length skirts and dresses with long-sleeved tops that are not low cut in the front. Men should wear long pants and also long-sleeved shirts. Basically, you need to be covered from your wrists to your ankles. Women do need to cover their hair and there are headscarves to borrow. Shoes must be removed before entering, too.

At Bars, Clubs and Restaurants

Since hotels are the only places that hold liquor licenses, all the bars and clubs will be in one of Dubai’s many lavish hotels. But you can wear what you’d normally wear to these places back home; just keep in mind it’s still wise to be covered while walking through the hotel or until you get inside the place. At upmarket restaurants, men need to wear long pants and covered shoes. Women should keep in mind that they should not show cleavage or thigh when dressing to eat out at these restaurants.

Working Out Outdoors

If you’re working out at your hotel or a private gym, you can wear whatever you’d like to workout in. But if you prefer to run outside, then you need to wear running leggings to the knee and tops with sleeves.

See, packing for Dubai isn’t as bad as you probably thought! It just requires a bit more thought and modification, but ideally, you can still wear what you’d normally wear back home. And even though you might see women with short skirts while out at the malls, it’s not illegal – just disrespectful to local culture.