What to Wear in Dubai as a Female Traveler

When visiting another country, like UAE, it’s very important to consider the culture, religion, practices and rituals. Even more important is respecting those beliefs, even if they may differ from your own.

Dubai is mostly Muslim, with Islam the official religion. Due to tourism and a large number of expats; there is a heavy Western and European influence. In my experience, the culture was much more relaxed and less conservative, than I had expected. 

Al Sahra Desert Resort, Dubai - holding a falcon

Al Sahra Desert Resort, Dubai – holding a falcon

The question often comes up,  what is appropriate for an outsider to wear while visiting Dubai. The general rule while out in public, is to just be modest – be sure to cover from your shoulders to just above the knee.

Crossing Dubai Creek on an Abra

Crossing Dubai Creek on an Abra

Payphones in Old Dubai

Payphones in Old Dubai

The malls in Dubai have familiar clothing stores, such as Forever 21, which carries similar items as the stores in the US. 

Yellow Boat Tour passing by Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Yellow Boat Tour passing by Burj Al Arab, Dubai

 

At the Top, Burj Khalifa, Dubai

At the Top, Burj Khalifa, Dubai

While shopping at the Dubai Mall I saw women wearing everything; from a completely black burka covering the eyes to sheer maxi dresses and spaghetti strap tanks.  I did notice with all the different cultures living in the same city, it’s hard to enforce specific rules for dress.

Miracle Garden, Dubai

Miracle Garden, Dubai

Icecream cones at Miracle Garden, Dubai

Icecream cones at Miracle Garden, Dubai

 

It all comes down to what you’re comfortable wearing. As an outsider. I didn’t feel appropriate exposing too much skin, especially outside of our hotel.  

Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Aquarium

At Sofitel the Palm, Dubai

At Sofitel the Palm, Dubai

Basically anything is acceptable inside the hotels, and at pools. At Atlantis Waterpark, I saw women in thong bikinis swimming right along women wearing burqini’s. No one seemed to mind what anyone around them was wearing. 

Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark Dubai

Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark Dubai

The rules regarding dress in mosques and other sacred places, is pretty strict. To enter the building, women must be covered with a scarf on their head.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Other than religious buildings, it’s really not that strict. Just do what makes you comfortable and have a great time! Have any questions? Just share it in the comments below.

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