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 boat across river
Crossing Dubai Creek on an Abra
Payphones in Old Dubai historic museum
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 night
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.

flower houses at 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 tunnel with sharks
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. 

swimming at 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 artwork

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.


5 Reasons to Love/Hate Dubai

After galivanting around the city for a week, I gathered my thoughts on what to expect when visiting Dubai. The good, the bad and everything in between. There is not perfect place, every has it’s pros and it’s cons. 

First Time in Dubai – 5 Tours to Try

I recently returned from a week in Dubai, UAE. This was my very first trip to the Middle East. When I return from trips, I like to reflect on what was unique to the location and the visit. Every city is different, the food, the language, sometimes it feels the complete opposite of home. Those…

25 Other Reasons to Visit China

My next extended trip will be to China. My trip will span 10 days and my time will be spent mostly between Beijing and Shanghai. I think the #1 attraction to China for most people is the Great Wall, but here are plenty of other reasons to go! I’m pretty certain I will eventually return…

5 Reasons to Love/Hate China 

China has a very interesting culture and history.  Just like anywhere in the world – there’s some things you absolutely love and some things you could really do without. So here’s what you can expect when heading to China! 1. Love: History Ancient cities are all throughout China! There are so many incredible buildings and…

8 thoughts on “What to Wear in Dubai as a Female Traveler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s