What do female tourists wear in Dubai

Dress code Dubai

Appropriate clothing plays an important role in Dubai. Because although the emirate is becoming more and more modern and cosmopolitan, it is still a Arab travel destination with sometimes strict dress codes. This is especially true for the local women who traditionally wear the burqa, niqab or hijab (headscarf). This form of concealment is not required by tourists.

Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right clothing for Dubai. Women especially should be here not too revealing and if in doubt, it is better to cover more skin than less. And men should also take a look at the dress code when packing their suitcases. Because a certain dress code also applies to men in Dubai. For example, shorts that end above the knees are not considered appropriate for men either.

If you enter the well-known shopping centers (e.g. the Dubai Mall or the Mall of the Emirates), you will also find them at the entrances Signs of proper clothing. Since the malls are air-conditioned anyway, it is not a problem here to walk around a little more covered. Because you won't break a sweat at 18 to 20 degrees Celsius inside the malls. It gets a bit bizarre, however, when on the one hand you shouldn't show your shoulders, but then you see the lingerie in the Victoria Secret shop window in the mall šŸ˜‰

From our observation, theory and practice also differ in part from one another in Dubai. We have often seen tourists here who definitely did not adhere to the dress code. So there are hotpants and deep necklines in Dubai too. While this is usually tolerated, it is still not considered appropriate. About you as a tourist too to dress respectfully and to respect the culture, you should refrain from showing too much bare skin.

In this article, we will introduce you to the correct dress code for Dubai.

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Dress code Dubai - these rules apply to tourists

Both men and women should adhere to the following dress code in Dubai:

  • Tops that cover the shoulders (i.e. no tops, tops with spaghetti straps or off-the-shoulder tops)
  • Pants that cover the knees (preferably also while sitting)
  • No belly or backless tops
  • Nothing translucentwhere you can see, for example, the underwear or free shoulders (e.g. also no mesh tops)
  • No deep cutswhere you can see a lot of the cleavage
  • No irritating, skin-tight clothing

So if you wear traditional clothing that goes both over your knees and shoulders, you are already well dressed for Dubai. Floor-length pants, skirts or dresses are not required, but still welcome.

In addition to this dress code, you will also find rules of conduct on the signs in the malls. For example, you should do that too Holding hands or kissing Refrain from inside the malls. In practice, however, the rules of conduct, like the dress code, are handled very loosely. You will still meet couples holding hands and tourists with off-the-shoulder or knee-free clothing.

Overall, however, most visitors stick to the rules. That is why we personally always felt more comfortable in Dubai when we were traveling in accordance with the rules. Therefore, when packing, make sure that you only pack T-shirts with sleeves and longer pants. The clothes can of course still thin and breathable so that, even in summer, you don't sweat much more than with shorter clothes.

Thin, breathable clothing for Dubai

It can get very hot in the emirate, especially if you travel to Dubai during the summer months. In July and August, for example, the thermometer often climbs up up to 50 degrees Celsius. Even if you spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms, thin, breathable summer clothing is important. When packing your suitcase, you should therefore be careful not to pack any air-impermeable cotton clothing if possible.

For women, for example, the following dresses are good for a Dubai vacation:


Men are well dressed for Dubai with short trousers that cover their knees and a t-shirt. Pants or shirts made of linen are also good for a vacation in the emirate. If you are still missing something in your wardrobe, you can take a look at these men's clothing, for example:


The right clothes for swimming (beach and pool)

There in Dubai year-round bathing weather prevails, you might be wondering how things are going with swimwear in the emirate. Here the regulations for tourists are actually quite relaxed. There are no major differences to the European standard here in Dubai either. At least not for tourists. Because you won't see the locals in short swimwear on the beach or pool either.

As a tourist, however, you should observe the following limits for swimming:

  • Women shouldn't be topless
  • Thong bikini bottoms should be avoided (Swimsuits, hot pants or normal bikini bottoms are okay)
  • Men should prefer wide swim shorts wear as short, very tight swimming trunks

But here, too, there is practically nothing that does not exist. And we have already seen young women in thong on the beach in Dubai. Although no one said anything here either, you should go out Respect for arab culture Also with your swimwear, make sure that you are not dressed too revealingly and provocatively.

As soon as you leave the beach or the pool area, you should cover yourself more anyway. Men, too, should e.g. do not walk along the beach promenade without a t-shirt. The swimwear is really only valid for the beach and swimming in the sea.

Swimwear in the water park

If you have a Water Park If you want to visit in Dubai, normal swimwear is also common. Here you can move around in swimwear all the time within the water park. Nevertheless, you will also meet local women here who are in burkini or even niqab in the water park. If the women keep the burqa or niqab on, they actually only stand at the edge of the bathing pool, e.g. to supervise their children. A burkini is then used for swimming.

By the way, if you want to visit a water park, we can recommend the Aquaventure. You can buy tickets for this e.g. displayBuy online via GetYourGuide. This also includes entry to ā€œThe Lost Chambersā€ aquarium. Both attractions are located in the well-known display5 star hotel Atlantis The Palm on the so-called palm island. You can get an impression of the water park in our video:

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The traditional clothing in Dubai - burqa, niqab, hijab, and abaya Kandora

Even if you don't have to wear the Arabic clothes yourself, it is still interesting to know something about it. In Dubai, from our experience, you will mainly encounter three forms of veiling that apply to women:

  • Burqa
  • Niqab and
  • Hijab (arabic headscarf)

The difference between these three garments is in the Degree of obfuscation. What all three types of clothing have in common is that the entire body is wrapped in black. This robe is usually called abaya in Dubai. Arms, legs, cleavage and hair are always completely covered in local women. There are then differences in the form of facial veiling.

Here is the Burqa the strictest garment. It even covers the eyes and only ensures that the women can see something through a thin net or grid. However, you cannot see their eyes properly. The niqab has a recess for the eyes so that they can be seen freely.

The most moderate form that emerged from our observation about 50 percent of local women wearing in Dubai is the Arab headscarf (hijab). The face is free so that you can see chin, mouth, nose as well as eyes and forehead.

The niqab is also a frequently worn face veil. Less often you see the burqa from our observation. She is as strictest form of concealment actually not too often found in Dubai. But we have also seen women with burqas in the emirate.

Traditional clothing for Arab men

The local men in Dubai traditionally wear a white, ankle-length robe that goes under the name Kandora or Dishdasha is known. It usually sits loosely on the body and is made of cotton. The also white headgear of the Arab men is called Ghutra or Kufiya. This is a cloth that leaves the face and ears free. The neck is usually not covered either. The keffiyeh is traditionally fastened with a black cord and mainly serves as protection from the sun.

Slip into the clothes of the emiratis yourself

If you would like to experience how to dress like the locals yourself, you can often try this as part of the desert safaris. Especially as a woman, it is definitely an "interesting" experience to be able to feel the veil on your own body. Trying on traditional clothes is e.g. displayon this desert safari and is included in the price free of charge. Taking part in a desert safari is from our point of view an absolute highlight in Dubai, which we can highly recommend.

Conclusion: does the dress code restrict your Dubai vacation?

If you travel to the United Arab Emirates, you should pay attention to the right choice of clothing when packing your suitcase. It's best to leave hot pants, spaghetti tops and short dresses at home right away. Because even if, from our experience, no tourist is approached because of clothes that are too short, you should still prefer yourself adhere to the dress code.

For one thing, you're showing respect for the locals. On the other hand, you feel more comfortable yourself if you are not the only one to fall out of line. At least we'd rather feel uncomfortable if we drew the looks of the locals in short clothes. Since you as a tourist are only asked to submit your Cover shoulders and knees, the right clothing for Dubai is also not too difficult to find. A conventional T-shirt and knee-length trousers are sufficient to meet the requirements.

Therefore, we personally do not find the dress code in Dubai particularly restrictive. On the beach, pool or in the water park, you can then also wear normal swimwear. Thus, the differences to any other vacation are not that great. The locals will probably seem exotic to you. Because you actually only see Arab women and men in Dubai in theirs traditional clothing.

How is your experience of clothing in Dubai? Did you find the dress code restrictive? Feel free to leave one comment below the post to share your impressions with us. You can also ask questions here.

We hope this post has helped you and you can now pack the right clothes for Dubai.

All the best

Jenny & Christian

United Arab EmiratesDubai