Are you wondering what to wear in Oman? Any Middle East wardrobe can be challenging due to local dress code rules and customs however in this guide we have you covered for every traveler to Oman.
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Although there are some commonalities between dress code rules across countries in the Middle east you will find that there are differences between countries depending on their conservatism, tourist appeal and where in each place you are visiting i.e. mosques to beaches.
Oman Dress Code Rules and Questions
Generally speaking when it comes to the Oman Dress Code rules I would say it sits somewhere between Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Saudi Arabia is more conservative whereas Dubai is more liberal. However before we get into what to wear as tourist in Oman we will consider how locals dress.
What do Locals Wear in Oman?
The Omani National Dress is commonly worn by Omani Nationals and if you go to the Souq or to one of the many museums in Oman you will see lots of people wearing the traditional dress of Oman.
Compared to other countries in the Gulf like the UAE And Qatar, the national dress of Oman is slightly different.
For men the national dress is the the kumma, dishdasha and an Omani dagger.
The Dishdasha can come in a variety of colors and is usually embroidered but the most formal and commonly seen color is white. However brown is also commonly seen.
The kumma is a circular cap worn sometimes with a headless. I would say the headress of Oman is the most distinctive part of its national dress.
As the Omani dress is so important to local culture there are rules governing its misuse.
For women the national dress is similar to other local countries as consists of a full length black abaya. Usually women will cover their head with a Shayla or hijab.
Unlike in Saudi Arabia you will very rarely see local woman in a niqab, the full face covering but it is not unheard of.
How to Dress for the Weather in Oman?
Oman is a desert country with some subtropical elements. Most people consider the best time to be the winter between the months of October and April. That is because the temperatures are not as high.
The average day time temperature in Oman between the months of October and April are between 17°C to 35°C.
It is worth mentioning however that January and February are considered the rainy season in Oman but it is not too bad.
However having said that Salalah has a completely different climate to other parts of the country and does experience the monsoon. The rainy season in Salalah is considered to be between June and September so if you are visiting in these months you should prepare for some rain. Howver you are rewarded here with greenery that you would not see in other parts of the country.
The summer between June and August gets excessively hot and can be uncomfortable to do some of many Oman’s amazing outdoor activities at this time.
Oman Dress Code for Women
If you are wondering what to wear in Oman as a woman there are few things that you need to consider when packing:
- Shoulders must be kept covered
- Knees must be covered
- Clothing should not be too revealing or too tight
Overall I would surmise that as a conservative Muslim country your clothing as a woman in Oman should be conservative too.
Do you have to wear a hijab in Oman?
It is not required for tourist women in Oman to wear a head covering such as a hijab. However as with any Middle East country I recommend packing a pashmina with you.
A pashmina is really helpful when traveling in the Middle East as it can be used as a headscarf when in more conservative or religious venues such as mosques, as a wrap if you don’t feel covered enough and even as an extra layer for malls and cinemas where the air condition is very strong.
Also if you are heading into the mountains or places where sandstorms can take you by surprise they are useful as face coverings and skin protection.
Whilst a Shayla is not required, it can still be wise for women to pack a headscarf for Oman. More so for the weather conditions than religious reasons.
Can you wear a bikini in Oman?
In answer to can you wear a bikini in Oman the answer is both yes and no as it really depends where you are in Oman. If you are on one of the many beautiful public beaches or in other public places then you absolutely can not wear a bikini in Oman. Oman is a conservative Muslim country and bikinis would not be appropriate in any public setting.
However if you one of the many resorts that Oman has on offer then you may wear a bikini. I would still however wear a bikini that has more covering and is slightly more conservative than say a thong bikini to be respectful of local culture.
When we visited Oman we stayed at The Chedi in Muscat. Here we saw all sorts of swimwear in the resort setting however I definitely felt more comfortable in my tankini.
If you want to swim in one of the amazing Wadis in Oman, then you need to dress more conservatively. Often at Omani Wadis you will see signs regarding appropriate attire and this is often enforced.
Therefore we recommend packing some leggings and t shirts with you if you plan on swimming in public wadis.
Can you wear shorts in Oman?
Again, the answer as to whether can you wear shorts in Oman is yes and no and is dependent on where you are.
Can you wear jeans in Oman?
There are absolutely no rules regarding whether or not you can wear jeans in Oman. However if you are considering jeans I would urge you to look closely at the Omani weather for your dates of travel. As a subtropical desert climate Oman can get HOT HOT HOT and therefore jeans may not be the most comfortable choice of attire.
Can you wear ripped jeans in Oman?
Ripped jeans are a bit of a grey area when traveling in Oman. That is because it is highly dependent on where the rips are.
We therefore not packing any ripped jeans that show knees or above as that is against the dress code of Oman.
Can you wear skinny jeans in Oman?
Now we know you can wear jeans in Oman – what about skinny jeans? I would say you can wear skinny jeans in Oman but it is against the ethos of the rules. Also given the weather in Oman it would be uncomfortable when outside to be in skinny jeans in my opinion.
Can I wear leggings in Oman?
Similarly to the question of wearing skinny jeans in Oman, we also get asked ‘can I wear leggings in Oman?”
As they are tight fitting I probably wouldn’t wear them out in more conservative public places and in more rural settings where the locals tend to be more conservative than in city. Also they can feel quite hot.
However if you want to exercise in Oman even in a public place then wearing leggings in Oman is acceptable. Also if you want to go swimming in the wadis in Oman then leggings are a great choice.
What is the Oman dress code for men?
Although the dress code in Oman is explicit on what men can and can’t wear I would advise you to dress more conservatively.
Therefore for men I would advise ankle length but lightweight trousers and long sleeve shirts and t shirts instead of shorts and tank tops for instance.
What Should Children wear in Oman
Children in Oman don’t have a strict dress code. You will find locals do dress children more conservatively but as a tourist you should dress your children for the weather.
We therefore recommend wearing lightweight and breathable fabrics and long sleeves for added sun protection.
But don’t forget to bring sun hats, sun screen and sun safe clothing and swimwear.
What to Wear at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a Muslim religious site therefore it should come as no surprise that you need to dress conservatively.
You should be covered from neck to ankles with arms covered to your wrists. It is also respectful to have your head covered with a scarf or pashmina.
However if you are this covered you will want to make sure the fabrics you are wearing are light and breathable but not see through.
Your clothing will be checked before admittance is allowed.
What To Wear To Visit Wadis and Mountains In Oman
If you decide to visit the Wadis and Mountains in Oman alongside Muscat and the resorts it is important to remember:
- the climate in the mountains is different to city and will be cooler
- people in this area tend to expect more conservative dress and can be enforced
- that swimwear in Wadis needs to be more conservative than at your resort.
Best Shoes for Oman
When looking for the best shoes in Oman it really depends on where you are going and what activities you plan on doing. If you plan to stay in the city or at your resort then you will not need to have walking shoes. However if you are going into the mountains to visit forts, hikes and wadis then you need more robust shoes.
For the best shoes to take to Omanwe recommend the following:
Useful for exploring souqs and walking
Sandals / Flip Flops
For round the pool and on beaches at resorts
Shoes with Robust soles i.e. hiking sandals
These are essential if you plan to head into the mountains to hike, go to forts or head to the wadis.
What to Wear in Oman for Women
Maxi Skirts and Maxi Dresses
A Maxi skirt or maxi dress is always on my Oman packing list.
Maxi skirts and dresses are a great modest but cool piece of clothing however just be sure that if you pack these that there isn’t an overly high slit that reveal your knee or a low back or thin straps which would be against the dress code.
For Maxi Dresses we recommend a t shirt variety. We also recommend to try and pick one made of a natural fabric such as cotton so it is more breathable.
Long Sleeve Blouses
T Shirts with sleeves
A T Shirt that covers the shoulder is great wherever you are heading in Oman.
For any trip to Oman whatever time of year you are traveling we recommend taking a pashmina. This is for several reasons:
- The air conditioning can be very strong so you may want to have a pashmina as an extra layer for some indoor locations.
- It can be used to make an outfit more modest when required.
- It can be used as a head covering if required.
It might sound strange to be heading to a country that has daytimes temperatures in the 30s and that can soar into the 40s but I recommend taking a cardigan.
The reason is because the indoor venues in Oman have strong air conditioning so you will want an extra layer.
Robust walking shoes
I always opt for one pieces for Oman as it is a conservative country. However if you are planning to visit a Wadi then you will need something more conservative.
Leggings and T shirt
This goes without saying.
Helpful for at a resort.
The sun is very strong in Oman so to protect your face from the sun while walking hanging out on the beach or especially in the mountains when there is little shade.
For the same reason as above.
What to Wear in Oman for Men
Many people think that the Omani dress code rules only apply to women but they apply to men too. Therefore we recommend keeping shoulders and knees covered when out in public in Oman. Therefore you should put the following our Oman Packing List for Men
To keep your knees covered for certain public places but keep cool we recommend wearing lightweight cotton pants.
T Shirts are appropriate throughout Oman for men.
Longer Length Shorts
While at hotels and on the beach shorter length shorts are fine, we recommend packing a long length pair for certain public places.
While T shirts are appropriate in most public places, button down shirts are also a great addition to your packing list.
Oman Packing List (Non Clothing)
Now we have covered the clothes you should pack for Oman, we will look at the non clothing items to put on your packing list
- Documents including Marriage Certificate
- Aloe Vera
- Lip Balm with SPF
- Medication and their related prescriptions
- First Aid Kit
- Water bottle – it is important to stay hydrated in Oman especially if you are out hiking in the mountains or spending a lot of time on the beach.
- Cooling Towel
- Quick Dry Towel