If you are wondering what to wear in Oman, I can honestly say that there is no strict Oman dress code for tourists. Nonetheless, it’s good to wear clothing that respects the local culture and customs. Here are a few must-haves in your packing list that will help you travel better in Oman!
Before taking off for a trip, one of the most important tasks is starting a packing list. This is especially the case for Asia, where culture and traditions are quite different from the west. If you are wondering what do tourists wear in Oman, my advice generally stays the same, no matter the destination. Wear something comfortable, as long as you pay attention to and have respect for the local custom. When it comes to Oman, there isn’t a strict Oman dress code for tourists. Nonetheless, the country is quite conservative in nature, which means that it is best to avoid bare shoulders and lots of legs.
Traditional Oman clothing is easily identifiable. For Omani men, a dishdasha, which is an ankle-length gown, is worn. Dishdasha is generally white in color and is accompanied by kumah, a matching traditional cap. In public, you will notice Oman women with their black abaya and a matching hijab. If you look closely, you will notice the details and patterns on some of the dishdashas and the abayas. Oman women, especially in Muscat, will also decorate their outfits with simple accessories and colorful scarfs.
Oman is one of the more conservative countries I’ve visited. Compared to India, China or Colombia, it is also a relatively expensive country to travel in. Although I love shopping local when visiting a new country, it’s definitely more practical to bring enough clothing with you when are visiting Oman.
Below are a few extra resources that can help make your Muscat trip smoother:
Find affordable flights on Kiwi, a booking site that mixes and matches flights from different airlines to find the best/most economic route (Kiwi offers a money-back guarantee if you miss a connection).
I’d also suggest bringing a good guide book to Oman with you. They are great for long commutes, especially in places with little wifi and phone signal. They are great for a deeper understanding of the country and will provide information on vitals like important contact numbers and other hidden gems. Rough Guides guidebook is one of the more thorough guidebooks for Oman.
If you are still wondering whether Oman should be your next destination, these 10 reasons may inspire you!
Have specific questions regarding your trip to Oman? Join our Oman Travel Planning Facebook group to get them answered!!
Otherwise, here’s a complete packing list for what to wear in Oman.
Loose, Long Dresses
For women traveling in Oman, long dresses are an excellent addition to our traveling wardrobe. Not only are dresses easy to carry (just roll them up and you are good to go), but they also provide great comfort and versatility. Oman can be incredibly hot to travel around, especially during the summers. A loose dress will give you some breathing space and provide a cooler feel on a warmer day.
A dress can also be used as a blanket or pillow, and I’ve more than once threw it over my clothes during a breezy evening or a chilly night.
Oman women tend to have their arms, legs, and hair covered. There’s no need for you to wear a hijab or an abaya, but I felt more comfortable with long dresses that covered parts of my arm and legs.
Although I did see other tourists that were a bit more liberal with their outfits, I suggest sticking to a relatively conservative dress code in Oman, especially during the night. Check out these dresses.
Long, Light Scarves
Scarves are one of the most important packing items for any trip abroad. It is a non-stated, but essential article in the Oman dress code for tourists. They are easily found and used in a variety of ways. I always carry three or four scarves to liven up my relatively plain attire. Having a scarf will also make your life easier, as it can be used as a head covering for mosques in Oman. (If you plan on doing a road trip around Oman, you will likely frequent mosques for their public washroom)
If you didn’t bring any along during your trip to Muscat, simply head to the Mutrah Souq. Thousands of scarves can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. They are usually a few rials, which is quite affordable.
Since Oman women tend to dress conservatively, you can follow suit by throwing a scarf on top of a tank top or short-sleeved shirt to blend in a bit better.
I’d also recommend bringing a travel scarf. These handily designed scarves have pockets to keep money and travel documents. They are able to hide your valuables in plain sight while keeping you warm and cozy!
Flowy Skirts & Pants
As with long dresses, skirts and pants are helpful when traveling around the Middle East. I’d recommend loose and flowy skirts and pants that cover the leg to at least mid-calf. It can be a challenge traveling for a long time with the same sets of clothes, so switch up and bottoms and tops!
I throw on a scarf here and there to spice up my ensembles a bit.
Cotton Blouses & Light Cardigans
Having a cotton blouse or three is never a mistake. Oman can be a hot destination to travel in, especially during the summers. Wearing a light-colored, or white cotton blouse will help keep you cool on a summer day.
Having a few long, light-weight cardigan will also be incredibly useful when visiting Oman. If you intend on camping in the desert or visiting one of the mountain ranges (which I highly recommend), it’s a good idea to wear something warm as the difference in temperature can be quite big. I was freezing on top of Jebel Shams!
Kurtis & Kurtas
Oman is a popular destination for immigrant workers from South Asia. As such, it’s not uncommon to see men in Oman dressed in knee-length kurtas. Since South Asia’s traditional attire is quite conservative in nature, it very much resembles the style of both Oman women’s clothing and men’s attire. I love wearing kurtas. Not only are they fun and colorful, but they are breathable and cool. Having a pair of leggings or loose pants under the kurtas will also enable you to go hiking, trekking, and do other movement-based activities.
Although there is no Oman tourist dress code, I’d imagine you’d like to wander the country in some shoes 😊 I always pack a pair of flip-flops and some flats that can be easily stored in my luggage. However, if you’d like to go hiking or trekking, which Is quite common in Oman, I’d suggest that you bring a pair of sturdy trainers that can be brought on for an adventure.
I often read that travelers should not wear jewelry abroad. But I love a few bracelets and a pair of nice earrings. Of course, it’s never a good idea to explore unknown areas with blinding silver hoops and gold watches. All in all, Oman is a safe country to travel in and robbery is rarely reported in the country.
Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to drop anything that looks way to expensive, so that no unnecessary attention will be drawn towards you. As a foreigner, we already receive enough attention as it is.
Instead of bringing along expensive jewelry that you’d be devastated in losing, it might be more fun to buy local goods from a souq or market. You can always put the jewelry away if you felt unsafe.
Oman is known for its beaches and wadis. You can take a dip in anywhere you see fit! Although I do recommend going for a one-piece bathing suit, I also saw tourists swimming in bikinis and swimming trunks. Nonetheless, a swimsuit with better coverage will definitely give you more comfort.
If you are wondering what do tourists in Oman, I can assure you that there isn’t a strict Oman tourist dress code. At the end of the day, you will be most aware of what feels comfortable to you. I felt that by dressing more conservatively, I was able to wander the country without drawing too much attention to myself. I saw many tourists that wore calf-length trousers and t-shirts with no problem.
Regardless of what you wear, as long as you understand the customs and respect local culture, I believe you will have a great time in Oman. These are only some of my recommendations and I hope they help you plan for your trip to Oman!
Travel Essentials for Oman: Miscellaneous
Visa: The MOST important things for your visit to Oman
Camera Gear: Lenses, SD Cards: Trust me, you will grab some insanely beautiful photos.
Portable Charger: Especially if you plan on going camping!
Wet Wipes and Kleenex: Wet wipes are really, really useful for the desert! (Have you tried going to the toilet in the desert during a windy day?)