Home Fashion What To Wear In Oman (For Women And Men) – 2020 Packing Guide

What To Wear In Oman (For Women And Men) – 2020 Packing Guide

by Chloe Gunning
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat
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Wondering what to wear in Oman? Whether you’re heading to Muscat, the beach, mountains or the desert, this helpful guide will help you pack for your trip.

When you visit somewhere like Paris or Florida on holiday, you just KNOW what to pack. Summer dresses for beach time in Florida, jeans and jumpers for Paris. Easy. But when it came to packing for Oman, I had a lot of questions.

Is it ok to wear swimwear in Oman?

Is there an Omani dressing style to be aware of, or any etiquette to adhere to?

Are women expected to wear a hijab in Oman?

How covered up should I be?

Exploring Rustaq Fort, Oman

Exploring Rustaq Fort, Oman

After visiting the country recently, and experiencing a huge mix of climates, landscapes and activities over just a few days, I’m ready to share my tips on what to wear in Oman. Before I left, I spent time researching what to pack but I didn’t find much information that was a) up to date or b) would cover lots of regions and styles of travel.

Oman is in the Middle East, yet when it comes to clothing, it’s a little more relaxed than some of its closest neighbours (which include Saudi Arabia). That being said, there’s an ‘etiquette’, and it’s somewhere you should respect the culture and dress appropriately. Omanis are among the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels, so most likely you’ll get a few stares if you’re dressed in something a little inappropriate, but no one will do anything. 

READ MORE: First Timer’s Guide To Visiting Oman 

Birkat Al Mouz, Oman

Birkat Al Mouz, Oman

It’s a Muslim country, so if you’re considering visiting any mosques on your trip (such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat) you’ll need to cover up. A lot of the country enjoys high temperatures all year round, and when you’re inside the comfort of a resort, it’s fine to wear swimwear or reveal a little more skin.

While you may think of Oman as hot, hot, hot, it’s actually a country with several different climates. Generally, Oman’s warmer months are April – October, then Nov – March are a little cooler.

In summer in Muscat, temperatures can reach 40 degrees (or higher), meanwhile in the Jabal Al Akhdar Mountains in winter, temperatures drop to as low as 6 degrees. That’s quite a contrast, so you’ll want to make sure you pack the right clothing.

Muscat Souk

Muscat Souk

After visiting in November and spending a lot of my pre-trip research googling how to dress in Oman to visit various areas, I thought it’d be helpful to pass on a few words of wisdom. It’s definitely a country you should consider both the culture and practicalities before your trip.

From what footwear you’ll need, to perfect outfits to enter the mosques and a few vital accessories (some of which I wished I’d packed!) here’s my ultimate guide to what to wear in Oman – basically your travel packing list!

Oh, and don’t worry guys, I’ve popped a few ideas together for you men out there who are struggling to with what to take too.


What Should A Woman Wear To Visit Oman?

During my trip, I noticed that most women (both locals and tourists) were respectful of the Omani culture and covered their legs to below the knees, along with their shoulders and chest. Unlike in Dubai, where I saw a lot of tourists in western style clothing (shorts, miniskirts, strappy tops) most women in Oman dressed conservatively.

Omani women were often dressed in abayas (traditional Omani ankle length robe). I saw a few in niqabs (just showing their eyes), but they may have been from Saudi Arabia where the traditional dress is more conservative for women.

Some locals covered their hair with headscarves, but as a tourist this isn’t a necessity unless you’re entering a mosque.

I arrived at Muscat Airport in loose trousers, a t-shirt and trainers… and yes I look a little tired after the flight! 

Arriving in Muscat after a 7 hour flight from London

Arriving in Muscat after a 7 hour flight from London

What To Wear In Oman: Women’s Clothes 

In order to plan what to pack for a trip to Oman, be sure to research exactly where you’re going. As mentioned, temperatures vary from beach areas in Muscat, to the mountains and deserts. I was surprised by just how cold it was at night once I was at altitudes of over 2000m in the mountains.

What To Wear In Muscat As A Woman

If you’re spending a few days in Muscat, I’d pack several outfits. For exploring the city centre I’d recommend a longish skirt, sandals and a t-shirt. In general, it’s a sunshine-filled city, so don’t forget a hat and sunglasses too.

Exploring Muscat, at the Sultan's Palace

Exploring Muscat, at the Sultan’s Palace

There are a lot of luxury resorts in the capital, and at those you’ll be fine dressing as you would on a beach holiday. Rules are relaxed, even on the hotel beaches. Pack swimwear, shorts and light dresses. For dinner I’d recommend covering up a little more.

Enjoying the facilities at the Kempinski Muscat

Enjoying the facilities at the Kempinski Muscat

Also, don’t forget a cardigan or scarf if you’re eating indoors. Some of the restaurants I visited were highly air-conditioned, and I actually felt cold a few times! It took me by surprise when it was over 25-degrees outside.

 

What To Wear As A Woman To Visit A Mosque In Oman 

On my final day in Oman I visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat. At the entrance there are people checking you have dressed respectfully. Thankfully I passed! Women must cover their heads with a scarf, wear full-length trousers or a long skirt, and not show their arms.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

I wore lightweight trousers, trainers, a t-shirt and a cardigan, plus a scarf around my head. I saw some women visiting in sturdy sandals and that seemed to be acceptable. Once inside you’ll need to remove your shoes to enter some of the rooms.

A word of caution – I saw a woman wearing a ¾ length skirt who was denied entry. There’s a gift shop by the entrance where you can buy scarves or rent an abaya.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Ready to explore the mosque in Oman

Ready to explore the mosque in Oman

What To Wear As A Woman In Oman To Visit Wadis, Mountains Or Deserts

If you’re visiting a lot of areas in Oman, and crossing different climates, I’d recommend layers. In the sand dunes I wore ¾ length skirts, t-shirts and a cardigan in the evening. I also packed a bikini so I could enjoy the pool at our hotel, Dunes by Al Nadha.

The pool at Dunes by Al Nadha in Oman

The pool at Dunes by Al Nadha in Oman

We also went quad biking on the first day, and for that I knew that jeans, trousers or a skirt would be a little uncomfortable.

I opted for denim shorts, and while I would usually dress a little more conservatively, I think it’s important to dress practically for activities like this, especially as you don’t want loose fabric to catch on the bike mechanism.

Quad biking in Oman

Quad biking in Oman

If you’re visiting a wadi or sinkhole and plan to swim, then do a little research first. At places like Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole, I read that it’s advised for women to cover up, i.e. wear a t-shirt and shorts over your swimwear / bikini. Sadly I didn’t have time to visit these spots this time, and to be honest a lot of the photos I’ve seen show women in swimwear, but I’d recommend taking a T-shirt, just incase.

I spent a few days in the Jabal Al Akhdar Mountains. At altitudes of over 2000m, it’s known for its Mediterranean climate. Expect warm days when the sun is out, followed by really chilly evenings!

In the evening I wore jeans with a t-shirt, jumper and a woolly cardigan. This was a surprise even to me – I had no idea it would get so cold, but sure enough the temperatures dropped to around 8 degrees at night during my visit.

Jabal Al Akhdar Mountains, Oman

Jabal Al Akhdar Mountains, Oman

I guess what I’d say is if you’re visiting numerous places in Oman, the key is to pack LAYERS!

I packed leggings which I could pop on underneath a dress or skirt if I needed to warm up, or dress more conservatively. Also, scarves will be your best friend! Pack a few of different thicknesses and colours so there’s one to go with everything.

 

What Footwear Should Women Wear In Oman

Flat shoes, hiking boots, sandals, flip-flops, water shoes, wedges, heels… the list goes on. Do you know what, they could ALL be useful in Oman.

For Muscat, I’d recommend flat shoes, trainers or sandals. For the desert, mountain and wadi areas, you may want hiking boots or sports trainers.

I took two pairs of sandals and a pair of Converse trainers, and didn’t feel I needed anything else. If I’d been doing more adventure activities, I think some water shoes and hiking boots could have been useful.

 

What To Wear In Oman: Women’s Accessories

As mentioned, scarves are a useful addition to your suitcase for Oman.  It’s a sunny country, so I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. Also a sun hat, to protect your head from those powerful rays.

I used a backpack for day-to-day adventures, and then used a small shoulder bag for dinners in the evenings.

In most places in Oman, you can drink the tap water, so don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle.

Enjoying the beaches in Muscat

Enjoying the beaches in Muscat

 


Women's packing list for OmanWhat To Wear In Oman As A Man

For men, it’s less of a departure from standard western dress sense than for women. Most men I saw wore shorts, jeans or chinos with T-shirts or shirts, plus a jumper or jacket for colder temperatures.

What to wear in Oman as a man

What to wear in Oman as a man

You’ll see many Omani men wearing dishdashas – traditional national dress which is usually a long white long-sleeved robe, with a tassel at the top. Usually that’s paired with a kumma – a brimless embroidered hat, which is then sometimes covered in a mussar – a scarf to create a turban-like shape.

I thought it looked wonderful, and a wander through the souk in Muscat made me really want to buy one as a souvenir!

Omani in a dishdasha at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Omani in a dishdasha at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Macca wearing a kumma and mussar

Macca wearing a kumma and mussar

 

What To Wear In Oman: Men’s Footwear 

For men visiting Oman, I’d recommend packing trainers or hiking boots, a smart pair of shoes for hotels or posh dinners, plus sandals or flip-flops for beach and desert areas. Remember you’ll need to remove your shoes in the mosques.

Traditional Omani dress in the mosque in Muscat

Traditional Omani dress in the mosque in Muscat

 

Hopefully this post has helped you figure out what to pack for your trip to Oman. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to read my First Timer’s Guide To Visiting Oman

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What To Wear In Oman


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