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?
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
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.
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!
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.
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. Read my guide to the best luxury hotels in Oman here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a few specific items of women’s clothing I’d recommend for Oman:
Women’s lightweight trousers – It’s good to have some conservative items and not flash too much skin. These are practical, lightweight but a bit cute too!
Women’s sundress – Something pretty and not too short for when it’s appropriate.
Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two. If you pair it with a cardigan it’s more conservative too.
Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.
Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts, and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too.
Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down!
Women’s zip up hooded jacket – A few places get chilly, so you’ll want to be able to layer up occasionally. A zip up hoody like this will come in handy.
Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from!
Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts.
Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities.
Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Under Armour one which has some built in padding for extra support.
Women’s leggings – Leggings are great for active adventures. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight.
Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit!
Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself.
Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!
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 Footwear Should Men Wear In Oman
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.
Here are a few specific items of footwear I’d recommend for Oman:
Birkenstock sandals – Really durable, ideal for men or women and come in multiple colours. There are a few different styles to choose from too.
Teva trekking sandals – Really durable, great for travel, easy to take on and off and they come in lots of colours and patterns.
Skechers lightweight trainers – Really comfortable and they dry quickly too, so are useful for all sorts of travel.
Havianas flip flops – Male or female, everyone should own a pair! These ones for men are fun too.
Cute women’s sandals – Something like this is great for beach clubs, hotels and restaurants.
Tom’s flat loafers – A nice casual shoe for men, easy to slip on and great for exploring or going to restaurants.
Hiking shoes – Only necessary if you’re planning some big adventures. These ones are great as they’re lightweight and breathable.
Water shoes – Again, not essential, but can be useful for rocky areas or hiking around waterfalls.
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.
What 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.
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!
Here are a few specific items of men’s clothing I’d recommend for Oman:
Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use.
Men’s chinos or jeans – I’d recommend a few pairs of chinos, jeans or cargo pants.
Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too.
Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts. They look very cool!
Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more comfortable in the heat.
Men’s zip up hooded jacket – You might want to layer up if it gets chilly in the evenings.
Men’s jumper – A smarter option for keeping warm.
Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent.
Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in.
Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too.
Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one, so it’s more breathable.
Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans!
What To Pack For Oman: Other Useful Items
If you’re planning a trip to Oman, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…
Insect repellent – Don’t leave home without a decent bug spray. There are plenty of really good insect repellants like this one. If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too. Some hotels and restaurants spray a mist of repellent each day across their grounds, while others offer sprays you can use for free.
Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this, that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen, which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here.
Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy in Oman. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!
Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum.
Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like Oman. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!
Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself on all of those sunny days in Oman.
After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun. It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.
Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my smallest handbag and is nice and sturdy.
Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack. It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!
Reusable water bottle – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the Chilly’s water bottles. I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality!
GoPro – Oman is an adventure-filled country. The best way to capture it is on a GoPro. They’re great for photos and videos, hard wearing, shockproof and waterproof. Whether you’re snorkelling, hiking, white water rafting, wildlife-spotting or zip lining, it’s the perfect accessory. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance that covers your gadgets too.
Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip to Oman, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.
I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment, which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability.
Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges multiple items at once, using plugs or USB and can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!
Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this. It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity. They really do keep your gear safe and dry.
Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!
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!
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