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Bikini in Dubai? Dress Code Tips for Dubai & Abu Dhabi Tourists

| Polly Shepherd

Bikini in Dubai? Dress Code Tips for Dubai & Abu Dhabi Tourists

UAE Dress Code Guide For Tourists

Original work by Skylar Black, last revised by Polly Sheppard.

Dubai has risen to the top of many travellers’ bucket lists in recent years, and for a good reason. Dubai is a glittering city of luxury and innovation and is often hailed as the Las Vegas of the UAE. However, there are markedly different laws and regulations in place in Dubai than in Vegas, and many of them have to do with the dress code. Many people book their dream holiday and then find themselves wondering “Are bikinis allowed in Abu Dhabi?” and what the clothes rules in Dubai look like.

The United Arab Emirates, much like many of its neighbours, is a Muslim country with a long history of cultural traditions and religious respect, and tourists are expected to be mindful of Dubai’s culture while visiting. Clothing restrictions vary from Emirate to Emirate in the UAE, so we’re doing our best to give you a snapshot of what you should be packing to ensure that your dream vacation goes off without a hitch.

Dress Code UAE

Frequently Asked Questions about Dubai Dress Code

Does Dubai have a dress code for women?

Yes, but it's the most progressive of any Muslim country. You can wear just about everything in your wardrobe, you just need to be a bit more mindful of where you wear it.

Can I wear a bikini in Dubai?

Yes! Bikinis are commonplace in Dubai on both public and private beaches. Just don't wear your bikini outside of your resort or on the street. Fashionable beach cover-ups are a girl's best friend in Dubai.

Do I have to wear a headscarf / hijab?

Only when visiting mosques or 'old' Dubai. If you're visiting during Ramadan or Eid, you'll be more comfortable if you keep a versatile headscarf with you in case the need arises.

Can women wear shorts?

Yes! Women can wear shorts in most places in Dubai.

Can I wear a thong bikini in Dubai?

Whilst we wouldn't recommend it, it does happen. You'll be most comfortable wearing your thong bikini at your resort or private beach.

Do women have to wear a burqa?

Non-Muslim women visiting Dubai do not need to wear a burqa, not even when visiting a mosque. However, you will have to cover your hair and cannot have your shoulders or knees showing.

Can women wear mini skirts in Dubai?

Yes! Show off your sunkissed legs at any of the trendy resort clubs or beach bars in Dubai. Just be mindful of venturing too far away from the tourist areas in your mini skirt.

Are there nude beaches in Dubai?

There are no topless or nude beaches in Dubai, whether public or private.

What to Wear in Dubai

Dubai is the tourist capital of the UAE, and it’s established itself as the fashion capital of the Middle East as well. As a result, the Dubai dress code is are more liberal than they are in other Emirates, particularly for female travellers. However, there are still laws and common courtesy rules to abide by while visiting.

One of the most controversial pieces of clothing that concern tourists is the bikini - many believe that two-piece bathing suits are off-limits for Dubai and the rest of the UAE. While bikinis are perfectly acceptable in Dubai as long as you wear them at appropriate places like the beach or the pool. Wearing swimwear outside these places is considered disrespectful, so leave them in your hotel room when you decide to explore the streets.

The Do’s
  • Two-piece bathing suits: Two-piece swimsuits are generally accepted in Dubai as long as they’re worn at appropriate places! We generally recommend sets that provide more coverage, such as the Zadie Nile Bikini from Hunza G.
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  • T-shirts: T-shirts are perfectly fine for going around Dubai, provided they don’t feature any expletives or inappropriate art on them.
  • Shorts: Showing some of your legs is also acceptable in Dubai, but most public venues prefer that your upper legs (your hips to the tops of your knees) be covered. If you’re concerned about the length of shorts, try a pair of flattering high waist pants like the Womens High Waist Pants with Checkered Print by Faithfull The Brand. This same rule generally applies to skirts.
The Don’ts
  • Thong bikini bottoms: While these aren’t expressly forbidden in Dubai, they are generally frowned upon on publisb beaches. Opt for a bottom with more coverage like the Valentine Boyshort Bottom by Kiini to comply with Dubai and Abu Dhabi swimwear rules, or keep them for wearing in the hotel pool.
  • Bra tops and crop tops: Much like swimwear, tops that are more revealing tend to be frowned upon on the streets of Dubai and may even deny you access to certain public places. Opt for t-shirts and blouses that cover your midriff and shoulders, like the Eliana Top by Cleobella if you’re off exploring for the day.
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  • Booty shorts and mini skirts: Any bottom that reveals your buttocks is a big no in Dubai outside of your hotel. That said, around the hotel pool areas where you might wear a bikini, these are generally accepted, so just be a bit mindful what you have planned for the day if you’re thinking of donning anything super short.
  • Plunging necklines: Much like the thighs and buttocks, make sure you aren’t showing excessive cleavage while walking around Dubai. Square necklines and scoop necks are the way to go!
  • Going topless: Going topless, even on a beach, is forbidden in Dubai and counts as publisc nudity, which could result in a fine or more serious action.

Is the Abu Dhabi dress code different to Dubai?

Tourists often wonder if and what differences there are between the Emirates in terms of fashion restrictions and dress codes. As a general rule, Dubai is more liberal, however this in no way means the Abu Dhabi tourist dress code is super strict. The key to remember with both Emirates is that respect is key, so err on the side of caution when you’re pulling out your most skimpy swimwear set to wear to the public beach, or your booty shorts for the mall and remember that this might offend the local community.

Special Notes: Mosques and Religious Sites

While most of Dubai and the other Emirates follow fairly modern dress codes, certain places require special care. The UAE is home to breathtaking mosques and religious sites that attract many tourists. Still, it’s important to remember that these places are first and foremost places of worship and should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

What to Wear To a Mosque in UAE:

  • A Headscarf: Women must cover their hair while visiting a mosque, typically with a scarf. If you’re not sure how to wear a headscarf (often referred to as a hijab), here’s a tutorial video to get you started!
  • Long-sleeved tops with high necklines: Most mosques require that women be covered from the neck to the wrists - long blouses made from linen or cotton are great options to ensure that you won’t overheat, and the UAE dress code generally prefers them to be looser fitting items instead of skintight.
  • Long skirts or dresses: Women are not permitted to wear trousers while visiting a mosque, so make sure that you pack an ankle-length skirt or maxi dress to wear when you go.

While many of these rules apply specifically to women, there’s also a dress code for men who visit mosques: wear long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt that are clean and don’t feature any offensive imagery or language.

Some mosques have even more specialised clothing requirements, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Here, women are required to wear an abaya, a traditional robe that you can borrow from the mosque before you enter.

Dubai Dress Code For Tourist - What To Wear In Dubai
Happy Travels!

The UAE is a culturally rich country full of adventures and surprises, and many travellers flock to its beautiful shores for an amazing vacation. As long as you respect the local culture and traditions and pack appropriate clothing, your Dubai adventure will be one to remember for all the right reasons!

If you visit Dubai wearing one of our favourite pieces, make sure you let us know with #SawItOnSandDollar!

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