Essential Dress Code In Abu Dhabi Guide: What To Wear On Arabian Land

Abu Dhabi is one of the most stunning places in the world. The entire United Arab Emirates is home to some of the best man-made attractions. This luxury desert playground makes a great getaway for adults. But, before you begin packing for your Arabian adventure, there is a dress code in Abu Dhabi and Dubai you need to follow.

After reading this post, you will know all the clothing you need to ditch from packing in your suitcase.

Here I gathered the Abu Dhabi dress code for female tourists and males. Furthermore, you will know what to wear across Abu Dhabi and Dubai for many different occasions and activities. 

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Things To Know Before Going To The UAE

Dress code in Abu Dhabi photo of a walkway.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the best countries to visit in the Middle East as a tourist. Man-made wonders are the reason why many travelers decide to visit the UAE, as well as others. Besides knowing the dress code in Abu Dhabi and other cities, there are a few things to know before landing on Arabian land.

Another important thing about the UAE is that it is a conservative country. Regulated by Islamic laws, the country is known for having strict requirements in terms of clothing. The dress code in Abu Dhabi requires you to dress decently and with no unnecessary skin showing.

Something else to consider is alcohol is only available at hotels. If you’re craving a cocktail after your long flight, your best bet is to grab one at any of the hotels in the city. 

Also, avoid public displays of affection, crossdressing, and being intoxicated in public.  These behaviors might cost you a hefty fine or your stay in Abu Dhabi.

Finally, you’ll be surprised at how hospitable the country is. Since the majority of the country’s income comes from tourism.  They try their absolute best to make you feel at home. Employees are respectful, friendly, and at your disposal at all times. Don’t hesitate to ask them about the best places to eat and explore. 

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What Is The Traditional Attire?

The traditional dress code in Abu Dhabi for citizens consists of a black head-to-toe long robe with a hijab for women. Men wear a long white robe, accompanied by the traditional UAE Keffiyeh.

Both men and women need to cover almost every inch of their skin with clothing, and women can only remove the Abaya (the robe with hijab) only in their homes or in presence of other women.

Best Time To Visit Abu Dhabi And Dubai

If you’re planning your trip to the UAE, the best time to have the perfect Arabian experience takes place between April and May, or September to October. Fall and spring are the best seasons to go to Abu Dhabi due to the pleasant weather and affordable hotel rates.

If you want to stay in Abu Dhabi with absolutely no sweat or anything similar, visiting the place in winter is recommended, from December to March. Beware, though, that this is the peak season, meaning that you’ll see huge crows everywhere.

Summer (April-October) is when prices are at their best, which is great if you want to visit Abu Dhabi on a budget, but the heat is super intense. 

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Dress Code In Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Dress code in Abu Dhabi photo of a bridge in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The dress code in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is strict, and no revealing clothing is allowed in public places. Covering your body from head to toe is necessary, and depending if you identify yourself as a man or a woman, your clothing requirements might vary.

Note: sadly, the United Arab Emirates punishes lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals and they can face legal challenges. Crossdressing is prohibited by law, and the consequences of doing so can be severe. 

What To Wear In Abu Dhabi As A Woman

The Abu Dhabi female dress code requires women to wear a robe that covers everything from their necks to their heels. A simple guide to the Abu Dhabi dress code for female tourists is to simply cover your shoulders and knees, avoid transparency, and if someone comes to you and asks you to cover up, please do so.

What To Wear In Abu Dhabi As A Man

When talking about the dress code in Abu Dhabi as a man, you’re required to cover the majority of your body too. Long robes and loose trousers are excellent choices for visiting public places. As a tourist, you don’t need to wear anything traditional to cover your head. 

What You Shouldn’t Pack For The UAE

When deciding what to bring to Abu Dhabi and what to leave at home, there are a few things you should have in mind. 

First, since no revealing clothing is allowed in public places, the list of items you were planning to wear at night might change. In essence, you shouldn’t pack clothing that is too tight or too revealing (both for men and women). 

The rules regarding hotel clothing are more flexible. You can wear a bikini and go for a swim but it is not allowed to wear a swimsuit or something similar on the street.

Further, be careful with offensive graphic t-shirts or other items that might contain certain words or phrases that wouldn’t be welcomed. 

What To Wear In Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Dress code in Abu Dhabi photo of the skyline of Abu Dhabi from the ocean.

There are many misconceptions regarding the dress code in Abu Dhabi in general, therefore the following part will come in handy if you’re looking for specific answers to what to wear in certain places.

All places require you to cover your shoulders and knees, but there are a few that are a bit more flexible than others.

Malls And Hotels Dress Code

You’ll notice that most malls and shopping centers have signs that advise people to wear “respectful” clothing, which means that your shoulders and knees need to be covered. The same rule applies to hotels, although since they’re mostly occupied by tourists, they tend to be a bit blander with the rule.

Abu Dhabi women’s dress code allows you to wear a long skirt and a t-shirt that covers your collarbone, shoulders, and a bit of your neck or something similar if you’d like. As long as you follow this rule, you can wear anything inside those parameters.

Note: most people might think that if you’re accidentally wearing the wrong attire you’ll be severely punished. However, if someone complains about your outfit in a mall, the worst-case scenario will be a security guard approaching you. They will politely ask you to cover yourself. And if you don’t have anything to cover up with, the mall will likely provide you with something. 

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Burj Khalifa Dress Code

Aerial view of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa.

More than likely if you’re visiting Abu Dhabi, you will take a day or two to visit Dubai. Standards there are the same as the Abu Dhabi female dress code. The Burj Khalifa is a must during your trip. Follow the same dress code rules of public places and cover your knees and shoulders here. There is no strict dress code for visiting the Burj Khalifa unless you want to visit the Atmosphere, the restaurant, and the lounge bar located there.

For the restaurant part, you should dress elegantly. As for the lounge, wear casual attire.

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What To Wear To Yas Waterworld

Yas Waterworld is a place you must visit during your stay in Abu Dhabi. You can enjoy the world’s largest surfable sheet wave as well as many other fun attractions.

As for the Abu Dhabi dress code for female tourists visiting Yas Waterworld, you’re required to wear appropriate swimwear (two-piece bikinis are acceptable, but might be a little uncomfortable to move and jump on the rides). 

Do not wear briefs or boxers of any kind, transparent attire in private areas, long pants, denim clothing, jewelry, or accessories (for the safety of other swimmers) as well as clothing with metal buttons, zippers, or buckles (safety).

You can purchase a swimsuit at the park if you accidentally brought one that you cannot wear.

What To Wear To The Beach In Abu Dhabi And Dubai 

Dress code in Abu Dhabi photo of the beach in Abu Dhabi.

The wonderful beaches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are incredible, and to enjoy your stay even more, be mindful of what’s acceptable to wear. 

At the beach, as well as hotel pools and private beaches, the dress code in Abu Dhabi allows you to wear a traditional beachwear outfit, with a bikini if you’d like. But, it is only allowed on beaches and pools, not anywhere else. Don’t walk through the lobby of the hotel or the exit of the beach in your swimsuit. 

Furthermore, ditch the thong and itty bitty bikini tops so you can stay within the Dubai and Abu Dhabi beaches’ dress code. Dress appropriately to avoid being banned from entering beaches and pools.

Do you love adventure? Have a true Arabian exprience with an overnight desert safari.

What To Wear To A Mosque In Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque for Dress code in Abu Dhabi.

The Grand mosque Abu Dhabi dress code follows the rules mentioned in this post, but  a  little more strict. 

In essence, the Abu Dhabi women’s dress code for the mosque requires your knees and shoulders to be covered. Wearing long skirts or pants (no jeans allowed) and a long sleeve shirt that doesn’t show any sign of cleavage. 

You should bring a scarf to cover your head. However, if you don’t have one, they will provide you with a Shayla (head scarf) and an Abaya (black robe) to wear on top of your clothes. 

The Abu Dhabi mosque dress code for men is simple. Males are advised to wear long pants and long-sleeve t-shirts. A white robe will be given if staff feels you’ve not dressed appropriately.

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What To Wear To A Dubai Desert Safari

Dress code in Abu Dhabi photo of the desert.

When it comes to the Dubai desert safari dress code, women can wear jeans, linen trousers, jogging, and anything similar, as well as t-shirts, shirts, and tops. 

Be mindful that, although you might want to dress cute for the pictures, certain clothing might be uncomfortable to wear for certain activities. Remember to bring a jacket when the temperatures cool at night.

For men, you can wear shorts, jeans, t-shirts and basically your typical clothing. The comfort rule just mentioned applies to men too, so choose your outfit wisely.

For both, wear closed shoes that will allow you to do all kinds of activities safely and comfortably. Bring sunglasses to ver your eyes from the sun as well as apply sunscreen regularly. Hats are recommended too!

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What To Wear In Abu Dhabi And Dubai Conclusion

I covered everything you need to know about visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi women’s dress code as well as options for men. 

For the dress code in Abu Dhabi, you just need to follow simple rules that imply you to cover your shoulders and knees. Also, avoid wearing jeans or transparent clothing, offensive graphic t-shirts or accessories,  and no revealing swimsuits. 

You’ll likely see people breaking this dress code. More than likely they’ll probably get approached politely and asked to cover up. Respect the required clothing and their culture to ensure you have a pleasant visit. 

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