This is probably one of the most asked questions by travellers travelling to Islamic countries for the first time. This probably caused me the most stress because I got a lot of advice (from persons who have never even been to the country), telling me how strict the nation was. So what was a girl to do?

I read many blogs and after that, I read some more and in the end, I decided to be as conservative as possible with light airy clothes until I got there and was able to understand a bit more about the culture and rules.

So here is what I learnt that would help you when it comes to packing for your trip:

Weather Plays A Factor

The weather is extremely hot, dry and humid. You’d be surprised but for the 11 days that we stayed in Dubai, it never rained! With that being said, cotton is the answer to your problems. Have you ever wondered why Muslim men wear a long robe (a kandourah) and a cloth headdress (the ghutra)? It’s because it not only protects them from the sun but the sandstorms!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

Dubai Is An Islamic Nation But Dubai Is Surprisingly Modern

This was one of the most shocking things for me. Because it was so modern and filled with more expats than Emiratis, you’ll see not only very trendy fashion but the western culture is predominant. Therefore, the residents definitely do not play it safe with their fashion. But in respect for the traditions and culture, we kep it very simple and wore long dresses or jeans.

Locals Are Usually Dressed Modestly Or Traditionally

The locals are the individuals which reminded us that it’s an Islamic nation – other than that, I would have forgotten! Abu Dhabi appeared more rooted in tradition and it also more conservative than Dubai as it has a more regimented legal system.

Try To Blend In

Even though I’ve seen a lot of people wear whatever they felt, I believe you should try to blend in. Occasionally you’ll see the locals give you a disapproving look if you are dressed “inappropriately”. Therefore, trying to blend in (somewhat) minimizes the likelihood that you’ll offend anyone or anyone’s culture. So think about where you are going and dress to suit.


If you’re heading over to this fascinating country, be sure to check out

‘UAE’ In A Nutshell: A Quick (And Useful) Guide To The United Arab Emirates

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