Lots of people have been asking me about what to wear in Oman. Oman is a Muslim country. Clothing in Oman is very conservative for both men and women and so it’s important to bear that in mind. The locals are extremely hospitable and welcoming to travellers – you do not want to offend them. Today I’m sharing all my knowledge and advice on what to wear in Oman – I hope that it helps you to make the most out of your trip.
How do the Locals dress in Oman?
It’s really a beautiful thing to see the locals in their traditional dress in Oman. The women wear head scarves and quite often the abaya (though it’s not compulsory for women here like it is in Saudi).
Men in Oman wear the ‘dishdasha’ which is an ankle-length collarless robe with long sleeves. It keeps them cool but is also a part of tradition. Many Omani men will also wear a small flat embroidered hat called a Kuma.
What to wear in Oman – A Brief Introduction
Because clothing in Oman is very conservative, both women and men should pack long trousers and long sleeved tops and T-shirts. Long sleeved light linen tops with cotton/linen pants or long walking trousers are perfect for Oman. Jeans can be a little heavy in the heat, but it depends what time of year you go. In the autumn and winter months (September through to March) they will be perfect. I was in Oman in March and wore comfy jeans and leggings most of the time.[amazon table=”30278″]
What to Wear in Oman as a Woman
If you are visiting Oman as a woman you will need to avoid:
- Strappy dresses
- Vest tops and dresses or tops that expose the shoulders.
- Short skirts or shorts
It is respectful to follow the culture of Oman while you are there, and that means not exposing too much flesh. As it is a country with a hot climate, this means choosing your garments carefully! Light and flowy linen and cotton tops work well.
There are a few essentials that you should definitely pack for Oman:
- Jeans and or leggings
- Long sleeved tops or cotton and linen tops that cover the shoulders
- Dresses with full sleeves and long (you can also choose to wear these with leggings)
- A headscarf
- A pair of comfortable sandals or flip flops
- A sturdy pair of walking boots
Comfortable cotton leggings are perfect for Oman because you can wear them for hiking and also wear them under skirts and dresses so you can wear your nice dresses while still being conservative! I took a pair of black and a pair of navy.
For women, pack a scarf or shawl that you can wear as a headscarf and maybe some hair grippers to hold it in place. It shouldn’t have pictures of animals or people on it – a plain solid colour is best.
Whilst you won’t be expected to wear it all the time, you will need a headscarf to visit certain places including Sultan Kaboos Mosque.
Walking Boots and Aqua Shoes
You can pick up a cheap pair of Aqua shoes for just over £10 on Amazon. Take them to Wadi Shab, Tiwi and Wadi beni Khalid. Particularly on Wadi Shab, if you want to make it inside the cave, aqua shoes are essential, otherwise treading on all the pebbles in bare fit will be agony! (Trust me – I’ve done it!)
These women’s walking boots are great for trekking in the Jebel Shams and other hikes – Oman is very mountainous and it’s a popular hiking destination. Go for ones that are Goretex if possible as it is breathable. I wore these lightweight Karimor ones and they were perfect…
Full covering swimming costumes
Even when you go swimming you will need to be conservative. Bikinis are an absolute no-no. I’ve seen some Western tourists wearing them, but this is offensive to the locals. Go for a full swimming costume, or even better a shoulder covering surfing swim suit with built in shorts. Something like this would be perfect for swimming in Oman:
What to Wear in Oman as a Man
As a male tourist in Oman, T-shirts and shorts would be okay, but long sleeved T-shirts and long cotton walking trousers are preferred.
Men’s Walking trousers
Men’s proper cotton walking trousers are great for trekking in Oman and also they usually have pockets to store things like your phone and tissues. Jeans are fine for Oman but some people get too hot in them in the warmer months.[amazon box=”B0874Q1GQ9″ /]
Choose some light walking trousers with an elasticated waist as these are the most comfortable.
Long Sleeved T-Shirts
Long sleeved T-shirts will be seen as respectful by the locals and they have a practical advantage of protecting you from sunburn. 3 quarter length T-shirts are also suitable and comfortable for travel in Oman.[amazon box=”B08M9VLBSQ” /]
Wear a Kuma and Dishadasha if you like!
Foreign men are welcome to wear a Dishadasha and Kuma, but you are not expected to and certainly don’t have to.
Most Western men who are expats in Oman or tourists don’t wear traditional Omani dress, they wear their Western clothing. You can buy a dishadasha online on Amazon if you really want to!
Again, the Omani Kuma is not necessary for you to wear, but many people like to buy one as a souvenir.
Extras that you need to Pack for Oman
As well as the usual passport, money and clothing, there are some specific things that I’d recommend that you pack for Oman. If you would like to take pictures in the pools and caves on treks then you might like to pack a waterproof phone case. This is a great one and can even be used underwater.
Make sure that you also take sunglasses and a good water bottle. I recommend the SIGG water bottles as they are quite sturdy and keep your water cool.
I’ve used SIGG water bottles in Sharqiya Sands (Oman) and also in the Sahara Desert of Morocco!
Further Reading on Oman
If you are interested in reading more about visiting Oman, check out these fabulous articles from templeseeker:
- Wadi Shab – My favourite Hike in Oman
- Sharqiya Sands – The Best place to see the Desert of Oman
- 20 Oman Travel Tips – Know before you Go!
- Oman Air Review – My new favourite Airline!
If you have any comments or questions about what to wear in Oman, please drop a comment on my blog below and I would be happy to help.