Visitors to Dubai are often highly concerned about dress codes while visiting the Emirate. As Dubai is an Islamic state despite its heavy Western influence, it is understandable. Due to an enormous tourist population, Dubai is somewhat more lenient with tourist dress codes than locals.
Swimsuits are allowed in Dubai, but many restrictions apply to wearing swimwear in public spaces. While swimsuits are allowed on the beach, at swimming pools, and in water parks, they may not be worn in any public spaces outside these areas. Swimsuits must also not be too revealing.
Despite being allowed to wear a swimsuit in Dubai, you must obey the restrictions that apply to wearing them. There are also several guidelines that you should follow to ensure that you do not offend any locals or any member of local law enforcement. Practicing conservativeness is always advised in any situation in Dubai.
Can You Wear A Swimsuit In Dubai?
Despite its Western Influence, thanks to its large foreign population and constant tourist presence, Dubai remains an Islamic state. Dubai is certainly less conservative compared to other states regarding dress codes for foreigners. Still, there is a fine line between what is considered appropriate versus what is inappropriate.
Dubai’s standards and behaviors are somewhat more relaxed than the other Emirates. However, visitors are still advised to dress modestly in public spaces. While dress codes are not necessarily enforced by law across Dubai, there is a certain dress code that residents and travelers are expected to follow and respect throughout their time in the city.
As a general rule, showing cleavage should be avoided, along with showing the midriff, legs, shoulders, and knees. This is especially true during Ramadan when stricter dress codes apply.
Swimsuits are allowed on beaches, around swimming pools at hotels and resorts, and at water parks. However, certain restrictions apply. You cannot wear transparent tops or bottoms. Thong bottoms are also not allowed as these are considered far too revealing. Sunbathing topless or in the nude is also strictly forbidden.
It’s important to remember that as soon as you move away from the swimming pool or beach, you must change or cover up your swimwear. No revealing outfits are permitted in public areas away from the beach whatsoever. It’s important to show the utmost respect for Muslim culture and avoid unwanted attention.
This is achieved by ensuring you cover up properly when eating meals or having drinks away from beaches and pools. You should always ensure that you visit the provided changerooms to put on a more appropriate outfit before moving to any public spaces.
Public Beaches Vs. Private Beaches
There is some distinction between public beaches and private beaches in Dubai. Private beaches are usually attached to hotels and resorts, and you must be a resident to enter these spaces. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to gain entry for the day or buy a membership to the private beach.
The rules at private beaches are somewhat more lenient than on public beaches. You are generally permitted to wear slightly more revealing swimwear in these areas, but it’s still best to be conservative. Topless and nude tanning or bathing is still forbidden on private beaches.
Public beaches are where the locals hang out, and so this is where you should be far more conservative.
Interesting Facts Regarding Swimsuits In Dubai
Until around five years ago, swimsuits with G-strings and thong-style bottoms were strictly forbidden. Rules have become somewhat more lenient in the last few years. However, tourists are still advised against wearing such revealing swimsuits, especially on public beaches. This is especially true if you would like to avoid being ogled by locals or receive disapproving stares.
There is a tendency for people to take photos of women wearing swimwear on beaches. This is often the case with migrant construction workers on their days off, who wander along the beach taking secret photos of women in their swimsuits.
Taking photos of anybody in Dubai without their permission is strictly forbidden, especially when referring to a woman in a swimsuit. Thankfully, police are highly aware of this phenomenon and can often be seen escorting offenders off the beaches, sometimes arresting them for their transgressions.
When leaving the beach in Dubai, you must use the provided changerooms to remove your swimwear and put on an appropriate outfit to wear in public places. Wearing wet swimwear underneath your casual everyday wear is also considered offensive.
This is mainly because wet swimwear underneath clothing tends to make the clothing tighter and more transparent.
Similarly, you should avoid white swimwear. White swimwear has a tendency to become transparent when wet, causing your outfit to become far more revealing to the public than is acceptable.
Despite being allowed to wear swimwear on public beaches, it will still attract disapproving looks and stares from locals who frequent the beach. With this in mind, it’s important to remain conservative in your swimwear choices.
Another important consideration is footwear. Despite having just come off the beach and (hopefully) changed into an appropriate outfit to wear in public, you should never arrive at a restaurant or any other public space without shoes. Many places simply won’t grant you access if you arrive barefoot.
Swimsuits In Other Emirates
Dubai is known for being the least conservative of all the Emirates. This is mostly due to its extremely high percentage of residents from other nations and a high volume of tourists throughout the year. While Dubai is relatively lenient regarding its dress codes and swimsuit regulations, other Emirates are far more strict.
Ras al Khaimah, the Northernmost Emirate, is far more strict regarding swimwear. There is a far higher percentage of locals here than in Dubai. As such, the locals are far more conservative by comparison. As a result, conservative locals have complained about tourists wearing swimwear on beaches.
To keep conservative locals happy, signs have been placed on beaches warning tourists against wearing any sort of revealing swimwear at any time.
There are no rules against wearing swimsuits in Dubai. However, there are certain restrictions regarding the type of swimsuit worn and, most importantly, the locations where you are permitted to wear a swimsuit. Avoid wearing a swimsuit in public spaces other than the beach, swimming pool, or water park. Avoid wearing extremely revealing swimsuits as far as possible.