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How to dress for abu dhabi?

5 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Some countries you just know what to wear. If I visit a big city like New York, I know I’ll need a few pairs of jeans, some nice outfits for dinner and a few options of footwear. When I book a beach break, I reach straight for my bikinis, shorts and sandals.

But I remember when I visited the UAE, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I’d need! I’d been to Dubai before, but on my second trip I visited all seven of the United Arab Emirates, with a big chunk of my time spent in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE has a more formal and traditional approach than Western society. It’s a Muslim country, and while the dress code isn’t strict everywhere, it’s important to be respectful of the culture.

When it comes to packing for Abu Dhabi, there are a few quite common questions. Things like…

Perhaps some of these are questions you’ve been asking too? Well, after travelling around the capital of the Emirates, I’m ready to share my tips on what to wear in Abu Dhabi. Before my trip I probably did exactly as you are now – Googled what I should pack! However, I didn’t find much information that was up to date or covered the range of activities I planned to do.

Abu Dhabi is located in The UAE in the Middle East. Guidance on how to dress varies a fair bit between countries in this part of the world. For example, I found Oman and Jordan to be quite relaxed, while I’ve heard Saudi Arabia is a lot stricter. Things also vary around the seven Emirates. For example, Dubai is very metropolitan and touristy, so you’ll see a lot more Western dress. Meanwhile, the Emirati state Sharjah was a lot more conservative.

I believe it’s somewhere you should respect the culture and dress appropriately. It’s unlikely there would ever be consequences for dressing disrespectfully (so don’t worry too much about buying a new wardrobe before your trip)… I just think it’s important to adapt to the culture you’re visiting. Most likely you’ll get a few stares if you’re dressed in something a little inappropriate, but no one will do anything.

What you wear in Abu Dhabi will depend a lot on what you’re planning to do. If you’re considering visiting any mosques on your trip (such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque) you’ll need to cover up. Temperatures are warm in The UAE all year round, so when you’re inside the comfort of a resort, it’s fine to wear swimwear or reveal a little more skin.

Abu Dhabi has a dry desert climate, which means that in August temperatures can reach 42 degrees, although the average sits at 35 degrees.

The coolest month in Abu Dhabi is January when temperatures average 18 degrees. While it’s not a destination known for rain, the wettest month is February, which sees an average of 20mm of rain.

If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi, I’d suggest visiting between November and March. It’s a great winter sun destination if you’re craving warm weather and sunshine.

I visited in November which was absolutely ideal! I left London where it was around 10 degrees and landed in Abu Dhabi just over 6 hours later to gorgeous blue skies and sunshine! My suitcase was stuffed full of outfit options as I had been so unsure of what I’d need. Thankfully, I’ve now done all of the research so you don’t have to!

From what footwear you’ll need, to perfect outfits to enter the mosques and a few vital accessories (some of which I wished I’d packed!) here’s my ultimate guide to what to wear in Abu Dhabi – basically your travel packing list! There’s a whole section on what to wear in Abu Dhabi as a woman, plus a section for men, and some suggested footwear options too and other essentials too. Happy packing!

When I was out in the city, I noticed that most women (both locals and tourists) covered their legs to below the knees, along with their shoulders and chest. I found Dubai to be a bit more relaxed as there are a lot more tourists there.

Some local women wore abayas (traditional ankle length robes) or niqabs (just showing their eyes), but plenty were in Western dress. Some locals covered their hair with headscarves, but you don’t need to do this as a tourist unless you’re entering a mosque.

In order to plan what to pack for a trip to Abu Dhabi, be sure to research exactly where you’re going. Think about if you’re just going to spend time in a luxury resort, or you’re planning to venture out to the mosque, theme parks, shopping malls or galleries.

I packed several skirts below the knee and tops with sleeves. I also wore slightly skimpier items (strappy tops, shorts and bikinis) when we were in our resort. I always carried a scarf in my bag, just in case it felt appropriate to cover up. I also packed a pair of very lightweight loose-fit trousers, that were comfortable to wear in the hot weather.

We did a mix of activities in the Emirates, including a desert safari, kayaking tour through the mangroves, trips to galleries including the amazing Louvre in Abu Dhabi,  trip to Yas Marina Circuit, time at the mosque, boat trip, resort time, restaurants etc.

Here are a few specific items of women’s clothing I’d recommend for Abu Dhabi:

Women’s lightweight trousers – It’s good to have some conservative items and not flash too much skin. These are practical, lightweight but a bit cute too!Women’s sundress – Something pretty and not too short for when it’s appropriate.Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two. If you pair it with a cardigan it’s more conservative too.Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.

Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts, and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too.Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down!Women’s zip up hooded jacket – A few places get chilly, so you’ll want to be able to layer up occasionally. A zip up hoody like this will come in handy.Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from!Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts.Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities.Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Under Armour one which has some built in padding for extra support.Women’s leggings – Leggings are great for active adventures. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight.Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit!Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself.Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

You simply can’t visit Abu Dhabi and not go to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. However, this is somewhere to really think about what to wear. I remember there were people at the entrance checking whether we had dressed respectfully.

Women must cover their heads with a scarf, wear full-length trousers or a long skirt, and not show their arms. You will also need to remove your shoes before entering the mosque. If you’re not dressed appropriately, you’ll be given an abaya (traditional robe) and a shayla (for your head).

I wasn’t wearing anything disrespectful, but I was still given an abaya (as most female tourists are!) To be honest, it was actually amazing to have the experience of wearing one for a few hours, so don’t see this as a bad thing! It made for some beautiful photos too. It’s such a stunning building, I loved seeing it up close.

There’s a full guide to what to wear to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi available to view here. This also includes a guide for men.

If you’re a man trying to pack for a holiday in Abu Dhabi, it’s a lot simpler! You can just pack as you would for a trip to Europe. Most men I saw were wearing shorts, jeans or chinos with T-shirts or shirts.

If you’re planning to visit the Grand Mosque, you’ll need to follow the dress code of long trousers and sleeves below the elbow. You can’t wear shorts.

If you’re not dressed appropriately, you’ll be asked to wear a kandura (a traditional long white robe). Again, don’t take this personally – they can be pretty specific when you get to the entrance but it’s important to follow the cultural etiquette!

Here are a few specific items of men’s clothing I’d recommend for Abu Dhabi:

Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use.Men’s chinos or jeans – I’d recommend a few pairs of chinos, jeans or cargo pants.Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too.Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts. They look very cool!

Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more comfortable in the heat.Men’s zip up hooded jacket – You might want to layer up if it gets chilly in the evenings.Men’s jumper – A smarter option for keeping warm.  Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent.Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in.Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too.Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one, so it’s more breathable.Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans!

Footwear is quite simple for Abu Dhabi. You’re likely to spend your time between resorts and attractions, so I’d recommend packing a few pairs of sandals and some comfortable trainers if you’re on your feet exploring all day.

If you’re planning to go on a desert safari or ATM tour, you’ll need to wear closed shoes for extra protection. Inside resorts or at water parks, sandals or flip-flops are absolutely fine. However, remember if you’re going on theme park rides, you might want to make sure your sandals stay on your feet properly with a strap. You don’t want a stray flip flop hitting someone as you hurtle along a track!

Many of Abu Dhabi’s hotels and restaurants are five-star, so I’d recommend some smarter sandals for women and a smart pair of shoes for men. I never wore high heels in Abu Dhabi and really wouldn’t say they’re necessary, but if you’re someone who naturally likes a heel, they wouldn’t look out of place in the high-end restaurants.

If you’re planning to do some water activities, you might want to buy a pair of water shoes, but these aren’t strictly necessary.

Here are a few specific items of footwear I’d recommend for Abu Dhabi:

Birkenstock sandals – Really durable, ideal for men or women and come in multiple colours. There are a few different styles to choose from too.Teva trekking sandals – Really durable, great for travel, easy to take on and off and they come in lots of colours and patterns.

Skechers lightweight trainers – Really comfortable and they dry quickly too, so are useful for all sorts of travel.Havianas flip flops – Male or female, everyone should own a pair! These ones for men are fun too. Cute women’s sandals – Something like this is great for beach clubs, hotels and restaurants.Tom’s flat loafers – A nice casual shoe for men, easy to slip on and great for exploring or going to restaurants.Hiking shoes – Only necessary if you’re planning some big adventures. These ones are great as they’re lightweight and breathable.Water shoes – Again, not essential, but can be useful for rocky areas or hiking around waterfalls.

If you’re planning a trip to Abu Dhabi, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

If you’re planning your trip, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

Insect repellent – There are plenty of really good insect repellents like this one. If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too.

Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this, that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen, which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here.

Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy on your trip. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!

Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum.

Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like this one. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself on all of those sunny days!

After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun. It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.

Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers. As you won’t need it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.

Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my smallest handbag and is nice and sturdy.

Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack. It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!

Reusable water bottle – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the Chilly’s water bottles. I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality!

GoPro – This is an adventure-filled country. The best way to capture it is on a GoPro. They’re great for photos and videos, hard wearing, shockproof and waterproof. Whether you’re snorkelling, hiking, white water rafting, wildlife-spotting or zip lining, it’s the perfect accessory. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance that covers your gadgets too.

Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.

I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment, which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability.

Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges multiple items at once, using plugs or USB and can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!

Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this. It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity.

Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!

Mohan rcxdsw
Answer # 2 #

If you are visiting the Middle East for the first time it can certainly be confusing knowing what information to follow on the Abu Dhabi and Dubai dress code.

Our Insider Guide is here to help you make the right packing decisions for you and your family and understand what to wear in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country, but not as conservative as some of its Middle East counterparts. There are, however, minimum standards expected of tourists, and the Emirates dress code can vary depending on what situation you are in.

Private resort settings are treated differently to public spaces like malls or the theatre. Likewise the Dubai mall dress code is going to be very different to the dress code for an Abu Dhbai mosque, for example.

Read on for all our tips for dealing with the dress code in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Although daytime temperatures are warm to hot (to stinking hot!) for most of the year (see our guide to the best time to visit), it’s important to remember that you are in a Muslim country.

You will see that most locals dress in a traditional regional outfit – that is a long white kandurah and gutrah (headpiece) for men and a long black abaya with a Shayla (head covering) for women. Some women will wear the burka, but these days it’s not as common.

However the Abu Dhabi and Dubai dress code for female tourists is by no means expected to be the same, nor are you expected to have your head covered.

We do however suggest at a minimum you should look to cover from shoulders down to your knees and avoid over revealing or clingy clothes, especially during Ramadan.

For women, carrying a shawl or pashmina with you is always a good idea to cover up if you feel awkward – and for a bit of sun and dust protection! If you are entering the Grand Mosque or any religious or government building you will need to hire a full-length abaya and cover your head.

Women can wear leggings under a dress – a great solution if your dress is a little short, but avoid tight, revealing bottoms and showing too much cleavage. Cut off shorts, midriff tops and spaghetti straps are all wardrobe no-nos when it comes to clothes to wear in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

For men, you will find that despite the heat nearly all gents wear full-length trousers. Bringing some light chinos is a good idea, or if you do wear shorts, try and make them knee length.

The best thing to bear in mind is “am I dressed with modesty?” If in doubt, a helpful hotel concierge may be able to guide you.

If you are at the beach or waterpark in the UAE some women will wear full-length burkinis, while others will strip down to fairly skimpy bathers.

To be comfortable and not offend those around you, we suggest you stick somewhere in the middle for your Dubai beach dress code – a one-piece or bikini that fully covers your bottom.

Some beaches or pools will explicitly state the minimum standard of dress needed – such as t-shirts on adults, and this is strictly enforced (such as Jumeirah family beach).

If you are asked by security to cover up a little, do so without argument. Security are well within their right to call the police if you do not cooperate when it comes to clothing rules.

Topless bathing is strictly not allowed – in fact, it’s illegal! Equally avoid wearing thongs, even at a resort. As soon as you leave a pool or beach area, make sure you are covered up again.

Prepubescent children should feel free to wear what they please when it comes to dressing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Once they are teenagers however, they have the same dress requirements as adults.

For more ideas on what you should be packing for the UAE, don’t forget to check out our Abu Dhabi Packing List and our Dubai Packing List.

Faron Dandridge
Vascular Access
Answer # 3 #

What to wear in Abu Dhabi really depends on the place you are visiting – for example the dress code is very different in a hotel or resort versus visiting a religious building such as the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Having been to Abu Dhabi myself, I have some experience of what women are expected (and will feel comfortable) wearing in the tourist hotspots. Here’s a quick guide to help you pack for your visit to the Emirates…

Pretty much anything goes in the hotels and resorts of Abu Dhabi, although personally I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing anything wildly skimpy – think cami tops and chino shorts over crop tops and bum-baring hot pants. Dresses are also a great option.

The main thing to think about is the heat – temperatures in Abu Dhabi regularly hit over 40°C in the summer, and even in the winter it can be very warm compared to what we’re used to in the UK. Choose natural fabrics such as cotton and linen – these will keep you much cooler than synthetic fabrics such as polyester. Light colours and loose shapes are also a winner.

In between the relaxed dress codes of the hotels and the ultra-modest dress codes of the mosques, there is a bit of an unspoken dress code for public places such as museums, galleries and restaurants.

I felt more comfortable in these places wearing a midi dress, or shirt and trousers – basically, nothing showing off any cleavage, thigh or a load of bare skin. Our female tour guide also agreed that she wouldn’t wear a strappy vest top or mini skirt to places like this, although there is no official dress code.

A trip to Abu Dhabi is not complete without a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the scale and grandeur of this place has to be seen to be believed.

However, there is a strict dress code which you must adhere to. While you can buy an abaya for as little as £20 in the shops nearby, you’ll save yourself time and money by being prepared.

Answer # 4 #
  • Lightweight clothing made with breathable materials.
  • Modest clothing that doesn't expose a lot of skin.
  • Evening attire for restaurants and events.
  • Multiple sets of swimwear.
  • Flip-flops.
  • Sunscreen with a high protection factor.
  • Sun hats and caps.
  • Sunglasses.
Jean implx
Answer # 5 #

Wondering what to wear in Abu Dhabi as a woman or man? What the dress code in Abu Dhabi is? Can you wear shorts in Abu Dhabi? You’re in the right place as I’m going to tell you all you need to know based on my recent experience in Abu Dhabi as a tourist.

You may, or may not, be surprised to hear that Abu Dhabi, just like Dubai is actually very chilled on what tourists can wear.

When I went to Dubai in 2015 I remember being conscious of needing to cover up inside malls and restaurants and I believe there were more restrictions then. But on my recent 5 day trip to Abu Dhabi with my husband I did not feel or notice this at all from what other tourists in Abu Dhabi were wearing.

However, when putting together your Abu Dhabi packing list or researching your trip to Abu Dhabi, whether that’s a trip on its own like I just did, an Abu Dhabi stopover, or a trip with Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined, I think it’s worth knowing what the locals in Abu Dhabi wear and remembering that you are visiting a Middle Eastern Gulf Country…

I guess you are still planning your Abu Dhabi holiday, so afterwards be sure to check out my epic post on 40 THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI!

Let’s start by saying that there are no official rules for the dress code in Abu Dhabi, or in the UAE.

Despite being a Muslim and Islamic country, the UAE is mostly made up of foreign workers and holidaymakers and what people wear and how they act (drinking alcohol for example) resembles this.

You may have heard past stories where tourists in the UAE had to be cautious of what they wore, the same as being cautious of public displays of affection.

But it seems these types of things have really eased in the big cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in recent years and unless you go crazy, you’re pretty likely not to have a problem and you can dress and act like you would in many other countries.

Abu Dhabi is such a modern city in its looks and in its ways which makes it easier for tourists to visit, but what I loved about it is that it still keeps some old charm and holds so much history.

Book yourself a historic tour of Grand Mosque, Presidential place and Etihad tower via get your guide!

Despite the UAE being a Muslim country, there is not a set Abu Dhabi dress code for tourists and definitely not a set Abu Dhabi dress code for women, however as I’ll explain next in this post on what to wear in Abu Dhabi,

No matter your gender, it is a good idea for men and women to dress fairly modestly and conservatively, with certain body parts covered.

As you can see in my photos, I am pretty covered because although being British, in 2020 I became a Muslim therefore I wore long dresses and abayas as well as a headscarf in Abu Dhabi.

Before this, I would have worn shorter-sleeved dresses and I understand how much we Brits love seeing the sun and how hot we get with a lot of clothes on!

I have travelled a lot and unlike some countries where I recommend women dressing more modestly to avoid unwanted male attention like in India or in Istanbul.

I believe the reason to dress more covered up in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, in general, is to respect the local custom and local religion, and because local people in Abu Dhabi and workers in Abu Dhabi do dress more covered.

They wear shorts, t-shirts, strappy tops, sleeveless dresses, bikini’s on the beach and by the pool.

You can wear all of the above clothes!

I know that since it gets so hot in Abu Dhabi it’s appealing to wear less clothing, however, my suggestion would be to also pack some baggy linen trousers and linen 3/4 length trousers, midi and maxi dresses, midi and maxi skirts, a kimono, tops that don’t show cleavage.

Shops like H&M and M&S sell a lot of linen items and it’s surprising how sometimes they can actually keep you cooler!

By swimming pools and on the beach, especially if it’s your hotel beach or another hotel’s beach, you can wear a swimming costume, bikini and swim shorts, there are no restrictions here and you won’t feel uncomfortable wearing them here either.

Again, this isn’t because you can’t wear shorts or a short dress in Abu Dhabi but many of the restaurants, tourists sights and even beaches will have local people there who dress more covered and you might not want to stand out like a tourist with much more skin showing.

Plus, the air-con is up high in Abu Dhabi and Dubai! If you’re sitting inside a cafe or in the mall with a lot of skin showing, you’re going to get cold quickly. That’s another reason why locals cover up!

As part of your Abu Dhabi sightseeing, you’ll definitely want to go to the main mosque – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque…

Although women need to cover their hair inside all mosques including everywhere within the Abu Dhabi mosque, as a female tourist when you enter you will be shown to a changing room and given a scarf or hood to cover your hair and an abaya or another covering outfit to cover your clothes if the clothes you arrive in are too short in the leg and arms and low in the chest.

I will say that what the mosque gives you to wear is not that flattering, so if you want to get great photos in the Sheikh Zayed mosque, it is a good idea to bring your own scarf for your head and wear a maxi long-sleeved dress of your own for example.

None of the other Abu Dhabi tourist attractions require you to cover.

It is nice to try local outfits when we travel and in Abu Dhabi, it’s easy and comfortable to do this!

I met an Italian couple who had been to the mall and brought a black Abaya for the women and white Kandora for the man, they took photos in it in the desert on our desert trip and they said they really liked wearing it and it made their photos look really good!

As I said, I am now Muslim and in the last few years I have started dressing more modestly and covered up. A few years ago when I first wore an Abaya in Saudi Arabia I didn’t like it and thought it seemed oppressive to wear, however quickly I got used to it and then I realised there are so many beautiful abaya’s available and I felt very elegant in it.

I took 2 pink abayas to Abu Dhabi with me and they were so perfect.

An abaya is a bit like a kimono but longer in length and arms and sometimes has a zip or buttons so it can be open or closed.

Underneath my abaya, I wore a short-sleeved top and leggings to keep me cool with the lightweight loose abaya on top and I felt really nice in it and got so many compliments, so that’s worth keeping in mind, especially as you’ll see a lot of nice abaya’s in Abu Dhabi malls to buy.

If you want to get an abaya in Abu Dhabi, I recommend going to Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre which is a local shopping mall as prices will be cheaper and it’s also the Gold Souk!

What I love about the UAE is that just like local women and women working in the UAE tend to dress more modestly and covered, so do the men. In fact, local men probably cover up more!

They wear t-shirts, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, swimming trunks on the beach and by the pool.

A man can wear all of the above. Going out in a t-shirt or short-sleeved shirt and shorts are totally fine and you will not look out of place.

As a man in Abu Dhabi I do recommend not wearing sleeve-less tops or shorts that are tooo short, not because you can’t, but if you are in malls or restaurants with people who live in Abu Dhabi I think you will feel a bit conscious of this much skin on show as men who live there don’t do this.

You will see Arab men in Abu Dhabi wearing what looks like a long white dress. These are called kandoras and they are worn in many Arab and South Asian countries by men.

As a man, you might not initially feel like wearing one but once you wear one and realise how comfortable it is since you just wear light white trousers under it too and a t-shirt along with how airy it is on hot days, you’ll realise why men love wearing them so much!

Like abayas for women, if you want to buy yourself a kandora to try a local style you can pick them up in the malls, especially local malls like Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre where they are cheaper.

Pack all your normal holiday clothes including the items I have said above like midi and maxi dresses and skirts for women and t-shirts over sleeveless tops for men.

But also keep in mind that if you visit Abu Dhabi in winter, it does actually get cold and cooler at night. Especially if you go on a desert safari tour.

As soon as the sun sets in the desert during the winter months you will NEED a jumper or hoodie to keep you warm so make sure you include this when putting together your Abu Dhabi packing list!

Rosanna Abugov
Renal Nursing