If you're unsure about what you can wear on and off the beach in Dubai, here's our guide
28 April 2019| Last updated on 21 January 2020
If this is your first time here, you may be unsure about Dubai's dress code at the beach.
The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country but has strong Western influences, and so the line between what is appropriate and what isn't can be confusing for newbies in the country.
Despite this confusion, Dubai is in a Muslim country and thus, Islamic laws are enforced. As a result, there is a dress code in Dubai that both residents and travellers are expected to follow and respect whilst here. If you're worried about what to wear on a daily basis, we have a complete guide to Dubai's dress code here for you.
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Otherwise, we want to help clear any confusion related to our favourite weekend activity - and that's the beach.
We frequently receive questions from new expats who have just moved to the UAE regarding what they can and can't wear on any one of Dubai's beaches, so we hope our guide will offer clarification on the rules... We've even suggested some great key-pieces to have in your wardrobe!
What is the dress code for Dubai's beaches?
Due to the unique cultural make-up of the emirate, Dubai's standards and behaviour are more relaxed than in neighbouring emirates. However as a general rule of thumb, residents and visitors should dress modestly whilst here.
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Avoid any excessive displays of cleavage, your mirdiff or legs. Ideally, shoulders and knees should be covered too - particularly during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Saying that, this doesn't mean you need to be wrapped-up at the beach.
Dress code when you're on the beach
Dubai has several free public beaches that are used by locals, expats and tourists. Here, you will find an array of suitable sun-bathing and swimming costumes that are considered acceptable.
Bikinis, one-pieces and burkinis are all familiar sights on Dubai's public beaches and are fine to wear when you're on the beach itself.
Avoid transparent tops, skinny thong bottoms and don't sunbathe topless or nude at any time.
Dress code when you're nearby the beach
Dubai's hot temperatures means you might be tempted to wear beach apparel to a restaurant near the beach.
When you're not on the sand or close to the sea, it's advisable you cover up with something suitable. There are laws that strictly prohibit wearing revealing outfits in public areas (away from and nearby to the beach). To show respect for the local Muslim culture and to avoid unwanted attention, you should cover-up your swim wear when eating meals or drinking away from the beach/pool.
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For example, if you head to The Beach at JBR, wearing your swimsuit on the sand is fine but once you hit the pavement and you're nearby to the restaurants and roads on The Walk, you should be dressed suitably.
Our advice? Always visit the provided changing rooms before you exit the vicinity of the beach to ensure you're dressed correctly and respectfully.
Public versus private beaches in Dubai
The rules above apply to all public beaches in Dubai - but what about private beaches? Those beaches attached to shoreline hotels across the emirate?
To get onto some of Dubai's best private beaches, you must be a resident, pay a daily fee or buy a membership. Here, it is a bit more acceptable to wear what you might wear on the beach elsewhere - and you'll see everything from tiny bikinis to modest cover-ups.
Again, nude or topless sunbathing is still a no-no here.
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