Hi i am visiting Muscat next week and would like to know the dress code for women whilst in public and also around the pool/beach at our hotel.
I'm moving to Muscat in a few weeks and have been researching this issue. According to my employer and a new co-worker, women should keep their shoulders, knees, and cleavage covered to be respectful to local mores. Pants and below-the-knee skirts and dresses are fine. I was advised to wear long pants if I want to walk on public beaches. Apparently at the private hotel beaches you can wear what you want.
A word of caution is that Ramadhan is projected to start on first or second of August. During the day time in Ramadhan, you will need to be a bit more conservative and you need to keep it low with regards to sun bathing ..etc. Read up on Ramadhan in Oman on TA before coming.
To echo what the others have said, just be as conservative as possible. I would say that the biggest thing to watch is the neckline, as you really shouldn't have any cleavage showing. You will want pants/skirts to AT LEAST go past your knees. Ankle length would be much better. You also don't want to have your arms showing. Make sure to cover your shoulders and upper arms, if not more.
You won't have problems at the pool of your hotel. In Ramadan, the hotels using public beaches will probably advise you not to sunbathe on the beach. This is something to clarify with your hotel.
as an Omani woman, i find the best thing for you to wear around is a jeans and a T shirt or trousers and blouses. short sleeves or long sleeves are preferred.
below the knee skirts are fine
a little below the knee bermuda jeans or trousers are fine
its not really difficult. just two things frowned upon in public
1- above knee
2- low neck lines (cleavage)
have a nice stay!
Gosh, didn't realise it was quite as strict as that! So we can't just go to a beach to swim and snorkel!!!???
I don't think we shall be at a hotel with a pool as we are on a budget. More likely a chalet on a camp site...are there such things?
is it ok to wear shorter dresses and skirts (slightly above the knee) if you wear leggings underneath???
I would say yes, leggings would do.
Herzilia, I've only lived here about a month, but I see foreign women dressed all sorts of ways, some of which I would deem inappropriate. You won't be assaulted or anything, but it's nice to be respectful of local customs. I asked my employer about swimming on public beaches (there's one just two blocks from work) and he said it would be okay but suggested donning an abaya or some other cover-up after exiting the water. My swimsuits are cut so there's no cleavage or midriff showing.
You also need to understand that Muscat is probably more tolerant than small villages, towns ..etc.
In Muscat, a short skirt with leggings, women wearing 3/4 leggings ..etc is fine. In small villages, the same might be perceived differently.
As azbuceadora said, you will not be attacked, but may be frowned on, or may receive unwanted attention from a local young man ..etc.
I would say, below the knees and a TShirt with no cleavage should be fine. If you are going for a nice restaurant or club in Muscat, then you would be fine with a nice dress even if it is above the knee. If you are visiting the grand mosque, same dress will be in bad taste.
"If you are visiting the grand mosque, same dress will be in bad taste."
That... and you won't be allowed in, plain and simple.
Oman is tolerant and respectful to others belief and customs, in return they do expect that visitors should be considerate to the custom of the country and its people as not to offend.
Be conservative in your dress code and you will be comfortable moving around Muscat.
Skirts and dresses are fine as long s they are below the knees and avoid showing too much cleavage.
Swimming in Public beaches? I would recommend a pair of shorts under your swim wear and avoid skimpy clothing. At a hotel, they allow a two piece swim wear.
if you venture out in the interior be respectful, jeans and short sleeved T shirt will do the job.