What to wear in Oman: My Oman Packing List
Before traveling to Oman, I was browsing the internet about what to wear in Oman and wondering if I could find the perfect packing list. I found a lot of information about outfits. However, information about outdoor gear and travel essentials of an Oman packing list were missing.
That’s why I decided to create a complete guide on what to wear in Oman and what to take with on your Omani trip. Fun fact: it’s actually my very first packing list on this blog. After visiting other Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, I thought that every country in this region would have the same rules and dressing code.
Well, no surprise; every country is different and I found Oman to be more conservative about clothing than Jordan. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to cover your hair as a tourist. In this guide, I’ll share with you what exactly you have to wear in Oman for every occasion; whether you’re visiting a mosque, hiking through a wadi or spending a night in the desert.
As I love taking photos for my Instagram account, this Oman packing list comes with fashion and Instagram in mind. 🙂
RELATED: 10-day Itinerary for Oman
This packing list for Oman is written by a girl but I am including what to wear in Oman as a man too, as I was traveling in a male company.
This post contains affiliate links. if you buy via them, I’ll earn a small commission which helps me to keep this blog running. I received services for free for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Useful travel information about Oman
Book transfers from airports with Viator
Find the best Hotel Deals in Oman with TripAdvisor Hotels – Oman
Best tours and activities in Oman with Viator
Rent a car with the best discounts at RentalCars.com
The best discounted Outdoor Gear at REI.com – Outlet
✎ Never leave without travel insurance. I get mine at WorldNomads
⚘ Get a travel guide in order to prepare your trip. I recommend Lonely Planet Oman (get -10% off with code “PAULINA10”)
Read more: Where to stay in Muscat
1. Dress Code in Oman: Why it matters!
Some may think that it doesn’t matter what to wear in certain countries. Or that travel outfits should only be Insta-perfect and have a folkloric touch.
Well, your travel clothes can have a folkloric touch, even though it will make some locals smile, but they should mostly respect the local customs. No matter where you travel.But why does appropriate attire even matter? By the way we dress, we are unconsciously sending out signals. Some of these signals may seem offending to people that are living in a rather traditional and modest environment.
This doesn’t mean that people living in a more conservative environment are “not modern”. Their cultural and social values are just different. Showing too much skin would simply be seen as disrespectful and discrediting.
If you want to make the most out of your travel experience, you don’t want to stumble upon obstacles just because of your travel outfit. Thus, if you want to experience open doors and hearts, wearing appropriate attire is a must. And ultimately, it’s a sign of respect for the country you’re visiting.
Despite its extremely modern facilities and world-class resorts, Oman cherishes its traditions and values. Thus dressing “modestly” is the best way to connect with locals and getting a warm welcome in this beautiful country.
Oman Packing Tip: dressing “modestly” has the ultimate benefit of protecting you from the heat. It will keep your skin cool and protect you from sunburns.
2. Quick tips for an Oman Packing List
There are 3 tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to the ultimate Oman packing list:
- Layers, layers, layers: Layers are great as you can quickly adapt to warmer or colder temperatures. On top, you’ll quickly be ready to visit a mosque or any other unpredictable place. I recommend having a look at these light travel shirts by REI.com.
- Pack for every kind of weather: In 1 day, temperatures can range anything between 40°C to down to 10°C. It can be suffocatingly hot in the cities, but nights can get extremely cold in the desert such as the Wahiba Sands.
- Resorts vs Muscat vs countryside: if you’re staying in international resorts, you can feel free to wear swimsuits (I was avoiding bikinis). Whereas Muscat is used to international expats and experiences a growing tourism industry and is thus more used to Western dress code. However, it’s still not considered appropriate to walk in tank tops and skimpy dresses. The more you travel to the countryside, the more conservative.
Must-bring items of any Oman Packing list:
Before getting to what travel gear and what clothes to pack for your Oman trip, please consider these 3 essential things to bring:
- Backpack: I traveled with both a backpack and a suitcase, but finally, I wouldn’t recommend traveling to Oman with a suitcase. If you are staying 7-10 days in Oman, you’ll drive a lot and you’ll experience many different climates or environments. Especially when you are visiting the desert, you don’t want (or can’t!) roll your suitcase over the sand.- see backpack deals
- Outdoor clothing and walking shoes: Oman is a country for outdoor and nature lovers. It boasts countless hiking trails and wadis that are just waiting for you to be explored. It is thus important to pack qualitative outdoor gear and outdoor clothes when visiting Oman.
- No need to break your account! Oman is an expensive country, thus I recommend saving money and buy all your outdoor gear and travel outfits upfront. If you are looking for the best outdoor brands at discounted prices, I recommend REI.com outlet.
3. What to wear in Oman for women?
Yes, you should dress modestly in Oman, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be fully covered. There is no need to cover your hair unless you visit a mosque.
As a rule of thumb, choose clothes that cover (at least) your shoulders and knees. If you are staying in an international resort, rules are more flexible.
Linen pants are a great protection against the heat and prevent sunburns. I took my linen pants fom walking in the souq of Muscat and for hiking. It gets more comfortable and light than with some coton pants. These linen pants are particularly affordable. – see at Nordstom
Always carry a scarf with you. Whether to protect you from the burning sun, the sands of the Wahiba desert or when you’re visiting a mosque: a scarf comes particularly handy in Oman – see at REI.com
Light jackets by
Oman is a land of contrasts. It can be very hot during the day, but if you’re spending the night in a desert camp or in the impressive Al Hajar mountains, you should absolutely bring a light jacket or a fleece. I love mine from NorthFace as it protects you from the cold and comes in many colors. – get it at REI.com
Bikini and swimwear
Oman is full of swimming opportunities! If you love to dive, you’ll love Oman. However, you need to bring several swimsuits and bikinis. If you’re swimming in public wadis such as Wadi Bani Khalid, you must cover your shoulders and knees.
Really? Yes, you can bring highheels to Oman. It is maybe not the most useful item on your packing list to Oman, but it’s nice to dress up for certain occasions though! Muscat boasts several great restaurants and you’d like to be dressed for a special dinner out. I love Spanish espadrilles as they match everything. – see on ASOS
I basically lived in long dresses in Oman. They were the perfect compromise: feminine and yet respectful to the Omani dress code. I got some at ASOS, but if you are traveling on a budget, I recommend having a looking at the long sleeve dresses at SheIn. – see at SheIn
If I wasn’t wearing long dresses, I was wearing jumpsuits. Whether for hiking or for city walks, they are just perfect, if you’re looking for something more fashionable than hiking pants. I got mine at ASOS and they have plenty of options ranging from sporty to elegant jumpsuits – see at ASOS
4. What to wear in Oman for men?
Not only women should respect the local dress code and norms. Even though rules for foreign men are much more flexible than for the ladies, men should cover their shoulders and knees too. Flipflops are widely accepted. In fact, Omani men wear leather sandals all the time.
Loose Bermuda shorts are the best way to show your respect to the local values and staying cool at the same time. They should cover your knees.
You can’t get cooler and more stylish than with some beige or white linen shirts. Not only will you be protected from the sun, but white is always a great option to make your outfit more elegant. If there is any advice to what to pack for Oman, I recommend this elegant white linen shirt as it’s affordable too. – see at REI Outlet
During your Oman holiday, you won’t probably see any Omani men in beachwear. However, tourists are more than welcome to wear beachwear. I’d recommend opting for loose Bermuda shorts as skimpy, tiny shorts won’t be appreciated. Have a look at these colorful Bermuda shorts for men – see at Nordstrom
Warm fleece by Columbia
If I can give you one single piece of advice, then it’s not to underestimate the climate of Oman. The nights in the desert can get cold and depending on your desert camp, you won’t have a heater. It’s thus an absolute must to pack a warm fleece.
5. Complete Oman Packing List
After covering what to wear in Oman for women and what to pack in Oman when you’re a man, it’s about time to cover the must-bring items and pieces of any Oman packing list.
- Visa: you need a visa to enter Oman. I recommend getting yours upfront at the official site of the Omani Royal Police. Not only was their reply very quickly, but on top, it is the cheapest Oman visa you can get out there.
- International driving license: if you are renting a car in Oman (and you absolutely should!), you must bring an international license with you. Don’t forget to make the preparations at home. Bring your national driving license too!
- Passport: a must! 🙂
- Lonely Planet Guide Oman: It’s kind of a ritual of mine. Before I leave on a long trip, I spoil myself with the latest Lonely Planet Guide. The Lonely Planet Guide Oman was full of VERY useful travel information about historical and cultural backgrounds, local habits, hidden gems and some of the best restaurant tips. I particularly love their sustainable travel tips. If you have a little adventurous side and are looking for budget options in Oman, you should get the Oman travel guide by Lonely Planet – buy at their store and get -10% discount with code “PAULINA10”
The sun of Oman is truly blinding. Whether you’re going to hike or visit cities, good sunshades are a must when traveling to Oman. I take my RayBan’s for hiking and Carolina Lemke for city walks – see RayBans at REI.com
Whether you have light skin or not, sunscreen is a must in Oman as the sun is extremely strong. Eco-friendly sunscreen that is good for your skin is my go-to choice. I always travel with the safe sunscreen by Thinksport, it’s very affordable and perfect if you have a sensitive skin. – see at REI.com
You’ll swim a lot in Oman: wadis, pristine beaches, infinity pools at resorts,… The list goes on! Make sure to take at least 2-3 swimwear items with you. Ladies, take at least 1 shirt to cover you when going for a swim in the scenic wadis. When looking for what to wear in Oman, a nice swimming suit is definitely a must.
A travel towel is a must when visiting Oman. Not only will you be swimming a lot in wadis and on the beach, but on top, you’ll most likely stay in a desert camp in Oman.
Even if some of them come with their own towels, it’s better to be on the safe side and bring your own travel towel. On top, they fold up very tiny, thus perfect if you’re packing light! – see at REI.com
Cardigan or a sweater by Northface
Layers are keys when packing for Oman. Thus I recommend a thermal long sleeve top or a qualitative cardigan in order to keep warm during cold desert nights. I got mine from NorthFace and I love that it comes in so many vibrant colors. On top, they are extremely light to carry. – see on REI.com
Deodorant or washing liquid
As you’ll spend a lot of time outdoors exploring enchanting cities like Muscat, Nizwa or Sur and you’ll hike the spectacular trails of Oman’s mountains, a deodorant, and a washing liquid are a must. As the birthplace of frankincense, Omanis are obsessed with smelling nice and it would not be appreciated to smell like a mountain goat 🙂
Hiking Wadi Shab
Headlight or flashlight
If you love climbing and putting yourself in adventurous places, I recommend packing a headlight or a flashlight. I visited Wadi Bani Khalid and I would have loved to enter the Muttrah cave. However, I forgot it in the car! I definitely missed out on that adventure.
Water filter bottle
A water-filtering bottle is probably the most useful travel gear that you can pack. With this water-filtering bottle, you can drink the water of any river or wadi in Oman.
Not only will you save money, but on top, you’ll reduce plastic waste. If you want to travel light, just pack a water-filtering straw. – see on REI.com
Day pack for hiking
When it comes to hiking, I prefer bringing a daypack instead of a large backpack. As you’ll hike a lot in Oman, packing a small day pack is a must to bring your hiking essentials. This daypack comes in several colors and has a large storage space. – see on REI.com
Hiking shoes and sandals by Columbia
Oman is a paradise for outdoor lovers. There are so many trails in Oman that you could easily spend several weeks doing one trail per day. That means that sturdy shoes are a must! I packed my hiking sandals by Columbia and they were perfect when it comes to hiking in wadis. If you are planning to trek the Al Hajar mountains, qualitative hiking boots are a must. – see at REI.com
Electronic Gear to Pack
In Oman, you’ll spend a lot of time on the road. On top, you’ll most likely spend some nights in the desert thus a portable charger is a must. This portable charger comes in handy as it is very light and makes sure that your cameras or phones will never run out of battery. Have a look at these solar chargers!
Download Maps.Me app for offline GPS navigation
Google maps doesn’t work in Oman. Some recommend Waze to get around in Oman. I did everything with Maps.Me where even restaurants, hiking trails and all kinds of forts are indicated. It works offline as well.
International plug adapter
These are fairly easy to find in Oman, and you can even rent some in most hotel receptions. The power sockets in Oman are type C, F, G, or L. The most common are type C but a multi-adapter can come in handy. – see on REI.com
Camera + wide-angle lens
Oman is a spectacular country for photography lovers! The impressive wadis, the Grand Canyon of Arabia, the majestic forts,… All of them are making it hard to pick the most beautiful photo of your Oman trip. I travel with my Fuji XT10 as the photos are extremely crisp and it comes with a lot of advanced settings to take photos of a lifetime.
Wide angles come particularly handy to photograph mosques and forts. If you don’t want to invest in a wide-angle lens, I recommend my mobile phone clips by Olloclip. Super light to carry and the picture quality is top-notch! – see at Olloclip
If you want to keep lifelong memories of hiking in the mountains of Oman, its wadis and swimming in its natural pools, an action camera is a must. Indeed, it’s better to keep your phone at the hotel if you’re climbing your way through the mountains.
Eventually a tripod
You are traveling alone but you still want the photos? In such cases, I always take along my tripod. I want to be on my pictures and I love to set it up. This tripod is extremely light to carry, I just carry it along in my purse. – see more travel tripods
Camera protection against sand
I wish I’d known this one before! Winds in the Wahiba desert can be extremely strong and carry loads of sands. Even safely stored in the desert tent, the sand ended up entering my suitcase, clothes… and camera gear! What a nightmare!
This camera protection case keeps your phone safe and comes handy when hiking through the rivers.
6. What to pack to visit Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid
Bring identity documents along as sometimes, you get them requested upon entry.
2. Day pack
A day pack is an absolute must when hiking through Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid. Wadi Shab is a 2 hour trail and you must carry enough water, snacks and swimwear. This day pack is particularly robust, easy to carry and is extremely spacious. On top, it is very affordable too! – see on REI.com
3. Snacks + eventually picnic
There are picnic areas in Wadi Bani Khalid which are a scenic place to enjoy a light lunch with views on the emerald pools. There are no picnic options in Wadi Shab, thus make sure to bring water, snacks and some fruits. I’d recommend a minimum of 2 l of water.
A must! There is almost no shade in the wadis, thus don’t forget your sunscreen if you don’t want to harm your skin. This eco-friendly sunscreen is not only sustainable but also less harmful to your skin.
Many sunscreens come with a lot of chemical, detrimental ingredients, but this sunscreen is made with skincare in mind. – see on REI.com
5. First aid kit
When hiking the Wadi Shab trail, I strongly recommend taking a first aid kit. The trail is full of rocks and you are gonna climb quite a lot. It’s not an easy hike and it’s better to be safe than sorry. This first aid kit is extremely light to carry and as a result, you can hike around worry-free… which is priceless!
6. Good hiking shoes or sandals
I know that my hiking sandals are not the prettiest ones…but they are the best ones! When it comes to being outdoors, I always value functionality over style.
So, overcome your restraint and invest in a quality pair of hiking boots and hiking sandals. These trekking sandals were particularly handy in Wadi Shab as I had to walk through water. It are water shoes and sandals in one! – see on REI.com
7. Toilet tissues and deodorant
The hikes in Oman are not easy and it’s very easy that you’ll end up sweating a lot. In order to refresh, bring some toilet tissues and natural deodorant. It helps to keep fresh the rest of the day. – see on REI.com
But what about the Omani traditional dress?
I get a lot of questions about whether you should dress like a local in Oman and what’s the traditional dress in Oman.
First things first, you don’t need to dress like an Omani man or woman. You’d rather earn yourself some funny looks by the locals!
I really enjoyed seeing that the traditional clothes are worn in Oman on a daily basis in Oman. They cherish their traditional dress and there was no town where the locals wouldn’t wear it.
What do Omani women wear?
When in public, Omani women are traditionally wearing the abaya, a modest, often black cloth worn over their clothes. Almost every lady I met was covering their hair with the hijab when in public.
In private, Omani women wear extremely colorful dresses worn over pants combined with a headdress.
What do Omani men wear?
The traditional dress for Omani men is called dishdasha: it consists of a white cloth dress which is ankle-length and without a collar. Omani men wear a turban, keffieh, or the traditional Omani hat: the kumma. It is round-shaped and its embroidered patterns are extremely diverse and colorful.
There are no 2 kummas that are alike.
The Omani turban usually comes from the Kashmere region and there are over 10 ways to wear the turban. It’s the turban’s colors, layout and how it’s worn that distinguishes a poor farmer from a rich businessman.
I hope this Oman packing list helped you to prepare for your trip and preparing for what to wear in Oman. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!