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The One Thing You Should Never Do in Oman

Picture of Gehad Medhat
Updated: 30 March 2018
Omanis are one of the most kind-hearted, friendliest and noblest people on Earth – their hospitality is renowned, and their warmth legendary. Nevertheless, don’t push your luck, as Omanis won’t forgive you if you do this one thing while visiting their country.

Oman, like other Arabic and Islamic countries, is distinguished with a conservative culture. People who live here respect others, appreciate how they are different, and understand that there have different beliefs, norms and attitudes. However, they expect visitors to be aware of Omani traditions and norms, and comply with them during their stay. One of these important traditions is how people are dressed when they visit each other and when out in public.

Men in Oman wear a dishdasha, which is a long-sleeved long piece of clothing that covers their whole body. It is usually white, but it comes in all colors, and sometimes it has short sleeves. They also wear the kummah, which is a traditional hat. As for women, they wear colored long-sleeved dresses and matching scarves. Usually, they wear a black abaya on top, but they can go out without it. These clothes confirm with the religious and cultural beliefs of people in Oman.

Omanis at Nizwa Souq I
Omanis at Nizwa Souq I | © Andries3 / Flickr

Although Omanis don’t require visitors to wear traditional clothing, they expect them to dress modestly. This means that visitors should wear appropriately covering clothes, which don’t reveal so much of their skin and are not transparent. Female tourists are not obliged to wear the head scarf, but they are welcome to try it as part of experiencing the lifestyle in Oman.

Oman has a diverse community of Omanis, Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs and other nationalities – you won’t feel like the odd one out if you don’t wear traditional Omani traditional clothing.

You also need to be extra careful of what you are wearing when you are visiting small towns and worship places. Mosques hold a sacred place in the hearts of Omanis. As Muslims, they believe that mosques are the houses of Allah, and are the places where they can pray and do other religious practices. It is preferred for women to cover up when they visit them. Also, it is a must that you take off your shoes before you enter.

Tourists inside the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque I
Tourists inside the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque I | © Juozas Salna / Flickr

Swimsuits are not preferred at all, especially on public beaches. Some private beaches in Oman allow visitors to dress as they like. Wherever you choose to spend your time, be sure to check the rules and regulations of different attractions before visiting, just to make sure that you don’t offend or disrespect Omanis.