Like the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is a Muslim country and operates under Sharia law. This way of living dictates that both residents and travelers dress modestly, and if you’re visiting the Burk Khalifa, you may wonder what that means for how you should dress.
You can wear shorts in the Burj Khalifa as long as the shorts are of appropriate length. Additionally, both men and women can wear shorts long enough to meet the requirements.
Let’s take a deeper look into the UAE dress code and tips and tricks to stay cool and look cooler in their simmering summers while still being appropriately dressed when visiting iconic structures like the Burj.
What to Wear at the Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is a mixed-use building. Functions of the world’s tallest skyscraper include:
- Observation and communication
- Luxury hotels and restaurants
Because of its multi-use status, there are no strict dress requirements you have to follow. However, given that it is part of Dubai, it is always best to adhere to local customs when it comes to clothing – and that means that if you do choose to wear shorts, they should not be too revealing.
As with everywhere else in Dubai and the UAE, it is best to do your research in advance and use your discretion when it comes to what you wear. Ultimately, dress comfortably but try to keep your outfit relatively modest out of respect.
Clothing Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Dubai
- Avoid very tight and low-cut clothing
- Cover their shoulders
- Not wear shorts or skirts that are too far above their knees (preferably on or below the knees)
- Dress conservatively in government buildings and traditional areas (such as in villages and markets)
- Cover their hair, bodies, and legs when visiting a mosque
- Avoid tight or very short shorts
- Avoid shirts with offensive language and imagery
- Dress in long pants when at a mosque
Is Dubai Really That Strict About Dress Codes?
Dubai is not extremely strict when it comes to dress codes. However, knowing what clothing is appropriate for which social setting to conduct yourself in a culturally respectful way when visiting Dubai is essential.
If you want advice from people who have traveled there, read comments on this topic at TripAdvisor.
As long as your attire is suited to your environment, you should not have any problems. For example, it is acceptable to wear a swimsuit to the beach, but not to a restaurant, and it is okay to wear workout clothes to the gym but not to work. Additionally, as discussed above, it is best to keep clothing modest as far as possible, especially if you will be going out in public.
Tips on How To Dress
The Dubai heat can make it difficult to resist the urge to go out scantily clad, but here are some suggestions for modest yet weather-appropriate garments.
Women can wear:
- Flowy maxi skirts
- Light linen button-up shirts
- Loose-fitting, airy pants
- Loose-fitting, knee-length shorts, skirts, or dresses
Women are advised to carry a headscarf, just in case they enter an area where it is required, such as a mosque.
Men can wear:
- Loose-fitting, knee-length shorts
- Button-up shirts
- Crew neck t-shirts
- Sandals or sneakers
- Light, loose-fitting trousers
Though women are always allowed to wear sandals, men are advised to keep closed shoes on hand, as they are prohibited from wearing open-toe shoes in some areas (such as some restaurants and work environments).
Will I Get Arrested for Wearing the Wrong Clothing?
You will likely not get arrested for violating the dress code. Most of the time, the consequences for this will be limited to confused looks from civilians, and sometimes a nearby security guard will ask you to cover up.
It is the best and most respectful course of action to comply and apologize if you have offended anyone in these instances.
While an unwise choice in wardrobe could get you stares from passers-by, there are extremely few cases that will result in legal action being taken against you. The ones that will result in arrest are things like going to the bank in your underwear and running naked on the beach – common-sense rules that apply everywhere else in the world unless specified otherwise.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sharia law?
Sha’aria/Sharia law is the Islamic legal system. Sha’aria law sets out rules and guidelines so that its followers may live a lifestyle they believe is in line with God’s wishes, including guidelines for charity, fasting, and prayers.
Is the Islamic Dress Code Stricter for Women?
Islamic dress code is not necessarily stricter for women as, for the most part, they wear these coverings out of their own free will and use them to protect their modesty, rather than out of compulsion. Women wear traditional garments as an expression of respect for themselves and other people.
Though this choice is not a universally practiced one, it should be respected as much as any other.
The UAE is not as strict with its dress codes as most people think, and it is possible to wear shorts to the Burj Khalifa. However, their religious and cultural guidelines regarding clothing should be taken seriously out of respect, and it is always best to dress as modestly as possible when out in public, including when visiting the world’s tallest skyscraper.