Wondering what to wear in Qatar as a woman or man? What the dress code in Qatar and Doha is? Can you wear shorts in Qatar? You’re in the right place as I’m going to tell you all you need to know based on my recent experience in Doha, Qatar as a tourist.
You may, or may not be, surprised to hear that the Qatar dress code for tourists is very relaxed.
Doha is the capital city of Qatar and is most likely where you will spend most of your time on a trip to Qatar whether you’re doing a Doha stopover or a 3-day Doha trip like me!
Doha is a city full of international tourists and workers, all with different religions and ways of dress.
However, when putting together your Doha packing list or researching your trip to Qatar, I think it’s worth knowing what the locals in Qatar wear and remembering that there are certain ways of dressing that are more respectful in this part of the world, even if it’s not the law.
What to Wear in Qatar
I love helping people with what to wear in countries they are not sure about and I have guides for what to wear in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul and India as a woman on my blog.
I am Muslim now and I do dress modestly but I didn’t used to. And I always find it interesting to compare my experiences when I wore less clothing in the Middle Eastern and certain Asian countries to now when I do dress more modestly.
I often get comments on my posts, especially for Istanbul from Turkish people saying ‘you can wear what you want here, there is no law’ and yes, same as with Qatar, there is no law on the dress code for Qatar as a tourist and technically, you can wear whatever you want as a man or women, same in Istanbul.
But just because you can wear whatever clothing you want in Gulf and Muslim countries like these, it doesn’t mean that you will feel the most comfortable on your trip wearing whatever you want, and that’s where I want to help and assist you.
Plus, if you are the type of person who has searched for ‘what to wear in Doha’ you must be a bit conscious about wanting to dress correctly for the culture and this is why I write these posts.
Here are more of my posts to help you plan your trip to Qatar:
How To Spend a Qatar Stopover & Spend 1 Day in Doha!
Doha Itinerary & Guide | How To Spend 3 Days in Doha with TIPS!
Qatar Dress Code
Let’s start by saying that there are no official rules for the dress code in Doha, or in Qatar.
Qatar is a Muslim and Islamic country, but as mentioned, Qatar is mostly made up of foreign workers and tourists and so not everyone wears the typical Muslim or Arab dress for men or women and everyone in the city of Doha is used to seeing a variety of outfits.
It is worth noting that out of the Gulf countries, Qatar is less ‘open’ compared to the likes of the UAE, especially Dubai, and Bahrain, in terms of the way of dressing and things like the availabiloty of alcohol, so if you have been to Dubai before, do expect Doha to be different in this way and slightly more conservative.
Not in the rules, just in the vibe… which a lot of people who visit Doha do appreciate!
Have you booked your flight to Doha yet??
I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different dates and routes to help me find the best flight at the best price!
Open Skyscanner by clicking here and search for the best flights!
Qatar Dress Code for Tourists
Post-World Cup, Doha is definitely used to many ways of dressing by tourists so when planning what to pack for Doha, you should be assured knowing you can wear your summer holiday wardrobe if you wish as a tourist in Doha and you will not get told off by any authorities.
I know one of the main reasons people worry about what to wear in Gulf Countries is purely because of the heat, and even their colder winter days feel like warm summer days to us tourists!
However, it is very much encouraged, as in all Muslim and Islamic Countries for men and women visiting Doha and Qatar to dress a bit more modestly and conservatively, with certain body parts covered.
And I do think you will feel more comfortable like this, not because of safety (which I’ll go into below) but because most other people around you are doing this.
What to wear in Qatar as a Woman
I’m giving you the below tips on what to wear in Qatar as a woman so you feel a bit more comfortable when you are in Qatar and Doha.
There is no need to wear more covered clothing because of safety in Qatar as Qatar and the city of Doha are extremely safe for female travellers.
Is Qatar safe for women?
In fact, that was one of the big pieces of feedback I heard post-world cup is that women felt very safe in Doha and much safer than they have in other countries and at other World Cups.
I’m advising you on what to wear in Doha as a woman so that you don’t find yourself on the metro, in a mall or restaurant wearing your summer clothing in a low top or short shorts with other tourists and locals around you wearing more covered clothing and you feel like the odd one out.
During my 3 day trip in Doha, I was very vigilant in seeing what tourists wear in Doha and I found that many of the tourists in Doha were wearing covered clothing and more covered than they probably would say in Spain or Greece in the same temperature.
What should female tourists wear in Qatar?
As you can see in my photos. I am Muslim now and I do cover my body and hair.
You definitely do not need to cover your hair and whole body as a tourist in Doha but I have found some clever ways of keeping cool in hot weather like in Qatar whilst wearing more modest clothing.
I recommend trying to keep your legs covered by wearing a long skirt/knee length skirt or trousers with a top that covers your shoulders and cleavage.
You can wear a strappy vest top in Doha but it will be seen as more respectful and fitting with the culture to not have it too low and to pair it with some long shorts or a skirt or trousers rather than some short shorts.
How to keep cool in hot countries
In hot countries like this, I find that light linen and light cotton are the best materials to wear because they are light and breezy. Materials like polyester can feel very heavy in the heat and stick to you when you get hot sweat which is not what you want.
The difference between a long light cotton dress vs a long polyester dress is huge! The photo below is from Mexico, not Qatar, but this is a dress from Zara. The material is so light, but it’s still long in length and arms!
You may also find that wearing some light 3/4 length linen trousers is actually more comfortable in the heat than short denim shorts too.
I know as Brits we have been brought up to think that fewer clothes are better when it comes to heat and keeping cool, but that’s not necessarily the case!
Can you wear shorts in Doha?
Yes, you can definitely wear shorts in Doha as a woman or a man. I’d just recommend that you ensure they are just above your knees and not ‘bum shorts’ and that you pair them with a t-shirt top or a vest top that doesn’t show cleavage.
Again, not because of safety as a woman in Qatar but to respect the culture.
What to wear inside a mosque in Doha?
There are many mosques in Doha, but in terms of mosques for tourists to visit, you will only come across 1 or 2.
I recommend visiting Katara Great Mosque when you visit Katara Culture Village in Doha. The Doha hop-on hop-off bus is a great way to see a lot of the city with limited time if you need this option and it includes Katara!
As with all mosques around the world, women will need to cover their hair and shoulders if they are on show, and ensure they are in long length trousers or a skirt. But if you do arrive in shorts or a short skirt, you can cover your legs with a wrap scarf.
I recommend packing at least 1 light scarf that can be used to cover you when sightseeing in Doha incase you come across a mosque and need to cover.
Here are some great Doha tours that include a visit to Katara Mosque and Village!
What to wear at the beach in Doha?
Doha is a great city to visit because you can sightsee and do all the things to do in Doha like museums and malls, but you can also go to the beach in Doha!
I didn’t go to a beach in Doha but I found this post on a guide to Qatar beaches and what to wear very interesting.
Essentially, there are 2 types of beaches in Qatar and 2 ways of dressing.
- Public Beaches where women cannot wear a bikini or swimsuit and must wear more covered clothes like stated above, or a modest swimsuit if they wish to be in swim attire and swim. And men must wear longer shorts and a top to cover their top half.
- Hotel Resort Beaches where both women and men can have skin on show in bikinis, swimsuits and swim shorts for men.
Hotels with a beach in Doha
This means, if you do want a beach holiday in Qatar, although it’s likely you can go to a hotel with a beach for a day, it will probably be quite expensive, so you are better off looking for hotels with a beach in Doha on booking.com here!
Here are some more hotels with private beaches in Doha so you know you can wear what you want on the beach!
Dressing like a local in Qatar
You’ll quickly notice that there is a dress code for local people in Qatar. This isn’t a law by any means, it’s just the local clothing because of the culture and religion.
Side note – I recommend you visit the National Museum of Qatar to learn more about the history of the Qataris and their dress, and it’s just an amazing museum to visit on your Doha itinerary!
Part of the fun of visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures is taking part and you can certainly dress like a local in Qatar and Doha to help enhance your experience!
What do the local women in Qatar wear?
Local women in Qatar will wear a Headscarf and Abaya, generally in black.
To experience this as a tourist, you don’t need to exactly wear this and wearing black in the heat when you are not used to it can be quite hard, but you can try out wearing an Abaya.
I don’t usually wear Abayas in the UK, I love them but I usually feel out of place in one. However, I love wearing them in the Gulf!
I think Abayas are very elegant and if you get one that is a light material, you can wear it on top of some light trousers or leggings and a vest top and you quickly have a light but modest outfit with a bit of a breeze if you get one that opens down the middle.
A great option instead of wearing an Abaya is to wear a long Kimono instead which gives a similar vibe as an Abaya, as it keeps you covered but cool.
If you do want to buy an Abaya, I recommend Modanisa based in Turkey for cheap Abayas and modest dresses. Or, you can see if there is an Arab or Asian area near where you live where you can buy one, like these Arab areas in London.
What do the local men in Qatar wear?
It’s very obvious what local men in Qatar wear as soon as you land at the airport and step outside!
They wear a long white garment known as a Qatari Thobe (called a Kandora in the UAE) with a pair of loose white trousers called the Sirwal underneath and generally, a white or red and white cloth on their head called a Gutra.
There are many positives for men to dress like this, not only does it fit the Islamic values of what a man should wear and keeps them looking modest, but the outfit is very appropriate for the Qatari heat and dust keeping them cool and giving them a breeze that they wouldn’t get if they were wearing jeans for example!
I’ve also been told they are very comfy!
One of the fun things about the World Cup in Qatar was seeing fans wear the traditional clothing and it was mostly foreign men getting involved by wearing a white Thobe or a Thobe with their flag on.
If you are visiting Doha, especially in the hot summer months, as a man, I would suggest doing as the locals do and getting a Thobe to stay cool!
Here are places where you can buy a ready-made Thobe in Doha.
What to wear as a Man in Qatar
As a Male tourist in Qatar, you can generally wear what you would wear on a summer city break elsewhere in the world.
You can wear shorts and a t-shirt but I recommend being mindful of how shorts your shorts are, knee length is best, and opting for a t-shirt rather than a vest top.
I say this because local men do not wear vest tops out of the house and it’s unlikely any workers in Qatar would wear this either, maybe some expats from Western countries would, but in order to not stand out too much, a t-shirt is a safer option in the city.
As mentioned above, at the private beaches in Doha and in the water parks in Qatar, you can certainly wear a vest top or no top and normal swim shorts, but on public beaches you will need to ensure your swim shorts are knee length and you have the top part of your body covered with no chest on show.
What to Pack for Qatar
If you are visiting Qatar in the winter months, especially January and February, note that although the temperatures will be warm throughout the day, the temperature can drop quite a bit in the evening and at night.
If you are going on a desert trip in Qatar for example where you will be out in the early morning or evening, you will want to pack layers like a hoodie and coat and have your legs covered, most likely with covered shoes.
Did you know you can go into the desert in Doha? Check out these awesome tours!
This winter, it has rained quite a bit in Doha which isn’t usually common so check the weather as in this instance covered shoes might be better than sandals.
In the summer months in Qatar, it does get very hot. Be mindful that the sun is very strong, pack SPF and be aware that having your skin on show isn’t always the best way to keep cool. Light linen and cotton can be better ways to stay less sweaty in this heat.
Also note that however hot it is outside, Qatar is well air-conditioned inside and if you are going shopping, for a meal or to the cinema, you might need a light layer to ensure the air con doesn’t make you too cold!
For women, I recommend packing a scarf that you can put around your shoulders and/or head when entering a mosque.
I hope this has helped you with what to wear in Qatar, what to wear in Doha and the general Qatar dress code.
- For more of my posts to help you plan your trip see:
- What To Wear in Abu Dhabi & Dress Code in Abu Dhabi For Tourists!
- How to get around Doha as a tourist!
- Doha Itinerary & Guide | How To Spend 3 Days in Doha with TIPS!
- 40 AMAZING Things To Do in Abu Dhabi!
- What To Wear in Saudi Arabia As a Foreign Woman!
- 16 BEST Things To Do in Riyadh as a Tourist, but like a Local!
- What To Wear In Istanbul As a Woman To Feel Comfortable Exploring!
- 36 BEST Things To Do In Istanbul With Insider Tips!