Perched at the heart of the junction between East and West, Qatar is growing increasingly popular as a tourism destination, with almost 2 million visitors to the country every year. As I found out on a recent press trip to Doha with Qatar Airways and Cardiff Airport, it’s actually a great place to visit. The sun is almost always shining, the surroundings are super slick and stylish, and it’s one of the safest countries in the world, as well as one of the richest. When I found out I was visiting Qatar, however, I panicked about what to wear. It’s normal for me to be unsure about what to pack for a holiday, but with Qatar, I was unsure of what to wear to fit with the Qatar dress code determined by cultural norms and values, and how strictly such rules would be enforced. In addition, I had to ensure the clothes I packed were suitable for the variable climate.
Upon arrival in Qatar and after spending a few hours at the hotel, it became apparent that the Qatar dress code isn’t actually as restricting as it might seem at first. I wish I knew more about what to wear before I packed for my trip, so I thought it would be useful to share my top tips on what to wear in Qatar.
Qatar dress code: the basics
There is a dress code in place across the whole of Qatar, and the only time this doesn’t apply is when you’re in your hotel or resort. If you’re a tourist, you’ll need to stick to the following general rules:
- Choose clothes that cover your knees, regardless of whether you are male or female.
- Cover your shoulders at all times (although it’s okay to wear sleeveless dresses and tops).
- Don’t wear anything see-through. Remember to double-check this when you are standing with the sun behind you.
- While there is no specific rule about wearing tight clothing, you may wish to consider wearing loose or less revealing clothing while visiting the country.
With these basic rules of the Qatar dress code in mind, here are some suggestions of what kinds of clothing you can wear in Qatar.
What to wear in Qatar
Qatar is hot – very hot. During the summer months, temperatures in the high 40s are not uncommon.
However, it can get quite chilly in the winter months. Occasionally, at night, the temperature drops below zero. So, if you are planning to visit Qatar anytime between December and February, it’s a good idea to pack a light cardigan. Being a curvy girl, I often struggle to find cardigans I can actually button up, but I’ve found a few I like the look of on the JD Williams website. Try to find one that’s suitable to wear as an alternative to a coat in the evenings.
Skirts and dresses
For females, maxi skirts and dresses are a great option when it comes to what to wear in Qatar. I wished I’d taken more maxi skirts with me, as I practically lived in mine during my stay. Alternatively, you could wear a shift dress or something similar. Some types of kimono dresses could work well too.
If you go to Qatar during the winter, you can’t go wrong with jeans during the evenings. The tops you choose to wear with them don’t necessarily have to be long, but tops that finish below the buttocks definitely look more modest.
In the summer months, culottes are an ideal alternative to denim. Or, if you prefer, a skirt, long shorts, or loose trousers that allow air to circulate.
If you want to pop to the gym or take a swim, make sure you continue to dress modestly. You don’t want to wear anything too tight or revealing. For the gym, a longish loose fitting t-shirt worn over leggings is a good combination.
You will occasionally see bikinis worn around the pool at hotels or on private beaches, but you might wish to play it safe by wearing an all-in-one swimsuit or wrapping a saree around your waist. If you’re going to a public beach, you’ll definitely need to wear a t-shirt, with shorts over your bikini bottoms – that includes when you go swimming in the sea!
Besides considering what clothing to wear, when you’re outside in direct sunlight, you’re highly advised to wear suncream, sunglasses and perhaps also a hat. Wearing looser cuts will enable air to circulate more, helping you to feel cooler. Similarly, wearing lightly coloured clothing and items made from natural fabrics will also help to keep you cool – that’s why you’ll see a lots of people wearing white in Qatar!
What do you think about Qatar as a destination? Is it somewhere you’d visit for a holiday? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.