Dress code in Egypt?

Apr 4th, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Dress code in Egypt?

I am travelling with a tour group in Egypt. The itinerary includes Cairo, a Nile River cruise and the pyramids. Are women required or expected to dress in a certain way? For example, are long skirts necessary? Thanks for your help.
niki50 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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niki50: I asked a similar question recently and received a number of responses. Check under "Egypt tour apparel help needed". When are you going and what tour company are you using? Mimi
Mimi is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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Yes, check for the prior post.

Basically, women should not wear shorts, tight pants, halter tops, or revealing tops. You can wear stuff like that on a boat or strictly confined to a resort. Long skirts aren't necessary, as long pants are fine. However, remember it's hot hot there with lots of sun exposure. You will want to be covered with loose cotton tops, pants, or skirts. Most egyptians associate with tour groups are used to seeing all sort of bad dressing choices, but the country is still conservative and it is respectful of people to dress smartly, but modestly. For example, they think men wearing shorts and T-shirts look like they are wearing underwear and look ridiculous.
Apr 4th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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All good advice - plus that of previous posts. One additional thought. As one who always likes to travel lightly, Egypt is one place where you might want to bring a few extra sets of clothing or be prepared to do some hand laundry. I found myself on several occasions so hot and sweaty that I changed everything, including underwear, at midday.
gail is online now  
Apr 5th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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I wouldn't call Egypt a Muslim country; not only are state and church totally separated, but even religious political parties are totally prohibited by law.
The religious choice of most Egyptians is Islam, but most people are secular.

After all, belly dancing was invented in Egypt, and I don't think I need to tell you how "modestly" belly dancers dress!
and by the way, you can wear a bikini on the beach in most middle eastern countries.

Yes you should dress modestly in small villages like Luxur and Abu Simbel, but you will often see Egyptian young ladies in Cairo wearing tank tops and tight low cut jeans, no shorts though.

This is also the case in all other Middle eastern countries, except for Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In some big middle eastern cities like Beirut where 70% of the people are christians, you could even wear mini skirts and anything you would wear in Miami!

Here is the website of Haifa, the idol of 18-30 year old middle easterners. Her mom is from a tiny Egyptian conservative village, and her father is a shiite cleric from Lebanon, but she lives in ultra liberal Beirut!

It might give you some insight into how young middle eastern ladies dress.

stholm is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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I wouldn't compare Beirut to most other Middle Eastern muslim countries. Sure, in most of these countries you will find women and girls dressing in secular/western clothing, which can catch a westerner by surprise. That is not to say that visitors shouldn't be considerate with their dress and what is simply "respect."
Apr 5th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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What I am trying to convey is that if locals are used to seeing some local women dressed in secular clothing (in the case of Beirut everyone is dressed western style) there is no reason for westreners to worry about how they dress.
stholm is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 03:27 AM
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No one suggested you not wear "secular" clothing - no one said you need to wear a burka - just dress modestly
gail is online now  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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and I said You don't need to dress modestly in Big cities, only in villages.
stholm is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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We will agree to disagree, I hope. I believe it is polite to dress rather modestly in Egypt.
gail is online now  
Apr 6th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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No, it's polite to dress immodestly in Egypt.
stholm is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Just came back from Egypt...what a glorious time my wife and I had! In regards to clothing, I saw both extremes. Many women on our tour dressed modestly, usually capri pants with a shirt that covered the shoulders. Maybe even a light scarf of some type to cover even more when visiting a mosque, walking through town, etc. I also saw women dressed very scantily, bordering on obscene, and yes, they were stared at, even sometimes approached. Bottom line, you're in someone else's country and should respect their culture. My wife is 26 years old and usually dresses very comfortably, but watched what she wore during our trip. She never had a problem, and was thankful that she respected their culture. Enjoy your trip! We just got back and can't wait to go again
traskyuk is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 03:04 AM
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As a 40+ American woman living in Egypt, I dress pretty much the same here as I do in the states, which is to say relatively "frumpy" The one concession I had to make for my own comfort level was to trade shorts for capris. By the way, no Egyptian man has ever told me my hair is ‘like that of a goddess’ or my eyes are ‘like the twinkling stars high above in the heavens’. I'll be sulking over that for awhile.
DejaDeb is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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It's ridiculous how some of these posters made up stories about being proposed to on the streets!

To tell you the honest truth, Arabs think that Westreners have no respect for family values. They also think that Westreners see marriage as a fun ceremony, but it wouldn't stop them from sleeping around with other people once their spouses are not around!

That doesn't mean that they don't respect western culture, it just means that they would never dream of getting married to one of them.

and the "hair is like that of a goddess’ or "eyes are like the twinkling stars high above in the heavens’

Give me a break! Arabs are known to be good poets, but please, you have no chance against local Cleopatra look alike beauties who truly fit those descriptions!
did you take a look at Haifa yet?

Believe me, I've lived there for years and know exactly how they think.

stholm is offline  

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