I am going to Muscat Oman next week, I know that I (as a woman) have to cover myself more than what I am used to in hot countries, but what about swimsuits at the hotel pool, or at the beach?
Grateful for an answer!
It is not the law for women to cover in Oman, it's not like Saudi or Iran. However, it is the respectful thing to do. Many oblivious tourists will swim in swim suits around Muscat, Salalah, Sur or the Wadis. While this has absolutely no legal implication, it does show a complete disrespect or ignorance of local customs and traditions.
It's up to you what kind of traveller you wish to be.
Thankyou for your answer! Well of course I want to be respectful, but do you have any advice for me, if the hotel has a pool I suppose I suppose people use it? What would you wear for swimming?
If you're at one of the international hotels, there is absolutely no problem at all wearing a swimsuit.
Not advisable on the public beaches in Muscat, out of respect, yes, but also you'll attract a lot of unwanted attention.
At Wadi Shab you'll find loads of westerners in swimsuits, even bikinis - and shorts and t-shirts. In fact, this Wadi is mostly frequented by Westerners these days, you'll meet locals who work as guides there but it seems to be accepted in the pools there and no-one will chastise you.
As a rule elsewhere, keep your knees and shoulders covered and don't wear low-cut tops. You'll find it's actually a lot cooler to wear thin cotton long sleeved tops rather than t-shirts too.
You can wear shorts in the larger tourist areas, but try to wear longer ones. Wear long trousers and long sleeves in villages - no need to cover hair except in the Grand Mosque in Muscat (which I think is the only mosque women are allowed inside).
Have a great time!
You will look perfectly 'normal' wearing a swimsuit - either bikini or one-piece - at hotel pools and on private beaches. No idea about public beaches in Oman. In Dubai I saw women wearing bikinis on the public beach, too.
In the cities I wore long trousers and short-sleeved T-shirts ; on the road (we made a big tour in Oman) capri's and short-sleeved T-shirts.