You’d be forgiven if you thought that the Middle East and the UAE bless you with balmy temperatures all year round. Surprisingly, the winter months have a slight chill in the air, particularly overnight and early in the mornings. So what should you pack?

Remember that Ras Al Khaimah and the rest of the United Arab Emirates follow the Islamic code of conduct, which also applies to tourists. Whilst each emirate is modern, forward-thinking and cosmopolitan, and the Emirati people are tolerant, you are expected to be respectful. You’ll find that public places have clearly defined dress codes for men and women. There are information signs at most shopping malls, retail and entertainment areas, beaches, parks and religious buildings. The United Arab Emirates is almost 90 per cent ex-pats from over 200 countries, so you can imagine how diverse the dress can be.

Dressing respectfully shows that you have regard for the local culture. As a rule of thumb, in public places such as shopping malls, markets or on the metro, women should wear trousers, dresses, shorts or skirts that are at least just above knee level. Tops and dresses should have sleeves; if they don’t, you can cover your shoulders with a shawl or a light cardigan. Women should not wear low-cut or backless dresses. Men should wear shorts or trousers with a buttoned-up shirt or tee with sleeves.

A few items of clothing are considered inappropriate in Ras Al Khaimah despite being relatively relaxed. Crop tops, short shorts and miniskirts are considered too revealing if you are in a public place such as a shopping mall or one of the bustling souks. Revealing or tightly fitting clothing can be deemed offensive and indecent in the local culture.

The winter months in Dubai tend to be from November to March, with temperatures between 17 and 20 degrees Celsius. As a tourist, you are likely used to much cooler winter weather and won’t feel the cold as much as the locals. But it’s still wise to bring clothing you can layer, such as natural fibre shawls, hoodies and cardigans, if you intend to explore the deserts or mountains. If you plan to fly the longest zipline in the world or walk any mountain trails, you’ll need to wrap up warm and maybe don a hat, a scarf and some gloves. Snow has been recorded at the summit of the Jebel Jais mountains.

Ras Al Khaimah boasts an extraordinary range of fine dining experiences, so you have a good reason to dress up! Most upmarket restaurants are within five-star luxury hotels, so you don’t have to worry about the ‘public spaces’ rules and put on your glittering, shoulder-revealing dresses. Don’t forget to wear a shawl to cover up as you move between venues and to keep warm. If you want to dine outside, you’ll want to wear something cosy to keep out the chills.

Ras Al Khaimah is sunny all year round, with average temperatures of 25 degrees Celcius in the winter and soaring 43 degrees Celcius in the summer. The sea temperatures hover between 19 and 34 degrees Celcius. There are very few rainy days in the emirate, but rare heavy rains can cause flash floods, particularly in the mountain and wadi areas.

When heading into the mountains, you’ll want to wear closed-toe walking shoes or trainers. The mountains are shaley underfoot and, therefore, unsuitable for sandals or heels. Many outdoor activity providers might require you to wear sturdy shoes to prevent accidents. Make sure to check out their requirements in advance.

Water sports fans will enjoy the temperate climate. Bring a warm sweatshirt or hoodie and some comfortable bottoms to prevent you from getting chilly when you come out of the water. Most luxury hotels along the coastline have access to activities such as jet skis, paddle boarding, kayaking, inflatable fun rides and parasailing.

Daylight hours are relatively consistent throughout the year. The longest day is 21 June with almost 14 hours of sunshine, whilst the shortest day is 21 December with only 10 hours and the sun setting at 5.30 pm. Even during the cooler months, the sun is surprisingly intense. To protect your skin, wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen when you are out and about or SPF 50 if you are sunbathing.

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