flag Oman Oman: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Driving in Oman is easy and generally safe both in and between cities. Public transport options are limited and driving is the best and most common option throughout the country. 'Baiza' buses, run by the public Mwasalat Company, are the most popular public transport option and are relatively cheap (200 baizas or USD 0.50 for short hauls). Mwasalat also offers regular bus services to other major cities in Oman and within the region; however, ticket prices are rather expensive, especially given the low oil prices in the country. Taxis are prevalent in major cities. Taxis only became metered in January 2018 and it is advisable to ask or negotiate the price beforehand. Taxi prices can be rather expensive; however, share riding options are quite common and practical.
Maps of Urban Networks
Open Data on City and Intercity Routes (Mwasalat Public Transport Company)

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Muscat International Airport (MCT) 10-15 km Minimum fare: OMD 5 (USD 13)/ 15-20 min
Average fare: OMD 10 (USD 25)
Lower fares apply for shared taxis
Higher fares apply for weekday nights
Bus: OMD 0.5 (USD 1.3)/ 20-30 min No train options Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Oman has an extensive road network; however, roads outside cities are more suited to 4x4 vehicles owing to the geography of the country. Seat belt is compulsory both for front and rear passengers. Speed limit is between 40 and 80 kph in urban areas, 90 kph in rural areas and 120 kph on motorways. Oman does not currently have any rail infrastuctures; however, new rail projects are under way.
Oman has five commercial airports, three of which are open to international flights. Muscat International Airport is the main international airport in the country.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Oman AIr National Yes Yes
Salam Air Low-cost Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Driving in Oman is generally safe and usually the best option as public transport is rather limited and inter-city bus services are relatively expensive. However, as public transport options are limited and rail infrastructure is non-existent, traffic congestion is also quite common, especially in the capital city of Muscat. A saloon car is usually sufficient to travel throughout the country; nevertheless, a 4x4 is recommended to reach mountainous areas and Wahiba Sands.
Road signs are in Arabic and English.
Road Maps
A Collection of Maps of Oman
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin Oman Road Map

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
- Al Jalali and Al Mirani Fort: Ordered by the Portugese Empreror Philip I in the 1580s, the twin fort was built to protect the harbour after Muscat had been sacked twice by the Ottomans
- Muttrah: Centre of commerce prior to the discovery of oil. The district has an old public market (souq)
- Misfat al Abriyeen: Old mountainous village located 1,000 m above sea level
- Bahla: The city has been a stopping point for travelers for centures and has a fort that dates back to the 13th century
- Nizwa: Former capital of Oman (6th and 7th centuries)
Cultural
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Royal Opera House
- Al Alam Palace (can only be visited from outside)
- Al Husn Palace (Sultan's Palace in the city of Salalah)
- National Museum of Oman
Nature
- Masirah Island
- Wadi Sahalnoot and Wadi Darbat (near the city of Salalah)
- Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain)
- Musandam Fjords
- Wahiba Sands
- Wadi Bani Khalid (in Al Sharqiyah Region)
- Jebel Shams (Sun Mountain)
- Ras al Jinz (nature reserve for green turtles)
Religious
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Prophet Ayoub's (Job) Grave
- Prophet Hud's Tomb
- Sultan Saeed Bin Taimur Mosque
Thermal
No thermal tourism in the country.
Beach
- Khasab Beach (Musandam Governorate)
- Al Qurum Beach (Muscat)
- Al Mughsayl (Dhofar)
- Bandar Jisaah (near Muscat)
- Tiwi Beach
- Al Bustan Beach
- Duqm Beach
- Al Sawadi Beach
Winter Sports
Oman's climate is not suitable for winter sports.
Outdoor Activities
Daily excusions in Wahiba Sands and scuba diving are the most common outdoor activities.
Shopping
Khanjaar (Omani dagger) is a unique representation of the Omani culture and is featured on the country's flag. Frankincense (aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes), mandoos (Omani chest), pottery, palm baskets and crafts and silver jewelry are some of the most popular souvenir items from Oman.

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
No compulsory vaccination; however, the following vaccines are recommended: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Influenza.
Dengue fever is a threat to visitors and it is advised to bring mosquito repellent.
Healthcare facilities are modern and clean, and usually provide good service. Bottled water is available and recommended.
Medical insurance is essential.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
FCO Travel Advice - Health
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
FCO Travel Advice - Safety and Security
Government of Canada - Oman Travel Advice
 

Emergency Numbers

Emergencies (Police - Fire - Ambulance) 9999
Royal Oman Police 24560099
Water (Muscat) 1442
Electricity 154
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Muscat (GMT+4)
Summer Time Period
None
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The climate of Oman can be described as subtropical dry, with the exception of Dhofar region, which has a light monsoon climate and receives cool winds from the Indian Ocean. Rainfall is extremely scarce in summer (mid-April-September) and daily temperatures can reach easily 40°C (104°F) or more. Winter temperatures are mild and pleasant, ranging between 15°C (59°F) and 23°C (73°F). Spring and autumn are warm and mostly dry, with maximum temperatures between 25°C (77°F) and 35°C (95°F). Shamal, a strong wind that blows from the Rub al Khali in spring and summer, can raise temperatures by 6°C (42°F) and 10°C (50°F) and cause sandstorms.
For Further Information
Climate of Oman - WeatherOnline
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Omani cuisine includes traditional aspects and elements of the Middle Eastern cuisine (saffron, rose water, lemon, sumac, etc.) as well as Indian and Persian influences. Unlike most countries in the Gulf region, seafood is an essential part of the cuisine, as evidenced by the Paplou fish soup, one of the staples of the Omani food, but also shark, which is not eaten in the rest of the region. Madrouba, a rice and chicken specialty, Shuwa, a dish of slow-cooked goat or lamb, are some another signature dishes of the Omani cuisine.
Muscat, in particular, has a wide range of restaurants serving local, Indian, Yemeni, Turkish and Western food.
Drinks
Spiced milk tea and Qahwa (Omani Coffee) are the most popular drinks in the country. Alcohol is not illegal unlike most countries in the Gulf region; however, its consumption is heavily regulated and only licensed hotels and restaurants can sell alcohol. Non-Muslim expatriates can apply for a license from the Royal Oman Police to buy alcohol and consume at home.
Dietary Restrictions
Pork and alcohol are taboo in the Muslim culture. Nonetheless, it is possible to buy both pork at supermarkets and restaurants as a non-Muslim expatriate. Supermarkets must sell pork in a completely separate area whereas restaurants have to have a completely separate kitchen for pork dishes. Non-Muslim expatriates can also apply for a license from the Royal Oman Police to buy alcohol and consume at home.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Omani Rial
ISO Code
OMR
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Visitors can change foreign currency at the counters inside Muscat International Airport and at money exchanges throughout Oman. ATMs are available everywhere and easily accessible. Most accept foreign cards. Cashing travellers' cheques can be difficult as shops and restaurants do not usually accept them. Most hotels change travellers' cheques but at poor exchange rates.
Possible Means of Payment
Credit cards and cash are widely accepted. Bank Muscat launched Oman's first electronic wallet in 2017. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted types of credit cards; however American Express is also becoming increasingly popular.

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Speaking

Official Language
Arabic
Other Languages Spoken
English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects, Mehri
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Visit the website of Insight Guides and Atana to learn the basics on the Omani dialect.
Free Translation Tools
Cambridge Dictionary : English-Arabic Dictionary
Bab.la : English-Arabic Dictionary
Reverso Context : English-Arabic Translation in Context

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Latest Update: November 2022