Oman is a small country hidden on the other side of the Arabian peninsula. Although it is not a place that usually comes to mind when someone mentions a holiday, Oman is a country that many should add to their wish list. This is because there are many reasons to visit this small haven in the Middle East. From the rich and deep culture expressed through food and clothing to spectacularly beautiful landscapes, there are many reasons to visit Oman.
When visiting any new destination, it is important to ensure that you have some basic information at hand. To get the most out of your vacation, keep reading 10 things to know when to visit Oman.
1. Size and location
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the opposite side of the Arabian Peninsula and is slightly larger than the United Kingdom. It borders Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He also shares maritime boundaries with Iran and Pakistan. The vast landscape of this country is incredibly varied. It includes lush mountains, arid deserts, breathtaking oases and beautiful beaches, all within a day's journey from the capital.
2. Transport in Oman
When it comes to getting around Oman, there are a few things to consider. You can take bus services between the main cities and also fly between the airports that connect the country. However, for more complex trips in cities or to see more isolated places, it may be necessary to hire a private tour guide or rent a car direct yourself. This latter option is popular with visitors and will free you to drive through coastal cities and enjoy the views as you wish. Taxis are also reasonably cheap for trips within cities, and trips can cost, on average, 2 to 4 OMR per trip.
Like most of the region, Arabic is the official language of Oman. However, it is important to note that more than half of the country's population is expatriates. The country is full of foreign workers and many other languages are heard and spoken. Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and, of course, English are common. For this reason, it is likely that you will be able to survive in hotels and restaurants with English only.
CONTINUE READING BELOW
4. Climate and seasons
Similar to neighboring countries, Oman can be avoided at the height of the summer months. This usually occurs between June and September. However, if you are on a limited budget, you can find great deals during that time. The fact is, if you are looking for comfortable temperatures, the coldest months are from October to March. The temperature varies between this period and, if you are planning night excursions in the desert during December and January, be sure to bring some warm clothes too.
5. Main highlights in Oman
Whether you are looking for architectural delights or breathtaking scenery, there are many places to visit in Oman. One of the largest buildings is the Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, named after the country's late leader. The stunning geometric design and captivating colors of this mosque will leave you enchanted. In addition, the beautiful gardens are also an adventure in themselves.
For an encounter with nature, many Oman wadis promise impressive natural beauty. Wadi Bani Khalid (seen below) is perhaps its most famous valley. The beautifully clear waters and the lush landscape will provide the perfect setting to relax and unwind.
People often claim that no visit to Oman is complete without a stop in Salalah. This beautiful city of Oasis is a popular destination during the monsoon season. The apparently arid landscapes explode in vegetation within hours and days of the first rains.
6. Visit during Ramadan
Ramadan is the month that Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. It is worth looking up when will it fall every year, as it follows the lunar calendar. In Oman, it is illegal to eat or drink in public during the day. Tourists and non-Muslims can, however, dine in their hotels or out of public view.
The fact is, however, that the days start late in Ramadan and are generally calmer than the rest of the year. This can be an advantage if you hope to experience frequent spots in peace. The real bustle of street life comes after sunset. Often, Ramadan-specific sweets and delicacies are available to be enjoyed everywhere. In addition, Ramadan ends with the joyful celebration of Eid, which in itself is a joyful time of celebration.
7. Money and currency
Oman's official currency is the Oman rial. It is often abbreviated as OMR. Oman's currency is strong and a luxury holiday in Oman will be expensive. For example, for the British traveler, the Oman rial is currently twice the value of the pound sterling. Some of the resorts can cost more than 125 OMR per night. However, as in most places, it is also possible to travel across the country on a reasonable budget. There are comfortable 4-star hotels for around 30 OMR per night, and car rental is also available for a variety of budgets. Adhering to street food and local restaurants will also cost a fraction of the price of dinner at a hotel, which can charge you 7 or 8 OR for a bowl of soup alone.
8. Security in Oman
Due to its location, many people may not think of Oman as a safe place. However, terrorism is practically non-existent here, and the level of crime is also impressively low. The country is largely peaceful. Although it is necessary to take common sense precautions anywhere, you are likely to be safer on a street in Oman at night than in many countries closer to home. To see some of the latest security news, visit the UK government website. security advice for Oman.
Obtaining a tourist visa for Oman is relatively simple. UK and US visitors can request a e-visa online along with about 67 other countries. For UK travelers, see the latest information on the UK government website.
10. Food and Drink
Oman dishes are wonderfully healthy and stuffed. There are several dishes that every visitor should try to try all the flavors of this unique cuisine. Majboos, for example, is a traditional rice dish that usually includes chicken, meat and vegetables. It is aromatic and sometimes spicy as well. In addition, shuwa is another meat dish. Shuwa meat is marinated and wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked in a traditional underground oven. Although this may seem like a big effort, the locals argue that it is worth the end result of the succulent and tasty bone meat.
It is worth mentioning that fishing is a large part of the coastal cities in Oman. Because of this, it is not surprising that Mashuai is a traditional fish-based dish. It is grilled kingfish served with a creamy lemon sauce. For vegetarians, Omani cuisine also offers a variety of fresh Middle Eastern salads, such as baba ganoush, as well as vegetable-based wraps and main courses, which are also growing in popularity.
No stay in Oman would be complete without a cup of local bitter qahwa or coffee with sweet dates. They are usually enjoyed at the end of a meal or as a simple portion for guests.
A trip through Oman will be a unique experience for any traveler. At a time when large parts of the Middle East can be described as unstable, at best, Oman offers a rich cultural experience in a welcoming security environment. The landscape is incredibly diverse, with beautiful beaches, vast deserts and lush vegetation, all that you can enjoy in just a few days. In addition, the bustle and diversity of cities will leave any visitor with memorable experiences for a lifetime.
Although Oman can be expensive, it is possible to use available public transport and use local restaurants and street food to keep costs low. Furthermore, it is not necessary to know Arabic to enjoy the country, and English will help you in most situations. Omanis is known for its generous hospitality, and visitors, despite traveling to the tip of the Arabian peninsula, at the end of their holiday will likely feel the comfort and familiarity of being at home.
We recommend the options below to book your hotels, activities, visas and flights:
Please note that we receive a small commission if you purchase through our referral links. We use this to invest in new content and improve this site.