Oman Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Oman-
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, is a country located in Western Asia, known as the oldest independent state in the Arab world. The country is rich in traditions, culture, history, and nature. Kind and hospitable people, as well as mouthwatering cuisine and drinks, have made Oman one of the fantastic destinations in Asia.
Why Visiting Oman?
When someone talks about the vacation, Oman will not be the first choice. The reason is that Oman has various hidden gems, and nobody knows about them. However, traveling to the Sultanate will be one of the best experiences of your lifetime in traveling. The reasons for visiting this country are various and interesting.
Interestingly, Oman has some of the most beautiful natural attractions you can ever find in the world. Mountains are widespread around the country, and beautiful palm trees can be found anywhere. Hiking, adventure, and nature lovers will definitely love Oman. The Al Hajar mountains, The Empty Quarter, Wadi Bani Khalid, and Hawiyat Najm (Bimmah Sinkhole) are among the highlights.
Another essential feature of the country is that Omanis are the kindest people you can find worldwide. The generosity and hospitality of locals attract any attention. They always have beautiful smiles on their faces. Interestingly, Omanis are compassionated and united since they are all sad during the hard times and happy during the celebrations. When in Oman, you will definitely be welcomed to the local houses, no matter they know you or not!
When you are in Oman, you will be surprised by the taste and the flavor of Omani’s foods and cuisine, like other Middle-Eastern countries! They use very much rice in their food served alongside the meats and chickens. Rice is prepared in different ways depending on the type of food with various seasoning methods.
Oman has a rich history and eye-catching architecture. The richness of the history can be seen in forts, villages, ancient houses, ancient homes, and any spot around the country. Besides, there are many museums around the country, helping visitors get familiar with the country’s history and culture through time.
Oman Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Oman
Temperature: 21.5 °C (71 °F) – 37.5 °C (100 °F)
Since spring, the temperature grows in Oman. However, the difference between temperature in daytime and night is notable. For instance, in March, the average temperature in the daytime is 31 °C (88 °F) while you will experience the average temperature of 21 °C (70 °F) at nights. In Apri, the warming tendency continues with a few precipitations. However, since May, the weather becomes totally dry.
Summer (June – August)
Temperature: 28 °C (83 °F) – 38 °C (101 °F)
In summer, daylight hours increase to 11 hours, and the temperature slightly increases compared to May. Except for some rains in southern regions, you won’t face any rain in summer. The difference in temperature day and night can be up to 11 °C!
Autumn (September – November)
Temperature: 22 °C (71 °F) – 34°C (94 °F)
Since late September, the temperature goes down. In October, the tourist season begins, and in November, you can enjoy one of the best weather situations in Oman. Seaside activities are the best during the autumn.
Winter (December – February )
Temperature: 18 °C (65 °F) – 26 °C (80 °F)
Winter is the peak season for visiting Oman since the weather is mild and pleasant. January and February are the best months for visiting the country and enjoying seaside activities.
Things to Do in Oman
A lot of people think that Oman may not have much to offer, and it is like most other places until they discover there are actually a lot of things to do. These things to do here include visiting the highlights of the country and spending time there with companions and other travelers. On a tour or alone or with friends, this country has a lot of sites and cultural elements to offer, which lie in its buildings, environment, and people. From visiting marvelous buildings, deserts, and beaches, try them all. Also, make plans and priorities these mentioned top places and things to do in Oman.
Feel the Calm and Quiet of Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Start your list of things to do in Oman with a visit to the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Mosque at Muscat. It was constructed recently and in 2001 as one of the prettiest buildings and architectural projects in Oman. Sultan Qaboos Mosque is a wonderful architectural achievement of the country, and since it is very large, it never feels too crowded. When you decide to visit the Sultan Qaboos Mosque, keep the prayer hours in mind to avoid the masses coming to pray.
Although the Sultan Qaboos Mosque is dedicated to Muslims, people of other religions are allowed to enter at certain times of the day. All you have to do to enter is follow the dress code and respect the sanctity of the building. Cover your arms, legs, and wear clothes that are not revealing in any way. More than that, women must wear Hijab (scarfs or anything that will cover their hair) to get inside. All of these efforts are completely worth the spiritual sensation of Sultan Qaboos Mosque and witnessing the beauty and architecture of this place.
Relax at Wadi Bani Khalid or Explore its Surroundings
As soon as you mention the name of Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman, you should expect to hear the nickname “slice of paradise” about it. This nickname fits the Wadi Bani Khalid since it really is like a paradise. This paradise is in a warm valley that has fertile grounds because of its spring and water pools. What makes Wadi Bani Khalid more interesting is that it is not so crowded during weekdays, making it ideal for some exploring. Something that everyone should do while in Oman is to visit Wadi Bani Khalid to hang out around the pools and the entirety of the valley. You can take off your shoes and put your feet in the water so the fishes can feed in the dead skin as you enjoy the scenery. And if spending time near the turquoise waters does not sound exciting, there is the valley to explore and its caves to discover.
Explore the Desert at the Wahiba Sands
When in Oman, be sure to spend one or several days in the desert and the Wahiba Sands. There are several things you can do in the Wahiba Sands of Oman. Such activities are traditional camping in tents, booking appropriate accommodations in the desert, and riding camels or a 4×4 vehicle. The Wahiba Sands is one of the best options for having a memorable experience on the orange sand dunes. The Wahiba Sands are located in the eastern parts of the country. Explore the areas with a guide, and make plans to spend the night in the Wahiba Sands and underneath the stary night.
If it is your first time in the deserts, make sure to have a guide. Bring appropriate clothing and lots of water to have some fun away from the busy cities of this country.
See the Nizwa Fort as One of the Many Castles and Forts of Oman
The more time you spend in Oman, the more you discover about their rich heritage, like the Nizwa fort and its old town. It is, of course, not the only fortress and town. This castle has its own market and key structures, like many others of its kind, making it a very fun place to visit. Nizwa is a UNESCO Heritage and a cultural site that gets a lot of local and foreign visitors. One of the reasons that make it popular is the green nature and places to relax, as well as areas to sit and have fresh fruit juices in the heat of the sun. Walking in the Nizwa castle, you will see its defenses, well-preserved walls, and passages and discover its fascinating design.
Find the Best Viewpoints on Top of Jebel Shams
Jebal Shams is one of the tallest and most scenic mountains of the Middle East and Oman. What you have to do in the Jebel Shams is to pick a trail that leads to a good view. Finding a good spot is also a good idea for catching the sunrise and sunset. Perhaps the only considerations are for picking the right trail depending on your experience level. The name Jebel Shams itself suggests that the best thing about these mountains is watching the sun since it translates to “mountain(s) of the sun”. After having a desert experience, going to an oasis, seeing the heritage and cities of Oman, this is the best thing you can do in the country.
Feel Tranquility at The Masirah Island
Exploring Masirah Island is one of the learning and top activities in Oman, and that is because it is the best place to discover what a desert island actually is! Masirah Island is full of completely deserted beaches with no crowds or people to bother your peace and quiet. Besides being a desert island, Masirah Island has its own unique wildlife, which is seen from time to time. There were trading and shipping ports on this island, but not the only Masirah Island inhabitants are fishermen and producing traditional textile.
Visiting the town on Masirah Island is only a secondary thing to do than exploring the place. While exploring, you might discover what remains of the ships and the trading ports of the old times of Masirah Island.
Go on an Adventure in the Jabal Akhdar Mountains
It is really hot in the summer and very cold during winter, but going to the Jebel Akhdar is really worth the difficulty. If you are going with a 4×4, you will need a lot of driving experience as the terrain is difficult, and if you are planning a hike to the area, you will require to pack your gear. Jabal Akhdar Mountains are not impossible to travel to, but they will be quite the challenge. Going to this mountain is a top activity in Oman, but there are much fewer crowds here than in most places due to its difficulty. It is even worth hiring a guide to go to the Jabal Akhdar for some hiking.
Swim in Pool at Bimmah Sinkhole
There is a natural pool in the Bimmah Sinkhole, one of the best places to visit in Oman. What you have to do here is jump in and swim in the somewhat magical waters of the Bimmah Sinkhole. You will be swimming with the fishes, giving you a kind of natural spa in the pool. There are several stories as to how this Bimmah Sinkhole was created and where the fishes and water come from, but those are only secondary to the effects and fun of swimming in there. If you have time, make sure to get there, and if you do not have the time, do your best to make time!
Spend a Few Hours at Wadi Shab and Fall in Love With its Beauty
One of the most addictive places in the country is the Wadi Shab, with its beautiful waters and rock formations in the valley. One thing to do in this part of Oman is swimming in the clear pools of fresh water in Wadi Shab. There is also hiking and discovering the caves, which bring lots of locals and tourists to this area. The views and scenery of Wadi Shab are so stunning and beautiful that they will keep you there for more than a few hours. The only concern here is wearing appropriate clothes and shoes. Wadi Shab is perfect for relaxing and spending time in the beautiful environment of Oman.
Lose Yourself in the Beautiful Town of Al Abriyeen
To make the list of things to do in Oman complete, make plans to walk in the cobblestone alleys of Al Abriyeen. The Al Abriyeen is a village in the mountains with cute and beautiful buildings and passages. The architecture and the mud houses are enough to make any traveler fall in love with the Al Abriyeen town, but it is also another great place for hiking if you want more. Inside the village or in the mountain areas, the green gardens and the trees around the village have a great atmosphere as it has a calming and peaceful vibe that must be experienced. Make the Al Abriyeen more memorable by trying some fresh fruits and fruit juices as you explore or sit down and relax.
Local Transportation in Oman
In many cities of Oman, there is an extensive urban bus network connecting major parts of the cities and all tourist attractions.
They are like private taxis but less common around the country. They are cheaper than the taxis but slower with many stops!
There are two taxi companies in Oman, called Marhaba and Mwasalat, both with ride-hailing apps. They are allowed to pick up passengers from the airport and most hotels. They are the cleanest and safest means of transportation
Orange and White cars are the taxis in Oman, with no meters! You need to negotiate the price before getting in!
Intercity Transportation in Oman
There are two main airlines in Oman, helping you to reach Salalah from Muscat, and vice versa, at 36 OMR (£72) in one way trip, even in the peak season.
There are many ferries in Oman, and therefore, the ferry is one of the means of transportation, helping you to Diba and Masirah Island with ease.
With Oman’s coach network, you can reach every part of the country at very affordable prices. The buses are operated by Mwasalat, the government-owned transport company.
Flight Deals to Oman
Oman Travel Costs
|Budget||$21 – $42|
|Mid-Range||$49 – $99|
|High-End||$99 – $197|
|Average Daily Costs|
Best Hotels in Oman
Find the best hotels in Oman using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Oman Travel Tips
Arabic is the official language of Oman, but you can easily find English-speaking people as well. Oman is a melting pot of cultures, combining Arabs, Hindus, Pakistanis, etc. Therefore, other languages are spoken widely.
Oman is one of the safest countries you can find worldwide because of both police efforts and kind people. So, you can travel to this historic country without any worries.
Omanis are conservative people since they are religious, and they highly respect their traditions. Tourists are not required to dress like locals, but they should be more conservative than their home.
10 percent tip is the norm in restaurants and hotels. Also, tipping custodians in museums and other attractions is also appreciated.
Photographing governments or military buildings, or airports is forbidden. Also, if you want to photograph locals, ask them first.
Tap water is considered safe in Oman. However, it’s recommended to drink bottled water as locals do.
The plugs in Oman are type G with 200V to 240 V. Adaptors can be found in supermarkets and hotels.
|Wilayat||Wali´s Office||Public Prosecution||Hospital||Municipality||Electricity Emergency|
|Royal Oman Police||9999|
Currency & Money Tips
Omani rial (OR) is the official currency in Oman, divided into 1000 baisa with denominations of 100 and 200 Baisas as well as ½, 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 rial notes. As for coins, you can find 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, ¼ riyal, and ½ riyal coins as well.
Fortunately, ATMs are widespread in Oman, so you can have withdrawal without any trouble. However, make sure to know the rates.
Visa and MasterCard are the most popular credit cards in Oman, but American Express is not widely used yet. The fee would be 5% in some hotels and restaurants.
Exchange offices are available from 4pm to 7pm, offering a better rate than the banks. Therefore, they can be a good choice if you want to exchange your money.
Food & Drink (Omani Food)
It is easy to pick what you must eat in Oman since everything is cooked to perfection using traditional methods. It is only a question of preference, but the best picks are the ones that include lamb and spice. Their spice is the best in the world, and this reputation is clearly visible in their history. The only things that are not available are alcoholic beverages and pork, which are forbidden because of their religion. Eating in this country will add to the enjoyable traveling experience and make it an exotic and memorable trip.
If there are two very famous things in the Arabic and Omani cuisine, it is lamb and spice, which both get grilled to make Shuwa. Shuwa is a national dish that is also rooted in tradition and the simpler times of Oman. When making this national dish in the old ways, the lamb meat is marinated in spice for several days. The marinated meat is then wrapped in banana or palm leaves for the waiting to begin. Shuwa was mostly made during an Eid or a celebration. The whole process of marinating is done two or three days before the feast.
To cook the best Shuwa, it is placed in an underground oven. Once the cooking is done, the meat is served whole for all the guests. Each guest will have to take their share from the plate and enjoy the feast. Serving it traditionally is on a bed of rice and with a tomato-based sauce. Nowadays, there are some modifications to Shuwa and its side dishes, but the main recipe is still the same.
Majboos or Makboos, AKA Kabsa, is a rice dish with vegetables and meat invented in the Arab World. It is not exactly clear who created this dish, but all Arabs and the people living around the Persian Gulf love Majboos. The rice for Majboos is cooked with spices and vegetables, then served with a piece of chicken meat on top. One can serve lamb or beef instead of chicken for Majboos, but the vegetables and mix of spices should never be altered. To add some flavors, Majboos is served with various side dishes such as salads, yogurts, and sauces.
Halwa is a dessert and a cultural phenomenon in all of the Middle East. Halwa has a semi-soft and thick body, looks brown but has zero chocolate, and it is rather thick, so you will need a spoon to try it. The smell of Halwa is also something unique because there is rosewater in the process of making it. Halwa is sweet and delicious, but certainly much heavier than it looks! There are loads of ingredients and nuts inside it that are slowly boiled over the fire. Each city and Middle Eastern country also have their own cultural story and significance for Halwa. Try the Halwa of Oman after your meal, and then ask about where and when it is traditionally made.
Do not let the warm weather and the deserts fool you because Oman has some tasty seafood such as the Mashuai. Mashuai is made with kingfish or swordfish that are marinated with olive oil and a mix of spices. And then, like most of their cuisine, the fish must be grilled before being served. For serving the Mashuai, the rice is also prepared specially. The dish you will receive will be the fish that is served on a bed of lemon rice. Savory and spicy, Mashuai is a must when you are in Oman.
The Omani Bread is, and always has been, a staple part of their cuisine. Oddly enough, the Omani Bread is just flour, water, salt, and nothing more. The point that makes it unique is perhaps their traditional overs or the fact that people still make their own bread, or just their delicious food. Certain types of Omani Bread are even suitable for eating during the evening as a snack with tea or milk. You will see the various kinds of Omani Bread wherever you go and in almost all restaurants. Therefore, it is best to give it a try in all the places.
As you enter the Arab World, you will see numerous palm trees and Dates. Dates are not part of the Omani Cuisine; they are a part of their culture. These mouth-watering Dates of Oman come in various sizes and tastes, making them one of the best things to have as a dessert or an evening snack. They are sweet, but their sweetness varies. Sometimes these Dates are covered in grated coconuts and other things to make them even more delightful. Dried, fresh, small, big, plain, or topped with other things, make sure to put Dates on the list of foods you have to eat in Oman.
Also, keep in mind that Dates in Oman are a show of hospitality. Therefore, if someone offers you some, it is better to accept. But that does not mean you will have to accept if you do not like to.
Harees is a kind of food found all over Asia with various names, but the best version of it belongs to Oman. The reason why Harees is best in Oman is probably in their wheat and spices, or maybe because they have continuously made and upgraded this dish. Harees can be modified very easily, and some of the ingredients can be changed into what is available. Therefore, everyone can make it, and it is easy to find all over the country. Harees is traditionally a food of Ramadan. However, because of its popularity, it is always seen on the menus of restaurants.
Just like Dates, Kahwa or coffee is a part of the Omani culture. They have their own traditional ways of preparing the coffee in the process of roasting and then grounding it. Once the Kahwa beans are powdered, some additional ingredients are added to create a unique texture and taste, such as cardamom. You may also see saffron and rose water are added to the Kahwa of Oman. When someone wants to show hospitality to their guests, they traditionally offer some Dates or Halwa along with a cup of their special Kahwa.
Meshkak is another grilled dish of Oman, one that uses chicken, beef, or lamb. To make this dish, the selected meat is marinated with whatever kind of spices you desire, and then it is grilled on metal skewers. The barbequing is always done in the old fashion way and using a hot coal fire. Although the Meshkak is a popular food of festivals and celebrations, those are not the only times you can try them. You may think that any kind of barbequed or grilled meat can be tasty, but wait until you have tried the Meshkak and the local spices used to make this marvelous dish.
In Oman and many other Arabic and Middle Eastern countries, there is a drink called Laban. The Laban drink is the number one choice for having with greasy food and meat dishes. Be careful as it can be quite heavy and make you sleepy since it is made with yogurt and buttermilk, so make plans for trying it. Laban tastes a little salty, and when served with mint and other things, it becomes an ideal thing to have with a meal.
Mobile & Internet
If you want to be connected in Oman, many companies and operators help you keep connected to the internet. If you are going to visit major attractions and cities of Oman, Ooredoo company can be the best choice, and if you want to visit remote areas as well, Omantel is excellent. Omantel offers the best coverage and speed, having the majority of customers. The reason for recommending the Ooredoo is that its tourist SIM card offers more data than the Omantel. Also, the roaming prices are better in Oordeoo compared to Omantel.
Where to buy it?
Omantel, Oordeoo, and Renna (reseller) have a booth in the arrival of Muscat International Airport operating 24/7. You can easily buy the SIM card at the airport before your trip begins! You need to provide your passport for registering. Also, you might be required to provide an address. In that case, your hotel address will be acceptable. The staff members are good at English, so you won’t face any problem regarding the language.
For Omantel Tourist Package, you need to pay OMR 5 ($13) for 2GB of data, 50 domestic minutes & texts, as well as free WhatsApp. The package is valid for 10 days. If you need more data, consider these packages:
|OMR 3||2GB of data valid for 7 days|
|OMR 3||1.5GB of data valid for 30 days|
|OMR 4||2GB of data valid for 30 days|
|OMR 6||4GB of data valid for 30 days|
|OMR 10||10B of data valid for 30 days|
|OMR 15||18B of data valid for 30 days|
Holidays & Festivals
|Name||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|Isra and Mi’raj||11-Mar||1-Mar|
|Eid al-Fitr Holiday||14-May||4-May|
|Eid al-Fitr Holiday||15-May||5-May|
|Eid al-Adha Holiday||21-Jul||11-Jul|
|Eid al-Adha Holiday||22-Jul||12-Jul|
|Eid al-Adha Holiday||23-Jul||13-Jul|
|Muharram (Tentative Date)||10-Aug||30-Jul|
|The Prophet’s Birthday (Tentative Date)||19-Oct||8-Oct|
Shopping in Oman
Pottery is not just a decoration tool in Oman, and locals use it as grains and dates storage, water bottles, and frankincense burners. These products are available all over the country, but in Bahla, you can find the best quality of these objects.
Omani Mandoo is a famous wooden product in Oman made in different sizes. It is also usually decorated and engraved. Locals use it to store clothes and jewelry.
Like many Arabic and Middle-Eastern countries, Frankincense can be found in the best quality. These products make unique scent when it’s burned. It’s said that Frankincense is great for purifying and healing from some disease.
Palm Baskets and Crafts
Oman is the country of Palm trees and dates, and locals usually have a palm tree in their house. The feature of the palm trees is not just making dates, and their leaves are also used to create different types of handicrafts such as baskets to store dates and grains.
Omani women in the past used Silver for their jewelry. These products are still manufactured in necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, or anklets. It can be an excellent souvenir for your loved ones.
Traditional clothes in Oman have different shapes and colors. Men’s clothes are deshdasha, a long white piece of clothes as well as the khanjar and the kummah, a traditional cap. Women in Oman are dressed in colorful scarves and a black abaya.
You can find some of the best quality silvers in the world in Oman. Handmade crafts made by Silver can be purchased around the country in excellent quality.