Oman Quick Facts

Sultanate of Oman (سلطنة عمان) is located in South West Asia, bordering Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. Oman has over a long coastline spanning the Indian ocean, Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf) and the Gulf of Oman and a total population of 4.7 million people (1.7 million of whom are expatriates), as of 2020 as per data from the National Centre for Statistics and information).

Oman’s capital and is largest city is Muscat and the official language is Arabic, but English is considered a second language and you can find almost all information in English. In addition, many other languages are spoken in Oman including: Balochi, Urdu, Swahili, Kumzari, Jabali to name a few. Some of these were brought by merchants who settled in Oman in the 18th and 19th century, while some where due to the spread of Omani traders, and subsequently Omani maritime empire, to the Western coasts of Africa and areas in modern-day Pakistan in the 19th century. All this contributes to a society that is much more diverse and multi-cultured than what it seems at first glance, be it from the point of view of religion, ethnicity or language.

Oman boasts a unique geography compared to its immediate neighbors. There are the white sand beaches of Sur, the western Hajar mountains across the northern part of Oman and the unique climate in Dhofar, where seasonal monsoons transform the landscape to a lush, green paradise. Visitors to Oman would likely have a chance to experience many different climates and landscapes compared to what you would typically expect when visiting a country in the Middle East. You can visit a historical fort, trek and swim in a gorgeous wadi and spend the night in a desert camp all in a single day. That is besides the beautiful untouched beaches, stunning mountain villages and unique geological formations (such as the Semail Ophiolite), and all this without even considering the unique and historical city of Salalah in Dhofar.

Times to Visit

If you are interested in visiting the capital of Oman or any other region expect the southern part of the country, then the best time to visit is between November and March. This is the winter season of Oman, where the temperatures are wonderfully pleasant in the low twenties with clear skies . If you would like to visit the southern part of Oman (Salalah and Dhofar), the best time to visit would be between July and October during the Monsoon season where large areas are covered with lovely greenery.

Oman observes the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, where eating and drinking is not allowed in public and most businesses and offices would have shorter working hours, and nothing basically gets done. The time of Ramadan changes from year to the next, except if you are planning on exploring natural attractions, you should try to avoid coming during the month of Ramadan.

How To Get Here

There are direct flights to Oman from all major flight hubs in the Middle East, Europe and South Asia. An easy alternative to visit would to be to fly to Dubai and then take a coach from Dubai to go to Muscat. A direct flight from Dubai to Muscat takes about 45 minutes, a coach takes about 6 hours. If you are planning to hire a car from the UAE and drive to Oman, that could also be possible but you need to check with the rental agency first, and ensure your insurance covers both Oman and UAE.


Visa is required to enter Oman – electronic visas can be easily applied and obtained prior to your travel to Oman. The application must be done via the official Royal Oman Police (ROP) e-Visa portal here: Oman e-Visa

Note If you are trying to apply for an electronic visa to visit Oman through a different website or portal, chances are you are either being charged a higher fee through a service agent, or worst – that you are being scammed! So make sure you are only applying through the official portal.

In addition, nationals of many countries around the world (including majority of European countries) can acquire a 14-day free entry visa upon arrival in Oman at the airport or at the borders. The list of countries whose nationals can acquire visa upon arrival can be found on the website of Royal Oman Police at this link. If your country is not on this list, this means that you need to apply for your e-visa before you come visit (either e-Visa or by contacting the embassy of Oman in your country or the nearest country that has an embassy to learn about the visa requirements).

It is also important to note that the 14-day free visa upon entry to Oman is not renewable, and only way to re-new it is by leaving and entering Oman again (a.k.a. doing a ‘visa-run’ as it is known). I believe this is a fine of 20 OMR for each day you overstay your 14-day stay if you do overstay – so if you intend on staying longer in Oman you have to apply for a tourist visa in advance.


Arabic is the only official language of the country; however, English is widely spoken. Almost all signs on the road, restaurant menus, and generally anything publicly written, would be available in both Arabic and English. Many of those who work in the service industry are foreigners from South Asia who primarily communicate in English. Official posts, such as those at the airport, would have Omanis who would speak a lower level of English, but still generally enough to get the message across.

What to Wear in Oman

Oman is one of the more tolerant Muslim countries in the region, but it is still conservative. Women are NOT expected to cover their hair, but it is socially not acceptable to show cleavage or thighs in public. Public display of affection should also be avoided. At public beaches it is not appropriate for a woman to wear a two piece swim suit or for a man to wear a speedo, instead women should go for a one piece swim suit and a men should go for a board shorts. At private beaches attached to hotels, and more often now in Muscat public beaches, it is acceptable to wear bikinis for women, but usually not thongs.

Money & Currency

The local currency is the Omani Rial (OMR). 1 Omani Rial is equivalent to about 2.6 USD. 1 Omani Rial can be divided into a 1000 Baisa. Money exchange shops in Oman buy and sell all major currencies. Shops in Oman will not accept Dollars or Euros, even the touristy ones. The only currency that is occasionally accepted is the Emarati Dirham (AED). ATM machines are found almost everywhere around the capital, and are commonly found at petrol stations and major shopping areas in other cities around the country. Cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are also accepted at all major supermarkets, petrol stations, and medium to high end restaurants – but you will be less likely to find many shops accepting them once you leave Muscat so make sure to carry some cash on you.

Transportation in Oman

(Check detailed article here on Transportation in Oman)

Muscat does not have a good public transport system – but at least we finally have a public bus network system. The network with its red buses is operated by Mwasalat (means Transport in Arabic) and they have bus stops at major locations along the main Sultan Qaboos Highway and several other vital locations. Prices range from 200-500 baisa. Bus routes and timetable can be found at Mwasalat website. Besides transport within Muscat, Mwasalat also offers inter-city connections to other main cities and towns in Oman (check the table here for fare details); however, keep in mind that the place you’re visiting outside Muscat will not have a bus network and you will have to rely on taxi…

Which brings us to Taxis in Oman!! Oh yes, the familiar white & orange cabs often seen fizzing around Muscat streets, never metered and always in a hurry! There are now several other methods of ordering a taxi, all of them involving an App (take your pick from Masalat Taxis, Marhaba Taxi or OTaxi) – none of them is as quick as an Uber (which is not available in Oman), but at least you are able to order a taxi through these apps!

If you still decide to hail any of the orange & white cabs off the street, then keep in mind that you will have to negotiate the price of your trip before you get in to avoid arguing about it at the end. Most taxi drivers speak a little bit of English. If you are going to a famous attraction in the city they will be able to get you there if you say the English name, if you are going to a place that is not famous, you will have to describe the closest known landmark for the taxi driver to know where it is or just show it to them on your phone. Even though all roads in Oman have way-numbers, almost nobody ever uses them except those who have access to a navigation system. Do not expect a taxi driver to know how to get to a place by telling the way-number.

The second public method for commuting around the city is to use what is called a “Baisa Bus”, these are small white mini buses that charge a 100 baisa per roundabout it crosses.

The best (and probably cheapest way) to explore Muscat and Oman in general is to hire a car! Roads in Oman are in an excellent conditions and traffic rules are generally well respected, the way people drive can be a little bit aggressive, but not too challenging! If you are unable to drive then you can you could either find a taxi drive and try to negotiate a deal for a whole day service – or of course get in touch with me for some excellent tours 🙂

Temperature in Oman

The weather in Oman is hot and humid in summer, and cool and sunny in winter. If you are coming in summer you should avoid walking under direct sun between 1pm and 4pm because it can get extremely hot.

Safety in Oman

Oman is one of the safest countries in the world. Street crimes practically do not exist. There are no pickpockets or scam artists in any of the markets of Oman. However, it is not uncommon for some Omanis and expatriate workers from South Asia to stare at expatriate western looking women when they are walking on their own in a market. This might make some people feel uncomfortable, but rest assured that nothing will happen. The people here can be a little bit too friendly with toddlers, if you are carrying a baby with you, do not be surprised if random people try to play with the baby or even kiss it on the hand or the cheek.

Workings Hours & Time Zone

Muscat is in the GMT+4 Timezone, the same as Dubai. Working hours for government offices is from 7.30am to 2.30pm, while businesses start around 8am and finish by 4pm or 5pm. Shops open sometime between 8am to 10am and close late in the evening around 9pm or 10pm. Certain shops, such as the shops in Souq Muttrah, also close in the afternoon between 1pm and 5pm. The working week in Oman is Sunday to Thursday. Friday is considered the holiest day of the week, so the majority of shops will not be open before 1pm during this day. You should be aware that working hours differ a lot during the holy month of Ramadan as the government and businesses tend to have a shorter working hours and the shops do not open during day time, but remain open until very late in the evening.


The electricity voltage in Oman is 220 volts. Oman uses Type G British standard electricity socket outlets. You might need a converter and/or an adapter to use electricity sockets in Oman.