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Oman is located on the most southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula with a population of almost 5 million. The country has everlasting sandy beaches, multifaceted and welcoming society, and amazing modern attractions. Oman is a fast developing country thanks to its oil exports but the country has successfully retained its rich cultural heritage. Now, the country attracts an increasing amount of international tourists every year.

General Information About Oman

Language Arabic
Capital of Oman Muscat
Continent Asia
Time Zone GMT+4
Currency Omani Rial
Socket Type G 240V
Annual Average Temperature 22°C
Climate Tropical Desert Climate
Area 309.501 km²
Political System Absolute Monarchy
Vegetation Steppe and Desert
Main Economic Activities Petroleum, Services
Telephone Code +968

 

Language

Arabic is the only official language of the country. English, Hindi, Swahili and Baluchi languages are also spoken in the country since Oman has many immigrant workers from various countries.

Common Phrases in Arabic

  • Shukraan jzyla! – Thanks a lot!
  • Kayf halikm? – How are you?
  • Ma asmak? – What is your name?
  • Aismi hu ... – My name is …
  • 'Ana la 'atahadath alearabia – I don’t speak Arabic.

Capital of Oman

Muscat is the capital city of the country and is located in the northeastern part of the country. Muscat is also the main port of the city with many historic and cultural landmarks.

Time Zone

Oman has only 1 time zone. The country follows the Greenwich Mean Time GMT +4.

Currency

The currency used in Oman is Omani Rial (OMR). Its currency almost always higher from other countries’ currencies since the oil is valued in US dollars. There are many currency exchange vendors and banks in populated areas.

Main Economic Activities

Oman is ranked as 65th in the world in terms of GDP per capita (nominal) in 2017. Its economy is heavily dependent on oil exports with a growing services sector.

Where is Oman?

Oman is located in the southeastern end of Arabian Peninsula, in the north coast Arabian Sea. Its neighbors are Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Best Time to Visit Oman

Oman has a tropical desert climate with extreme temperatures during summer. Summers are very hot and dry; winters are warm with occasional heavy rains. The best time to visit Oman is during winter or early spring since the weather is cooler and more welcoming.

How to Get to Oman?

Pegasus Airlines offers direct flights to Muscat International Airport from İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The flight duration is 4 hour and 55 minutes. You can buy your direct flight tickets to Muscat from İstanbul from here.

Public Transportation in Oman

You can use public bus, ferry and taxi to get around in Oman. The country does not have a railway network. Public buses connect every part of the country with low fares. Fares are paid to the driver. Please visit here to check their timetables and routes. The site is available in English. Ferries are available to reach islands like Diba or Masirah which are popular destinations among visitors. You can visit here to check their timetables, routes and fares. The site is available in English. Taxis are available in populated areas in city centers. In Muscat, taxis cost 400 biasa per kilometer during the day and 450 biasa at night.

Transportation from Muscat International Airport to City Center

Muscat International Airport is located 10 kilometers away from the city center. You can get to the city center with public bus and taxi. Public buses are available at the bus station on the ground floor outside the airport building. You can click here to check their timetables and routes. There are also many taxis available in the airport 24/7. The trip to the city center approximately costs 25 OMR.

Places to Visit in Muscat

Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House is the prestigious venue of the city for musical performances and exhibitions. Royal Opera House was completed in 2011 and located in Shati Al-Qurm district.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the main mosque of Oman with striking architecture. The mosque marks the 30th consecutive year of Sultan Qaboos as the sole ruler of Oman. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque can accommodate 20.000 worshippers and offers a sight to see during Friday prayers.

Bait Al Zubair Museum

Bait Al Zubair Museum is home to an extensive collection of ancient weapons, clothing, tools, and household equipment. The museum also has an open-air section which depicts a conventional Omani village. Bait Al Zubair Museum is located in Al Saidiya Street on the most eastern part of the city.

Bimmah Sinkhole

Bimmah Sinkhole is water-filled, swimmable natural attraction of the country.  Bimmah Sinkhole’s turquoise waters are located 1 hour and 20 minute drive away from the city center.

Bahla Fort

Bahla Fort is the spectacular historic landmark of the city and listed on UNESCO World Heritage List. The fort was built in the 12th century and located 1 hour and 45 minute drive away from the city center.

Where to Stay in Muscat?

Muscat is the most popular tourism destination of Oman and offers many accommodation options to its visitors. If you are in the city for the first time, it is recommended to stay in hotels located around Al Maarefah Street and Souk Al Ghubrah Street. These hotels in the most populated areas of the city and offer a peek into the everyday life of the residents of Muscat. If you are looking for a calmer vacation, it is recommended to stay in hotels located around Barr Al Jissah district.


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What to Eat in Muscat?

Oman’s cuisine is an amazing fusion of Arabian, Persian, Indian and African culinary traditions. Its recipes mostly consist of chicken, lamb, and rice. Seafood is also widely popular in the country, especially in Muscat.

Seafood

Since Muscat is a port city with a huge sea hinterland, its seafood dishes are varied, fresh and tasty. “Bait Al Bahr” restaurant is a dedicated and popular seafood place in the southern part of Muscat.

Kebab

There are numerous authentic kebab recipes in Oman. ”Kargeen Restaurant” in Muscat city center offers the best traditional kebab recipes with amazing interiors.

Rice

There are many rice recipes in Oman cuisine with unusual ingredients to most visitors. “Bait Al Luban” restaurant in Muscat has amazing rice dishes as well as other traditional Omani recipes.

Shopping in Oman: Best Souvenirs to Buy

Oman offers many authentic souvenirs to its visitors. You can buy pottery, spices, Omani daggers, silver jewelry, silverware, and palm baskets to your loved ones. The ancient “Mutrah Souq” marketplace in Muscat has many traditional shops that sell authentic Omani souvenirs.

Things to Know Before Visiting Oman

  • Since the country does not have an extensive public transport network, taxis are widely used. It is recommended for you to settle the fare before hopping in.
  • It is not recommended to display affection with your partner in public. It is not a federal crime but is culturally unwelcomed.
  • Although it is not forced by law for tourists, women are expected to cover their shoulders and knees.
  • Taxis operate with higher fares at night and in holidays.
  • It is smart to keep a couple of bottled water in your daily bag to stay hydrated.
  • It is important to cover your skin with light, breathable fabric to avoid sunburn.

Nightlife in Muscat

Muscat does not have an active nightlife scene and is limited to hotel bars and lounges.

Holidays in Oman

Some religious days are subject to change every year such as Easter Holiday or Eid Al Fitr (End of Ramadan).

  • 1st of January – New Year’s Day
  • 3rd and 4th of April – Isra’a Wal Miraj and Holiday
  • 4th, 5th and 6th of June – Eid al-Fitr and Holiday
  • 23rd of July - Renaissance Day
  • 11th of August – Arafat Day
  • 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of August – Eid Al-Adha and Holiday
  • 31st of August - Hijri New Year
  • 9th of November – Mawlid
  • 18th of November – Oman National Day
  • 19th of November – Sultan’s Birthday

Festivals in Oman

  • Salalah Tourism Festival 2019 (June, Nationwide)
  • Oman Theatre Festival (January to March, Muscat)
  • Muscat Food Festival (February, Nationwide)

Visa Requirements

Although Oman mandates visa for touristic visits, visitors can apply for the visa online with relatively easy application processes. For further information, you can check the official site from here.

FAQ about Oman

Do people in Oman understand English?

Yes, most people can understand English in the country, particularly in urban areas.

Is Oman an expensive country?

Yes, Oman can be considered an expensive country since its currency has a higher value in comparison to other currencies.

Is tap water drinkable?

Yes, tap water does not pose a health risk but most locals prefer to drink from bottled water.

Is Oman safe?

Yes, Oman is a safe country with very low violent crime rates. However, visitors should be cautious about pickpocketing in crowded areas.

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