Oman Travel Guide
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Oman is a crown jewel sitting gracefully at the coast of the Arabian peninsula. My guide to Oman will take you through the top experiences in Oman, the best time to visit Oman, the dress code to follow when holidaying in Oman and loads more!
I travelled around Oman for a week and while I had done extensive research before visiting there were tonnes of learnings on the way. So, this is my attempt to bring it all together in the form of an ultimate guide to visiting Oman.
Best Time to Visit Oman
Weather-wise Oman is blessed as compared to the rest of the Gulf countries. While the summers get extreme in some places there are many others like Jebel Akhdar or Jebel Shams where the weather is pleasant all year round. At the same time, while you’d want to avoid the coast in peak monsoon regions like Salahla is best visited then. This guide to Oman gives a season-wise break up including the best places to visit during that season to help you plan better.
High Season: September to April is considered the high season, the weather ranges from 13 C to 35 C. September to November is the best time to spot turtles at the Ras Al Jinz and Raz Al Had beaches. January to February tends to be the coldest months with occasional unpredictable showers. New Year’s time is very busy best to book your hotels in advance. The coast of Salahla is gorgeous during Monsoon and is the best time to visit. The month of May brings in the Apricot harvest, a beautiful sight if you ask me! And towards March you’ll start seeing Olives sprouting from the trees.
Low Season: June to August is the peak summer months, most regions of the country will be scorching hot. Baring a few areas around the high altitudes of Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar. Salalah receives rainfall during this period making it a good respite from the summers. All these areas are brimming with domestic tourists as well, so make your booking in advance.
Is there a Dress Code in Oman
Omanis do follow a modest dress code which remains true for Men and Women. While Men wear dishdasha – an a-line garment from top to bottom. Women cover themselves with abaya and hijab. While visiting another country it’s good to be aware of the dress code if any, especially when you’d be visiting beaches and wadis as in the case of Oman. While planning my visit I found a bunch of information that was contradicting the Instagram posts. So I decided to speak with my friends who reside in Muscat to understand the dress code.
How should I Dress when Traveling to Oman?
When visiting public places like public beaches, malls, restaurants and even remote areas it is advised to dress modestly. This means – avoiding sleeveless and anything above knee length.
Swimsuits are allowed at the wadis, although cover yourself when stepping out at the parking area. Avoid wearing bikinis at the Bimmah sinkhole, it’s best to swim in shorts and a t-shirt or a swimsuit. The same applies to most of the wadis during weekends – since they are frequented by locals.
The resorts don’t have any dress code whatsoever and you can wear bikini/swimsuits at the private beach of a resort.
Covering your head is a mandate at the Sultan Qaboos mosque and do not wear anything that’s remotely see-through.
Why should you follow the Dress code in Oman?
Omanis overall are extremely accommodating and welcoming, they will not create a fuss about what you wear and at the max politely ask you to follow the code. However, out of respect, it is always a good idea to follow the traditions of the country you are visiting.
As a rule of thumb avoid wearing anything revealing when in Oman and stick to bathing suites in resorts and at Wadi Shab.
How to Access the Internet in Oman
Local SIM Card in Oman
The two big providers are Oredoo and Omantel. If you are flying into Oman, you will find a shop for both providers at the airport. The rep will activate it and give it to you. Both of them have largely similar offerings at the same cost. I ended up choosing Omantell.
The package I took, cost OMR 5 (Rs 1000 or $ 13) and was valid for 7 days, it came with 7 GB data + 1 GB social media + 50 minutes for calls in Oman, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Sim took a couple of minutes to get activated and totally recommend going for it. Also attaching all the plans that Omantel has to offer for your reference.
WI-FI in Oman
All hostels in Oman have Wi-Fi, and most malls and cafes do too. Most cab drivers were happy to share Wi-Fi with me. But. it’s always good to have a working sim card to access data or calls in remote areas.
How to Get Around in Oman
Most people visit only Muscat when they are travelling to Oman in that case the public taxis would do the job. However, if you wish to travel around it’s best to either hire a self-drive car or a cab with a driver. While there are local buses they aren’t all that well connected nor do they have a frequent schedule.
Hiring a Self-Drive Car
Smooth roads, helpful locals, gorgeous landscape- a perfect recipe for a good road trip. The affordable fuel prices are the cherry on the cake! There’s a range of vehicles on offer – right from a basic car, a 4WD to an RV. There are many local companies to choose from, and if you wish to do that online visit https://www.discovercars.com/
Hiring a Cab With a Driver
While I’d have loved to drive around Oman, I chose to hire a cab with a driver to take us around. This was because of 2 primary reasons, the first being Oman is a left-hand drive and I wasn’t confident driving one. The second is I needed a 4WD in some regions – the desert and Jebel Akhdar – again, I wasn’t confident driving one.
Now, you can either reach out to the driver with your own Oman itinerary or you could ask them to create one for you. If you book one via a tour agent, they will have the guide put up in the same hotel as yours. I found mine via word of mouth, he made his bookings himself around my hotels and was available all the time on call.
These guides charge a per-day cost and range from OMR 120 to OMR 80 – depending on the routes. Needless to say, I highly recommend my guide, if you wish to reach out to him get in touch with me via Instagram.
Getting Around Muscat
I think my biggest worry was how to get around in Muscat. I wasn’t keen on hiring a full-time cab and paying them upwards of OMR 60 for small distances in Muscat. If you want the luxury of having your cab on call, do that by all means. I on the other hand decided to reply on O-Taxi.
Getting from the airport to the city you have 3 options- airport taxi, o-taxi or public bus. The public bus is definitely the budget-friendly option, however, it isn’t the most convenient one. You need to first find out which bus goes on the route of your hotel, it also drops you at the main road. This means you’ll have to either walk to your hotel or take a cab depending on the distance and the luggage. Both Airport Taxi and O-taxi are metered, the O-taxi is the cheaper option.
O-taxi was my go-to for getting around Muscat as well. Simply download the app and start booking, they also have kiosks at the mall and the airport to help you book one. There are other local cabs, that work on sharing basis (pay per seat) and unless you tell them ‘engage’ they will pick up & drop passengers along the way.
Stear away from the taxi service called- Mahraba Taxi- they aren’t metered and also cost double or triple the cost of booking an O-taxi.
Dining in Oman
Those of you who know me, try and follow a vegan diet as much as possible if certain countries don’t provide vegan options I look for vegetarian delicacies. Oman was an easy country to manoeuvre when it comes to my diet. Most places had 1-2 vegetarian dishes, if not they were ready to make something for me.
There were also a lot of Indian restaurants that had an elaborate vegetarian menu. It was easy to mind some in Muscat. Other remote regions like the Wahiba Sands or Ras Al Jinz places were ready to create dishes as per my request.
Also, since Oman has a fair bit of Indian population, a lot many times the owner or the chef turns out to be Indian. This is why it was easy to get dishes customised along the journey.
A detailed blog on this coming soon.
Top Experiences in Oman
- Snorkelling and dolphin watching at Daymaniyat Island.
- Visit the mud village and explore the alleyways.
- Go dune bashing and sunset cruising at a desert camp.
- Exploring the many wadis of Oman.
- Visiting Sultan Qaboos Mosque.
- Shopping at Muttrah Souq or Nizwa Souq.
- Getting to know Omani culture at the Nizwa Fort.
Oman is a great place to explore the middle eastern culture. If you wish to explore more of this region, plan a trip to Saudi Arabia next.