FAQS

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The information on this website really is just the tip of the Oman iceberg. This is a place of endless stories and experiences, much more than we could ever describe here in entirety. And despite our best efforts, we’re sure you’ll have questions about Oman, what it’s like, how it works and what you need to consider before and during your holiday.

Content Insert - FAQ 1

Sharqiah Sands

 

To help you, we’ve posted answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If your particular question isn’t there, don’t hesitate to contact us directly at info@tourismoman.com.au

 

IS IT SAFE?

Oman is a very safe destination. One of the safest in the world, in fact. Oman is home to a welcoming, tolerant culture that has created a society that regularly ranks Oman highly on the annual Global Peace Index, as well as being named the world’s 9th safest tourism destination by the World Economic Forum in 2015.

 

DO I HAVE TO DRESS CONSERVATIVELY?

Casual and comfortable lightweight clothing that covers the shoulders and knees is recommended when in public in Oman, even if evenings from late October to March can be a bit chilly. It is advisable to take warm clothing to wear at night in the desert or the mountains, in premises with air conditioning and in the southern Dhofar region if you plan to visit during the summer monsoon season.

Capped sleeve t-shirts are suitable to wear at all times. Hair coverings are not required unless visiting religious sites such as mosques (refer to specific dress code below), and we do recommend that women travel with a light pashmina or scarf to cover shoulders and hair when visiting local villages as you are effectively entering their homes. In return, you will be made to feel right at home. You might be surprised by how cool it can get in many parts of Oman, so a pashmina also comes in handy for warmth.

Please also wear comfortable walking shoes. Swimwear is fairly relaxed in the hotels however modesty is required when swimming in public places like swimming holes, public beaches, lakes and wadis. Board/swim shorts and a rash-top are perfectly suitable for public swimming.

Visiting the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque: This is Oman’s most important, spiritual site and modesty is required just as you might expect at similar significant sites in cultures the world over. Long sleeve tops covered to the wrist, and long pants to the ankle are required by both men and women. Women are advised to wear T-shirts (or similar) with a light weight long sleeve cardigan. A scarf or pashmina is required to cover the hair. No visible tattoos are permitted. This dress code is enforced when visiting the Grand Mosque and other significant religious sites around Oman. Entry will not be permitted if you are deemed not to be dressed appropriately.

Oman is an Islamic country and respect for local customs is recommended. Omanis are not obliged to cover up fully in public, but most choose to wear long, loose, modest clothing.

 

I AM A WOMAN TRAVELLING ON MY OWN, IS IT APPROPRIATE TO VISIT OMAN?

Absolutely. The Omani people are by their nature even more polite, respectful and welcoming of solo women travellers. We often hear women expressing their delight at being warmly embraced and welcomed by local Omani women and their families who have invited them into their homes for a traditional coffee and sweat treats. The Bedouin trait of welcoming the travelling stranger who then leaves as a friend is alive and well in Oman.

Watch this short video of female visitors to Oman discussing their experiences

 

IS IT AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY? AND ARE NON-MUSLIMS WELCOME?

Yes, and Yes. The state religion of the Sultanate of Oman is a less widespread form of Islam known as Ibadism whose doctrine places great importance on pacifism, tolerance and leniency. Ibadism is only found in Oman, Zanzibar and some smaller enclaves in Tunisia and Algeria.

Non-Muslims are absolutely welcome to visit, and have historically been able to freely practice their own religions openly in Oman. There are several churches of various denominations, temples and places of worship around Oman.

 

IS ALCOHOL SERVED IN OMAN?

Although Oman is an Islamic country, independent restaurants are permitted to apply for a license to serve alcohol. International hotels and luxury resorts typically serve alcohol.

Like in many countries around the world, drinking in public is not permitted, and being intoxicated in public is unacceptable socially.

During local religious feast days the serving of alcohol can be restricted.

 

IS IT EASY TO GET TO FROM AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND?

Yes. Oman can be easily accessed by short flight from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha in Qatar. Likewise, Oman Air flights connect with numerous airlines that operate direct services from Australia & New Zealand into Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila.

Oman can be reach by road from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and by cruise ship into ports in Muscat, Khasab in the north, and Salalah in the south.

For more details, click here

 

IS IT EASY TO GET AROUND?

Yes. Oman can be explored by a wide range of convenient transport methods including metered taxis, rental car, 4WD with driver/guide, long distance buses and ferry services as well as domestic air services operated by Oman Air.

For more details, click here

 

IS IT ALWAYS VERY HOT?

No, not always. Summer in most of Oman can be very hot, but it is a dry-heat without the mugginess of more humid climates. Year-round, temperatures in the Hajar mountains that tower up behind Muscat are some 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, making them the perfect summer destination. And the summer Khareef (monsoon) around Salalah in the south also offers cooling respite.

Outside of summer, Oman’s weather is very fine with winter (November to March) being absolutely lovely across the country. If you’re in the high mountains during winter you might experience a frost or even a dusting of snow, so pack appropriately!

For more details, click here

 

WHAT IS THERE TO SEE AND DO IN MUSCAT?

The capital of the country – where traditional architecture sits beside stunning beaches and bustling souqs – reflects Oman’s past and its present. Set between the sea and rugged mountain ranges, Muscat, with its melting pot of cultures, is the perfect starting point for an Omani adventure.

Architecturally, the city is characterised by a typical oriental Arabesque style with its low-standing white and sand-coloured houses which, by law, can be no higher than 10-storeys in height. The skyline is dotted with the minarets and domes of the city’s mosques.

Today, there is plenty to captivate the visitor. Start with a stroll along the Mutrah Corniche (seafront). In the morning a busy fish market here is a hive of activity, while in the early evening locals flock here to take in the sea air. Looking out over the seafront are some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful houses, as well as the Lawati mosque, with its blue minaret and majestic dome decorated with mosaics. The same area is also home to the best-stocked souq in the Arabian Peninsula.

Out and about there are cooking classes, a vibrant dining and entertainment scene, dolphin watching and island cruises, as well as beaches and seaside villages worth exploring.

Dotted throughout Muscat for culture seekers are numerous museums and galleries that describe Oman's fascinating history and contemporary culture, and the breathtaking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, opened in 2001, is simply a must for anyone visiting the country.

 

IS THERE MORE TO OMAN THAN JUST MUSCAT? IS IT ALL JUST DESERT?

Yes, there is much more to Oman! And, no, it’s not all desert. Far from it, in fact. Oman is roughly twice the size of the Australian state of Victoria and is home to mountains, islands, reefs, oasis villages, fjords, beaches and desert sands.

The regional cities of Nizwa, Salalah and Khasab offer rich travel experiences in their own right, and the small villages that have historically established around oases and in the high mountains are absolute gems to visit on day trips from Muscat or on extended itineraries around Oman.

Add in welcoming local people, aromatic food, incredible shopping and local treasures plus a history that rolls back through millennia, you have a pretty perfect travel destination that surprises and delights even after multiple visits.

For more details, click here

 

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?

Omani cuisine reflects our rich ethnic and tribal mix. Our chefs blend flavours from the Arabian and Indian subcontinents in dishes such as grilled mishkak kebabs, shuwwa and harees. Omani cuisine reflects our rich ethnic and tribal mix.

Many hotels serve international cuisine, but if you would like to try something more authentically Omani, look out for qabooli (a hearty dish of rice, nuts, raisins and mutton or beef), harees (meat stew, thickened with wheat) and shuwa (tender, lightly spiced, slow-roasted meat).

Classic Omani sweet delicacies are dates and halwa, a soft blend of sugar, semolina, ghee, saffron, almonds and fragrant rosewater. Both go perfectly with khawa. This is an aromatic black coffee, flavoured with cardamom and poured from a metal coffeepot.

 

IS IT SIMILAR TO ABU DHABI AND DUBAI?

In some respects, the Sultanate of Oman shares a common heritage with the United Arab Emirates but in many ways that’s as far as the similarity goes.

Perhaps more than anywhere on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman firmly retains its culture, heritage, natural environment and embraces its past. This is a thriving, forward-looking country with a deep connection both spiritually and physically to a history that can be traced back thousands of years.

As the UAE’s cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai reach ever closer to the sky, Oman’s buildings are restricted to a maximum height of 10 storeys by law. And with a diversity of landscapes from the sea to the mountains, desert sands, fjords and natural islands, a visit to Oman is about genuine experiences, not manufactured ones.

This is what sets this nation apart – a beguiling blend of history and modernity sitting contentedly low-rise in a landscape that will engage and inspire you.

 

IS OMAN AN EXPENSIVE PLACE TO VISIT?

One of the true charms of Oman is that it is an emerging tourism destination. Hotel development takes place about in line with the growth of visitor arrivals meaning that hotel occupancies are comparably mid-to-high depending on the season. There are, for example, fewer than 10 five-star hotels in all of Oman – quite a contrast to our neighbours across the border in the United Arab Emirates.

This is not a place with a huge oversupply of hotel rooms competing for business. Oman receives more visitors every year, but its development is being managed at a sustainable pace. Oman has approximately 130 hotels in the country rated from two-to-five-stars, whereas Dubai alone boasts over 340 hotel properties. In terms of pricing, Oman’s hotels are more in line with those in Abu Dhabi.

Touring – Many visitors to Oman take the opportunity to explore the country by private tour. Almost all tour pricing will include around 50% of your meals up front, with some hotels in Oman’s interior offering half board (breakfast and dinner) in their rates. And with most tours including lunch, you’ll find great value in this type of Oman holiday.

Food – In major hotels and resorts, expect to pay big city hotel prices for meals and drinks. But out and about eating at local restaurants and diners can be a really inexpensive and delicious experience. Expect to feed a family of 4-5 for around AU$50.