When you are planning to travel to explore the world, unfortunately, Oman doesn’t often pop into your mind. Instead, you might think of Paris, which leads a life of its own, or maybe exploring a famous castle nestled in a black basalt in the United Kingdom. Or even book a ticket to Dubai to marvel at outstanding fireworks held every new year’s eve.
However, since you have landed on this page, you break this stereotype — which is fantastic! And I am sure you will be amazed by what this Country has to offer. Indeed, Oman deserves more attention than you might think. It’s home to unparalleled natural beauty, unique culture, and beautiful beaches. This country is a charming mixture of everything else, a proud inductee of off-beaten paths and sensory experiences.
Conveniently located in the Middle East, Oman is an Arab nation that lies between Yemen and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For me, it’s a pearl crowned the Arab peninsula.
Nonetheless, we understand that traveling to a less-known place, like Oman, is somewhat tricky yet challenging to find enough information about things to do in Oman, where to stay in Oman, and things you need to know before you go.
But fear not! If you are one of those who are looking for backpacking in Oman or even need to hit underrated destinations, we have covered your back, and you are invited to discover this country with fresh eyes.
Is Oman Worth Visiting? (What you should expect)
I’m sure you’re wondering now, “How is it that this nation is worth seeing, yet everyone else on the planet misses it?” Alternatively, “Why should I visit Oman in contrast to most tourists?” Let me clarify something: just because a nation is not in the limelight does not mean that it is not worthy of your time and attention. Instead, it might indicate that a country is unable to make use of its natural resources, it has failed to market itself as a tourist destination, or it is a wealthy country that does not place a high value on the tourism business. That’s why it’s important to know why you must visit Oman at least once in your life. And what you should expect from this journey.
- People in Oman are Super Friendly with Golden Hearts
When you are looking for a place to spend your holidays, you are most likely to find out places to visit, locations you can stay in, or even how to travel on a budget. However, you often forget to investigate how the kindness of the people there. But let me announce that people of any country you visit can double your experience and perhaps inspire you to consider returning there. Alternatively, they might be one of the grounds for launching a campaign urging visitors to stay away from the country. People are a significant factor contributing to boosting tourism and thank god, Oman has the kindest people on the planet. Oman’s people are quite possibly one of the first reasons you should include this nation on your bucket list. They are famous for their friendliness and hostility. Yet, you are very welcoming along the way. You will be sized by smiley faces inviting you to taste devious dates or have a cup of flavored coffee, or even bite fresh fruits. Oman is a place where social ties run deep. But don’t get me wrong; this is a beautiful extreme. All citizens have a sense of belonging to one another; they band together to comfort one another at difficult times. During joyous occasions, they gather together to rejoice with one another. Oman is a country that lives at a relaxed pace, no matter what.
- Hiking Experiences and Drive through Off-Roads are Amazing
You will notice how incredible this country is; even driving through off-roads is an experience wherever you go. You will be loaded with various landscaped areas to explore, offering state-of-the-art views and themed parks that are ideal for nature lovers. For example, you can head to Wadi Bani Awf for a tranquil atmosphere that will help you find peace. It’s a mixture of mountains, caves, and glowing natural springs —like a hot pool for sinking and relaxing— on the downhill side. In the evening, you can reach these valleys as well and experience camping in the heart of the Arab desert to witness an extraordinary moment during sunset and sunrise. Hiking trails are also available across the country. Just pack the proper clothes and shoes before leaving your hometown.
Side tip: you’ll undoubtedly be blown away by the impressive natural sights; however, you should follow a local guide to guarantee a free-trouble journey. Contact a trusted agent to let you get the fullest experience during your expedition. The experienced guide will ensure your safety, which is unquestionably important, but he will also assist you in spotting small alleys and hidden canyons that you would otherwise miss.
Pro hikers’ tip: you can hardly find shops along the way if you decide to trek out to the country’s unique attractions beyond Muscat’s capital city. So, it seems critical to bring some snacks and water before going anywhere.
- It’s a Paradise for Foodies
There are a lot of reasons to plan a trip to Oman. But trust me, food comes first of all. So when you allocate your time to explore the bustling side of Oman— significant cities like Muscat—you will be rewarded with much good stuff. First, not foremost, the coffee! It’s the most wonderful caffeine you can taste. It’s made from a combination of coffee beans and cardamom. In addition, it has established itself as a key component of Arab cultural identity. Undoubtedly, Oman is a country packed with so much adventure that a cup of coffee should be accompanied at all times. And don’t miss your chance to savor a dessert with this dense favor of coffee. It’s a haven!
Back to the food treasure in Oman, be ready for one of the most authentic and mouthwatering cuisines. And if you are wondering what the characteristics of Omnie food are, you should know that the rice is the king here. It’s served with chicken and meat every day but doesn’t expect to taste the same rice day after day. It’s no secret that Omanis know how to make the tastiest rice dishes using special herbs and seasonings.
One of the most delicious dishes you should try is “Shuwa,” marinated meat cooked over coals or in a sand oven, adding a pleasant flavor.
The food gives way to all people who are fascinated by the Arab culture and the traditional culture of Oman the further you wander.
- The Safest Destination in the Middle East
Planning a journey to the Middle East could be not manageable —or even overwhelming- when it comes to your safety or if you are a solo female. So *scroll down to get more tips for your safety, especially if you are a solo female traveler; you would need to save this article for a free-worry trip throughout the Middle East.
You are about to experience some adrenaline rushes. However, it would help if you forgot about all these concerns when it comes to Oman. It’s one of the safest and cleanest countries to visit in this region, with no political disputes, no unexpected unrest, and no economic fluctuation. Most importantly, the threat of terrorist strikes is non-existent (it is the only Middle Eastern nation to achieve this level of security!) The crime rates seem imperceptible since Oman’s people receive high income, and there is no need for theft accidents. You can feel safe wherever you go (maybe more than in your hometown). Often, you don’t need to be accompanied by a local agent. Most sights are accessible in various ways, prompting us to point out that you should exercise extreme caution while crossing roadways. Most of the time, drivers are insane and in a hurry, and they don’t take traffic lights seriously. However, there is good news: Compared to its population, Oman has a considerable amount of land, which means that you won’t have to deal with as many vehicles, making it one of the less populated nations in this part of the world.
Thanks to the government’s efforts to keep this country safe and peaceful, Oman has become an appealing destination with so many things to do and enjoy this cultural experience. I bet you will be amazed by its streets and rules adhered strictly to all to maintain tranquility and comfort.
- It’s Pretty Untouched By Travelers
Traveling is about exploring new places and discovering new things! And Oman is a country packed with so many adventures to experience. Most of these adventures are untouched. Daredevils who are willing to go beyond popular destinations are most likely to overlook Oman in favor of heading to Dubai or even Egypt. Even though each country has its character and charm, Oman should be shown on your bucket list. Because it is not a well-known tourist destination, the Arab country nonetheless cherishes its primordial landscapes and people’s dedication to preserving their own cultural identities and customs. Also, you can dig deeper, uncover all worthy attractions, and capture memorable shots without getting stuck in crowds. You will be able to hit all sights and popular and nonpopular destinations year-round since even in peak seasons, Oman can beat out any other country where people fly in and out all the time. That translates into no overpriced rates for attractions, restaurants, and accommodations. In general, you are going to enjoy yourself, try a variety of food, head on epic hikes, and marvel at beautiful beaches, no matter where or when you go.
And we hope this nation retains its prehistoric sensibility while its surrounding countries are taking significant strides to establish the foundations for a new and more sophisticated age.
Attention: There are no hostels in Oman, so finding an inexpensive place to stay for backpackers might be a challenge. But hang on! Keep this tab open for a while longer, just in case. If you’re on a tight budget, we’ve some suggestions.
- Cultural Hub You Don’t Need to Miss
Besides being a refreshing and fun experience, Oman has a whole heap of cultures to explore. It’s home to many museums, including a rich collection of artifacts and archaeological monuments. Its land hosted one of the greatest civilizations throughout the Arab peninsula’s history. Undeniably, the country has grounded itself among past empires providing its visitors with endless things to do in each bend. But also, we are talking about traditions, norms, and virtues that have developed over the decades. Most citizens are proud to hold and reveal their practices on special occasions like weddings and festivals. Wearing their traditional clothing and jewelry, they show their cultural pride and pass on their heritage to the next generation with each step they take in their daily lives. And one of the unique characteristics of Oman is the hospitality you will be loaded with anywhere. All aspects of Arab generosity throughout the history of humanity are accumulated in one place. It would help if you always accepted the offer to eat anything, no matter how tempting it may seem. You’ll be served a variety of foods and beverages at every moment, starting with coffee and moving on to fruits, dates, cakes, and nuts. Anyone who isn’t chewing on anything will not allow you to remain! (Kidding, but you will always be invited to have your hand on something)
It seems to me that Omanis make a point of serving their visitors everything in the refrigerator.
That’s how Omanis create a flavor that stands out.
Moreover, Oman culture is also reflected in the construction marvels on offer here, including palaces, mosques, forts, and old structures.
- Heart-Thumping Adventures and Pristine Beaches
Oman will give you access to wildlife encounters since wild camping is legal. So you can literally pitch your tent anywhere and start savoring unparalleled experiences. And if you are anything like us, you would like to try camping in the Oman desert to marvel at shining stars and take in these oodles of natural beauty. Fancy spending a night in the presence of mighty mountains, the moon, and your beloved one? Romantic and healing all in one!
Your tent may be in a desert, above a mountain, or on a beach! That brings up the fact that Oman’s beaches are very stunning! Oman’s coastline stretches 1700km offering a laid-back gateway and a place for thrilling sports activities.
Some beaches will allow you to snorkel; others are the best for observing turtles. Each spot has its own unique offerings, and you must try them all.
Our only advice is to avoid erecting tents close to villages or wadi beds in which the risk of unexpected floods is higher.
Side tip: Don’t leave any trash behind to avoid paying a fine.
Not just that, the country is home to exquisite oases, and most of them are secluded to help you escape from the bustling life.
A history buff, beach lover, outdoor enthusiast, or just a foodie with a rubbing tummy, Oman is a spot for you. There is something for everyone in this unbelievable country.
Transportation in Oman
Getting around the country, you are going to visit just mind-mumbling. You need to know everything about the possible public modes of transportation to make your trip free-hassle and choose the best location to stay in. In general, public transit in Oman is not accessible. Buses are available for only traveling from different cities and some towns. And it’s not the perfect choice to go deeper if you are looking to explore so many things to do. The only way is to use your own transportation, whether by renting a car, contacting a local agent to arrange your tour, or signing up for a local private driver.
Keep reading to find out how you can choose the best method to discover this cosmopolitan country.
- Cheap – Not available inside the cities
- Safe – Less comfortable than private tours
If it is your first time traveling to the Arab peninsula, you need to know that most population has cars, and public buses are not used widely. That justifies so many bus networks inside cities in most Arab Gulf countries.
Oman is no exception. Indeed, Oman’s major cities are well linked by buses. It will do its job to traverse you from cities if you intend to weave into its fantastic countryside and other off-beaten tracks, not for more. The good news is that it links over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) around the country, which will offer you the utmost convenience for low-cost fares ($3-$8). Run by different providers backed by Oman National Transport Company, the public network is safe and fast.
However, the challenge lies in the schedule of these buses. Only three or four times are available daily, and it could not be easy to book your tour online. Just call Mwasalat, the national transport company, to make sure that you will catch the bus on time and get to the nearest bus station to you.
There are two types of buses in Oman; we encourage you to choose the air-conditioned ones which are bigger and more comfortable.
Finally, you need to check the route map for the trip before you go since it can be changed based on the weather or even for no apparent reason.
- Faster – Expensive
- More comfortable – Not all cities are covered
Here is the thing: you will never be able to do Oman all in just one visit if you depend on public transport unless you intend to stay here for at least 3 weeks.
The only way is to book a flight through the two domestic airlines from Muscat to Musandam and Muscat to Salalah. You are most likely to save hours of traveling by road, be more comfortable, and you can hit all our list of best things to do in Oman. But be ready to pay roughly $78 for a flight. However, not all cities are served by airports, and you will need to rely on public transportation or one of the other choices we will discuss further.
No Uber but similar options are available
- Comfortable – The network can not be on your side
- Accessible – Some places are not covered
There is no Uber in Oman, but don’t worry! You will find affordable and safe similar applications just like it—for example, Careem, Mwasalat, and OTaxi. Admittedly, fares are relatively modest compared to what you will get; clean, fast, and safe. But it would be higher than other regular taxis. And please keep in mind that some ride-hailing applications- like OTaxi, can not be found in particular places, such as airports and at the shopping malls’ gates or even some popular hotels. Moreover, they cannot pick up passengers from high-traffic areas since they are restricted to just a government-own company, Mwasalat.
Another thing you need to know is that the network is not so great all the time. So sometimes it could be not very pleasant, and you can not request a ride. So be ready to use the regular taxis instead.
- Use Regular Taxi
- Available – Not fixed fares
- Less expensive – Shared taxies are not impossible
One of the easiest ways to explore large cities, taxis can be found everywhere in Oman. Coming in white and orange, they can be easily recognised. Just stand at the roadside, wave your hand, and someone will come to pick you up. Don’t forget to agree on the fare before you get in since all taxis are unmetered. Or you would find yourself engaged in barraging, trying to settle on the reasonable charge.
Important: It doesn’t matter if you are a naive traveller or not. Barraging doesn’t come easy here, and you need to enhance this skill before coming to the Middle East.
And don’t expect to pay like a local, at the maximum of $13. Forgeries can expect to pay double these prices. Another issue is that you might not be able to communicate with the driver since the profession is restricted to Omanis, and they can’t speak English significantly beyond the capital city.
Also, you should be aware that unless you say explicitly to the driver that you want to pay for the whole trip and you do not want anybody else to accompany you on the ride, do not be shocked if the driver pulls over to pick up someone else on the side of the road.
Shared taxis can be much more affordable, especially for long journeys outside the cities. But if you are willing to enjoy a solo journey, don’t hesitate to say no.
Side tip: It’s not easy to spot shared taxis if you set out for longer-distance journeys. The only way is to talk to locals or call your hotel reception to see if it’s possible.
Some drivers don’t know all places around the city because most of them are from the countryside or smaller towns. Therefore, you need to be clear when you explain to the driver where you want to go by referring to a prominent landmark adjacent to your destination. It’s not a bad idea to share the location with him using Whatsapp or Google Maps.
Only for savvy travellers: to save money and years of pain, you might ask any taxi to be your guide-driver during your visit, especially if you intend to stay for a couple of days. Exchange your mobile phone and agree on the price and you will find him waiting for you outside the hotel or whatever your accommodation base. Some taxis don’t mind taking you on a whole day trip to visit all places on your bucket list and see many incredible and best things to do in Oman. It would be more than perfect if you could get by with a driver who speaks basic English. Also, you can save a lot of money compared to taking many cabs. Most importantly, he would guide you to the less-known places to see all the hidden gems of Oman.
- Try a Micro Ride
- Cheap – Less convenient
- Reach to many places – Not easily recognised
In large cities, micos are usually fairly easy to be found. Also called “basis buses,” expats especially Indians rely on this mode to get about Muscat. It is the least expensive option. So, if you are travelling on a budget, don’t just research “top things to do in Oman”. Instead, start creating your path to explore Oman culture and trek through narrow lanes to enjoy your own adventure. You are welcome to wave at any micros you come across since they are not signed. Also, please don’t get in unless you are sure that they will take you to your destination.
The advantage of these mini-buses is that you can pick them up from any spot along the highway, and you don’t need to read a specific bus stop. However, the disadvantage is that they are not operated according to a schedule. If you are lucky enough, you will find them. If not, keep looking for an alternate mode we have mentioned earlier.
Finally, drivers of micros are less educated, and they are more unlikely to speak English. So be ready to spell out some Arabic words.
- Ferry Service is Available
- More Fun – Expensive
- Connecting distance islands – Not flexible schedule
When you are in Oman, we advise you to give the country some love by hitting some intriguing islands. Unfortunately, there is no way to visit these stunning isles but through boats and ferries run by the National Ferries Company. You will be able to access the enclave of Musandam and Diba, Khasab, Shinas, Lima, and Masirah Islands.
Side tip: Don’t learn the hard way; pack in as much as possible and then find yourself unable to wander easily. A journey to an island will require holding a swimming suit, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Not more, not less.
Important: Some ferries are so big that you can load your rental car on them. Or you may hail a taxi from the closest port to bring you up to the other side.
This trip will help you listen to the natural calming tones; however, it’s not operated on a clear timetable. So plan to give the official website of the National Ferries Company a check before going anywhere.
Couldn’t find a scheduled trip matching your itinerary? Fret not! There are a variety of fishing boats dotted the inhabited beaches that can transmit you wherever you want. Please note these speedboats are informal, and you are solely responsible for your safety.
And again, you need to recall your barraging skills for this cruise to get the best deal. And expect to pay anything from $3 to $25 based on the season, the distance, and your negotiation skills.
Side tip: If you want to spend the day on the island, ask the fisherman or boat owner to bring you back to your beach city at the end of the day.
Important: There are no life jackets on these boats. So, if you are not a very good swimmer, keep it in your backpack. But don’t worry, most of these speedboats are safe, and the journey doesn’t take so much time to reach your desired island.
Bonus Tips before you set out on a ferry trip to enhance your boat experience:
- Online ferry booking is not available. Instead, head to the official office of the National Ferries Company in Muscat to pick up your ticket.
- Buying a ticket on the formal boat is not possible. You should book your seat ahead of time, at least 24h before your departure date.
- You need to show your ID to purchase a ticket and if you make a reservation for other people, make sure to have their ID or passports with you.
- Keep in mind that not all islands can be accessible all the time. Call the ferry office of the island you are going to and make sure it’s open to receiving visitors.
- Bring a portable power bank with you to charge your phone since this spot is chock-full of stories, and you need to snap away along the way. And you are smart enough to know that there is hardly any place to charge your devices on these islands.
- Don’t expect to find ferries operated on time. Delayings happen all the time, and schedules can be changed.
- If you plan to bring your rental car on the ferry deck, please make sure to have written permission from the owner stating that he agreed to take his car to the island and a copy of the ID owner.
- The car will set you back by an extra charge, and it could be a hefty cost. And on our personal experience, exploring islands on foot is much more fun and worthwhile.
- Rent a Car
- More convenient – Expensive
- Fuel is extremely cheap – The possibility of getting lost is higher
Travelling is about planning wise, and hence, planning better. And to prepare better for your journey around Oman, getting behind the wheel is the easiest way to explore its charm. We’ve put together six different ways to scout out top attractions on your first visit. However, renting a car should be on the top of the options you have to get around Oman. With a well-paved, extensive and straightforward road network, you can reach any part of the country without much hassle. However, that implies that there will be some difficulties, as seen by low driving standards and a high average number of traffic accidents (albeit not quite as bad as in some Arab countries).
Having welcomed over 1.7 million expats from each corner of the world, Muscat is officially the most popular destination in the Gulf countries. So it comes as no surprise to expect heavy congestion during rush hours.
Real Talk: make your driving much more defensive and roll up your sleeves when driving in the major cities. And expect to come across some crazy drivers who are willing to engage in a race with you for no reason.
Keep your eyes on your car’s dashboard since the speed limits are 120km/h in some places, 100km/h on other roads, and inside inhabited areas; keep your speed lower than 80km/h to avoid getting fined.
Side tip: Most cars are designed to urge you to not break the speed limits by releasing an irritating beep alarm. Please keep in mind that many cameras are scattered across highways to catch lunatic drivers (some plenties go extreme, and you could spend two nights at the jail). So, please don’t be one of them.
Renting a car in Oman could set you back by roughly $40- $95 based on the car model and condition. You may consider it overpriced but trust me; the money will be spent on your peace of mind more than anything else.
Important: There are several local and international car agencies for renting services. Even though foreign suppliers are much more costly, they give superior service and vehicles in better condition.
Additionally, the fuel prices are incredibly low compared to other European standards.
Bonus Tips to have a great drive experience in Oman:
- Oman comes with very little public transport, and renting cars is a time and effort saver.
- You can stumble upon challenges along the way. In general, avoid driving on the highway after dark. Some vehicles could go without lights on, increasing the possibility of dangerous accidents, especially on dual-carriageways.
- It’s not uncommon to see some autos come to a complete halt without warning. They may even swerve into your lane if they realise they should take the next exit and decide to cut you off.
- Don’t drive on roads during rains. Some seasonal rains lead to heavy showers or maybe flash floods. And going through these circumstances is risky. Additionally, most roads will be cut off for your safety within a couple of minutes or hours. That is enough to cause havoc on your route and waste your time, which is preferable to be caught in traffic with other careless drivers.
- Keep your eyes on the road; I know it seems very basic even for newbies, but I mean it literally, particularly if you’re on a route outside of a city. Goats and camels are common stray animals that might be expected on the road.
- Wherever you go around Oman’s roads, you will see signs planted on the roadsides saying, “stop when water is at the red level!” That is particularly true while travelling through ground depression. That means you should stop when the water level gets the red paint on the poles lined on both sides of the road.
- What is usually ignored, and wrongly so, is speed bumps. Please take extra caution if you see any signs of such things on the highways of towns and cities. However, don’t rely so much on these signs; you will hit unexpected bumps suddenly if you have already exceeded speed limits.
- Keep in mind that penalties for traffic violations, such as breaking speed limits or not wearing a seat belt at a pinch, are severe. And if a speed camera or officer caught you, it would cost you roughly $25. You can get between towns and cities wherever you want, but please pay close attention to traffic rules to distance yourself away from such problems.
- If you have an accident, please call the emergency number immediately and wait until you get assistance. That is almost essential if you leave your car in the exact accident location to let the police undertake an investigation. Otherwise, the possibility of being involved or even guilty would double.
- By renting a car, you will have your transport, enabling you to see anything in the country. However, you could stumble upon some obstacles, like you have to rent a clean car and keep it clean unless you want to be heavily fined. And don’t be surprised when the police pretty force you to go to the nearest car wash.
- Don’t forget to bring your national ID to be able to take a car into Oman’s streets.
- It would be preferable to book the car ahead of time and ask the company to bring it to you at the airport.
- If you’re not prepared to drive at 140 km/h on the highway, you’ll have to choose the slow lane to escape the glares of other drivers.
Pro tip: renting a car would give you more freedom; however, signing up for a tour or hiring a private driver would be better if you look for a more luxurious option with less hassle.
Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Oman (Tips, Dos and Don’ts)
- Respect Oman’s culture. Oman people are very welcoming, but you need to identify their traditions and unique character. Then be respectful and kind to them. With a Muslim-majority population, you need to be mindful of their virtues and rules that might be a bit different from what you are used to. For example, you would hear Adhan coming out from mosques during prayer. Listen to it, and don’t try to make jokes about anything related to religion and culture.
- Wear modestly and appropriately. There is a traditional way of attire in Oman. Men are most likely to wear dishdasha or thawb with a turban or kumah wrapping around their heads. And slippers are very common here for men. They can wear colourful clothes but the white in the king.
- Meanwhile, women wear a long colourful dress with a scarf to cover their hair. However, don’t get this wrong! Women can not go out like this. A back abaya should be on top. You are not obligated to wear their traditional clothes, but you are compelled to keep much more skin covered since it can be understood as insulting to Oman culture. And don’t even think of wearing a bikini on public beaches.
Side Tip: When planning to go to Oman, pack scarfs, long dresses, and pants. Shorts for women and men are not the perfect choice.
- We all know majestically beautiful mosques, especially in the Middle East. If you want to visit Oman’s mosques to learn more about Islamic traditions, please follow the mosque’s rules and show respect for the whole environment. For example, you should not enter the mosque with your shoes on, you should not talk during other Islamic rites such as prayer, and you should not touch the Quran if you do not share the same religious beliefs.
- Keep your voice low when roaming around Oman’s streets. People here are calm, enjoying their life at a slow and quiet pace. They tend to gather at allocated areas called Majilis and Sabla, where they chat, drink their traditional cardamom-flavoured coffee, and much more. However, no loud voice can be heard around. They respect each other, and such hard laughing could cause disturbance to others. So, everything happens to achieve peace for all. It applies to weeding as well. It goes as simple as you couldn’t even imagine. No honking, screaming, no loud music, your journey around this country would be a healing one.
- It’s an outdoor-based experience. Oman would blow your mind with its pristine landscapes, and you need to fuel your energy to explore all its natural experiences. Plan to spend a great deal of time between mountains, watching turtles, and having a camel ride. And I am sure you will be drawn by its offering like other visitors who always dream of returning again and again. Don’t expect to make it a relaxation holiday. Instead, plan to explore the vibrant cultural heritage, hit distant towns, and head out on daring adventures.
- Don’t forget to pack comfortable, light clothes for hiking, a tent, and a sleeping bag before boarding your plane to Oman. Despite the fact that this modern gulf country has a wealth of natural sources and people enjoy a high living standard, you can also enjoy a humble lifestyle and reconnect with nature.
- As I am bringing to you some of the things not to do in Oman, you should mention it’s not respectful yet illegal to show deep affection in this Arab country, PDA, which means the public display of affection. Whether you are on a beach or at a national park, it’s forbidden to express your love explicitly in Oman, and you would be taken to jail if you were caught. Some parks clarify this point by planting a sign arguing you not to get so romantic unless you need to discover the prison system in Oman, where you wouldn’t be pardoned upon any conditions.
- Respect women and don’t do anything that can be considered stalking or eve-teasing. I know you shouldn’t do such things anywhere else, but in Oman, you can not stop women from chatting or asking something not serious or joking. It could be considered harassment, and it’s probably to find yourself committed to a severe crime.
- Another thing you should never do in Oman is to consume a significant amount of alcohol. To be clear, alcohol is available here, especially in hotels and other tourist attractions, but people don’t accept it easily since, you know, it’s a conservative Muslim community. However, don’t drink in public and don’t bring any alcoholic beverages with you from your hometown. And one of the prohibited things in the don’ts’ series is not to take any unprescribed drugs. It’s illegal, and many problems might happen, enough to ruin your journey all along.
- If you are lucky enough to make friends here, we encourage you to accept their invitation for lunch or dinner or even for a cup of coffee. Again, Omanis are the friendliest people on the planet. You’d have a blast hanging out with them. And they’ll be grateful for any gesture, like bringing a cultural memento from your own country to show them a little more about your way of life. If not, don’t hesitate to accept the invitation at all costs.
- We know that many things in Oman can be tempting to take photographs of. But all visitors need to be sensitive to capturing a photo of locals without getting their consent. Taking pictures can be insulting, especially for women. Meanwhile, it would help if you respected their values, virtues, traditions, and culture. Nevertheless, people here are prone to accept your request, but just let them know and go forward.
- Don’t be alarmed when you see people you don’t know greeting you and trying to strike conventions to guess where you are from and chat about everyday matters. And if you allocate a few mintues to learn some words in Arabic, it would be a pleasant surprise when talking with locals. Here are some useful phrases you will absolutely need while visiting Oman: greet people with “as-salam Alaykum,” which means peace upon you, or when someone says that to you, reply with “walaykum as-salam”, “mnfadlk” = please, “shukran” = thank you, “asf” = sorry.
- You are most likely to need a local guide drive because the list of best things to do in is that it can be hard to accomplish on your own. You might not be able to whittle all spots down. However, with the help of a reliable guide, it may be made to work perfectly. Additionally, it will be less complicated in terms of culture shock. For example, if you’re American and you have decided to work in Oman or even explore the Middle East culture in this part of the world, you can see a lot of differences. On the other hand, a guide will always point you in the right direction to make a go of your trip.
- Don’t throw anything in anywhere. Oman is one of the cleanest countries in the Arab world, thanks to strict regulations to keep this place safe and sound. You will find trash containers everywhere, and don’t litter anywhere unless you want to be heavily fined, $1000 at least.
- Don’t eat in public during Ramadan mornings. If you don’t know, Ramadan is a holy month in Islam during which Muslims are on fasting from sunrise to sunset. Once they can break their fasting in the evening, you can eat whether you like. And however, there is no clear law to prevent you from eating during Ramadan; it would be understood as disrespectful and offensive to the local population, which is 100% Muslim.
Side Tip: Nevertheless, you may visit any location in Oman without crowds during Ramadan; it might be difficult if you need to snack. In the morning, the eateries are all closed. It begins working at night and continues till the time of fasting.
- Avoid making fun of Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos, or any other aspect of his regime. Throughout the centuries, a monarchy has ruled Oman, and the people here are proud and devoted to their king. It’s pointless to get involved in a contentious political debate. You’ll have the opportunity to savour a wide range of experiences and adventures, from luxury to culture. Oman has it all, and it’s all quite appealing.
- Take your time to sample the local delicacies rather than relying on fast food outlets like McDonald’s or KFC. It’s rich, delicious, and full of nice tartness; it’s a perfect treat for all tastes.
- Don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering any Omani home if you have been invited.
- Don’t be surprised when seeing Omani men swimming in t-shirts and shorts. And don’t mock as well. It will give you an idea about how conservative this culture is, and you need to be committed to their beliefs and traditions.
- To make your trip that bit easier, don’t go hiking before reading about the length of these routes, and then know what it’s good and not good for you based on your energy, fitness, and experience. Don’t underestimate the hiking routes in the rugged environment. It could be a short mission if you don’t have enough experience dealing with this particular type of valley and mountain. And please remember to bring at least 3 bottles of water and your sunscreen.
Side Tip: Summer is not the perfect time for hiking when the heat is so intense than anyone can bear, causing sunburn and dehydration, especially in the Hajar Mountains.
How to Discover Oman? Perfect Itinerary to See Oman’s Beauty
For this article, we have come up with a plan to uncover a trove of Oman’s cultural, natural, spiritual, and historical treasures.
But we need to be clear about something; how many days can you stay in Oman? There is no correct answer. It depends on what experience you want to get out of this place, your budget, schedule, and where you plan to stay.
Since we have promised to provide you with an insider travel guide, not just write a little blurb on each attraction and landmark as you often find online.
Generally speaking, plan to visit Oman for at least 4 days and don’t be limited to just heading straight to popular spots such as Muscat and Wadi Bani Khalid. Instead, read our recommended itineraries thoroughly from our experts and other daring bloggers who go for adventure and experiences more than anything else.
Good news: most Oman visas are available for one month. However, we see three weeks are more than enough if you visit this Arab nation for only a vacation or holiday.
Side tip: Don’t feel compelled to follow these itineraries strictly. We know many problems and unexpected events happen all the time. It’s just for inspiration to know the distances between cities and plan your trip accordingly.
Here are our best picks for the best experience in Oman
Your Oman Itinerary for 4 Days
Day 1: Start with Muscat, and when it comes to limited time, you need to be an early bird. Head to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, available for non-muslim visitors except Fridays. Then you can spend the rest of the day chilling out at Qantab Beach to unplug and embrace the pristine nature, just a 15-minute drive from the capital.
If you still have enough energy to do something else, have a stroll through Muttrah Corniche. Let’s not forget to bring some favourite local items from one of the attractive popular markets, the Muttrah Souq.
Side tip: Since you have the luxury of searching for a shuttle bus service and public transportation schedule, renting a private car would be much better. Investing in a guide-driver is also a brilliant option. The driver will pick you up and drop you off to have a leg-on to hit all desired spots anywhere and anytime.
Day 2: The Bimmah Sinkhole is a must-visit featuring a natural swimming pool in the heart of the desert where you can relax and give your body a gentle patting. Then we encourage you to visit one of the lovely valleys, Wadi Shab, where you should stay till the sunset to marvel at this romantic and panoramic view.
If you come here with a group, why not camp just here to count the glittering stars that correlate to each point below and try this exceptional experience. However, if you are not a camping guy, a handful of guesthouses are dotted around the wadi in the small village of Tiwi.
Side tip: If you are looking for honest advice, plan for this itinerary before summer! The prices surge during the holiday season, and you wouldn’t even be able to take fantastic photos! And of course camping in the desert on hot days wouldn’t be the best experience, especially if you are a beginner in the whole thing.
Day 3: It’s time for more thrilling activities. This day should be more energetic and filled with unforgettable adventures. We’re even letting you in some of the watersports in Wadi Bani Khalid. It sparks a lot of debate on social media when visitors ask about the best valleys in Oman. But we see Bani Khalid is the best of all. It’s more extensive, vibrant, and at the same time, doesn’t live up to the hype. So divide your time between hiking, exploring caves and waterfalls, swimming, and resting underneath a tree to take photos and bite something.
Then, go to Ras Al Hadd, one of Oman’s most beautiful beaches, before you leave. You may start with this spot to chill out before the crowd arrives.
Side tip: If you are looking to go backpacking in Oman, you are in the right place. Otherwise, many local agencies organise tours to Wadi Bani Khalid and Ras Al Hadd very early, even before the sunrise, to watch turtles leave their eggs on the beach before returning back to the sea.
Day 4: If you still have time to experience something else, you may want to head to Sur, a small village blessed with some fantastic places. In the eastern part of Oman, Sur lies one of the most beautiful port cities. Take a stroll through its old streets and pick some souvenirs. I am pretty sure you’ll fall in love with this picturesque location. Ensure to include the Dhow factory and the Al Ayjah Watchtower in your itinerary.
Then find a way to get back to your hotel, pack your luggage and say goodbye to Oman.
What if you plan to visit Oman for more than 4 days?
It would be more than exciting! So, take your time to visit Sharqiyah Sands, adjacent to Wadi Bani Khalid and located in the heart of Bani Wahiba. Now, the only thing about arriving at this place is pitching a tent and taking in all this unmissable adventure.
Another day in Nizwa! That is exactly why we recommend staying here for more than just 4 days. A number of the best things to do in Oman are about to uncover. Everyone should visit this historical city at least once in their life. It will enable you to learn more about the heritage, culture, and the real spirit of Oman. One of the highlights of Nizwa, the Nizwa Fort and Nizwa Souq. In the evening, scout out its streets, and we are sure it will never disappoint you.
So do you know what you need right now? It’s finding a laid-out atmosphere before returning to your routine life. Offering stunning views and award-winning natural valleys, Bahla is a place to get close to Oman’s traditions and visit several gift shops and popular markets. Then you can head to Misfat al Abriyyin, which will offer you an opportunity to push your limits by walking through its narrow lanes and snap away wherever you turn.
Summary: Oman is one of the old nations on the earth. Properly planning can make or break your trip. The fair duration to explore its gems is 4 days. Otherwise, you can stay in Muscat for more than 2 days to cover all key spots. Be ready to travel through the country and hit traditional and distant villages like Bahla, Salalah, Sur, and Ras al Jinz. Each point is worth a stop, which would be the only way to taste this unique culture of the southeastern edge of the Arab peninsula.
Where to Stay in Oman?
That’s one of the most critical questions you need to answer before confirming any reservations. Then, we will provide you with a helpful resource to plan your trip to Oman without making mistakes or overlooking worthy places. And since Oman is one of the most underrated countries globally, most cities have preserved their pristine condition. So let’s see where you can find the best accommodation for you that meets your budget and expectations.
That’s why we’ve created a little map to be your guide to help you choose which area you should stay in Oman on your next trip.
Your journey couldn’t be complete without allocating enough time to discover its offerings. Located on the northeastern tip, Muscat is the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, as it’s officially named, and the most populated city throughout the country. It’s teeming with the best tourist spots any Omani land could offer. It embraces one of the most important ports in the Middle East. Thanks to its natural treasures and thriving economy, it quickly becomes attractive to expats and visitors. However, Muscat is still very much an off-beaten-path tourist destination. You will, however, discover why we believe this city deserves greater attention once you have exited its international airport. It takes something from everything, blinding them together to create its unparalleled setting.
You can find old buildings in Secret Quarter then you have the chance to take a look at upscale shopping malls, lovely entertaining centres, rich cultural museums, and fancy restaurants. It’s an eco-friendly city that the king is keen to offer a healthy lifestyle for everyone. Also, Muscat can’t let nature lovers down since it’s surrounded by several imposing mountains boasting unspoiled natural beauty and wildlife. And what we like the best is the genuine hospitality you will find wherever you go.
Best Hotels in Oman: Muscat
Best Hotels for families:
Kempinski Hotel Muscat (around $205 a night)
W Muscat (around $219 a night)
Best Hotels for couples:
The Chedi Muscat – a GHM hotel (around $349 a night)
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat (around $210 a night)
Best Hotels and Hostels for solo travellers:
Muscat Hills Resort (around $169 a night)
Grand Hyatt Muscat (around $138 a night)
*if you are looking for more affordable lodging options, you can invest in rental houses. Muscat hosts a variety of housing types located in premium places. Just take your time to choose the best for you.
By walking outside Muscat, searching for viewing platforms to spot each point of interest or climbing high cliffs to enjoy yourself with unequalled landscapes, you are most likely to come across Musandam. Musandam lies at the northeastern edge of the Arab peninsula to impress everyone who comes down here intentionally or unintentionally. It boasts a broad swathe of scenic landscapes, crystal clear water, and an assortment of islands, cliffs, and spectacular scenes.
Musandam is separated from Oman by UAE territories, and it’s one of the wealthiest and most gorgeous spots in the entire Gulf area, offering dramatic sights and notable outdoor activities. Named the Norway of Arabia, Musandam hosts several resorts and hotels, and you can even backpack anywhere.
And fret not, it’s a safe spot with excellent tourist infrastructure, which has been in place for decades, but most travellers have no idea about it.
Many options are available to reach Musandam from Muscat; for example, domestic flights come with a limited schedule and need to plan your trip accordingly. It will take one hour, and the prices are varied depending on the season and availability. You also can get to Musandam by ferry, but please note that there is no direct ferry from Muscat. Instead, you will need to catch another cruise from Shias to your final destination. The journey will be longer, but it’s even more exciting and cheaper than flights.
We see a whole day trip is more than enough, but if you are willing to stay for a night, read on below to find our favourite picks.
Best Hotels in Oman: Musandam
Best Hotels for families:
Atana Khasab (around $156 a night)
Khasab Hotel (around $57 a night)
Best Hotels for couples:
Atana Musandam Resort (around $123 a night)
Diwan Al Amir (around $58 a night)
Best Hotels and Hostels for solo travellers:
Shams Musandam (around $31 a night)
Ahlam Musandam Villa (around $33 a night)
- Misfat al Abriyyin
In the heart of Oman, you will find Misfat al Abriyyin, one of the picturesque traditional villages in the Arab nation filled with the best things to do to have the best trip. Of course, Oman is jam-packed with natural landscapes but situated on the edge of the Arabian peninsula; you will be rewarded with safari adventures.
While the large cities in Oman can be more tempting, smaller villages always have something for you. This small town is made of brown and yellow shades, just like a movie from earlier decades. Dotted with stone buildings and mountain ranges, Misfat al Abriyyin is an excellent option for anyone who wants to experience Arabian mountain life, housing plenty of houses made from mud and palm fronds. So allow yourself to get lost behind banana trees and meet locals.
Side tip: Don’t get to the city by car. The streets are so narrow to accommodate one car. Instead, having a stroll around Misfat al Abriyyin is much better.
Stay for a night to meet the sunset from a high summit that will be breathtaking.
Misfat al Abriyyin is a 2h drive away from Muscat, and there is no public bus to get to the village. So instead, rent a car or make calls to find a tourist agency that organises such a day trip.
Planning to stay a night here! Here is what this village has to offer you.
Best Hotels in Oman: Misfat al Abriyyin
Best Hotels for families:
IntercityHotel Nizwa (around $70 a night)
Sahab Resort And Spa (around $123 a night)
Best Hotels for couples:
Alila Jabal Akhdar (around $287 a night)
Sama Heights Resort & Spa (around $92 a night)
Best Hotels and Hostels for solo travellers:
Nizwa Residence (around $49 a night)
Falaj Daris Hotel (around $65 a night)
An ancient city you don’t want to miss out on, Nizwa is a place made up of history. It can be a lot more different from any other city in Oman. Stepped inside real Oman’s heritage and desert, Nizwa embraces a number of impressive muddy forts, unique natural landscapes, and insane mountains. You can start off your trip with one of the masterpieces and signi
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