Practical information Oman

  • Oman
    Carlos Rodrigues
  • Oman
    Luca Mason / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Oman
Oman : the key figures

Area : 212460.0 km2

Population : 2867000 inhabitants

Oman : Travel Information before you go!

Flights

8 hrs 55 mins flight duration, available direct but often with a connection. London is approximately 6, 733 mi from Muscat. Gulf Air offers four flights daily (two in the morning and two in the evening) to Muscat via Bahrein, Emirates offer a daily flight via Dubai, British Airways also offer daily flights, and Qatar Airways offer several flights a day.
Seeb international airport is 24 mi west of Muscat. Oman Air offers interior flights to Salalah, Khasab, Sur, Masirah and Dibba. Oman Air, Oman's national airline, operates four weekly flights from London to Muscat.

Airports

In Muscat, the international airport is located in Seeb, roughly 10 miles from the city. A taxi ride is the fastest way to go to Muscat, for a fare of about OMR 20 (35). In Muscat, the international airport is located in Seeb, roughly 10 miles from the city and costs OMR 10 (17.50) for a taxi.

Security

Though most visits to Oman are trouble-free, you should practice vigilence in public places and on the roads and terrorism is an underlying threat. There are few security problems in the cities, but you should nevertheless maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places, and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
It is not recommended to venture into the desert on your own.



For the latest developments, see the FCO travel advice section for Oman.

Languages

Arabic is the official language. English is barely spoken outside the city.

Required travel documents for

The passport must be valid for more than six months. The visa, valid for a month, costs 27. A new short term visa for visits of up to 10 days has been introduced. It can be obtained at the embassy in London, but it is simpler to get it at the airport, once you're in the country.
Be aware that with a visa from Dubai, you can enter the Sultanate of Oman and with a visa from Oman, you can go to Dubai, at no extra cost. There is just one requirement: to cross the border at Wadi Hattat.
Incidentally, a visa valid for Qatar also allows you to get to Oman with no extra requirements.

Religion

The Omani are Muslims of Ibadi denomination.

Currency

The currency is the Omani rial (OMR), which consists of 1,000 baizas. You can exchange currency in banks, hotels and in the souk in Muscat, though bear in mind that the exchange rate is often poor in hotels. The main credit cards (American Express, Visa and Diners Club) are accepted in hotels, restaurants and in some shops. Outside of Muscat and Salalah, cash machines are harder to find. Banks are open from 8:00am to 12:00pm from Saturday to Wednesday and until 11:30am on Thursdays. Euros, but not pounds, are accepted and some places will also give you change in euros, such as the souk in Muscat, for example.

Local transportation

Driving:
The road network, generally tarmacked, links up the towns to one another. People drive on the right and the road signs are in Arabic as well as in Latin characters. A 4 x 4 is only necessary for drives into the desert and mountain tracks.
Muscat is criss-crossed by a network of motorways and the police show no tolerance as far as offences are concerned, so respect speed limitation, wear your seat belt and do not drive in Muscat with a vehicle covered in dust from the tracks as the fines are rather heavy. It is possible to rent a 4 x4, without a driver, in both Muscat and Salalah for ?150 per day. If you take a taxi, always negotiate the fare before getting in.

Flights:
The company Oman Air ensures interior flights from Salalah, Khasab, Sur, Masirah and Dibba.

Bus:
From Muscat, a bus service links all the major cities and runs day and night for roughly OMR 30 (54). To travel from Salalah to Muscat takes about 12 hours; you can also go from Muscat to Dubai by bus. Moreover, leaving from Muscat, you can get local connections to the interior towns.

Health

Besides the endemic malaria in Dhofar during the rainy season (from June to September), the country's sanitary conditions are good. During the day be careful to avoid dehydration, do not forget to drink water and buy it bottled even if it is often drinkable. Most big hotels give bottled mineral waterto their clients.
Do not forget to bring a headscarf if you are sensitive to air conditioning, because taxis, hotels and restaurants put the air conditioning on very high.

Electricity

220 V. Adapter essential.

Tourist numbers

In 2005, the Sultanate of Oman received 1.4 million tourists.
Hotel capacity: 8,000 beds (10,000 planned for 2010).

Taxes and tips

The territory exit tax has been suppressed. In hotels and restaurants, a tip is appreciated, but not mandatory.

Telephone

To call Oman from the UK, dial: 00 968 + number you are trying to reach.
To call from Oman to the UK,dial: 00 + 44 + no. excluding the initial 0.
Cards for public telephones are sold in supermarkets and shops and international calls are cheaper from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am.

Oman : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Omani Embassy:
167 Queens Gate 5W7 SHE, London.
Tel.: (0044171) 225 0001. 01 47 23 01 63.


At the destination

General Tourism Direction:
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
PO Box 550, MSQ pc 113, in Muscat.
Tel.: (968) 774 331. (968) 774 331.

British embassy
P O Box 185 Mina Al Fahal Postal Code 116, in Muscat.
Tel.: (968) 24 609000. (968) 681 800.
Emergency: 999 (information in English and Arabic).

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