Oman Travel Guide
Neighbor to giant Saudi, Oman is often overlooked, but its mix of cosmopolitan and traditional living, modern shopping malls and state-of-the-art water sports facilities are getting it more attention than ever before. Ancient trading towns will delight history buffs and antiquity-seekers, while resplendent mosques can be found alongside five-star hotel complexes. Don’t forget to pick up a few daggers along the way, the Omani national symbol.
When to Go
The best time to go to Oman is between the months of September and April.
The months of May to August are particularly warm, while the months of June to September have varying rainfalls depending on the region.
Getting There & Away
While the roads are good in Oman, driving at night can be dangerous, with a high danger of hitting stray camels on the road. Buses are available throughout the country, but the drivers of these are known for their ‘special’ driving skills. You can also get around by taxi, which can be expensive if you don’t know the going rate. Renting a car is possible, but be sure to get the vehicle washed regularly; it is illegal to drive around in a set of dirty wheels!
Health & Safety
Yellow fever, typhoid, malaria, hepatitis A and B, lymphatic filariasis and leishmaniasis are very common in Oman. Get yourself vaccinated before coming. As if the risk of disease isn’t enough to worry about, there is a high threat of terrorism in the country, as Al Qaeda continues to threaten the Gulf region, and in particular, foreigners staying here. Be cautious and keep a low profile in public places. This includes refraining from spreading rumors about Sultan’s sexuality.
Food & Hospitality
You will find all types of accommodation in Oman to suit every budget. The smaller hotels are cheap, but they offer limited facilities. There are also a few hotels in the rural areas, if you consider a hut made of date leaves to be a hotel. Advanced booking is strongly recommended. Most of the first-class hotels have restaurants that offer international cuisines for tourists, while Indian, Lebanese and Arabic cuisine is found across the country. Tuck into some fried shark, or satiate your sweet tooth with halwa, similar to Turkish delight.
- Three days in Muscat
- Two days in Sur
- Two days in Nizwa
- One day in Jabrin
Muscat: is an old walled town dominated by the palaces of Sultans, Royal Court Buildings and government offices. Narrow streets and old houses can be found in Mutrah Fort, while the business district of Ruwi is where you can go shopping.
Sur: this old town is popular because of its traditional shipbuilding industry. It features winding streets, old Arabesque buildings and houses with carved wooden doors.
Nizwa: learn about the history of Oman in Nizwa, an interior province in the region. It has a palm oasis stretching for about 13kms. Jabrin: provides a breathtaking view of the desert and mountains.
Water activities: Oman has many fine, sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, surfing, diving and sailing. Masirah Island is especially known for being a surfing hotspot.
Dhow cruise: along the Qurum coast, this encapsulates the culture, history and archeology of Oman. You can find great collections of jewelry, weapons, silver and ancient stone artifacts at the National Museum. Caving: discover the cave of Majlis al-Jhinn, considered the second-largest cave in the world. It has long passages, canals, crystal-clear streams and drip curtains.
Camel-riding: if you haven’t been on one of these humped beasts yet, now’s your chance. The primary form of transport isn’t hard to find, but just watch one of them doesn’t spit or fart near you as you mount.