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Experience the sparkle of the jewel of Arabia and let the smell of Frankincense assault your senses as you discover one of the safest and most beautiful countries in the Middle East

Oman is one of the safest destinations in the Middle East. It’s terrorism-free and has a population of kind, welcoming people who deeply respects their culture and traditions.

Discover its diverse landscapes, with subtropical coastal plains and white sandy beaches in the east, mountains and valleys in the central region and hot arid deserts in the west and south.

Oman’s long coast sits on the Arabian sea to the southeast and the Gulf of Oman in the northeast. It makes for some of the most sophisticated beach holidays you can get. Whilst Oman is less glitzy than its neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it’s stylish and laid back and makes for a great alternative Middle Eastern destination.

Top holidays in Oman

Culture and history

Oman is a monarchy which has been led by Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said since 1970. It’s an independent nation, made up of the more modern state of Sultanate of Oman.

Oman is a melting pot of Bedouin values and modern culture. It’s Islamic and so celebrates Arabic culture but there’s a strong tolerance of other ethnic groups.

The people of Oman are renowned for being welcoming. They show their hospitality by the offer of dates and kahwar – a special coffee with cardamom. The northern Omani people are largely Arab, Muslim and tribal, whereas the people of the south are more culturally like the Yemeni people.

Omani people have traditional dress that largely cover their bodies. The men wear a dishdashi (a long white or colourful cloth) and a kummah (cap). The women wear an abaya and head scarf. To respect their tradition, it is recommended that you do not expose too much skin in public. Swimwear on public beaches is deemed to be offensive.

Rice is the national food of Oman and dishes often include rice, a tomato-based sauce and meat or fish. Bread is a staple accompaniment. Helwa is a traditional Omani sweet, made from butter, honey and spices. Pork is not eaten in Islam and alcohol is only served within hotels.

Things to do

Even though Oman has vast expanses of desert and mountains, visitors will not be short of things to see and do. The cities have souks and exotic bazaars to lose yourself in and many restaurants offering international cuisines. Its coastal location on the edge of the Indian Ocean makes it a seafood lover’s dream, with fresh seafood and shellfish served plentifully.

The coastal regions boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the Middle East backed by whitewashed buildings from Indian mogul architecture.

Inland, you can visit the mountains for picturesque scenery and a visit to the Bimmah Sinkhole – a natural phenomenon.

Muscat

Muscat is Oman’s capital and a thriving port. Surrounded by mountains and desert, adventure seekers can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, canyoning and desert tours. City-lovers can explore the souks and barter for a bargain, or marvel at mosques and minarets. Popular places of interest include the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the National Museum and the Opera House.

Salalah

Salalah is the capital of the southern province of Dhofar. It’s a subtropical city with colourful architecture and coconut lined beaches. It has a very different climate to Muscat, with lush green landscapes, owing to its rainy season – "Khareef Salalah", which literally means monsoon of Salalah. The monsoon is so celebrated that there is an annual festival of rain. Visitors can take a trip to the waterfalls or take a boat trip on Wadi Darbat lake.

Flight time

The flight time from London to Muscat is around 7 and a half hours.

Currency

Omani Rial -

The currency of Oman is the Rial.

Passports and visas

Visitors to Albania must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Oman.

You will require a Visa to enter Oman.

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

Phrases

Hello – Marhabaan

Good morning – Sabah alkhyr

Good afternoon – Tab masayik

Please – Raja'

Thank you – Shukraan

Goodbye – Wadaeaan

Yes – Nem fielaan

No – La

Timezone

Oman is 4 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Electricity

The standard voltage in Oman is 240 volts. The frequency is 50Hz. You can use UK appliances in Oman, if your appliances are between 220 volts and 240 volts.

Oman uses the type G plug, which is the same as that used in the UK.

Language

Arabic -

Arabic is the official language of Oman, with English being the secondly most commonly spoken language. There are some Arabic dialects spoken among the nomadic people.

Tipping

Tipping is Oman is a relatively new custom and is therefore not expected. If you wish to tip, we recommend tipping around 10% in restaurants.

Climate

The climate in Oman is varied from area to area. The deserts are dry and arid, whereas the coastal regions are subtropical. The mountain region is much cooler. There is very little rainfall in the north of Oman, however the Dhofar region in the south has its own microclimate, with a luscious rainy season from May to September.

Health

We recommend you visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to Oman, to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

The population of Oman is 4.8 million.

The total land area is 309,501 km² (192,315 sq mi). Oman is bordered by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Smoking

There has been a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in Oman, since 2009.



Climate