All you need to know before visiting Oman


The Sultanate of Oman is a country in the Middle East bordering the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The country is an absolute monarchy, ruled by Sultan Qaboos since the 1970s, and despite having an area almost four times larger than its most famous neighbor – the UAE – the country receives few Western tourists. But if you are wondering, “what does Oman offer?”, the country provides a fusion of charms including architecture, culture, and natural beauties that combine desert, crystal clear beaches, and mountains. To complete it all, perfect roads make road trips the ideal travel style to experience the highlights of the country. In this post, you will find some practical information to plan your trip to Oman.



Citizens of almost all nationalities, including those of North American countries and European Union ones, need a visa to visit Oman. It can be obtained online, with a stay permit of 10 or 30 days, and the cost starts from 5 OMR. At the time of application, it is necessary to attach a copy of the passport and a photo; after that, just wait to receive the email with the approval of the visa (mine took 24 hours) then print it to present to immigration on arrival.


Covid-19 update: Along with the visa, all travelers arriving in Oman are required to present a COVID-19 vaccine certificate containing a QR Code stating that they have received two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine approved in Oman (Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford Astrazeneca, Covishield AstraZeneca, Sputnik, Sinovac, Moderna, and Sinopharm), or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. The last dose is required to have been received not less than fourteen (14) days ahead of the estimated arrival time.

Also, all Oman visitors on long international flights (with a period of no less than 8 hours) with a pre-travel negative PCR test (within 96 hours) are exempt from quarantine as well as travelers on shorter flights with a negative COVID-19 PCR test (within 72 hours).

Read the updated travel restrictions to Oman related to Covid-19.


Language in Oman

The language spoken is Arabic, but English is widely used, including restaurants and souqs (local markets) found throughout the country.


Make sure to check out  other posts about Oman to plan your trip:

What to do in Muscat: the essentials for visiting Oman’s capital

What to do in Nizwa, the historical city of Oman

What to do in Sur, Oman



Currency in Oman

The currency used in Oman is the Omani rial (OMR) and it is more valued than the US dollar and Euro – the currencies you will probably take to change upon arrival in the country. 1 OMR is approximately US$ 2,7.



When to visit Oman

The best time to visit Oman is from October to April when temperatures are milder. From May to September the thermometer can reach 50 °C; regardless of the season, be prepared for low temperatures in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and in the desert Wahiba Sands, where you will need to wear a nice sweater and/or a windbreaker jacket.


Religion in Oman

Islam is the main religion in Oman. The other religions found in the country, such as Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, are found primarily in immigrant communities.



Safety in Oman

The Sultanate of Oman has a very strict moral, religious, and legal code, and the punishment for crimes is severe. Therefore, traveling around the country is extremely safe, but – as with everywhere – precautions with personal objects such as wallets, electronics, and documents are advised.


How to dress in Oman

Men and women in Oman dress conservatively – with the men usually wearing an ankle-length dress called dishdasha and the women wearing black and long garments known as abayas. For this reason, tourists should respect local customs: for both women and men, the recommendation is to cover the shoulders and wear clothes below the knee.



How to get around in Oman

If you only want to stay in the capital, Muscat, you can use the taxi service that is widely available. However, if you want to visit other areas or cities in the country, renting a car is the best option; you will have the flexibility to make plan your own route, stopping whenever you want. The roads are excellent, with no tolls. We did not pay for parking during the whole trip (we would have paid in Muscat, but we were in town on a weekend, when it was free), and fuel costs around 0,30 OMR per liter. But if you really want to explore the country with a tour agency check the prices at Zahara Tours, which was the company I saw most wherever we were.

Please note: if you plan to visit the Wahiba Sands Desert and the Jebel Akhdar Mountains, you will need to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle. We rented ours with Avis.


To get easily around the country, download the app – which saves places and has an offline version, and provides suitable routes to all places whereas some areas Google Maps cannot find. To access the internet and find places easily, buy a SIM card with internet upon arrival at the airport (with prices starting at 7 OMR).


Where to stay in Oman

The best way to see the highlights of Oman is by staying in different cities, that is, forming different bases. My suggestion for cities to stay in the country are Muscat, Sur, Nizwa, Wahiba Sands, and Jebel Akhdar.



Eating and drinking in Oman

Omani cuisine is full of flavors. When visiting the country, you must try the Omani coffee (made with rose water, cardamom, and saffron), dates, hummus (paste of chickpeas with olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and other items), moutabel (a paste made with eggplant, tahini, and other ingredients), halwa (a dessert made with toasted sesame seeds mixed with melted sugar), pita bread, seafood, fattoush (Arab salad) and mint lemon juice.

Alcoholic beverages in Oman: only restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in Oman, but most places that have the same and sell the drinks are in hotels. So, you’ll probably need to limit alcohol consumption only within your hotel’s outbuildings.


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