The complete guide to visiting Oman: visa, how to get here, how long to stay, the best time to go, and other useful tips to plan your trip
The Sultanate of Oman is a country in the Middle East, bordering the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Despite having an area almost 4 times larger than its most famous neighbor – the United Arab Emirates – the country still receives few Western tourists. However, don’t be fooled: Oman is a true spectacle, whether due to its iconic nature (including orange dunes in the desert and the beautiful Wadis) or for its remarkable, light-colored architecture. Here you’ll find a complete guide to visiting Oman.
Guide to visiting Oman
Do I need a visa to enter Oman?
Citizens of almost all nationalities, including those from North American and European countries, need a visa to enter Oman. A 10 or 30 days stay permit can be obtained online, with the cost starting at 5 OMR.
When applying for the visa to enter Oman online, you will need to attach a copy of the passport and a photo. After that, just wait to receive the e-mail with the visa approval (mine took 24 hours) and be sure to print it to present at immigration.
How long should I stay in Oman?
Oman has many natural wonders that can take a long time to fully explore. I recommend staying here for at least one week, mainly because it’s not a close destination. To do everything calmly, the ideal would be 10 days.
How to get to Oman?
The main city and capital of Oman is Muscat, which is the gateway for many tourists to the country. Muscat International Airport is connected to major countries with Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Oman Air.
When you arrive at the airport, you should rent a car right away and buy a SIM card (before leaving the airport) to stay connected during your road trip through the country.
Do I need a rental car in Oman?
There’s no denying it: having a car is practical and you can do everything at your own pace. Of course, there are some tour companies that make it possible to visit the main attractions of Oman without a car, but the distances aren’t so bad, the roads are excellent, and fuel is cheap. So, car rental remains the best option for traveling throughout Oman.
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 from Avis).
Are international credit cards accepted in Oman?
Most places do accept international credit cards in Oman, but it is always good to have a cash reserve with you. You can go to an ATM when you arrive at Muscat airport and, if you need more along the way, pharmacies usually have ATMs for use.
Do I need a tour guide in Oman?
Not necessarily. However, for some attractions, it’s recommended to take guided tours, such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (they offer free guided tours). If possible, get a guided tour at the Nizwa Fort, Bahla Fort, and Jabreen Castle to fully understand their history (in the latter we used an audio guide, which gave us more flexibility to explore at our own pace).
To visit Bimmah Sinkhole, as well as Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid, you can visit on your own, without a problem; just make sure to have the coordinates saved in an offline map.
Where to stay in Oman?
Apart from Muscat, Nizwa, and Sur, I also recommend spending a night in a tent in the Wahiba Sands desert and stay in a hotel in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar, a region known as the Grand Canyon of Oman.
Where to stay in Oman – Hotels
Sur – Sur Plaza Hotel
Wahiba Sands desert – Desert Nights Camp
Nizwa – Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel
What is the best time to travel to Oman?
The best time to visit Oman is from October to April when temperatures are milder. From May to September, thermometers can reach 50 ° C. Regardless of the time of year, be prepared, with a good sweater and a windbreaker jacket, for low temperatures in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and in the Wahiba Sands desert.