General Information

The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The coastline extends 1.700 Km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the South and overlooks three seas: The Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Local time: The Sultanate of Oman is +4 hours ahead of GMT in the winter.

Currency: The local currency in The Sultanate of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR). The Omani Rial is linked to the USD at the rate of OMR 1.000 = USD 2.65

Area-land: 309,500 sq KM

Land Boundaries: 1,374 KM

Coastline: 1,700 KM

Population: 2.9 millions

Currency: The unit of currency is the Omani Rial (OMR) comprising 1000
Baizas

Climate: Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong
Southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south.

Terrain: Central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

Highest point: Jabal Shams over 3,000 m

Administrative division: 3 Governorates – Muscat, Dhofar and Mussandam
5 Regions - Al Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Al Sharqiyah
And Al Dhahirah.

Capital: Muscat

National Day: Birthday of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, 18th November.

Customs and traditions: While in Oman, please respect local customs. Please dress modestly and comfortably.


Etiquette: You can shake hands in greeting in Oman.


Ramadan: The Holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting is observed.
Non Muslims should respect this by not eating, drinking or smoking in public.

Leisure activities:  
Shopping: A shopper’s paradise. Oman offers modern day designer shopping as well as traditional ‘souq’ experience. Shopping malls are open 9 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 10 pm (Except Lulu and Carrefour open daily between 0900 hrs to 0000 hrs).

Adventure: The coastline, the deserts, mountains etc. make Oman the Perfect place for water sports like diving, sailing, fishing, wind Surfing, Water skiing apart from Dolphin watching and Whale watching. On land you can indulge in camel racing, trekking, rock climbing, cave exploration, Wadi bashing, bird watching and dune bashing in the Wahiba sands.

Important telephone numbers: Emergency number 999
Royal Oman police 24 560 099
Royal Hospital 24 599 525
Khoula Hospital 24 563 625
Al Nahda Hospital 24 837 800

Photography: Tourist photography is allowed but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women or near military installations. It is always courteous to ask permission before taking pictures.



   

Credit Cards

International credit cards are widely accepted at Shops, Malls, Restaurants and Hotels. Widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard. However smaller shops may not accept credit cards and it is recommended to carry cash. Some retailers also offer better bargains for cash. Money exchange centers are widely available in all the Cities.

Local laws

Although you are allowed to drink in many of The Sultanate's numerous bars attached to the hotels, remember this is a Islamic country. There is also zero tolerance towards drinking and driving. That means the legal limit is zero and being caught will usually end in a prison sentence. Certain prescription drugs which are legal elsewhere in the world are banned in The Sultanate of Oman. If you need to take these then you must ensure that you take a doctors prescription with you.



1) Alcohol cannot be transported overland here in Oman. It is strictly forbidden to do so and if anyone is caught, they will be fined and perhaps arrested.

2) Alcohol can be purchased at Seeb airport on arrival (2 bottles per passport maximum providing passport holder is non Muslim) and transferred with passenger to a private household within Oman or hotel. This must be transferred directly from airport to place of residence however.

3) Guests on round trips cannot carry alcohol with them whilst touring around Oman and if found doing so will be liable for a fine as above.

4) Guests crossing the border between Emirates and Oman and vice versa if found with alcohol will not only hold up the crossing of the border but also have their alcohol confiscated and possible fine.

5) Alcohol is available in hotels and selected Clubs, Restaurants and Pubs.

6) Alcohol is not served between 1500hrs & 1800hrs everyday except Friday.

7) On Friday alcohol service starts only from 1400hrs onwards If alcohol is important during a meal we recommend checking this out with the restaurant before making a firm reservation.

Clothing

You will only need summer clothes when you are here, however it is a good idea to bring a few light sweaters. While there is no official ruling about exactly what you can and can't wear, Westerners will be expected to dress with more modesty than you would at home in similar temperatures. The Sultanate of Oman is a liberal country, but it is also part of an Islamic world.

Men should always wear a shirt or top in public. At the poolside or beaches, trunks, swim suits and bikinis are quite acceptable. Good quality sunglasses are advised and photo chrome lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some sort of protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight.

Transport

A car can be hired from any of numerous car-rental companies operating in the airport as well as in the city and with such a competitive market. You need to provide original passport and a valid international driving license or GCC driving license. Compared to Europe and the United States, taxis are very cheap in The Sultanate of Oman. Taxis are also plentiful and you won't usually have to wait more than a few minuets before one comes along. An average 10km journey will set you back around OMR 2 (around $ 5). The bus service in The Sultanate of Oman is limited.

Language

The official language of the Oman is Arabic. Other languages spoken are English, Baluchi, Urdu and Indian dialects.

Religion

The official religion of The Sultanate of Oman is Islam. But other faiths are accepted and freedom of worship is privately given.

Religion

The official religion of The Sultanate of Oman is Islam. But other faiths are accepted and freedom of worship is privately given.

Culture and Lifestyle

The Omani culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most prized virtues and the visitor is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.

Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and move around unescorted. Local citizens dress in ‘disdashsa’ (Robe) with a Furakha and’Muzzar’ or ‘Kumma’ (head dress). Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing songs and traditional art.

Weddings and other celebrations are colorful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as bull fighting, camel racing and dhow racing continue to thrive.

Climate

Moderate climate is found between October and March when days are sunny and pleasant (Average Temperature - 26C). Nights are Cool (average temperature is 15C) summer is between April and September, when temperatures peak at 50 with high humidity levels in the desert.

Internet

Muscat has many internet café's and most hotels will offer this service in either their business centre or Internet to the room as well as wireless connection.

Water

Contrary to general belief the drinking water in The Sultanate of Oman is fit to drink and this can be said for all major hotels here in The Sultanate of Oman, although a wide range of bottled water is available in most shops and super markets.

Visa

1) Please note that the nationals of the following countries can obtain visa on arrival for a nominal fee of Omani Rial Six (Appx. USD 16) European Countries – Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Latvia, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Estonia, Austria, France, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Slovak, Czech Republic, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldavia, Monaco, San Marino, Cyprus, Malta, Vatican City. South American Countries – Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, French Guyana, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Surinam, Paraguay, Chile, Columbia and Peru. Other Countries – USA, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Brunei, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Dar al Salaam, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

2) Indian nationalities will require visas prior to arrival, which can be processed through AOT Oman. Also The Royal Oman Police website can be browsed for further information www.rop.gov.om.

Post Offices

1. Al Harthy Complex- open 0730-1430 hrs and 1900-2100 hrs.

2. Hamriya- Open from 0800 hrs – 1400 hrs and 1600 hrs to 2000 hrs. Thursday 0800-1100 hrs.

3. Muscat- Open from 0730 hrs-1430 hrs. Thursday 0800 hrs – 1100 hrs.

4. Ruwi- Open from 0730 hrs-1430 hrs. Thursday 0800 hrs – 1100 hrs.

Directory

1. Local – 1318.

2. International operator- 1319.

3. Talking Pages- 24600100.

Bookshops

1. Borders- City Centre- Seeb.

2. Family Book shop- Qurum.

3. Turtles- Madinat as Sultan Qaboos.

Museums

1. Bait Al Baranda.

2. Bait Al Zubair

3. Bait Al Adam.

4. National Museum.

5. Oil and Gas Museum.

6. Natural History Museum.

7. Sultans Armed Force Museum.

Banks

1. Ahli Bank 24 577000

2. BankMuscat 24 768888

3. Bank Sohar 24 730000

4. Central Bank of Oman 24 702222

5. HSBC 80 074722

6. National Bank of Oman 24 778000

7. Oman Arab Bank 24 706265

Money Exchange

1. Oman & UAE Exchange- Ruwi- 24750830.

2. Mustafa Sultan Exchange- Ruwi- 24706519.