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Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Oman

Oman is fast becoming the new “hot” destination in the Middle East for independent travellers that want to go out and explore for themselves.

Also with being one of the most liberal, diverse when it comes to nature and probably being the most peaceful country in all of the Middle East, it’s not hard to understand why more and more tourists are coming here.

If you are planning a road trip between Dubai and Muscat check out this great guide.

The Omani government has officially said it will spend one billion dollars to improve tourist facilities over the next few years, so expect things to improve a lot in Oman.

A brand new international terminal at Muscat International Airport opened last week of March this year.

On the way to Wadi Shab in Oman

On the way to Wadi Shab.

While Oman is a great travel destination it is far from being a backpacker-friendly destination. Oman is one of the least public transportation friendly countries in the world, there´s no train, and public buses don’t reach the famous sites around the country.

If you travel to Oman and have a long layover in Oman check out this guide for some great tips on what you can do in.

So you only have two options if you want to explore Oman, rent a car or book a tour. 

Here are 8 Essential Things To Know About Visiting Oman.

VISA For Oman.

Oman did recently change it´s visa rules, while you’re earlier were able to get the visa on arrival will you know have to get an E-Visa in advance.  By 1 April (that´s when I arrived), you were still able to get the visa on arrival from a different counter, but the line with people waiting for that counter was extremely long so with an E-VSA will you be able to bypass that que and head straight to immigration. It will save you an hour or two.

The immigration queue takes typically between 5 to 30 minutes if you arrive during quiet hours, but if you arrive at the wrong time, (around midnight) can it take up to two hours(this is additional to the visa on arrival line).
I arrived 23.45 and had to stand about an hour in que, but while I was standing in line did more flights arrive, and que was in the end so long that it went around a corner.

A One Month Single Entry Visa is 20 Omani Rial (52 USD).  1 Year Multi-Entry Visa 50 Omani Rial (130 USD).

Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel. But having an Israeli stamp in your passport is not a problem for entry.

Bahla Fort, A UNESCO world heritage site in Oman

Bahla Fort, A UNESCO world heritage site in Oman

Getting to/from Muscat International Airport.

There is now two new airport bus operating 24/7 between the airport and the city.
Bus 1A runs between the airport and Mabelah Bus station, and bus 1B runs between the airport and Ruwi Bus Station. The price is 1 Omani Rial.

If you are planning a to stay a few days in Muscat, be sure to check out this guide with top things to do in Muscat.

A Taxi to the area around Oman Grand Mall is 11-12 Rial. And A Taxi to the old part of Muscat and Mutrah is around  20 – 22 Rial.
Your best and cheapest option is to get a rental car, all the big car rental companies have branches at the airport, but you can get better deals in the city. But then you will have to pay for a taxi to the city centre.

Jebel Shams mountains in Oman

Jebel Shams mountains.

Money in Oman.

The currency in Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR).
One Rial is made of 1000 baisa. The Rial is officially tied at 2.58 US dollars per 1 Omani. Making the Rial one of the most valuable currencies in the world.

Credit cardS is widely accepted, I paid all my nights at the hotel and shopping in restaurants and grocery stores with my credit card.
ATM: Your best bet to find ATM´S if you want to withdraw money is inside shopping malls. I didn’t have to pay  ATM fee in any of the ATM´s I used during my visit, Bank Muscat and HSBC.

The currency from the United Arab Emirates (AED) is also widely accepted around Oman.

NB. Upon my arrival at Muscat International Airport was ALL ATM´S out of service. All 5 of them. So you better bring some hard currency with you.

Internet in Oman.

Free WiFI is widely available in all coffee shops, restaurant, malls, etc. But you need a local sim card for that since you will need to receive a code by SMS to log in. You had no option to choose different numbers than a local Omani phone number.

A local sim card is 2 Rial and 3 Rial for 1 GB internet. It takes about 5minutes to get a sim card, bring your passport.
The network coverage is excellent, and I had the 4G connection about 99% of the time.

Muscat fort in the capital of Oman

Muscat fort overlooking Muscat, Muscat

Getting Around Oman.

Public Transportation around Oman is insufficient; you do get good aircon buses between the main cities like Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Sur, and Nizwa But none of the main sites like the Wadi´s and the Jebel Shams mountains is reachable by public transportation.

So your only option is to rent a car or to do a tour if you want to see Oman.

A bus to Dubai takes 4-6 Hours depending on how many people on the border.

Farmland on the way to Jebel Shams in Oman

Farmland on the way to Jebel Shams

What care to choose when driving in Oman.

4X4 or not 4X4?

Before going to Oman did all the blogs I read during my research state that I would need a 4X4 for driving around Oman. During my visit to Oman did I drive 1208KM/750miles.
The car during my visit to Oman was a Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4, but I could have made the same trip with a standard sedan car.

My route around the northern part of the country was Muscat – Wadi Al Arbeieen -Bimmah Sinkhole – Wahiba Sands – Sur – Wadi Bani Khalid – Nizwa – Bahal – Jebel Shams – Muscat. I also make a detour into the desert between Wadi Bani Khalid and Nizwa.

All these places I went to is easily reachable with a Sedan, and I did meet locals in sedans at every single site. So there´s no need to spend the extra money on a 4X4 if you are on a tight budget.

Enjoying the vire from the top of Jebel Shams in Oman

Enjoying the vire from the top of Jebel Shams

Wild Camping in Oman.

Camping laws in Oman are very liberal and very similar to my home country, Norway.
And locals love camping as much as Norwegian, so if you are lucky to be in Oman during a weekend will you see locals camping “everywhere,” and there´s a significant change they will invite you over for a BBQ and some tea if your camping nearby.

You can literally camp everywhere you want in this amazing country, except on someone’s property, farmland and inside cities. When the sun is setting, will you see tent´s popping up everywhere.
I camped next to the ocean a few hours south of Muscat, on the desert between Wadi Bani Khalid and Nizwa, and on Jabel Shams.
And I was never alone; I could see small dots that were people camping “everywhere ” in the distance.

camping in Oman

I am camping next to the ocean. 

Drone Rules in Oman.

Carrying a drone with you is getting more and more popular, I usually do that as well, but Oman doesn’t allow drones for amateur use at all. And I did hear about tourists getting their drones getting confiscated by the costume at the airport.
But I did see some tourists using drones in the wadis. So apparently some people manage.

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Everything You Need To Know About Visting Oman. One of the most peaceful and liberal countries in the middle east

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Oman. One of the most peaceful countries in the middle east

Everything You Need To Know About Visting Oman. One of the most peaceful countries in the middle east

Everything You Need To Know About Visting Oman. One of the most peaceful countries in the middle east

 

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Saleh

Sunday 6th of December 2020

I am Omani And I am very happy to read this article about my country

Welcome to any visitor to my country, Oman

Saleh [email protected]

Shai

Monday 28th of October 2019

Is p0rk strictly n0t all0wed t0 bring even if it's f0r y0ur daily c0nsumpti0n❓❓❓

Mohammed

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Actually its not illegal, we do sell pork in al fair only, but dont eat it in public since its not allowed for muslims to eat it and i dont eat.

Christian L.

Monday 28th of October 2019

not allowed. Oman it´s a Muslim country.

Jet-lag-trips

Thursday 9th of May 2019

Really a beautiful country, we have really enjoyed our trip over there.

Marwa

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

I'm a French citizen and I want to come in tourist visa to Oman to meet my boyfriend. Is police immigration can refuse me entry even I have visa and back flight? It it will be a problem if my hotel booking by my boyfriend? It is compulsory to have drive license to visit Oman??

Christian L.

Friday 26th of April 2019

Hello Marwa.

You are required to have a ticket out of Oman, but the immigration rarely ask for it, you can just tell them you will take the bus to Dubai. I stayed with a female travel friend without any problems, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you go rent a car and drive around Oman is an international driving license required, they do check this.

Brawn

Sunday 24th of March 2019

Leaving for Oman by April 2019, got a job, hope to enjoy my stay.

Sharan toor

Monday 6th of May 2019

So am i! Leaving in aug. Nervous!

Sam

Sunday 7th of April 2019

How did you get the job please.