TRAVEL GUIDE OMAN

19 Jan

Ten Great Reasons to Spend Your Holidays in Oman

Still unsure where to go on the next vacation trip? Then you should learn more about Oman. Hardly anyone knows what this little-known holiday destination can offer. Let yourself be surprised!

  1. Optimal weather for a beach holiday in winter

Omani weather never fails to surprise. Even in the “coldest” months, snow lies on the mountains but seawater temperature never drops below 24ºC, making it perfect for a daytime swim. Summer turns the north into a furnace with temperature up to 40ºC and The Mermaid’s Drizzle in the south into a tropical paradise full bananas, coconuts and mangoes. Even though swimming is forbidden in July and August due to high waves, the temperate weather makes the duration between October and May the perfect time for a visit to Oman.

  1. Caribbean-like holidays: Salalah

The 3165km long southwestern coastline in the Dhofar region of Oman is home to several tropical-like beaches: fine sand, palm tree lined shores and crystal clear waters with hundreds of fish species and coral reefs provide a unique underwater experience for divers and numerous water sport opportunities for others. Moving to the north, secluded beaches around Muscat offer opportunities for adventurers and fjords in the Musandam peninsula, with mysterious rock formations and underwater caves, are an excellent location for divers.

  1. Away from mass tourism: relax in Oman

When visiting Oman these days, it is difficult to imagine that it was one of the most underdeveloped countries until 1970 when Sultan Qaboos came into power. Having lived abroad, the new Sultan built up the country’s infrastructure from practically nothing and opened the country to tourists in 1990. Due to its late entry into the tourist business, Oman is rarely overcrowded. This lack of tourists and availability of facilities makes Oman the perfect place to get away from crowded touristy places for a relaxing getaway.

  1. A peaceful country

Largely due to the efforts of its Sultan, since 1970, Oman has been an extremely peaceful country: ranked fourth in the World Economic Forum rankings of peaceful country in 2017. With a 5000-year history of maritime trade, acceptance of foreign cultures is in the genes of the people. Regardless of the modernism, you should still adapt to the customs of your hosts as per the standard of Arab countries: shoulders and knees covered and no physical contact or alcohol in public.

  1. Short journey: take a quick trip to Oman

Oman’s beauty is at its peak in the winter; a short plane ride will take you from snowy winters to bright sunshine and blue skies. A direct flight to Salalah will take you to the tropical beaches in seven hours and with a time difference of only two hours in summer and three in winter, there’s no jet lag! Don’t forget to apply for the mandatory visa beforehand via https://evisa.rop.gov.om.

Travel-Tip:Eurowings flies non-stop from Cologne-Bonn to Salalah every Saturday and Wednesday. There are connecting flights from via Cologne from Dresden, Hamburg Berlin and Munich. Alternatively, you can take flights with Oman Air and Qatar Airways.

  1. Authentic Orient

Oman affords you the opportunity to experience the Orient from fairy tales and legends: hardly any shopping malls, but plenty of real souks and stalls; Ibadism forbids public display of wealth; men wear traditional ankle-length dishdashars, often with a traditional “Khanjar”, a crook dagger, by their side and always with a hat. Women wear long trousers hidden behind floor-length shirts and headscarves. In addition, old traditions are deliberately preserved, specially in fields like music and dance.

  1. Legendary hospitality in Oman

The exuberant hospitability of the Omanis is rooted in tradition and religion. Vacationers are often invited to Omani households. For such an instance, it is good to know some rules of conduct; don’t accept an invitation until the third time to ensure that it has not been extended out of obligation; never go empty-handed: sweets from pastry shops are the most welcomed gifts to take with; greet the women cautiously, without physical contact and take off your shoes at the entrance out of respect. Another important thing to remember is that the OK symbol with the thumb and forefinger is interpreted as an obscenity whereas haggling and bargaining in the souks is expected.

  1. All the treasures of the Orient – the souks in Oman

The colorful throng in Omani souks is a sight to see and an event to participate. With products ranging from traditional handicrafts, finely crafted silverware sold by weight, intricate carvings, Omani incense or ornate woven fabrics, the souks are true treasure tests. In Salalah, you will find an incense and a gold souk in addition to the fish and vegetables. Muscat boasts the largest souk in the Arabian Peninsula and Nizwa holds a rustic farmer’s market every Friday. If you make it there early, you can watch the Bedouin haggling over the camels and horses sold there from sunrise to daybreak.

  1. Active vacation in Oman

Deserts, mountains, beaches and seas – Oman has it all. Excursions in to the desert from Salalah will take you to see dromedary camels, desert foxes, Oryxes and a special sunken city discovered in 1922, “The Atlantis of the Desert”, that still keeps its secrets, followed by a quiet night in a desert camp under a starlit sky, makes for a night to remember. Not to be left behind are the “geysers” of Al-Mughsayl – blowholes that direct water from the sea into huge fountains in the air; boat trips take you out to the sea to watch whales and swim with the dolphins; and the Hadjar mountains welcome you with over 30 hiking trails and 160 climbing spots. There is something here for everyone.

  1. Stress reduction with deceleration

An unobstructed horizon can be seen from everywhere in Oman. The infinity dunes of the desert, shadow plays from the tilting sun, airy Bedouin huts made of palm fronds, all merge into each other almost seamlessly. Today, people still live “in the middle of nowhere” in this desert country. In the fertile lands, you can see some frankincense, banana, rose and date plantations, followed by more sand at the beaches. The minimalism of Oman holds its own magic.

Oman Country data

Languages: Arabic

Region: Middle East

Capital: Muscat / Muscat

Time zone: UTC +4

Area code: +968

Currency: 1 Rial Omani = 1000 Baiza currency calculator

Flight time: approx. 6 hrs

Oman Travel Guide- General Information

Public holidays

Islamic holidays are determined by the lunar cycle and change from year to year.
National holiday: 18 November (founded in 1970)

Geographical classification

Oman is situated on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering in the west Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and south the Yemen.
voltage

220/240 V, 50 Hz. Suitable adapters can be purchased.

Government

sultanate

Religion

The state religion is Islam (88%), while the largest group are the Ibadites, followed by Sunnis. 25% and Shiiten about 4%.

Languages

Arabic is an official language, English is widely used as business language

Infrastructure

Oman has the International Airport Maskat (Seeb International) and Salalah International Airport, domestic flights are offered to Sohar.
Trains do not run, but are planned. The main roads are super-built, if you drive off-road,  always have a spare tire ready.
Taxis and car rental are available in the larger cities.

Currency

1 Rial Omani (OR) = 1000 Baiza. 1 OMR = 2.60 USD (as of 1 January 2019)

Important behaviour

The Islamic ibadi religion characterizes the entire private and public life – is very tolerant and you can devote yourself freely to different beliefs, but you should move with a certain respect in an Islamic country because of the children. Therefore your summer clothes should not be too tight or open.
In Ramadan (fasting month), public life will change. During this time, no food, drink or smoking is desired in public.

Photography

Military equipment and police may not be photographed.

It is a kind behavior if you always requesting the permission to take photos for persons.

Statistical data

Security Oman:

Oman is one of the safest countries in the world

Foreign ministries

Nachrichtendienste

Contact addresses Oman:

The embassies and consulates’ contact details can be found on the following pages:

Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany in Oman: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany maskat.diplo.de
Representation of Switzerland in Oman: Consul General of Switzerland | eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home/reps/asia/vomn/afooma.html
Representative of Austria in Oman: Embassy of Austria
Current import and entry regulations can be found on the pages of the foreign ministries:

bmeia.gv.at (Federal Foreign Office of Austria)
eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home.html (Federal Foreign Office of Switzerland)
Auswaertiges-amt.de (Federal Foreign Office of Germany)
fco.gov.uk/travel (Federal Foreign Office of Great Britain)
diplomatie.fr/voyageurs (Federal Foreign Office of France)
About Oman:

omanet.om
omantourism.gov.om
destinationoman.com
General information:

lonelyplanet.com
virtualtourist.com
Health and safety:

who.int
Environmental information:

blacksmithinstitute.org
reliefweb.int
fews.net/
wwf.org/
unep.org/geo
grida.no
unccd.int/regional/menu.php
Hygienic in Oman:

Water:

Safe drinking water can be bought from sealed bottles.
Water from pipes is from wells or seawater desalination plants, but not suitable for drinking.
health care:

Health care is good quality but a travel insurance is always useful!
Climate in Oman:

During the winter, the weather in Wahiba Sands desert is warm during the day and cool at night

We will inform you in good time of any sales that may affect your stay.

You can also check weather alerts online:

HEWS – Humanitarian Early Warning Service

World Organization for Meteorology

Hotline: Healthcare Questions, Theme Travel: 0900-1234 999 (€ 1,86 / Min.)

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