Things you Need to Know When Visiting Oman
Have you ever thought about visiting Oman?
The Sultanate of Oman is a destination where your dreams of 1001 nights will come true. Only few countries have changed so dramatically in such a short space of time, from travelling on a donkey to the next village to a infrastructure most countries would be proud of nowadays.
The big change came in 1970 when Sultan Qaboos came to the throne in a bloodless coup. Since then Oman is celebrating its “Renaissance”.
But you can still feel the spirit of the Arabian myth as the Omani never lost their affinity to their cultural roots and that’s why you’ll find in Oman what you’ll miss in Dubai.
Here are a few things that you should know when planning on visiting Oman.
Things to know about visiting Oman
Visiting Oman isn’t necessary at the top of most traveler’s bucket lists. But, it’s a fascinating country to visit, deep in cultural history and traditions. If you’re unsure about whether it’s a destination you’d like to visit, first put some effort into learning more about Oman.
Then, once you’ve decided to put it on your travel list, here are a few things you need to know.
The best time to visit Oman is between November to mid-March
The best time to visit Oman is between November and Mid-March, when the average temperature is around 25° Celsius. In Summer, it’s very hot and hazy in Oman. In southern Oman, a good time to visit is also in September after the rainy season when everything is beautifully green here.
Tip: If you decide to go to the desert during the winter months (and you should) bring some warmer clothes as it really can get very cold here during the night.
You’ll find frankincense everywhere
The scent of frankincense is everywhere. Whether you go to a typical souq or step in one of the many luxury hotels, you can’t escape the scent of frankincense. Oman was the centre of the frankincense trade and myth says back then even the Queen of Sheba ordered Omani frankincense as a gift to King Solomon. And I bet you know the “legend” of the three wise men in this book called Bible…
There are loads of outdoor activities in Oman
Oman is a great destination for every outdoor fan. Besides hiking, climbing, snorkeling and diving, there’s one thing which will make your heart skip a beat: Offroad driving.
Although Oman has an excellent infrastructure there are still vast tracts of land without a road where you have the chance to find literally hidden treasures like an unknown wadi. Bashing the dunes in the desert is a thing you’ll never forget. Besides the fun it’s important to be careful as Oman is a big country and if you have a car crash or even just a flat tire it can take some time until help arrives.
Sidenote: Road signs are written in English and Arabic and there are even some special brown tourist signs which highlight sites of interest.
The locals are really friendly
The Omani people are very friendly and open. It will often happen that they start a conversation with you and if you visit a town or area where not so many tourists go to it can even happen that they will invite you for dinner. Like in most Arabic countries you shouldn’t take pictures especially of women without asking. It happened to me that I had a nice conversation with an Omani woman but when I asked to take her picture she denied it but introduced me to her husband and kids who were happy to have their picture taken.
Like traveling anywhere, it’s always important to be respectful to the locals and their customs.
You should wear appropriate clothing
Another way to be respectful to local customs is to wear appropriate clothing. For women this means to cover their knees, shoulders and cleavage and when visiting mosques also to cover their hair and ankles. Men should actually consider the same, except covering the hair.
It happened to a friend who was wearing normal (even covering the knees) shorts when we wanted to enter Muscat Festival that security refused to let him in like this (carrying a Sarong in your bag can be very helpful in such situations).