About Oman

Visit Skysouq.com for best airline fares in Oman

The Sultanate of Oman has one of the oldest civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula, stretching back thousands of years with notable periods of greatness in the ancient world and in medieval times. Like other great civilizations, Oman faded from prominence - until the recent resurgence due to the discovery of oil. But all along, the country was active in many ways and has an interesting history that is still relevant today and has left many tangible traces in prominent landmarks and a highly developed culture.

Basic Information

HEAD OF STATE: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said (since 1970)

AREA: 309,500 sq. km.

NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES: Yemen Arab Republic, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

POPULATION: 4. 5 Million. The official language is Arabic. Islam is the official religion, but other religions are tolerated.

CAPITAL: Muscat

MAJOR CITIES: Salalah, Nizwa, Sur, Sohar

CURRENCY: Rial Omani (OR) of 1,000 baizas = US$2.6

NATIONAL DAY: 18th November

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 73.8 years

POPULATION GROWTH RATE: 2%
POPULATION DENSITY: 7.5

GOVERNMENT: A bicameral system.
The Council of Oman consists of the Consultation Council and the State Council. The Consultation members are elected by the Omani citizens, and the State Council members are appointed by HM The Sultan.

TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT + 4 hours

LOCAL CUSTOMS

GREETINGS

The people of Oman offer a very warm welcome to guests in their country. You will find that traditional Arab greetings are still widely observed and it is good manners to exchange greetings and handshakes when meeting Omanis. These courtesies should be observed both in commercial dealings (e.g. shopping in the souq) and on a personal level.

DRESS

Oman is a Moslem country and it is important that, as guests of the country, everyone should respect the local customs. Women and teenage girls should not wear strappy sundresses, miniskirts, shorts or low necked dresses in public places (e.g. offices, markets, town and shopping areas). The most suitable wear in public is shoulders covered and below knee length skirts with a top that is appropriately long (below the hip) is also acceptable. Men should wear short or long sleeved shirts and long trousers. Shorts or beach wear should not be worn except at the beach or pool area.

ALCOHOL

Care must be taken not to cause offence through the use or abuse of alcohol. In particular, alcohol should not be consumed in public places apart from licensed premises, such as hotels & restaurants. It is illegal to carry liquor in your car. In addition, the police take a serious view of traffic offences in which alcohol is involved and heavy fines may be imposed.

RAMADAN

During the holy month of Ramadan all moslems fast from sunrise until sunset daily. The fixed hours of prayer are observed and during daylight no moslem will eat, drink or smoke. The fast is strictly observed. All non-moslems, during this period, are requested to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in the presence or sight of a moslem. Eating, drinking or smoking in public places during the hours of daylight is forbidden. Hotel’s coffee shop remain open during this time, but will not serve alcohol. Alcohol though can be served through room service only after sunset.

WEATHER AND CLIMATE

May through August are usually very hot and humid with September through April being cooler. Temperatures in the interior regions are both higher and lower than the averages reported for the coastal areas. Average monthly temperatures are roughly as follows (Muscat = Mct, Salalah = Sll):
Temperature (Degree Celsius): Average day time
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mct 25 27 30 33 44 45 44 42 40 35 30 26
Sll 29 28 30 32 33 33 29 29 29 31 33 29
Temperature (Degree Farenheit): Average day time
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mct 77 81 86 91 106 107 106 99 97 95 86 79
Sll 84 82 86 90 91 91 84 84 84 88 91 84
Note: Minimum 9 -10 hrs of sunshine per day throughout the year in Muscat.

BASIC COMMERCIAL/DOMESTIC INFORMATION

CURRENCY

The unit of currency is Omani Rial (RO 1 = US$ 2.63) which is divided into 1000 Baiza. Notes are available in denominations of RO 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, 1/2 Rial, and 100 Baiza. Coins are also in use for units under one (1) Rial.

BUSINESS HOURS

  SUN - THU FRIDAY SATURDAY
Gov’t 7.30 AM - 2.30 PM Closed Closed
Banks 8.00 AM -12.00 PM Closed Closed on Fri/Sat
Shops AM 9.00 AM -1.00 PM Closed 9.30 AM -11.00 AM
Shops PM 4.30 PM - 8.00 PM 4.30 PM - 8.00 PM 4.30 PM - 8.00 PM
FRI/SAT is the weekly holiday.

ELECTRICITY

is 220-240 Volts at 50 cycles AC.

TIME

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is plus 4 hours in summer and plus 3 hours in winter.

TELEPHONE

There are local and international direct dialing facilities available from public call booths, hotels and from the General Telecommunications Organization (GTO). Telephone cards are easily available in Super Markets and Hotel outlets.

INTERNET EMAIL

This facility is available in most hotels. A Cyber Café is located in the Qurm shopping area and all ares.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Fire 999
Royal Oman Police + 968 24701099
Khoula Hospital + 968 24563625
Royal Hospital + 968 24590491

OUTDOOR EXPLORING

GENERAL

The interior of Oman has some spectacular mountain scenery and colourful village environs to offer the outdoor explorer. The beaches have excellent quality sand grains. The countryside is dotted with large forts dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Tarmac road networks link the remotest areas. Motels in the interior offer comfortable overnight lodging for those desiring a base. In short, there is a great variety of exploring possibilities both, for the day tripper and for the overnight camper.

We cannot, however, overemphasize the need to respect local villagers and their customs in our sightseeing adventures. The ability to explore freely is a privilege that must not be misused. Some principles of etiquette are outlined below. Please follow them carefully so that no one causes offences and we can all continue to enjoy the impressive countryside.

WATER / SWIMMING

The river or falaj is usually a vital source of water for nearby villages. Do not foul, block or damage falaj walls or dams. Do not swim or allow your children to play in water immediately above a village, as it may be the villages drinking water. Away from populated areas one can take the opportunity to swim in wadi pools or at beaches. Ladies should keep a wrap handy in case a villager appears on the scene. Driving on beaches is prohibited.

VILLAGE ETIQUETTE

Drive slowly through villages to avoid raising too much dust. Watch out for children & animals. Be courteous to villagers - a few words of greetings or a smile is only polite. Do not go into a home without being invited. Remember certain areas of the village may be restricted to women only. this may be restricted to women only. This must be strictly observed.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Do not take photographs of individuals without their permission. Women in particular, do not like being photographed. It is forbidden to take pictures of military facilities, borders and airports. Observe ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ signs.

LITTER

Remove all your litter when leaving a picnic or camp site.

FACTS ABOUT OMAN

Oman - previously known as Ancient Magan - is also one of the oldest human-inhabited places on earth. It is estimated that humans have been living in this country for almost 106,000 years.

Omanis are also renowned for being the greatest ship builders in the world

Over four hundred species of plant have been recorded in eastern Arabia. The most famous is probably Boswellia sacra, the Frankincense Tree, which only grows in the mountains of southern Oman - The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah (UNESCO Heritage Site) - Land of Frankincense dramatically illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries

The successive ports of Khor Rori (4th century BC to the 5th century AD) and Al Baleed (8th century till 16th century AD) and an outpost close to the Great Desert Rub Al Khali, Shisr, about 170 km inland, represent in a unique way the distribution of frankincense which was produced in the wadis of the coastal hinterland. (All are UNESCO Heritage Sites)

One of the last places in which the Arabian leopard survives is the Dhofar mountains in southern Oman, and the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve has been set up to protect these critically endangered big cats.

Over five hundred species of bird have been recorded from Oman - Oman has been called ‘the best-kept secret in the world of ornithology.’

Oman is also the finest breeding place of Arabian Horses – most sought after horse breed among equestrians

Thousands of sea turtles migrate annually from the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia to lay their eggs on the Sultanate’s shores - Oman has five of the seven species of sea turtles

Omanis practice Ibadhism from the days Islam reached Oman - The people belonging to this sect practice austerity and tolerance

It’s a local tradition in Oman to welcome a visitor with a bowl of dates, qahwa (coffee with cardamom) and fruit

The Women – Only – Souq (traditional market) takes place on every Wednesday in Ibra ( Ash Sharqiyah Region of Oman)

Musandam Peninsula has frequently been dubbed as the "Norway of Arabia" because of its extensive fjord-like craggy inlets and desolate mountainscapes

Travel Tips

Some useful Arabic phrases:

As-salaam alaykum – Peace be with you (greeting)
Wa alaykum as-salaam – And with you peace (reply)
Kayf halek ? How are you? (to a man)
Kayf halesh? How are you? (to a woman)
Al hamdu lillah, bikhair – Fine, thanks be to God
Zain - good. (Another response)
Tammam - (and another)
Tayyib - (and another)
Sabah al khair - good morning
Sabah al noor - good morning (the response)
Misa al kayr - good evening
Misa ah noor - good evening (the response)
Ahlan wa sahlan - Welcome
Marhaba - Hello
Ma’salamah - Goodbye
Min fadlak - Please
Shukran – Thank you
Afwan – you’re welcome
Naam, iwa – Yes
La – No
Insha'llah - God willing ( or at such time as God desires)
Mafee mooshkalah - No problem
Wayn... - Where is ...
Hammam - bathroom or toilet
Mushtashfa - hospital
Souq - market
Telefon - Telephone
Bikam? - How much?
Yillah! - Lets go!
Sifr - Zero
Wahid - one
Itnain - Two
Talata - Three
Arbaa - Four
Khamsa - Five
Sita - Six
Saba - Seven
Tamania - Eight
Tisah - Nine
Ashara - Ten
Ashreen - Twenty
Talateen - Thirty
Arbien - Fourty
Kamseen - Fifty (etc.)
Mia - Hundred
Alf - Thousand
Funduq - hotel
Teksi - taxi or taxi stand
Bahwan Travel Agencies LLC
We’ve Got Travel Deals Just For You
Sign up for dose of travel inspiration

Get in touch

Head Office:
Al Rawaq Building (Ground Floor) Opposite City Centre Qurum, PO Box 282, PC 100, Al Qurum Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Working Hours:
Sunday to Thursday 08:00am to 05:00pm, Saturday - 09:00am to 01:00pm (Reservation & Ticketing)

Keep in Touch

For Inquiries:
Holidays: 24654155, 24654161 | Umrah: 24654154, 24654159 | Air Tickets: 24654169, 24654164, 24654200 | Inbound: 24654143, 24654148 | Rent-a-car: 24594922, 24594933 Website Booking: 24654177 | China & Vietnam Visa: 24654101 | Fax Numbers: GM Office: 24659767 | Airline Sales: 24659761 | Outbound Tour: 24659764 | Inbound Tour: 24659762