The Oman Series: FAQs about road-tripping Oman

Oman is such an amazing and diverse country, but it is yet to become a well known holiday destination, something we think/hope will change over the next few years. We’re doing all we can to promote it as we fell in love with the country. However, we understand people still have a lot of questions, many which people have asked us over social media. Therefore, we’ve decided to collate all the questions and write down our answers to FAQs.

Want to ask us something that isn’t include below? Message us on here, Twitter or Instagram.

Did you feel safe when you were travelling?

This is the question we get asked the most, therefore we thought it was the best to start with. We completely understand people’s reservations about the safety of travelling in this region. However, we can hand on our hearts say we never felt unsafe when in Oman.

Everyone we meet was lovely and only wanted to show us how proud they were to be from Oman and teach us about their country and culture. They helped us when we needed help and told us incredible places we should visit. So, if safety is the one thing stopping you travelling to Oman, please don’t let it!

Do you need a visa to visit Oman?

Yes, you have to apply for a visa before you travel to Oman. As we were travelling as tourists we applied for an unsponsored visa through the Royal Oman Police portal.

Top tip: We found all the useful information on Gov.co.uk.

What currency do they have in Oman? Is it a closed currency?

In Oman they use the Omani rial. At the time of writing this 1 Omani Rial equalled around 1.96 Pound sterling. The easiest way we worked out the cost in sterling was to simply double the Omani price.

Omani rial is not a closed currency, therefore you can exchange your money before travel. However, you may need to order the rial in advance.

While travelling we used a mixture of cash and credit card – the majority of restaurants and hotels expect credit cards. However, a few are cash only, so it’s best to check beforehand.

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What did you wear? Did you have to cover up most of the time?

Oman is an Islamic country meaning both males and females dress conservatively. It is advised that tourists follow the same dress code, therefore we covered up for the majority of the trip. We wore long dresses, trousers and skirts, with t-shirts, shirts and jumpers to cover our chests, shoulders, midriffs and below the knee.

Even more so when visiting the mosques. In Muscat we visited Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Here you’ll need to be completely covered up to your wrists and ankles. In addition, ladies will need to wear a headscarf.

At some tourist attractions, such as Bimmah Sinkhole and Wadi Sham, the rules are more relaxed and you can wear shorts, t-shirts and bikinis. However, other attractions such as Wadi Bani Kalid ask tourists to respect the traditional dress code. Therefore, we advise to always err on the side of caution and be able to cover up if needed.

Did you struggle with the language barrier? 

This is something is thought about before we went. However, the majority of Omanis speak very good English and we found it very easy to communicate with them. As with anywhere the slight language barrier can hindered some situations, but for us that situation was getting chips instead of rice with our dinner.

Top tip: They speak Arabic in Oman. Useful phrases include Marhaban (Hello) and Shukran (Thank you).

Would you suggest hiring a car in Oman?

We were a little worried before driving in Oman as they drive on the other side of the road. However, we wouldn’t have been able to do our trip without hiring a car. Everywhere in Oman, even in Muscat, is pretty spread out so it would be difficult to walk or take public transport.

You can hire a tour guide for the trip who would drive you around Oman. However, we enjoyed the freedom of having our own car. Furthermore, taxis are very very expensive, whereas petrol is very cheap.

We hired our car from Budget.co.uk, which we picked up and dropped off at Muscat International Airport.

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Is the petrol expensive in Oman?

Petrol is very cheap in Oman. When using 95 petrol -which was recommended to us by Budget– half a tank will cost around 6 – 7 Omani rial, which is £12 – £14.

Top tip: You can only pay in cash at petrol stations.

Did you find it easy to navigate the roads?

The roads are really easy to navigate and the majority are in really good condition. Plus, all the road signs are in English, as well as Arabic.

However, we wouldn’t have made it around Oman without Google Maps. We were also recommended to download Waze which actually turned out to be a lot more accurate than Google Maps.

Top tip: Oman uses radar speed cameras which are often hidden, so be careful to stick to the speed limit.

How did you find driving in the desert?

If we’re honest we were very nervous about driving over sand when spending time in the desert. However, we had no reason to be nervous.

When driving to Safari Desert Camp the drive was around 45-minutes across the sand dunes. The path was easy to follow and after spending a few minutes getting used to it, we really enjoyed driving in the desert.

Before heading onto the sand you’ll need to deflate your tiers down to about 16-20. You can reflate your tires in any petrol station afterwards, usually tipping about 500 Baisa.

Top tip: You’ll need a 4 wheel drive when driving through the desert.

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Where did you stay? What were the hotels like?

During our road trip around Oman we stayed in Muscat, Sur, Wahiba Sands (Desert) and the Al-Hajar Mountains. The hotels varied depending on location, as well as price – some places we decided to splash out more than others. Below we’ve listed all the places we stayed.

Muscat – Centara Muscat Hotel Oman / Hormuz Grand, Muscat A Radisson Collection Hotel

Sur – Resort Sur Beach Holiday

Wahiba Sands – Safari Desert Camp

Al-Hajar Mountains – Sama Wakan

We were able to use credit card at all the hotels, apart from Sama Wakan in the Al-Hajar Mountains where we had to pay with cash.

Top tip: We booked all our hotels in advance on Booking.com.

Where was your favourite place in Oman?

This is the hardest question to answer as Oman is such a diverse country when it comes to landscapes, communities and activities. Therefore, everywhere we stayed felt different and incomparable.

However, our top seven places -sorry we simply couldn’t pick one- include Sultan Qaboos Grand MosqueBimmah SinkholeWadi ShamWadi Bani KalidSafari Desert CampNizwa Fort and the Al-Hajar Mountains.

Find out more about each of these places here Coming Soon.

Top tip: As with any tourist attraction we suggest getting to places as early as possible, usually around opening time.

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What food did you eat while travelling Oman?

We absolutely loved the food in Oman. Most lunches and dinners consisted of grilled meat, grilled vegetables, rice, flatbread and hummus, lots and lots of hummus. Most likely paired with a juice. From watermelon, banana and milk, mango and strawberry, Omanis love a juice.

Breakfasts usually consisted of yogurt and granola, more juices and pancakes galore.

Top tip: If you ever feel peckish on the road stop off for some petrol station vegetable samosas.

Is the tap water safe to drink?

The tap water is considered safe to drink, however all the locals drink bottled water and bottles are provided in all the hotels. We didn’t need to buy one bottle of water during our time in Oman.

Top tip: We filled up our bottles from the drinking water at breakfast in the hotels – our mum would be so proud.

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