Oman’s dramatic coastline stretches 1,700km from the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula at the Strait of Hormuz to the borders of Yemen in the south. Spread over 309,500 sq km it combines desert dunes, mountains, verdant meadows and vast gravel plains to reach the borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the west and the United Arab Emirates in the northeast.
Oman has a reliably warm climate and, as long as you avoid the scorching summer months between June and August, can be visited any time. The weather is at its most pleasant from October through to April, when temperatures are warm but cooler than the sweltering summer months and turtles can be seen at Ras al Jinz. Rain is only fleeting and tends only to come in January and February as short, sharp showers. On the south coast, Salalah has a very different climate in that it has a monsoon season, called the khareef. From June to September the khareef’s wet winds create a thick and humid fog which coats the mountains in moisture, creating luxuriant green hills. This provides ideal conditions for Salalah’s abundance of tropical fruit, which is in season throughout the year.
Oman’s national currency is the Omani Rial (OMR), with the lower denominations known as ‘Baisa’. Rial notes range from OMR 1 to OMR 50, while Baisas are available in note form in denominations of 100 and 500 with 1,000 Baisa equating to One Rial. Coins are also available in 5, 10, 25 and 50 Baisa denominations but may not be accepted at all stores and outlets.
Fly into Muscat International Airport either through the national carrier of Oman Air or the handful of Middle Eastern operators such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad, which all offer flights with one plane change.
Once in Oman, there are domestic airports located in Salalah, Duqm, Sohar, and Khasab. Currently, there is no rail system. Public buses will get you to the main cities, but they offer limited routes to truly explore the country.
For our Singapore visitors, there are 1 stop flights operated by Emirates and Air India. This should take approximately 10 hours.
A visit visa, required by all nationalities except for citizens of Gulf countries, can be obtained by many foreign nationals – including those from the UK, EU, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand – online through the Royal Oman Police website (www.rop.gov.com).
Currently those with a Qatar or Dubai tourist visa may visit Oman without paying for an Omani visa if travelling on direct flights or overland from those countries.
Admission may be refused if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. Visa regulations change frequently, so check the website for updates.
Non-Muslims travelling by air can bring in two bottles of wine or spirits. It is illegal to cross by land from Oman into the United Arab Emirates and vice versa carrying alcohol. A ‘reasonable quantity’ of cigars, cigarettes and tobacco can be imported. It is illegal to bring in banned substances of any kind, and penalties for possession for drugs and/or weaponry are severe.