Just four decades ago, Oman was closed off to the world. The hospitable people of this now well-developed country are happy to welcome businessmen and tourists alike.
Arabic is the national language of Oman, but most Omanis speak English well, especially in tourist areas. A variety of other languages are also spoken throughout the country, including Hindi and Swahili.
Oman Air offers regular flights between Muscat and Salalah. Bus lines connect the major cities of Oman. The buses are modern and comfortable and reasonably priced. Taxis are a convenient means of transportation within the cities. Orange-badged taxis do not run on a meter and the price should be negotiated before entering the vehicle. These taxis are shared and if you want the taxi to yourself, you must pay for the remaining seats. Women usually rely on the microbuses, the fare of which is shared between the passengers. Men should not sit down next to a woman if other seats are available.
Car rentals are also available. Roads and highways are generally in good condition, however, motorists should be aware that mobile phone coverage is scarce across many regions crossed by highways, and breakdowns may require you to hitch a ride to the nearest town. It is also common for women to be followed by male admirers while on the road, who will try to make contact. Accident rates in Oman are extremely high. Omani drivers are often aggressive and unpredictable and visitors should use caution when driving in both urban and rural areas.
Credit cards are commonly accepted, especially in tourist areas, but carrying cash is recommended. Bargaining is a must in markets.
Travelers should be aware that during the month of Ramadan, which varies based on the Islamic calendar, the daily routine of the country changes drastically. Because this is a month of fasting, many businesses, especially restaurants, are closed during the day.
The full range of accommodation is available, from budget to luxury hotels.
Tap water is generally safe to drink, but bottled water is widely available. Due to the high temperatures year round, travelers should be sure to use sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Omani deserts are a popular place for off road traveling, but this poses many risks. Be sure to inform a friend of your travel plans and bring all the necessary supplies in case of a breakdown and check your vehicle before departing.
Oman is a traditional Muslim country, and local customs should be respected. Omanis are hospitable and helpful towards foreigners if the visitors respect their traditions. Discussions of religion and politics should be avoided. Visitors should dress modestly. Omanis are usually accommodating towards foreigners who exceed the norms of their societies, but even if nothing is said, it is best not to push boundaries. Non-Muslims are allowed to bring one bottle of alcohol with them into the country at Seeb International Airports. Other than this, bringing in alcohol is forbidden. Alcohol is only available in upscale restaurants and hotels. Only non-Muslims are allowed to drink. During Ramadan, drinking is also prohibited for foreigners.