Oman sits next to the United Arab Emirates, jutting out like a shield against the Arabian Sea.
It has unexpected natural diversity ranging from dusty mountains, the lush green oases
and the golden sands of the coast. The historic capital city of Muscat is one of the Middle East’s prettiest, with its chalky white buildings and horseshoe harbour. It effortlessly combines ancient traditions with modern luxuries.
Oman’s shore is lined with soft sandy beaches and the landscape is a mixture of mesmerising desert vistas, towering peaks and lush green oases. It is yet to be overburdened by tourism, giving you the opportunity to take in the wondrous history and stunning sights in relative seclusion from other visitors. The country is a nature lover’s paradise too, with turtle nesting sites and plenty of opportunities for whale and dolphin watching.
The Omani civilisation is one of the oldest in the region, and while there is certainly a traditional Islamic and Arabic influence, the people retain a distinctive culture and heritage. It is this fascinating history that makes Oman really worth visiting.
Facts | Important to know:
VISA Australian passport holders will be stamped with a 10 day visa, which is issued on arrival at the airport. The cost is OMR 5.00 = AUD 15 approx. Over 10 days is OMR 20.00 = AUD 59 approx.
LANGUAGE The main language is Arabic. English is the second language and widely spoken.
CURRENCY Omani Rial (OMR), AUD 1.00 = OMR 0.36
ELECTRICITY 240V, 50Hz
TIME DIFFERENCE UTC/GMT +4 hours. Sydney is 7 hours ahead of Muscat.
Facts | Helpful information:
WEATHER With weather equivalent to other nations in this region of the world, Oman has an extremely hot climate and rarely sees much rainfall. The hot season is between May and September and reaches amazing highs of 54 degrees centigrade! During the rainy season between October and June, most rain falls in the mountain ranges while some coastal spaces fail to receive a single drop during a whole year! For anyone who truly enjoys the sun and its warmth, this is the perfect destination.
PAYMENT OPTIONS Most ATM machines accept cards from all over the world. American Express and other major credit cards are accepted at most major businesses.
COST Cup of Coffee is approx. 0.1500 baisa OMR = AUD 0.45
RELIGION Islam is the official religion of Oman
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2014
1 January, New Year’s Day
13 January, Milad Al Nabi
(The Prophet’s Birthday)
27 May, Lailat Al Miraj
(The Prophet’s Ascension)
23 July, Renaissance Day
28 July, Eid Al Fitr (4 days)
4 October, Eid Al Adha
25 October, Al Hijra
(Islamic New Year)
5 November, Birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos
22 November, Oman National Day
THINGS TO DO If romance and seclusion is on your list, Oman is a perfect destination for it. It’s popular for honeymoons or just couples looking to get away together and enjoy the natural peace and quiet.
If you’re a bit of a shopper, you can enjoy an authentic Omani experience and keep an eye out for bargain buys at traditional Arabic souks in the historic city of Muscat.
Go on dolphin or whale watching expeditions. These majestic creatures often come surprisingly close to the coast so your boat trip might not take as long as you think.
Enjoy rugged desert safaris while knowing that the comfort of amazing accommodation is never far away.
For adventure activities you’ll be spoilt for choice as you pick between diving,
boating, climbing, trekking, camping and caving.
THINGS TO SEE Visit Wadi Al Ayn Tombs which lie 30km northeast of the Bat settlement or uncover towers, forts, and ancient buildings at Al Manzafah for a glimpse of an ancient times.
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(Except Sat. & Sun.)