In January I went to Oman, and I really enjoyed the trip. The country is underrated as a travel destination. Oman has a lot to offer, but it can be difficult to plan the trip, as Oman is not a typical travel destination. In this guide I give some advices I wish I knew before I started planning my trip to Oman!
♥ How to get there: I guess you can fly to Muscat airport from many big airports around the world. However, flew in from Kuwait. From Oslo to Kuwait, the flight tickets were very cheap with Pegasus Air. The flights from one country to another in the Gulf are in general cheap; so an advice is to check for flights to for example Dubai if you are going to Oman.
♥ When to go: The locals told us it would get up to 55 degrees celsius during summer. I would recommend to visit Oman in the winter, as we had perfect weather with 25 degrees in January.
♥ Price level: Oman is known for being an expensive country. Coming from Norway, I am used to everything being expensive back home, and I have left to find a place that is more expensive than Norway. Some things in Oman are extremely expensive, though. The hotels are overpriced, for example. You might get a budget hotel for around 100USD. For a decent one, you need to pay 175 USD or more. The hotels are nearly empty and the standards are low, so the prices are not fair. Tourist tours are also expensive; when we looked for a one day desert trip, the price came at 400 USD per person. On the other hand, restaurants are quite cheap. It is easy to find a good meal for 10 USD. A can of Pepsi costs less than 1 USD, even at some restaurants. We paid around 75 USD a day for the SUV we rented, which I find quite cheap. The petrol price is of course low, and the price for a liter was 0.114 OMR (0.3 USD – 2,65 NOK!). The entrance fee at tourist attractions was 1,5 USD. So as you see, some things are expensive and some things are cheap in Oman.
♥ How to dress: Oman is a Muslim country, and the dress code is quite strict. Both women and men should cover shoulders and knees to show respect. Women must cover their hair in mosques, but not elsewhere.
♥ Safety: I felt perfectly safe in Oman. I think that travelling as a solo female traveller would not be a problem either. The crime rates in Oman are very low. A general travel advice is to be careful on the roads, as the death toll on Omani roads are very high.
♥ Where to go: Because we had a car, we got to see a lot of Oman in only five days. We used Muscat as a base, and I think spending some time in Muscat is mandatory when you are in Oman. For more details on what to do in Muscat, check out my blog post from Muscat here. We also did two road trips, and each of them can be done in one (long) day or over several days. The routes we did were:
Road trip 1: Muscat – Nizwa – Bahla Fort – Wadi Ghul – Jebel Shams – Muscat
Road trip 2: Muscat – Bimmah Sinkhole – Wadi Shab – Sur – Wahiba Desert (Badihya village) – Muscat
♥ How to get around: My most important tips is to rent a car. Oman is like The US – the country is not made for walking. I did not see many busses either, and taxis are quite expensive (the distances are long, you might have to drive for 20-30 minutes to get from one attraction to another). Of course you can survive without a car, but you will be much more free to explore the country with a car. Just going for dinner would be an issue without a car. If you do not want to rent a car, I think the “Big Bus Tours” is a good alternative to do some sightseeing in Muscat.
♥ Where to stay: In Muscat, we stayed at Park Inn by Radisson, which I recommend (it is a bit overpriced, but all hotels in Muscat seem to be that). The hotel has a big parking lot, a rooftop swimming pool, restaurants, nice rooms and great service. I could not have asked for more! In Nizwa, we stayed at Nizwa Hotel Apartments, which was OK.
♥ What to eat: I could not find many traditional restaurants in Muscat, but the one I found was very good; Bait Al Luban in Muttrah. As mentioned, you can eat great food for a decent price in Oman. Most restaurants have international food, and there are many American restaurants in Muscat.
♥ Shopping: I did not find the shopping in Oman very good. Muscat has several huge malls, but as most women use traditional clothing in Oman, there are not many clothing stores. If you want some traditional goods, the market in Muttrah is the place to go. I did not do any shopping there, but I guess you can get some good stuff for a low place if you bargain.
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