Oman is an Arab country, located on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It contains a rich and varied history of trade, conquest and tradition, and some of the earliest recorded human settlements found on earth.
Oman quietly guards its historic sites, but they are there to be found. The country has Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites, newly-discovered and mostly on its eastern coast. A wonderfully complex Persian history – which includes the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids – can be traced, prior to its development into its more well-known Muslim culture.
World Heritage Sites in Oman date back to 2000 BC, like Al Balid City, an important part of the Frankincense Trail. Some archaeological research confirms that the city's prosperity may date back to the Iron Age. Much of this city’s remains lie in Dhofar Governorate. Covering a rectangular area of 64 hectares, the ancient city was divided into three main sections – commercial, residential and a section devoted to services. There were also a mosque and a fort on the west side.
Oman has quietly continued to both grow and look to the future, as demonstrated by the modern perfection of the Grand Mosque, decreed open by the Sultan of Oman in 2001. From its great people to its natural beauty and surrounding peace, Oman is a great place to visit.
UK: British nationals need a visa to enter Oman. You should apply for an e-visa before you travel. Applications can be made through the Royal Oman police portal. If you’re travelling as a tourist, you can apply for an unsponsored visa.
USA: Yes, you'll need a visa. U.S. citizens should apply for tourist visas in advance via the Royal Oman police e-visa website. Tourist visas are also available upon arrival at airports and land crossings.
Oman is mostly Muslim and has a very conservative culture. While visiting women are not expected to wear traditional Omani clothing, there is an expectation that visitors will respect the conservative nature of the country, and wear clothes that don’t reveal much skin. It would be felt to be insulting, especially around their children. This includes women not wearing bikinis at the beach or public pool areas.
Moral, conservative dress is particularly important when visiting a mosque. Shoes must be removed, men and women must ensure that bare skin is adequately covered, and women must cover their heads.
Oman holds mosques to be sacred. Visitors should avoid disrespecting their values, including the dress codes mentioned above. This means that they must take off their shoes before they enter the mosques, dress conservatively inside them, and women must cover their heads. Moreover, they shouldn’t speak loudly or laugh inside mosques, or let their children run around and make noise. They also must maintain the cleanness of the mosque.
Drinking alcohol is very much frowned upon. It is available in hotels, but not sociably acceptable outside of them, and it is not acceptable to appear intoxicated in public. Omani people are very friendly and have a strong sense of hospitality. If you are invited into their home, it’s polite to accept the offer and to warmly receive any gifts they offer you. Refusal could cause offence.
Tipping service staff has not been common in Omani culture, but is slowly becoming more so. It is generally only expected in five-star establishments. Compared to other countries, locals do not frequently eat out, so tipping is not a huge part of their culture. Expensive restaurants normally include a service charge, but if none is included, 10% is the standard gratuity.
Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.