Oman Destination Guide

Best time to visit Oman

Oman has a subtropical dry, hot desert climate with low annual rainfall, very high temperatures in summer and a big difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures, especially in the inland areas.

Summer (June to September)has very low rainfall. Daily temperatures can easily reach 40°C. Winter is cooler with occasional rainfall. Spring and autumn are warm, mostly dry and pleasant, with maximum temperatures between 25°C and 35°C and cooler evenings between 15 and 22°C.

Most rain falls during the winter months in sudden, short but heavy downpours.

Best time to go

Muscat

Sunny, blue skies can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, but occurs mainly during winter. Temperatures are usually mild and pleasant during the months of September till May and can be warm and humid during the months of June to August with July and August being the hottest months.

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
19℃ 19℃ 22℃ 26℃ 30℃ 31℃ 31℃ 29℃ 28℃ 27℃ 23℃ 20℃
 Average maximum temperature
25℃ 25℃ 28℃ 32℃ 37℃ 38℃ 36℃ 33℃ 34℃ 34℃ 30℃ 20℃
 Average hours of sunshine
9 10 9 11 12 12 9 10 10 10 10 9
 Average rainfall in mm
28 18 10 10 0 3 0 0 0 3 10 18

Salalah

Salalah has a hot desert climate with cool summers. The wettest months are during the monsoon months of July and August, even though little rain falls. May is the hottest month and January the coldest.

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
18℃ 19℃ 21℃ 24℃ 26℃ 27℃ 24℃ 23℃ 23℃ 22℃ 20℃ 19℃
 Average maximum temperature
28℃ 28℃ 30℃ 32℃ 33℃ 32℃ 28℃ 27℃ 29℃ 31℃ 31℃ 29℃
 Average hours of sunshine
 Average rainfall in mm
10 20 10 10 10 10 30 40 10 10 10 10

General travel tips

Sultanate of Oman, as diverse as nature possibly could be, safe, colourful and hospitable. A country that has been witness to one of the oldest civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula, whose history can be traced back to almost 12,000 BC. Historical evidence traces the influence of different cultures from the Samaritans to the Persians. With the advent of Islam in 630 AD, the country attained regional prominence in 1741.

Come and experience the fascinating array of forts, watch towers, mountains, wadis, caves and the endless sands of the desert.

Location

The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The coastline extends 1.700 Km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the South and overlooks three seas: The Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

Local Time

The Sultanate of Oman is +4 hours ahead of GMT in the winter.

Clothing

Light wear summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but pullovers or jackets may be needed for the winter months especially in the evenings. A Conservative dress sense is an advantage in Muscat, especially for women, who should avoid wearing overly tight or revealing clothing.

Men should always wear a shirt or top in public. At the poolside or beaches, trunks, swim suits and bikinis are quite acceptable. Good quality sunglasses are advised and photo chrome lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some sort of protection for the head are advisable when in direct sunlight

Culture and Lifestyle

The Omani culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most prized virtues and the visitor is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.

Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and move around unescorted. Local citizens dress in ‘disdashsa’ (Robe) with a Furakha and’Muzzar’ or ‘Kumma’ (head dress). Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing songs and traditional art.

Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as bull fighting, camel racing and dhow racing continue to thrive.

Language

The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.

Religion

Islam is the official religion of the Sultanate of Oman and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the holy month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the holy Quran. The timing of Ramadan is not fixed in terms of the Western calendar but occurs a few days earlier each year.

Final dates may vary by 48 hours from the above dates depending on the sighting of the moon. It is a month of fasting when Muslims abstain from all food, drinks and smoking during daylight hours. Visitors are also required to refrain from consuming these in public places during this period.
Working hours in offices and opening times of museums, and places of interest in the country could differ from normal periods during the month of Ramadan.

Alcohol

Alcohol is available in hotels and selected Clubs, Restaurants and Pubs.
Alcohol is not served between 1500hrs & 1800hrs everyday except Friday. On Friday alcohol service starts only from 1400hrs onwards.
If alcohol is important during a meal we recommend checking this out with the restaurant before making a firm reservation.

Photography

Photography is acceptable but is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women.
It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. Photographs should not be taken of government buildings or military installations.

Business Hours

The weekend is on Thursday and Friday, but some organizations close on Fridays and Saturdays. Government departments are open Saturday to Wednesday from 07.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Private Sector offices vary, but are generally open from 8.00 am to 1.00 p.m. and again from either at 3.00 p.m. or 4.00 p.m. and closing either at 6.00 p.m. or 7.00 p.m. Many Private Companies work 5 ½ days a week from Saturdays to Thursdays.

Shop hours are generally 10.00 am till 1.00 pm and again from 4.00 pm till 10.00 pm. Many shops and the souq also open on Fridays between 5.00 pm till 10.00 pm

Embassies, Consulates are usually open Saturdays to Wednesdays but it is recommended to check prior to a visit.

Banking hours are from Sunday to Thursday from 08:00 am to 1:00 pm. Banks are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

Money/Currency

The Oman currency is the Omani Riyal (OMR) which is divided into 1000 baiza.
The Omani Royal has held constant against the US Dollar at a mid rate of approximately US$ 1 = OMR 0.380.

Credit Cards

International credit cards are widely accepted at Shops, Malls, Restaurants and Hotels. Widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard. However smaller shops may not accept credit cards and it is recommended to carry cash. Some retailers also offer better bargains for cash. Money exchange centres are widely available in all the Cities.