This is our little guide to holidays in Oman. We have hopefully answered a few of the frequently asked questions about travelling to Oman. Do call us if you would like more information on planning your trip to this wonderful country.
Oman is one of Arabia’s most interesting and diverse destinations.
Oman is one of Arabia’s most interesting and diverse destinations. What makes Oman so unique is the ability to combine breathtaking beaches, dramatic mountain scenery and vast desert landscapes in one amazing trip. Oman has something for everyone.
The absolute best time to visit in March and April, and October and November.
When is the best time to visit Oman?
We suggest the perfect time to visit Oman is from October to April. It is usually too hot to visit from May to September, although it is possible to visit the mountains during the summer. Rain showers tend to only happen a little in January and February but are usually very short and sharp. It can get a little chilly up on the hills in December and January, but ideal for walking. It also won’t be really hot in December on the beach, but temperatures are in their 20s in the day. The absolute best time to visit in March and April, and October and November.
The major Middle Eastern carriers (Etihad, Emirates, Qatar & Turkish) all fly via their respective hubs, and are often better for those flying from the north of England, or the USA.
How do I get to Oman?
The capital Muscat is served by many of the leading airlines and is about seven hours from London or Manchester. There are also direct flights from Paris, Moscow, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, Milan and Munich. The major Middle Eastern carriers (Etihad, Emirates, Qatar & Turkish) all fly via their respective hubs and are often better for those flying from the north of England, or the USA.
Which leads us to wonderful combinations such as Amman (Jordan), Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Jaipur and Kochi (India), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Male (Maldives), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Zanzibar.
What are the main highlights in Oman?
You will generally fly into Muscat which is perfect for a couple of days of initial R&R on the beach. You then have a ‘Golden Triangle’ comprising the Al Hajar Mountains and then the vast desert dunes of Wahiba Sands. You can opt to see these clockwise, or anti-clockwise – there isn’t much of a difference.
You then have a ‘Golden Triangle’ comprising the Al Hajar Mountains and then the vast desert dunes of Wahiba Sands. You can opt to see these clockwise, or anti-clockwise – there isn’t much of a difference.
Within the Al Hajar Mountains, you have two main areas you can visit, the Jabal Shams and the Jabal Akhdar. These two areas are about 2 hours drive from one another, so you usually opt to stay in one or the other. Each offers superb views and excellent day-walks. The Jabal Akhdar has the best luxury hotels (Alila and Anantara), while the Jabal Shams has better walking, including Oman’s famous Grand Canyon. Down at the base of the mountains, you find the city of Nizwa and is known for its Friday livestock market and souq. There are a couple of average hotels here, so we generally suggest staying in the mountains. Nearby you have the impressive forts of Bahla and Jabrin. In the Al Hajar mountains, you find the remarkable sandstone abandoned villages. These are often surrounded by verdant orchards, juxtaposed against the backdrop of jagged peaks behind.
The other main highlight of Oman is Wahiba Sands. Located about 3-4 hours drive from either the Al Hajar Mountains or Muscat and completing the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oman. En route to either you have a range of superb wadis to visit. Spend a night or two in the desert and you will, of course, have the chance to be driven through the desert in a 4×4 over vast dunes.
What is the food like in Oman?
International, Arabic, and Indian cuisine are widely available in Oman. Traditional Omani cuisine is distinct from that of the neighbouring Gulf States and has been influenced by the country’s location at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and the Far East. The cuisine of Oman is prepared with liberal use of various marinades, spices, herbs, onion, garlic and lime and is not as hot as other Asian cuisines.
Shuwa, spiced lamb slowly cooked underground for at least 24 hours which melts on the tongue and is a delicacy.
Meals are often comprised of rice as the main ingredient, together with cooked meats. Lunch is served at midday. Everyday Omani cuisine includes a wide variety of soups prepared from vegetable, lentil, lamb and chicken. Salads are also popular. Main courses include: Marak – vegetable curry, Kebabs – barbecued, grilled and curried meat, chicken and fish dishes, and Mashuai – a dish comprising of a whole spit-roasted kingfish served with lemon rice. Shuwa, spiced lamb slowly cooked underground for at least 24 hours which melts on the tongue and is a delicacy. Thareed, a mush of vegetables, chicken and bread, is also typically Omani.
Rice is served in a variety of ways, from steamed to elaborate concoctions with meat and vegetables, while bread range from the plain to those flavoured with dates, sesame, thyme and garlic. Rukhal is a thin round bread originally baked over a fire made from palm leaves and is eaten daily.
Halwa – a sticky sweet gelatinous substance related to Turkish delight is one of the popular desserts of Oman. It can be flavoured with many different ingredients such as nuts, rosewater or even chocolate.
Halwa – a sticky sweet gelatinous substance related to Turkish delight is one of the popular desserts of Oman. It can be flavoured with many different ingredients such as nuts, rosewater or even chocolate. Lokmat Al Qadi are balls of flour and yeast with the essence of cardamom and deep-fried until golden then served with a sweet lime and cardamom syrup.
Khawa, the strong and bitter Omani coffee, is drunk throughout the day and is prepared from freshly roasted ground coffee beans mixed with cardamom powder. It is often served accompanied with dates or halwa. Laban – a salty combination of yoghurt and buttermilk is also very popular – as are other yoghurt drinks flavoured with cardamom and pistachio nuts. Mixed fruit juices (mango, pomegranate, orange and avocado layered in long glasses) are also Omani favourites. Bottled water and soft drinks are ubiquitous.
Can I drink alcohol in Oman?
Alcohol is available in Oman, but is always priced at a premium. Its sale is restricted to a select number of restaurants and the large hotels. On account of this, it might be worthwhile to buy a bottle of your favourite tipple at Duty Free to enjoy in your room whilst in Oman. Outside the licensed venues, non-alcoholic malt beverages (often flavoured with fruits) are the nearest alternatives available. During Ramadan, alcoholic drinks may only be served in hotel rooms. It should be noted that only non-Muslim visitors are allowed to drink alcohol in Oman. Drinking alcohol is illegal for all Omani citizens and drinking alcohol in public is strictly prohibited.
What are the Best Beach Hotels in Oman?
There are some superb beach hotels in Oman, and in terms of a league table we would suggest:
- Zighy Bay: Definitive luxury beach resort located in the Musandam Peninsula of northern Oman. World-class.
- The Chedi: Chic, Contemporary and Minimalist. Located in Muscat.
- Al Bustan Palace: Opulent and Grand. Superb beach, located in Muscat
- Anantara Al Baleed: Located in Salalah, in southern Oman.
- Shangri-La Al Husn: Located in Muscat. Private beach, and exclusively adults only.
Is Oman good for a honeymoon?
Oman is a perfect destination for a honeymoon. There is a perfect blend of adventure and beach time – but do remember it isn’t great if you are planning a summer wedding. We love the fact that you can ‘top and tail’ the itinerary with a beach stay in Muscat, which is perfect if you are tired after the wedding. Imagine sundowners in the desert, a private dinner on a golden sand dune, drinks overlooking the Jabal Akhdar, walking through picture-perfect Omani villages and concluding your time on the beach. For those who want yet more adventure, combine it with a trip to Nepal or India. Alternatively you could conclude your stay in the Maldives.
Imagine sundowners in the desert, a private dinner on a golden sand dune, drinks overlooking the Jabal Akhdar, walking through picture-perfect Omani villages and concluding your time on the beach.
Is Oman good for a family holiday?
Oman has always been very popular with families. The beach hotels in Oman, such as the Shangri-La have offered a perfect base from which to explore the country. Just seven hours from the UK, and offering perfect winter-sun weather, many families opt for a week just on the beach. Throw in a lazy river, dolphin watching, boat trips to the Daymaniyat Islands, a visit to the souq and mosque – you already have an incredible family holiday. For those with more of an adventure can set off seeing turtles in Raz Al Jinz and spend a night under the stars in Wahiba Sands. For teenagers, consider heading to the Jabal Akhdar region and opt for walks and mountain-biking.
Can I do self-drive in Oman?
Self-drive holidays in Oman have increasingly become more popular over the years, and you can easily incorporate this into your journey. You will not have the advantage of having your own driver/guide who allows you to see Oman through Omani eyes, but we will give you a detailed list of things to see and do as you explore independently.
Do I need a visa for Oman?
Yes, and this should be applied for before travel and getting a Visa on Arrival has ended in 2019. The application for an eVisa is simple and you should apply here: https://evisa.rop.gov.om. Your passport should also have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of entry to Oman. Further information on the Entry Requirements can be found at the FCO, US State Department and Australia Foreign Office.
Is it safe to travel to Oman?
Oman is possibly the safest country to visit in the Middle East. Omanis are warm and friendly people, and very much appreciate tourism to Oman.
Are there good walking holidays in Oman?
Oman is one of the best places to embark on a walking holiday in the Middle East. We have suggested a dedicated suggested itinerary, which can be tweaked for any level of fitness.
Millis Potter Service in Oman
We will provide private transfers, expert personal guides and then a driver/guide for travelling in the interior. The overall experience is seamless from start to finish.
The Millis Potter travel specialists know the country inside out, and you will have the finest expert advice when travelling to Oman. Unless you are on a self-drive holiday, we will provide private transfers, expert personal guides and then a driver/guide for travelling in the interior. The overall experience is seamless from start to finish.
We will provide private transfers, expert personal guides and then a driver/guide for travelling in the interior. The overall experience is seamless from start to finish. Do have a look through our suggested itineraries:
Top Tips for holidays in Oman
1) Travel slower: Oman has so much to see and do. If anything, the Al Hajar Mountains is best given four to five days, and at least two in Wahiba Sands. If you are planning on a week in Oman and thinking that is enough, try to push this to 10-12 days.
2) Get out on the day-treks. As above, there are some superb day walks that so many guests skip. The Balcony Trek is a must, as too the interesting addition of the Abadoned Village Trek. For more experienced walkers, add in the Goat Herder’s Trail.
3) Visit a lesser-visited Wadi. They tend to be heaving on Fridays and Saturdays, so it’s best to avoid visiting any wadi at the weekend, but consider Tiwi, Shad or Arbeean rather than Wadi Bani Khalid.
4) Do consider the driver/guide rather than self-drive. Although we offer self-drive options, by taking a driver/guide you see the country in 3D rather than 2D – a much better way to experience and understand the country.
5) You don’t need to see every fort. We see so many itineraries that include visits to every fort in Oman. If you just want to see one, then visit Jabrin Fort.