White beach - Wadi Shab

Unlocking Arabian Beauty: Best Time to Travel to Oman (2024)

With spectacular architecture, diverse landscapes, lovely people, and amazing food, you must have this facinating country of Oman on your list. In this post, you will find the information on best time to travel to Oman.

During one of my long weekend holidays, I was researching on the places I need to visit and that is when I realised I could travel to Oman. As Oman is also known for its spectacular diving sites, I instantly booked my tickets and wanted to see this Arabian beauty.

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Disclaimers:

  • The prices mentioned in the post are valid only at the time of publication. Ensure that you check the booking websites for up-to-date information and prices.
  • Opinions and views expressed solely by me are unbiased. If the post is a collaboration, then they are specifically mentioned.
  • Ensure that you check the relevant websites for up-to-date information on COVID protocols.
  • For any adventurous activities, please note that there is a risk that can be dangerous. Ensure you read the terms and conditions recommended by individual agencies and do them at your own risk.
  • For visas, it is best to see the embassy website for changing rules.
  • While using the recommended guides, auto-drivers or taxi drivers, do your due diligence and trust your judgement.

About Oman

Officially known as the Sultanate of Oman, the country is defined by its vast and diverse landscapes, including the mountains and the deserts. It also has a stunning and beautiful coastline along the Arabian Sea which makes it perfect for the divers.

Bimmah Sinkhole - Wadi Shab
Bimmah Sinkhole

Omani culture is famous for their hospitality and rich cultural heritage. You will find many Indians who have found homes in Oman, especially in the capital city Muscat.

History of Oman

Dating back to a history of 100,000 years, one of the sites excavated at Oman found tools belonging to the pre-historic period. Playing as an important trade centre in the ancient world, the region was inhabited by many indigenous tribes like the Azd and the Nabataeans.

During the 7th century, Islam was introduced in the region and Oman played a huge role in spreading Islam. In the 8th century, the Ibadhi sect of Islam became dominant in Oman.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Post this in the Medieval period, there were many dynasties that came to power such as Azd and the Ya’aruba. And in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese took control over Oman till they were expelled in the 17th century.

In the 18th century, the current dynasty Al Said dynasty came to power and established a stable and centralised government. Oman went through a series of internal and external conflicts during the 19th century which were stabilised under the British.

In recent years, Oman has seen significant growth in the economic and social development. The country remains as a peaceful and stable country.

Things to Know Before Visiting Oman

  • Oman is a conservative country. So, dress modestly and respect their local culture.
  • If you are traveling to the country duirng the Ramadan period (like me), then note that eating or drinking in public is illegal.
  • Public Display of Affection (PDA) is considered a no-no.
  • Do not photograph government buildings.
  • Keep your emergency numbers handly.
  • People of Oman are caring and friendly. However, know the boundaries and do not be rude.
  • For making Whatsapp calls, you need to connect to a VPN connection from your phone.

How to Get to Oman?

By Air

Oman has around four airports out of which two are international, but the main and one of the international airports is the Muscat International Airport. This airport is very well connected with major cities around the world. Oman Air has a very good service and connects to many major cities.

I flew with Oman Air from Bangalore, my home city in India, and the flight was just around 3.5 hours and the cost of the return tickets were about Indian Rupees 30,000 (approximately USD 360).

By Road

You can enter Oman from United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) or Yemen. Getting into the country through UAE is easier when compared to Yemen because of the conflicts that Yemen is going through.

By Cruise

Many cruise ships have Muscat in their itinerary and they do stop at the Port Sultan Qaboos for a day so the cruisers can explore the city. The other port that cruise ships stop is at the Port of Salalah.

Where to Stay in Oman?

Tourism in Oman has been increasing rapidly and the country is welcoming the tourists. And to accommodate all kinds of tourists and travelers, Oman has a wide range of accommodation options suitable for all budgets and preferences. In some rural areas, you can stay at traditional homes with more authentic Omani culture.

 

If you are looking at luxury and best properties in Muscat, then consider The Chedi Muscat or Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Hotel Ramada Encore Muscat by Wyndham is a 4-star that is conveniently located and is a perfect place to consider as well.

Read – Review of Hotel Ramada Encore Muscat by Wyndham

Hotel Ramada Encore Muscat by Wyndham, a 4 Star Hotel in Muscat
Hotel Ramada Encore Muscat by Wyndham

Tourist / Visitor Visa for Oman

You need a valid visitor visa to enter into Oman. The types of visitor visas are:

  • Visit Sponsored Visa,
  • Visit Unsponsored Visa,
  • Tourist Visa for GCC Residents, and
  • Express Visa.

If you are planning this travel by yourself, then you would select the Visit Unsponsored Visa. Depending on the selection, you are given a list of options to select the sub-type which indicates number of days, number of entries, and so on.

Depending on the country of your passport, you can apply for an e-visa online or get a visa stamp from an embassy in your city (or the closer to your city). Apart from your passport, you need the valid flight tickets, hotel bookings, and credit / debit card to pay your visa fees.

Normal passport should be at least 6 month valid prior to entering Oman.

For Unsponsored Visitor Visa, ensure to apply when you have just a month for your departure, as the approved visa is valid only for a month before you can enter the country. Also, remember to apply at least 4 days prior to your departure as their processing time is 4 days.

Currency, Money Exchange and ATMs

Oman’s currency is Omani rial (OMR) and that is divided into 1000 baisa. 1 OMR is equivalenty to 216 INR (Indian Rupees) or USD 2.6.

There are money exchange centres at the airport and in the city where you can change your currency to OMR. Indian Rupees are accepted in the country for money exchange.

You can use credit / debit cards to withdraw money from the ATMs. There are many ATMs across the country which you can use. And cards are widely accepted everywhere in Muscat so you can pay directly at the shops and restaurants. For remote areas, make sure you carry some cash with you.

I usually use my credit / debit cards to do the transactions outside of India. It is best to call your banks prior to departing the country so your mark-up fee are waived off. But some of the banks do not have this concept and so always go for a travel card like Wise which provides the better exchange fee and waives off the mark-up fee.

Language Spoken in Oman

Oman is a multilingual country. Arabic is the main and official language of the country but English is widely spoken. There are some other languages such as Baluchi, Sindhi, Urdu and Swahili that are spoken by some communities as well.

Best to learn some of the local greetings such as-salamu alaykum for hello, and shukran for thank you.

Oman SIM Card

It is always best to buy a local SIM card, especially when you are traveling solo. This is so you are prepared for any unforeseen situations and you can easily make calls. SIM cards are not expensive in Oman. You can get a SIM card for as less as 2 OMR and depending on the plans you requre, the prices increase. Omantel, FRiENDi and Renna Mobiles are some of the providers.

You need to have a VPN app like VPN Proxy Master on iOS installed on your mobile to make a WhatsApp call. Every time you wish to make a call, connect to the VPN and then call.

Best Time to Travel to Oman

Due to its geographical location, Oman has diverse climate and is mainly divided into three seasons:

  • Summer / Dry Season is between May and September. The temperature is extremely hot and can go more than 40 degrees centigrade.
  • Winter / Cooler Season is between October and April. The weather is pleasant and ranges between 20 to 30 degrees centigrade.
  • Khareef / Monsoon season is between June and early September. And this is only in the Dhofar region, including Salala. The weather is plesant when compared to other parts of Oman and is popular among the locals as retreat from harsh summers.

The best time to travel to Oman is during the winter season between October and April as the country is plesant and cool. But if you want to see the unique Khareef season, then consider visiting between June and September.

I visited during April and it was extremely hot and dry. And I highly do not recommend visiting Oman during April as you can get hot flashes because of the heat.

Number of Days Required to Explore Oman

To explore the country well, you need at least a week to 10 days. Oman has many things to offer which are best explored at a leisurely pace. I was there only for 4 days as I visited Oman on a long weekend, and as it is so close to India, I can always go back and visit the country.

Traveling within Oman

Oman has an excellent road system and is connected very well between the cities and towns. The best way to travel within Oman is either by taxis or to drive. You can use apps like Otaxi or Marhaba to book taxis in Muscat. They act similar to Uber. To travel outside of Muscat, you can just hire a driver through your hotel. I used the below taxi driver and he was amazing. As a solo traveler, I felt very safe with him and he took care of me throughout the four days.

  • Name: Moosa.
  • Contact Number: +968 9266 3384.
Moosa, my taxi driver in Oman
Moosa, my taxi driver in Oman

For driving, you can hire a self-driven cars at the airport. This is best toe asily navigate around the country. Ensure to read and follow their traffic rules which looked easy for me.

What to Wear in Oman?

Dress modestly. Even while swimming at beaches or lakes, make sure you dress appropriately and modestly. The country is conservative and you need to respect that. For women, always ensure to cover your knees and shoulders. Also carry a scarf with you at all times so you can enter the mosques without any problems.

Solo hiking - Wadi Shab
Solo hiking at Wadi Shab

Highlights of Oman Travel

Scuba Diving

Sharing the coastline along the Arabian Sea, Oman has heaps of dive sites that are spectacular. With colourful and gorgeous reefs, and abundant marine life, including the Whale Sharks, the Oman dive sites are diverse and very popular among the scuba divers of all levels. Daymanyiat island has dive sites that are closer to Muscat.

Cuttle fish at Daymaniyat Island
Cuttle fish

Nizwa

Located around 1.5 to 2 hours from Muscat, Nizwa is referred as the Pearl of Islam. Known for its strong ties with Islamic heritage, Nizwa is in the interior part of the country. There are many things that you can do at Nizwa:

  • Nizwa Fort – Fort dating back to the 17th century.
  • Nizwa Souq – Local market to buy souvenirs and Omani products.
  • Jabrin Castle – Known for intricate details and interiors.
  • Cultural events – Many cultural and local events take place that are worth visiting.

Bahla

Close to Nizwa is Bahla, the town known for its pottery and traditional handicrafts. Surrounded by palm trees and agricultural fields, the town is a perfect getaway. It is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bahla Fort, that dates back to the 13th century. When you are in the town, spend some time interacting and oberseving the local artisians at work.

Wadi Shab

Situated around 150 kilometres from Muscat, the Wadi Shab is known for its emerald-green pools and freshwater springs. With stunning hills, the Wahi Shab Hike is one of the famous hikes to do in Oman. Do not forget to see the hidden cave on your hiking trail!

Pool at the end of trail - Wadi Shab
Pool at the end of trail

Salala

Salala is a coastal city surrounded by green hills and waterfalls and is especially famous during the Khareef (monsoons) season. Known for its traditional souqs and architecture, the coastal city is a centre for producing and trading frankincense (resins). Some of the things that you can see and visit in Salala are:

  • Al-Baleed Archaeological Park,
  • Sultan Qaboos Mosque,
  • Frankincense Land Museum,
  • Al-Mughsail Beach, and
  • Marneef Cave.

Salala has an airport of its own, which also has some international flights. You can take a domestic flight from Muscat and fly into Salala Airport.

Jebel Akhdar (The Green Mountain)

Situated around 2 to 3 hours from Muscat, Jebel Akhdar is a mountain range in Al Hajar Mountains. With lush green terrances, fruit orchids and cool weather, the mountains are famous among the locals and tourists as a retreat from hot weather of the cities. There are many hiking trails that you can do to explore the mountains.

Muscat

With rich history and architecture, Muscat is the largest and capital city of Oman. The city is also Oman’s economic and commercial hub that has many government buildings and businesses. Home to numerous mosques and landmarks, Muscat offer many things, including a colourful cultural vibe. A few of the landmarks to see are:

  • Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
  • Mutrah Corniche and Mutrah Souq.
  • Royal Opera House Muscat.
  • Bait Al Zubair Museum.
  • Qurum Beach or Yiti Beach.
Top 10 Things to do in Muscat in One Day

Wahiba Sands desert

Situated around 2.5 to 3 hours from Muscat, Wahiba Sands desert is a vast desert covering an area of 12500 square kilometres. With stunning sanddunes, and landscapes, the Wahiba Sands desert is home to Bedouin tribes. There are many things that you can do at the desert such as:

  • Sandboarding – A fun activity sliding down the sanddunes.
  • Dune bashing – Drives on the sanddunes on 4 * 4 vehicles.
  • Desert Camping – Spend a night at the traditional camps staring at the stars.

4 Days Itinerary for Oman

DaySightseeing
Day 1Muscat landmarks
Day 2Muscat landmarks
Day 3Scuba diving in Daymanyiat / Wahiba Sands desert
Day 4Wadi Shab Hike
4 Days in Oman – Summary

Days 1 and 2 – Muscat

Start your travel by exploring and seeing the places in Muscat. Muscat, the capital city of Oman, has plenty of things to see and do. With rich heritage and architecture, surely spend time admiring the huge mosques and landmarks.

If you have time, go to the Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts that are a bit outskirts to the city.

Day 3 – Scuba Diving / Wahiba Sands desert

On day 3, head out for scuba diving at Daymanyiat island. With plenty of marine life and amazing dive sites, the island is very popular among the scuba divers. You can expect to see lots of cuttlefishes, turtles and many more. This is an entire day expedition.

If you do not want to dive, then head to Wahiba Sands desert. It is around 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Muscat and is totally worth as a day trip.

Day 4 – Wadi Shab Hike

Start your day early on day 4 and drive to Wadi Shab. With dramatic landscapes and spectacular naturally formed lakes, the Wadi Shab Hike is a rewarding hike in Oman. Ensure to be prepared for warm weather. Take your sunscreen, water, and a hat. Also carry your swimmers so you can swim in these gorgeous lakes.

Is Oman safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Absolutely yes! Oman is one of the safest countries I have traveled as a solo female traveler. The rules are strict and people are very nice. So, they will not bother you with anything. But you will find taxi drivers hassling you so you can hire them for rides.

Solo female traveling - Hotel Ramada Encore Muscat by Wyndham, a 4 Star Hotel in Muscat

Closing Notes

Oman is one of the different and beautiful countries to travel. It is truly an Arabian beauty ready to be discovered and a wonderful place with so much to give. Choosing the best time to travel to Oman really depends on your preferences and what you wish to do when you are in the country.

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