Quick Facts about Oman

 

Country

sultanate of Oman

Capital

Muscat

Head of State

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said For more information visit : www.oman-qaboos.net

Location

The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula and is located between Latitudes 16° 40′ and 26° 20′ North and Longitudes 51° 50′ and 59° 40′ East.

Area

The sultanate encompasses an area of 309500 sq kms

Population

Approximately 2 million. Around 1.5 million are Omani nationals. The remaining are expatriates from India, Asia, other Arab countries, Europe and USA

For more information visit :www.omancensus.net

Airport

Muscat international airport serves many international airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Swiss Air and Emirates. The national carrier is Oman Air, which flies to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Pakistan, Qatar, Egypt, and Sri Lanka as well as performing domestic flights to Salalah, Masirah Island and Musandam.

For more information visit : www.omanairports.com

Religion

Islam, predominantly Ibadhi sect.

Ramadan

For one month a year, Muslim abstains from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. Although non –Muslims are not expected to fast, they are expected to show respect by not doing any of there things in public.

Natural resources

Petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas.

Density of population

8.8 per square kilometer

Time

Four hours ahead of GMT

Currency

RO.1 = US$ 2,6 ( 385.0 Biza = US $ 1)

Credit Cards

Credit cards such as American Express, Visa MasterCard and Diners club are available through global network branches and accepted in shopping area.

Electricity

220 Volt

National Day

Falls on November 18th every year (two day holiday later in the same month).

Official holidays

Hijra New Year 1 day – 1st Moharrum Prophet Birthday 1 day – 12th Rabi Al Awai Isra & Meiraj 1 day – 27th Rajab Eid Al Fitr 4 days – 1st-4th Shawal Eid Al Adha 3 to 5 days-9th to 13th Al Hijjrah National Day 2 days weekly day off Friday ( Also Thursday for Government & Banks also Saturday )

Official Working Hours

Saturday to Wednesday: 7:30 am to 2:30 pm with exception to Ramadhan during which work starts at (9 am to 2 pm).

Private sector`s official working hours from Saturday to Thursday (according to company system) (with exception to the Banking sector, some companies and Capital Market).

Local Transport

The state-owned bus company, ONTC has the franchise to operate public services throughout the Sultanate . It also contract out some of its fleet for short-term charters over 20 million km per year and has an annual replacement programme for its fleet with the most modern vehicles available.

Taxi service run by the private sector are also well developed and there is an excellent network of minibuses operating as services taxis linking up the major center of population.

Comfort Line : 968 24702191

Hello taxi : 968 24607011

Health & Medical Care

No compulsory immunizations are required to enter Oman

Water

Tap water is desalinated, and although it’s safe to drink, its not recommended .Mineral water is commonly consumed in hotel and restaurants, and can be purchased in most grocery stores, gas stations and supermarkets.

Costumes

Arab and Islamic culture is dominant in Oman and it affects the general feature of life style, however there are other cultural styles as Oman attracts various norms of life. But men and women have to be abiding by wearing descent clothes in markets and public places .

Road Services

Well maintained highways link every major city in Oman .Information relating to Car Rental facilities (International Driving License requires) and Bus Tours are available on travel agencies and with tourist guide.

Facts about Oman

Lying to the east of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman borders Yemen to the south, Saudi Arabia to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the north-west. With a 2,000km coastline linking the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, the country has a long seafaring and trading history.

In ancient times Oman’s most valuable commodity was frankincense, derived from the sap of the boswellia tree. Legend has it that the Queen of Sheba derived great wealth through trading frankincense with dignitaries in Rome and beyond from her coastal palace at Khor Rori. Today its fragrant scent pervades every shop, alley and mosque in Muscat and you can pick up bags of the stuff in Mutrah Souk for a few rials.

Oman derives its current income from oil, fishing and agriculture. Although it is far less wealthy than its Emirates neighbour, the standard of living is improving and new ports, air routes and roads are opening up previously inaccessible areas. In an effort to encourage tourism, visa regulations were relaxed in 2001 enabling EU nationals to obtain a two-week visa at Muscat’s Seeb Airport or border crossings. Upto-date information on visas can be accessed at www.rop.gov.om the website of Royal Oman Police.

Health

A very limited risk of malaria may exist in remote areas of Musandam Province in the far north. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas.

 

Food

Influences on Oman’s cuisine derive from its seafaring links with the Far East and East Africa. Meals are spicy, though not overly so, and generally served with rice. Dates, given as a mark of hospitality throughout the country, are served with khawa, or Omani coffee. Khawa is prepared from freshly roasted ground coffee mixed with cardamom powder. Wash your meal down with this unique cardamom-flavoured coffee or tea.

Oman has its own regional dishes but you are unlikely to find these outside of private homes. Indian dishes are very common, with lots of options for vegetarians. Arabic dishes, such as moutabel (aubergine dip) and hummus are also found. Fish and seafood tend to be very good – hamour (grouper) is very common on menus, and kingfish, tuna, large prawns and ‘lobster’ (actually crayfish) feature. Limes are used a lot.

Alcohol is available in international hotels but is expensive.

Health and safety in Oman

No specific vaccinations are required for travel to Oman. Tap water is safe to drink. Be prepared for the heat with sunscreen and a hat. Do not drive in the desert unless you are experienced in off road driving. The crime rate is low.

 

Events

January: Muscat hosts an annual month-long cultural and sporting festival, including beach concerts and children’s shows. 
Secular holidays observed in Oman are National Day (November 18) and His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday (November 19). The National Day festival features all sorts of official celebrations, but the main significance of this day for visitors may be that everything closes down. 
The Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha (the pilgrimage to Mecca), the Islamic New Year and the Prophet’s Birthday are all observed in accordance with the Muslim calendar. The two Eids are marked by traditional celebrations and dancing in the streets.

 

What to buy

Muscat’s Mutrah Souk is hassle free and sells everything from ornate silverware to cooking pots. Pashmina scarves, hubbly-bubbly pipes, frankincense burners, and silver kohl-holders or traditional daggers (khanjar) all make good souvenirs. Silver should be priced according to weight. Haggle for everything to ensure you are offered the “best price”. The souk is located at one end of Muscat’s waterfront Corniche which is a great place for an atmospheric evening stroll. At the other end is the main fish market where you can snap up whole tuna for a few pounds.

 

Activities

Activities on offer range from soaking up history in the country’s well-preserved forts, to spending the night Bedouin-style in the desert or “wadi-bashing” in 4x4s. There are plenty of empty white-sand beaches for sun lovers while desolate, challenging mountain routes tempt those with energy to burn. Ecotourism ventures are on the increase as word spreads of the country’s unique geology, diverse bird life and crowd-free shifting desert sandscapes.