Oman travel advice

Things to do tips

Liz Pepperell, Managing Director of our supplier Odyssey World knows Oman like the back of her hand, and gives great Oman travel advice on what to do there: "Oman is such a special place but is sometimes perceived as being a five star beach holiday only, with people not being aware of what the country has to offer. So, I really advise people to look beyond the sun and sand as there is so much more to the country than this. Such as the fjords in the North, where you can see dolphins and whales and the region is ideal for scuba diving."
Nigel Fisher, Director at our supplier Wild Frontiers:
“The mountain trekking is brilliant through Jebal Akhdar, but please put some time aside to walk though Oman’s secret wadis in the Sharqiyah region.”

Environmental tips

Mark Huggins, from our supplier Undiscovered Destinations:
“Ensure that no rubbish is left; take it with you back to your accommodation if there are no facilities. Also, be very careful to follow the instructions of the guides when visiting the turtles at Raz Al Jinz so as not to disturb them.”

Cultural advice

Nigel Fisher, Director at our supplier Wild Frontiers, shares his Oman travel advice:
“Be patient with your driver guides, because they do stop and pray two or three times a day. And they smoke a lot, so they like to take a cigarette break, and all this is part of their culture. The driver guides aren’t trained on all the history either, and don’t know everything that you might want to know. But be patient with them, as they couldn’t do enough for you.”

Food advice

Liz Pepperell, Managing Director of our supplier Odyssey World:
“If you are offered coffee, the Omanis will keep filling up your cup unless you shake your cup to show that you have had enough.”

Packing tips

Oman travel advice from Nigel Fisher, Director at our supplier Wild Frontiers:
“You don’t actually need that much in Oman, but if you are camping in the desert you need a heavyweight fleece, because it will be really cold at night. And take some decent summer walking boots, to get around the forts and desert sands – not necessarily high tops, just cross trainer ones are fine. Just do them up tight in the sand. The ladies will need a scarf for the mosques, can’t go around in shorts, and need to have sleeves going down to their wrists. Those zip-off trousers are brilliant though, as they can zip them off when they are in the vehicle.”
Liz Pepperell, Managing Director of our supplier Odyssey World shares her Oman travel advice for those travelling into the desert: "If travelling into the interior take a smaller overnight soft bag and leave your main luggage at the hotel concierge. Cover the bags in plastic to keep out the sand and dust. Always have plenty of water and wet wipes & tissues."

Health & safety in Oman

HEALTH

The biggest health warning is to drink a lot of water. This is the desert after all. And protect yourself from the sun with all known methods possible. If you are driving in the sand dunes, be warned that motion sickness can be an issue. It doesn’t occur to many people to bring sea sickness tablets to the desert. Make sure all the usual vaccinations are up to date and check the NHS Fit for Travel website for further advice.

SAFETY

For police, fire authorities or ambulance in Oman, call 9999. Temperatures soar into the high 40°Cs in Oman. Always carry a lot of water, especially when exploring the deserts – 10 litre bottles are available in supermarkets. It is good to carry food too, as you might not see a shop or stall for miles. Driving can be dangerous outside Muscat, not only from wandering wildlife, but also from Omani drivers in very fast cars. Nighttime driving is not recommended for Omani newbies. Never go off road alone, unless you are au fait with recovery methods in the event of an accident. These include the use of spades, ropes sand mats, ladders, two spare tyres….we could go on but, really, you are best to have a good guide. These can be death valleys if not done properly. If you do a self guided trip in Oman, make sure you deal with an expert tour operator to provide you with route maps, detailed notes and support. Always check the weather when you are travelling in Oman. Rainfall can cause sudden and severe flooding in dry riverbeds and on roads that cross them. Even 4x4s can be knocked over by rainfall gushing down the dry valleys. If rain does start, head to high, dry ground or shelter. Most wadi crossings have red and white poles to show where you can cross in the event of a flood. If the water has hit the red bit it’s a no go zone, no matter how big your vehicle. Unless it’s a boat. For the same reason, wadis are wonderful for swimming, but always check the weather, as they are prone to flash flooding and people do die in them every year. So, if there are rain clouds, stay clear. Oman’s forts are favourites with families, but health and safety isn’t big in Oman, with rails or ropes not high on the agenda. So, keep your eye out for any danger points. It is generally advised not to go out on your own as a woman at night in Muscat. Although crime levels are low, sexual assault has happened. Don’t approach any strangers in cars who wind down their windows to get your attention. As tempting as the oceans might appear, sea currents can be very strong on the coast of Oman. Always seek advice about safe swimming areas. If you are taking a day trip on a tourist boat, always ensure that lifejackets and safety procedures are in place. Anyone sailing around Oman will probably already be aware of the piracy issues in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean. See the FCO website for more details. Consensual homosexual conduct is illegal in Oman and is subject to a potential jail term of six months to three years. So, although being homosexual is not punishable by death here, as in some countries, Oman is not top of the list for many gay travellers. Any same sex couples who do travel here are advised to act discretely – although as public displays of affection are not the done thing, we advise this for travellers of all orientations.

Our top Oman Holiday

Oman small group tour

Oman small group tour

Ancient spice trails, Wahiba Sands, superb coastal scenery

From £1799 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 6 Jan, 3 Feb, 4 Apr, 27 Oct, 17 Nov
2020: 5 Jan, 9 Feb, 1 Mar, 5 Apr, 25 Oct, 15 Nov
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Oman or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Oman tips from our holiday reviews

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Oman travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
There were a few long days of driving but these were balanced by days of no-car activity, such as a day's dhow trip with swimming and snorkelling, a day of camel riding, and a half day of hiking.
– Sally Frohlich
“In November nights in the desert are very hot so take a sleeping bag liner to sleep in not a 3 season sleeping bag.” – Julie Collins

“I loved the night in the desert. The Bedouin tent style accommodation was charming while still comfortable with our own bathroom (open to the skies). We watched the sun set from the top of a dune well away from anyone else and all we could see was a sea of soft, silky sand. Magic. Later we gazed at the stars from the top of the dune without any light pollution at all. The weather over Christmas and New Year was perfect with blues skies and sun.” - Elizabeth Hansen

“Take warm clothes for the desert and the mountains. It gets VERY cold at night. Take a lot of small denomination dollars or rial for tips. There seemed to be a never ending stream of people to whom tips should be given. Make sure your trip is planned so that you get to the goat market in Nizwa on a Friday morning. It's great. There were a few long days of driving but these were balanced by days of no-car activity, such as a day's dhow trip with swimming and snorkelling, a day of camel riding, and a half day of hiking. The food everywhere was very, very good” – Sally Frohlich

“As the trip doesn't have much free time in Muscat I would suggest arriving a day earlier or staying one day more that is NOT a Friday so that you can see some of the museums of Muscat.” – Nancy Wiesenfeld
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Marc Veraart] [Things to do tip - dolphin watching: Oman Ministry of Tourism] [Packing tips - camping : Tristan Schmurr] [Health & safety – beach: Metteo Russo] [Sally Frohlich review: Prasad Pillai]
Convert currencies