Bordered by the Arabian Sea, Oman is a country that has preserved its natural beauty and charm. It’s an ancient land with a rich history of trade routes, which have allowed it to become one of the most stable countries in the Middle East. The capital city Muscat is also home to many important landmarks, such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Bait Al Zubair Museum, the National Museum of Oman, the Royal Opera House, and more! Below, we have outlined some curiosities that you should be aware of before visiting this underrated country!
#1. Drinking alcohol may be illegal in Oman
Oman is a beautiful country with many interesting and unique places to see. As such, it’s no surprise that many people visit every year in order to get away from their daily lives and enjoy some time exploring Oman.
It can be tempting for travelers to want to take advantage of the bars and nightlife scene in Oman, but you need to remember one thing: drinking alcohol in public can get you in a lot of trouble in Oman. This is simply – illegal.
Consequences can range from heavy fines to even spending some time in jail, so it’s best to consume alcohol, if you must, in the privacy of your own room.
However, it should be noted that there are places that are licensed to sell alcohol, such as hotels and restaurants. Therefore, if this is a big deal to you, make sure the place you’re staying at has a valid license.
When booking accommodation at a five-star hotel, you may be sure that the restaurants there will possess a valid license. So don’t worry!
You can also get your license from the Royal Omani police if you’re a foreign visitor. However, this does not allow you to be intoxicated in public.
#2. Entry to Oman requires a visa
All travelers arriving in Oman are required to hold a valid visa. Since 2018, obtaining a visa has been more straightforward as eligible travelers can easily get it online.
The Oman eVisa is an excellent way for tourists to visit the country of Oman and explore its top tourist attractions or just spend a wonderful lazy time at one of the luxury hotels located in the country.
The electronic visa to Oman allows visitors to enter and leave the country either single or multiple times within its validity period, one month or one year, respectively. It’s essential to consider which type you may need when applying for your visa.
Apply for yours at least 3 days ahead of the planned departure since the processing time may take up to 72 hours. The approved document will get directly to your email box in PDF form.
But even if you forget to do this, don’t despair – most visitors, such as tourists from the
US, Canada and the EU, can get their visas sorted upon arrival.
#3. Camels are at every corner in Oman
Camels are not only the national animal of Oman but they’re also used for transportation in this country. The camel is a hardy creature that can survive on little food and water. They have two stomachs, so they can store large amounts of food for long periods of time without eating again.
Camels are domesticated animals with no natural predators other than humans, so there is never any need to be afraid when traveling around Oman by horseback or camelback!
There are a few places in the world where camels can be seen up close and personal as in this country, and the smaller towns around here and the interior of the country are absolutely teeming with them.
Planning a trip to a less populated place can therefore be a fantastic idea.
#4. Goats are members of Omani families
The goat markets and ancient souks of Oman are a cultural spectacle that will not be forgotten soon. To enter the city center, you must first go through the “souk” or market district.
It is where you can find anything from spices to jewelry to local produce. From there, it’s just a few blocks south until you reach Mutrah Souq with its livestock market spanning over six floors.
The goats provide an essential service for many Omani families as they are considered an integral part of life in this region of Arabia – so much so that it is said, “the house without a goat is like the body without blood.”
Because of that, you will still see goats being treated as family members in some places around here even today!
#5. Oman houses five World Heritage Sites
Sitting at the very tip of eastern Arabia, Oman is a country with a long and rich history. For centuries, the Sultanate has been an important stop on trade routes to China, India, and Africa.
The major achievement that Oman has managed to accomplish with five UNESCO-declared world heritage sites is phenomenal. The Bahla Fort, Bat Archaeological Sites, and Al Khutm irrigation systems, the Ancient City of Qalhat, and the Frankincense Land are all heritage sites that must be visited when in Oman.
The best time to visit these sites is during the winter months between November and March, when days are milder, the skies are clearer, and the humidity levels are lower.
#6. Tipping a waiter may be insulting
You won’t see Omanis shouting in the street very often, be that to say hello to somebody or to tell a story to their friends.
No, that kind of thing is reserved for special places called Majilis where you can talk and laugh as much as you want.
Doing so on the street or anywhere else in public inconveniences people living in houses nearby and the elderly, Omanis firmly believe.
They won’t even use the horns on their cars!
Such amazing politeness, isn’t it? This is just one of the reasons why you can expect to thoroughly recharge your batteries here – the place is calm and very relaxing.
#7. Coffee is a national drink in Oman
Oman is home to the oldest coffee tradition in the world, and it’s time you taste what they have to offer. Qahwa beans are grown by farmers living on the slopes of Jabal Akhdar, which means “Green Mountain.” Go visit it if you have the chance.
But what we’re talking about here is so much more than just a drink. This is one of the most important aspects of Omani culture.
You see, in Oman, the word “qahwa” denotes everything you get when you are invited to someone else’s home. It is the essence of the hospitality of these people, and if some of the locals invite you for this, you are in for something very special.
One can’t help but feel honored.
Apart from the coffee, traditional “qahwa” also includes dates and other fruit, cakes, and pastries, so you’re in for quite a treat.
Even the coffee itself is specially made, with additions such as saffron and cardamon.
Yes, this is really, really awesome.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.