Welcome to Sultanate of Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula and has an area of approximately 309,500km
It is bordered on the west by Saudi Arabia, to the northwest lie the United Arab Emirates and to the southwest is Yemen. The east coast meets with the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The capital of Oman is Muscat, a cosmopolitan, but relaxed city, free from the hustle and bustle found in many of Arabia's other capital cities. In the south of the Sultanate, is Salalah, the administrative capital of the Dhofar region.
The climate in Muscat is markedly different to that in Dhofar: during the winter, Muscat enjoys temperatures of, average, 30C, dropping to around 18 C at night. However, in the summer, Muscat bakes in 45-48 C, while Dhofar cools down in the light monsoon rain.
Oman is a surprisingly green country, particularly in Dhofar, due to its location on the monsoon paths. Landscaping and beautification are priorities of the Municipalities, and gardens, parks and grassy knolls line the main highway. The countryside is varied, from rugged mountain ranges to desert sands, to green, lush wadis (riverbeds).
The Omani people are friendly and welcoming to visitors. Although Arabic is their main language, English is spoken frequently and is often used as the lingua franca. Despite their relaxed air, the Omanis are quite conservative people and respect for their privacy and, in particular, their religion, should always be observed.
Modesty is the keyword in how to dress. Women should wear loose, long garments, ensuring that their shoulders and knees are covered. Men should wear long trousers and tops with sleeves.
Swimming costumes are fine for the beach or the pool. During the holy month of Ramadhan, all Muslims fast during the hours of daylight.
Visitors to the country should remember that eating, drinking and smoking is not allowed in public at this time.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said is Oman's ruler. He acceded to the throne in 1970 and in the space of 30 years has transformed his country into one which boasts modern and innovative healthcare, education, telecommunications networks and a stable economy. Although the Sultan has ultimate power in governing his country, the daily administration of the land is performed by various Ministries.
A visit to the Sultanate is sure to surprise and delight. Holidays can be as adventurous and energetic, or relaxed and uncomplicated as you choose.
Oman's culture is based on the fundamental principles of Islam. The Omani people mainly follow the Ibhadi sect of Islam. Muslims are required to pray five times each day after the call to prayer by the Imam. Beautiful, ornate mosques are found throughout the Sultanate, but they are not open to non-Muslim visitors.
The holy month of Ramadhan is a time of fasting and praying. Muslims are not allowed to smoke, eat or drink during daylight hours. Out of respect, non-Muslims staying in Oman observe the same principles in public. At sunset, the fast is broken with the Ifta feast, traditionally a light meal of dates and rice, which the whole family attends.
The dress code is fairly liberal in Muscat, although decency is still expected. Women should wear, for example, tops with sleeves, and long skirts or trousers. Men are required to wear trousers and shirts with sleeves. Swimwear should be restricted to the beach or pools. Outside the capital area and into the Interior villages, dress should become more conservative.
Regarding other religions, Oman is very tolerant and there are a number of churches and temples for worshippers of other faiths. Friday is the holy day of rest.
International restaurants are found all over Oman, from fast-food outlets to fusion cooking, haute cuisine dining to hamburgers. Prices range, and a three course meal can be found to suit any budget. Most hotels will have a number of international restaurants providing food from the likes of Mexico, France, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia.
Traditional Omani Food is fairly simple, but by using various marinades and impregnating meat with spices, the result is a mouth-watering concoction which stimulates the tastebuds.
Chicken, fish and mutton are regularly used in dishes. A favourite drink is laban, a salty buttermilk. Yoghurt drinks, flavoured with cardamom and pistachio nuts are also very popular.
Alcohol may be purchased in the hotel bars and restaurants and certain independent restaurants.