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MUSCAT FAQ`S

How do I get into Muscat?

The main airport is Muscat International. A visa-on-arrival can be bought from the Travelex desk before passport control (no prior paperwork needed).

In arrivals you’ll find ATMs, currency exchange, coffee shops, car rentals and a taxi rank. There are no train stations or bus stops at the airport. Taxis into town must be pre-paid at the booth outside arrivals (40 mins to Muttrah; cost of around OMR10). Elsewhere in the city, haggle for taxi fares before you ride.

What are other ways to arrive in Muscat?

Port Sultan Qaboos is a popular stop for cruise ships; ferries from Musandam (five hours; cost about OMR23 one-way) run four times a week.

Inter-city (ONTC) buses connect Muscat with Oman’s major cities; they stop at the main bus station in Ruwi. A bus service runs three times daily from Dubai (six hours; cost about OMR9 return).

What should I expect when traveling to Muscat, Oman?

Muscat is a modern metropolis, where you can find all the luxury the Gulf Monarchies are famous for, yet, unlike Dubai, it has a real soul, its own character, traditions, and history.

It is important to remember that tourism has not yet really taken hold in Oman, and as a result the quality of some services (guides, hotel staff, etc.) is not yet as good as elsewhere.

The policy is to employ Omanis wherever possible, and it will take time for them to gain the necessary experience in dealing with international visitors, but as long as you are aware of this before you travel there is no reason to let it put you off visiting this wonderful country.

When is the best time to visit Muscat?

The best time to visit Oman is during the high season, which corresponds to the time period between October and April, when temperatures are cooler (as low as the 60s F in some spots, and as high as the 90Fs in others). The shoulder season (late April and May) is also a good time to visit Oman, but temperatures will be higher on average nationwide during this time.

Is Muscat a walkable city?

Muscat is a linear city that stretches over 43 miles following the coastline. The city is not easy to walk because it is so spread out. It is composed of several neighborhoods, so different from each other that they are somewhat like their own small city within the city of Muscat, most of them not being walking-friendly either. In saying this, make sure to plan ahead before leaving your hotel or accommodations.

What is the best way to get around Muscat?

There is no formal public transport system in Muscat, so getting around can be tricky.

Taxis are the most common way for visitors to travel around the city and fares are generally inexpensive.

Another option is to drive, given the large distances involved in traveling around the city. All road signs are in English as well as in Arabic, and brown signs indicate major tourist attractions. For more information of navigating the city of Muscat, refer to Getting Arround.

What is the dress code in Muscat?

The Muscat dress code should be followed by all visitors. You don't have to wear what the locals are wearing, but be sure to dress modestly and avoid exposing your shoulder, knees, chest, and other sensitive parts of the body.

What is the currency of Oman?

The currency of Oman is the Omani rial, of which there are 1,000 baisa. U.S. dollars are not accepted. Be prepared to exchange your dollars for rials upon arrival. There are currency exchange desks at the airport, most high-end hotels and resorts, and at many banks throughout the country.

Do people speak English in Muscat?

Many Omanis can speak English, especially in Muscat and other major cities. Omanis learn English from the very earliest grades so you will be able to converse at least in basic terms with most people in Oman. Arabic is the official language, however, and there are rural areas where it may be difficult to locate an English speaker. Be prepared to learn basic Arabic phrases like hello/goodbye, please/thank you, and the numbers from 1-10, 50, 100, and 1,000. To say `How do you speak English`, say `Hal tatahadath al'injilizia?`

It is also worth noting, when you are in the street or public place, you should watch out for words. Omanis do everything they can to maintain the peacefulness of the country. They don't speak loudly in public. In fact, they have their own "Sabla" where they can talk loudly and express themselves. If you have something to share to your friend, be sure to speak with decency as a sign of respect to Omanis.

What are the alcohol restrictions in Oman?

Oman is like the other Middle East countries where alcohol drinks are restricted. Alcohol is not totally banned, but make sure not to drink in public places and street. You can bring alcoholic drinks to the privacy of your home or accommodations and enjoy it privately.

What is the food/drink like?

The Omani cuisine usually consists of traditional bread, rice, beef, chicken or fish, special tomato or Omani sauces and various types of salads. Omanis usually drink kahwa (traditional coffee with cardamon) with dates and halwa (Omani dessert), and sometimes they drink red tea. Nevertheless, there are options for vegans, vegetarians and other types of cuisines at local and international restaurants around Oman. Restaurants and coffee shops serve fresh juices and soft drinks. However, alcohol can only be found in international hotels and bought through a license that is issued by the police department in the city.

Is Muscat a safe city to travel to?

Yes, Muscat and all of Oman is considered very safe to travel to. Not only for the great efforts of the police, but also the great and kind hearts of the Omani people. They always care for their country and its visitors, and provide them with the warmest welcome even when they are complete strangers. According to the Global Terrorism Index, Oman is one of the few terrorism-free countries in the world. So, visitors don’t need to bring weapons or to be worried about safety. If anything goes wrong, they can go and talk to the police.

What should I do if I need medical attention?

Oman has an extensive public health service, with many hospitals and health centers. Hospital emergency treatment is available. Health insurance is essential. Visitors who cannot pay for their treatment may be prevented from leaving the country until the debt is paid. In an emergency, call 999. There are several medical centers, clinics and hospitals within Muscat.