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HOW TO TIP IN OMAN

In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. Tipping is not customary in Oman, but visitors can do so if they would like to appreciate a good service.

This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Omani Rial (OR)?

The local currency in Oman is the Omani Rial (OR). One Rial is split into 1000 baisa (bz), which is another smaller currency. Have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Rials upon arrival. Currency exchange desks are available at the airport, most high-end hotels and resorts, and many other places around the country. ATMs and credit cards are widespread in Oman and many of them, particularly those belonging to HSBC, are tied into international systems.

In Oman, the paper notes are 100 baisas, 500 baisas (which is a 1/2 Rial), 1 Omani Rial, 5 Omani Rials, 10 Omani Rials, 20 Omani Rials and 50 Omani Rials. As for coins, they are 5 baisas, 10 baisas and 50 baisas.

The rial is pegged to the US dollar and rarely fluctuates. For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Restaurants and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

A tip of 10% is considered the norm in restaurants or rounding up to the next Rial and asking them to keep the change is acceptable.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Hotels OR1 for baggage handling and room service; gratuity for cleaning staff is uncommon and discretionary.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Tipping taxi drivers is discretionary.

Bargaining: Is it customary?

Discounts are available for most items, in all shops other than supermarkets and Western-style chain stores. It is okay to bargain for taxi fares and souvenirs but don't expect too much of a discount.

Final Thoughts:

Tipping in Oman is not as widespread as it is elsewhere in the region and is uncommon in smaller establishments.