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TRAVEL PLANNING TIPS & ADVICE FOR EVERYONE

Visa and Passports

Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your stay. 

Visas are required by all nationals except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates holding national identity cards; and holders of Macau (SAR) Travel Permit. Nationals of the following countries may apply for a visa on arrival at Muscat’s Seeb International Airport for a maximum stay of 14 days: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalem, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Ecuador, EU nationals (excluding Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia), French Guiana, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Korea (Rep), Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Surinam, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela. Nationals of other countries or travellers who wish to stay longer than 14 days may apply for a 30-90 day visa at any Oman Embassy/Consulate before travelling. Visas can be extended for the same periods within Oman. Travellers who have resided in one of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for at least one year and who hold a valid residence permit and labour card may obtain a tourist visa on arrival, provided they meet certain conditions regarding professional status. Contact an Oman Embassy/Consulate for further details. Minors (under 18 years) travelling unaccompanied require a consent from one of their parents.

 

For upto date information on visas, please visit the website of Royal Oman Police at www.rop.gov.om

 

Language

Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken. German and French are spoken by some hotel staff. Hindi, Malayalam and Swahili are also spoken by a section of the population.

 

Religion

Most of the city's residents are followers of Islam, the country's only recognized religion. Muscat has foreign minorities of Hindus and Christians. Oman allows non-Muslims to practice their religion, but it is illegal to proselytize publicly or distribute religious literature. Muscat has two Hindu temples (one Shiva and one Krishna temple), and a Saints Peter & Paul Church in the city's Ruwi district.

Safety

Social Conventions

Clothing
It is important that women dress modestly, with long skirts or dresses (below the knee), loose-fitting trousers and long sleeve shirts. Men should dress neatly in trousers and shirts with sleeves. Tight-fitting clothes should be avoided. Shorts should never be worn in public and beachwear is prohibited anywhere except the beach.

Greetings
Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. Some devout Muslims will not shake the hand of a woman, so it is best if you wait until a hand is offered to you. If you are on a business trip or meeting a local, bring along a small gift, either promoting your company or country.

Photography
Visitors should ask permission before attempting to photograph people or their property. ‘No Photography’ signs exist in certain places and must be observed. It is not advisable to take pictures of women without requesting and obtaining permission before hand. This can be done by saying "Mumkin sura, min fadlak?" (May I take your picture please?). Photography of government and military installations is strictly prohibited.

 

General  Behaviour
Collecting sea shells, abalone, corals, crayfish and turtle eggs is also prohibited. Dumping litter is forbidden. It is polite not to smoke in public, but generally no-smoking signs are posted where appropriate. Homosexual behaviour is illegal.

 

 

Currency

Currency
Omani Rial (OR) = 1000 baiza.
Notes are in denominations of OR 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 500, 250, 200 and 100 baiza. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10 and 5 baiza.

 

Credit & Debit Cards

American Express and other major credit cards are accepted in most major businesses. Check with your card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. You are able to get a cash advance on your credit or debit card from an ATM. There are ATMs at every nook and corner of every city in Oman.

 

Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged in banks or at currency exchange booths located in main cities, the airport and major hotels. 

Travellers Cheques are easily exchanged. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, take travellers cheques issued in US Dollars. There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, Israeli currency is prohibited and cannot be exchanged. Banking hours are from 8:00am-12:00 noon Saturday-Wednesday and from 8:00am-11:30am on Thursday. Banks and government offices are closed on Friday.

Customs

The following items may be imported into Oman without incurring customs duty: up to 2 litres of alcohol (non-Muslims only), a reasonable quantity of tobacco products, 227ml perfume and eight video tapes for personal use. Prohibited items are: narcotics, firearms (including toys and replicas), obscene films/literature, and non-canned food products (meat, vegetables, fruit, dates and non-alcoholic beverages). Videos are subject to censorship.

Electricity

220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz

Health

Food bought in the main supermarkets can be regarded as safe. Outside the capital area, milk may be not be pasteurized and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised, but make sure that it is reconstituted with bottled water. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

 

Healthcare
Travellers’ health insurance is strongly advised. Oman has an extensive public health service (free to Omani nationals), with a number of modern medical facilities. Treatment varies from quite good to inadequate according to the location. Hospital emergency treatment is available. Doctors and hospitals often expect cash for services, and costs can be high for foreigners.

In case of any other medical emergency than a road accident, you should call the hospital directly for an ambulance. The emergency numbers of Muscat’s major hospitals are as follows:

2456-3625 (Khoula Hospital)
2459-9525 (Royal Hospital)
2458-3791 (Muscat Private Hospital)

Several public clinics in Muscat treat foreign-born patients, offering all sorts of medical services and non-urgent care:

Khoula Hospital
Royal Hospital
Al Nahda Hospital

The Royal Hospital Oman
Tel: +968 24599000
Fax: +968 24594460

Ambulance: 9999

Vaccinations
No vaccinations are required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving within six days from infected areas. Typhoid may occur in rural areas. Malaria is a limited risk in remote areas of Musandam Province. No anti-malarial drugs are needed. Hepatitis A and B, leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis can all occur. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay. Vaccination regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt.

 

Oman is a fairly safe country aside from terrorist threats. The incidence of street crime is low in Oman; violent crime is rare but can occur. Common sense and caution are always the best methods for crime prevention. Take normal precautions such as avoiding deserted areas after dark and staying aware of your wallet or purse in crowded areas. Valuables and currency should not be left unsecured in hotel rooms. Travellers should remain vigilant, particularly in public places. As the general safety situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office  www.fco.gov.ukUS Department of State websitewww.travel.state.gov/travel

 

 

Telephone

Country code: 968
Outgoing international code: 00
IDD is available

Mobile Telephone
GSM 900 network

Time

GMT + 4

Tax and Tipping

Tipping 10% is becoming a more common practice.

Tourist Information Offices

Visit the Oman Ministry of Tourism website for further information:  www.omantourism.gov.om/index.htm

 

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