7 Facts You Should Know About Oman
If you plan to explore the Middle East, Oman is not to be missed. Travelling to Oman from either Asia or Europe takes approximately 6-7 hours, making Oman an ideal destination for travellers. It’s also one of Centara’s most popular locations in the region, where visitors can enjoy the charms of the Centara Muscat Hotel. The country offers breathtaking desert scenery as well as spectacular mountain vistas, while the man-made sights are equally exquisite in the form of architectural beauty.
Before jumping on the plane, however, make sure you check the visa policy and pre-arrange your e-visa online. Once you’re all set, here are a few things you might want to look out for in Oman that will make your trip a little bit more interesting, fun, and educational.
You’ll notice that buildings from office complexes to shopping malls are all immaculately whitewashed. That’s because painting the walls in any other colours would need a permit from the authorities - although exceptions have been made for internal blocks where beige or light brown sometimes make an appearance. When you’re walking the streets in Muscat, it’s also worth paying attention to the doors, as Oman is renowned for its intricate decorative door designs. Make sure you get plenty of photos.
It is already quite a big deal to have one UNESCO World Heritage Site but here in Oman, there are five you should check out: Aflaj Irrigation Systems Of Oman (2006); Ancient City Of Qalhat (2018); Archaeological Sites Of Bat, Al-Khutm And Al-Ayn (1988); Bahla Fort (1987), and the Land of Frankincense are among the Omani sites with UNESCO recognition.
The national animal of Oman is the Arabian oryx, which was almost extinct as recently as 1972. In an attempt to restore the species, the government of Oman created a wildlife reservation which helped to bring the species back from the brink. There are four species of Oryx, three of which are found in Africa and one in the Arabian Peninsula, and Oman is one of the best places to find them. If you want to be sure of seeing one, there’s an Arabian Oryx Sanctuary where you can visit the animals.
Frankincense oil has long been used in traditional medicine and cosmetics. In ancient times, frankincense was considered an economic product. There are four different types of frankincense grown in Oman: Shaabi, Shizri, Nejdi, and Al-Hawjri. Al-Hawjri is considered to be the best as it's whiter and clearer than the others.
You can visit the natural park of Frankincense at Wadi Dawkah which is around 40 km north of Salalah on the Salalah-Thamrit-Muscat Highway. The production season is in April when the temperature is rising, so make sure you are prepared for the heat and stay hydrated.
Only Pepsi - Or Mountain Dew
Pepsi products dominate the beverage market in the Middle East and especially in Oman where you will only find Pepsi products. One of these is Mountain Dew, sometimes called “Omani Alcohol”. So, take this opportunity to drink this unofficial national drink while you are in Oman because you won’t find any rival products anywhere for sale.
It’s universal knowledge that shopping malls, bazaars, markets, and souks are made for women, but in Oman, Ibra Souks which is 2 hours away from Muscat is a women-only bazaar.
If you plan a visit, Ibra Souks opens from morning till afternoon and only takes place on Wednesdays. What you will find there apart from local craftsmanship products such as sewing supplies, embroidery, and beauty supplies, is that the majority of locals there are the Bedouin women dressed in colourful traditional clothing.
Dirty Cars Are a Crime
In Oman, honking your horn is strictly prohibited, and so are dirty cars. If your car is dirty you will have to pay a fine. So if you’re renting a car and planning to drive around Oman, which is the most convenient option and a great way to see the country, be sure to keep your rental car sparkling clean.