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Oman Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 881

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Oman , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

The Sultanate of Oman is located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and shares a border with the United Arab Emirates. The Jewel of Arabia, it is regarded as the most traditional country in the region and has one of most dramatic landscapes, with rugged mountain ranges, vast deserts and quiet beaches with white sands that are perfect for relaxing on. With over a thousand miles of coastline, days tend to be focused on or close to the sea with excellent diving and swimming with dolphins being amongst the highlights.

Land-lovers can enjoy trekking, cave exploration and rock-climbing. Across the country’s dry and harsh terrain are pockets of lush valleys (‘wadis’) and strategically placed amidst them you’ll see ‘falaj’, a traditional method of irrigation used for agriculture. You can also see traditional Omani villages, while popular day trips from our featured hotels and resorts include visiting the cosmopolitan capital city of Muscat that blends a traditional seafaring heritage with the modern in the form of contemporary buildings including shopping malls. Or, visit one of Oman’s many palaces, forts, museums and mosques that reflect Oman’s cultural heritage as one of the oldest civilisations on the Arabian Peninsula.

General Information
CapitalMuscat
LanguageArabic
Time Difference4 hours
CurrencyRial
Voltage220V

Health

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.

Sources of information include: www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.


Visa

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

Visas are issued on arrival in Oman at a charge of approximately 5 Omani Rials per person (approximately USD$14) for 1 to 10 days and 20 Omani Rials per person (approximatley USD $53) for 11 to 30 days. Please note that only Omani Rials are accepted - there is a bank in the same area where currency can be exchanged. NB: Visitors travelling to Six Senses Zighy Bay by road, from Dubai, will now require a border pass. By providing Six Senses Zighy Bay with your passport details (Name, Passport No, and Nationality) three days in advance of your arrival date and with the assistance of a Six Senses Public Relations Officer at the check point, we anticipate Elegant Resorts’ clients will enjoy a smooth transition from one emirate to another. For further information please visit www.oman.embassy-london.com

For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk

Climate+

The best time to visit Oman is from October to March when nights are cool. During summer Oman can become extremely hot and it is not a pleasant temperature for sightseeing or exploring, and the south coast can experience cloud and rain. Generally, Oman is sunny year-round and rain is minimal apart from in the Jebel Akhdar Mountains and the Dhofar Hills. Coastal areas are generally warm and humid throughout the year, with slightly lower temperatures than inland. Pack light clothing for the daytime and something warm to put around you in the evenings that can be cool. When out and about exploring it is important to keep hydrated, so do keep water with you.

Selecting a suite with a private pool is the perfect way to keep cool as and when you wish and at Six Senses Zighy Bay all Villas, Villa Suites, Private Retreats and Private Reserves have their own infinity-edge pool. Or, you can always retreat to your hotel’s spas for some pampering, should it all get a little too much!

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Oman.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January2522
February2627
March2915
April3411
May395
June401
July382
August365
September360
October340
November305
December2710

Highlights+

Shopping
Muttrah Souk in Muscat is a popular place to visit in Oman and you can witness all sorts of goods being traded, which can be quite fascinating. Shoppers are welcome to haggle, as it is pretty much customary, as long as you are not too cheeky with your offer. Down side streets and alleyways there are a multitude of little shops selling beautiful silver jewellery, embroidered fabrics and traditional head scarves.

Sight-seeing and Activities

Attractions and sites to visit in the north of Oman include seeing the Jabrin Fort which was built in 1670 and boasts decorative carvings and paintings, or visit Nizwa Fort built in 1668 which has thick windows which were part of its defence structure.

Reserves
If you prefer to marvel at nature, rather than man-made attractions, there are plenty of reserves to visit. Bandar Al Khayran Reserve is especially popular for diving and has no less than twenty-two locations to choose from. If the water is where your heart is then there are opportunities for sailing too and Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel can arrange boating, as well as a range of water sports. Fishing is also possible around many of the coastal areas of Oman.

For something that will really connect you with the country and its nature and traditions, special excursions can be arranged where you can spend the night camping in the desert in a traditional Bedouin tent and enjoy a plethora of activities including dune bashing, barbecues and listening to oud (stringed instrument) music beside a camp fire as the stars twinkle above.

Culture

If you’re staying at Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, you will have the perfect introduction to Omani culture as the resort is home to the Omani Heritage Village which has the Al Mazaar Souk and you can see traditional silver ware, pottery and weaving being crafted into items that you can buy as a souvenir.

Mosques

If you wish, you can also visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is the only mosque that non-Muslims are allowed to visit, that offers the opportunity to observe Islamic architecture and decorative religious items including a prayer carpet, as well as lavish crystal chandeliers. (Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque and suitable, respectful dress must be worn. Women must cover their arms, legs and hair. Children under 10 years old are not allowed in the mosque.)

National Camel Races Festival
The festival takes place over two days in selected wilayats, with twelve rounds of racing on the first day (camels are grouped according to their ages) with a further five rounds of racing and the actual competition, taking place on the second day. Certain criteria have to be met by entrants such as the camel being of Omani origin, not be a cross-breed and the owner must be Omani..

Getting There+

Flight Information
Oman Air direct from London Heathrow.
Via Abu Dhabi with British Airways from London Heathrow and Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.
Via Dubai with Emirates from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Via Doha with Qatar Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.

Flight Time
From London Heathrow to Muscat: 7 hours, 15 minutes.
London Heathrow to Dubai and Abu Dhabi: 7 hours.
London Heathrow to Doha: 6 hours, 45 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Muscat: 1 hours and from Doha to Muscat: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Flight Upgrades
British Airways upgrades start from as little as £610 per person, each way.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.

Adult-Only
If you’re looking for a holiday in accommodation reserved exclusively for adults, Al Husn at Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is just that, yet has a range of facilities available to access through the wider resort that features two other hotels.

Alcoholic Beverages
To respect prayer times, alcohol is only served between the hours of 12 noon and midnight (Saturday to Thursday). On Fridays, alcohol is served from 2pm until midnight. Guests can order alcohol through room service at any time.

Red Tide
Also known as algae blooms, occurs in Oman, when the movement of the sea currents causes the phytoplankton to multiply rapidly, resulting in a streak of brownish red colour in the sea. As the level of plankton increases in the water, the amount of oxygen decreases sometimes causing unpleasant smells, there may be some days when it is not suitable to swim in the sea. Water excursions are not affected.

Ramadan
Ramadan is observed for one month each year and is a period of fasting when the pace of life is slower, public areas are busier and there are certain restrictions, for example, consuming food in public, drinking alcohol and use of restaurants.

Talk to our Indian Ocean & Arabian Gulf Experts

Our dedicated Indian Ocean & Arabian Gulf Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Oman. Furthermore, we have 15 Travel Consultants who have personally visited Oman and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

Why Choose Elegant Resorts


As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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