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.
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.
Sightseeing 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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Oman.
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.
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 hour.
From Doha to Muscat: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
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.
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.
Visas are required for entry into Oman. A 30-Day visa (costing approximately USD $70) can be arranged by Elegant Resorts. 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 Number 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 clients of Elegant Resorts will enjoy a smooth transition from one emirate to another. For further information, please visit the website of the Oman Embassy in London.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, 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.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.