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Get to know: Oman

Discover the magic of Oman and learn more about the hidden jewel of the Middle East.

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Oman

Get to know: Oman

09/09/2019

Oman is the perfect destination for experiential travellers, luxury travel devotees, and adventurous families. With its unspoilt desert landscapes, pristine beaches, and traditional mountain villages there is a lot to discover in Oman, so prepare to immerse yourself in the authentic Arabian culture and get to know to Oman...

Culture

Oman is one of the most welcoming countries in the Middle East, with friendly charming locals and a well preserved traditional culture. Country pride is strong within Omani's and the rich Arabian culture in Oman is one of the alluring elements of a holiday to this destination. If you are looking to admire Arabic architecture, discover historical sights or immerse yourself in the Middle East - this is the perfect place. 

During your trip, you might encounter some of the following traditional sights and customs; folk dancing, traditional Omani dress, forts, and mud-walled Falajes water channels. Warm hospitality is ingrained in Omani culture, and throughout the country you'll find the dallahs of Omani kahwa coffee accompanied by small dishes of dates as a way of honoring guests. 

Due to the traditional and conservative culture of Oman, an understanding of cultural norms and appropriate behavior is important during your visit. Greet friendly locals with a cheery salaam aleikum and remember to dress appropriately by following our Oman packing guide. 

For an insight into local life, Ellen our Marketing Executive suggests "heading to the popular livestock market on Friday in Nizwa or wandering through the old souk and fish market in Mutrah." 

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset which creates a more subdued daytime atmosphere and a lively evening vibe. Shorter opening hours for restaurants, shops and attractions can be expected and its particularly important to dress conservatively throughout this period. Greet locals with 'Ramadan kareem' - have a blessed Ramadan as a sign of respect. 

Climate 

With year-round sunshine and low rainfall, Oman has a subtropical climate that varies across its regions. The months of October - April are considered a great time to visit as humidity is at its lowest across the country. The summer months of June - August brings humid and hot conditions.

Visit Muscat and you can expect temperatures in the high 40's during Summer and lows of 35C, whereas Jebel Akhdar experiences temperatures that are 15oC lower than the rest of Oman. In contrast, the Wahiba Sands hot desert climate offers warm daytime temperatures and colder evenings, a good time to visit this region is between November and March when the highest average temperature is 32C.

Head to the coast to stay in Salalah, where temperatures rarely reach above 33C, and the summer months of July to August see the mountains covered in lush green foliage. Separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates, the Musandam Peninsula experiences highs of 36C in July and lows of 23C. 

Cuisine 

Delicately spiced meats, freshly caught seafood and cardamom-infused desserts Omani cuisine is authentic Arabia at its best. Harnessing local spices and ingredients, you'll often find that cardamon and rosewater are infused in many traditional dishes.

Grilled foods are a delicacy here with cubes of lamb, beef or even goat seasoned with a subtle marinade of cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon you'll find these in the vibrant souks and at local Arabian restaurants. Meal staples here are rice and flatbread, so you'll often find these accompanying many dishes in Oman. Reserved for special occasions, the national dish of Oman 'Shuwa' is meat covered in oil, chillis, cumin, coriander, and black pepper, wrapped in banana leaves and placed into an underground pit to cook for at least 24 hours. The result? A succulent dish served atop a massive platter of rice. If you are keen to try authentic cuisine during your stay Chris, our Assistant Reservations Manager suggests dining at Bait Al Luban "for great local food in the Corniche."

Indulge your sweet tooth and taste the popular Omani dessert Halwa made from eggs, honey, sugar, ghee and almonds flavoured with cardamom and rosewater. Then sit down for a pot of hot Omani cardamom and rose water coffee accompanied by platters of dried dates. 

Highlights of Oman 

Home to traditional Arabesque buildings, pristine beaches and bustling souks, Muscat is ideal for culture lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Royal Opera House before taking a dolphin watching trip or snorkelling excursion. Michelle, our Reservation Consultant says "it's worth booking a private boat trip to snorkel around the Dimaniyat Islands to enjoy the total bucket list moment of swimming with turtles." Then discover the ancient wonders of Nizwa en route to the tranquil Jebel Akhdar region ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers. 

Immerse yourself in desert life and spend days enjoying adrenaline-pumping activities such as dune-bashing and sand-boarding before relaxing at your desert camp. Discover the natural wonders and countless archaeological sites in Salalah or take a dhow cruise around the Musandam Peninsula. 

This unique destination offers a myriad of activities, luxurious properties and plenty of attractions to explore on your next holiday.

Packing tips 

Packing for Oman can seem a little daunting at first. Dressing appropriately is one of the most important things to consider for your holiday, due to the conservative nature of Omani's and cultural traditions. Read on to discover what to pack for an Oman holiday, to stay comfortable and respectful to the locals year-round. 

  • Women should wear loose conservative clothing, covering both knees and shoulders.
  • In local villages and mosques, women need to cover up completely. Pack a shawl to cover hair and wear clothing that covers down to wrist and ankles.
  • Men should avoid wearing tight or thigh-length shorts and pack full-length trousers to wear in restaurants. 
  • Avoid packing ripped jeans and t-shirts with inappropriate slogans, logos or images. 
  • Within the hotels, dress codes are more relaxed. Although it's still deemed respectful to dress modestly wearing beachwear only on the beach and by the pool.
  • Pack a swimsuit that is respectful and wear cover-ups when on public beaches. 
  • During Ramadan opt for loose-fitting modest clothing.

If you are feeling inspired to visit Oman give our Reservation team a call and they will help create an unforgettable itinerary for your next holiday. To discover more about Oman search 'Oman Holidays' on our Beachcomber Tours Blog and take a look at the fantastic resorts that form part of our Oman collection