Travel Tips and Customs

TRAVEL

ADVICE

Oman is one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world. To make the most of every visit to Oman, it’s important to follow the cultural norms, stay vigilant, follow the laws, understand the local currency, and be prepared.

CURRENCY

The Omani Rial (OMR) is the third highest-value currency in the world. 1 Omani Rial is divided into 1000 ‘Baisa’. Rial notes range from OMR 1 to OMR 50, while Baisas are available in note form in denominations of 100 and 500. Coins are also available in 5, 10, 25 and 50 Baisa denominations but may not be accepted at all stores and outlets.

Cash is widely used in Oman, although credit and charge cards are also popular. The quickest way to withdraw cash is to use automated teller machines (ATMs), which can be found in banks, airports, gas stations, convenience stores, and shopping malls.

ETIQUETTE

Omanis are warm and welcoming people. In return, it’s important to show respect and follow the cultural norms.

Dress modestly, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

It’s impolite to wear skimpy outfits in public, regardless of gender. However, it’s not necessary for women to cover their heads unless entering a mosque.

Don’t take photos of locals without their permission and avoid taking photos of government buildings and airports. Recreational drones are also illegal in Oman.

Always be friendly, polite, and avoid offensive language and offensive gestures.

Avoid public displays of affection.

SAFETY

Although Oman is among the safest countries in the world, it’s important to be vigilant. As with any country, don’t leave belongings unattended and make sure rental cars are completely locked.

Driving in Oman is quite safe, but always stay alert and be sure to follow the rules of the road for your own safety and because traffic laws are strictly enforced. Avoid driving in rural areas at night as they may not have adequate lighting, increasing the chance of having an encounter with wandering livestock.

Despite its location, the risk of a terror attack in Oman is extremely low. In fact, it received a zero rating on the Global Terrorism Index in 2013 and 2015, indicating high levels of safety.

VAT REFUND

Departing tourists can claim a VAT refund on personal purchases provided the value of these goods are not less than RO 25 (not inclusive of VAT). Moreover, the goods should have been purchased not earlier than three months before the departure of the passenger, and must be transported in their personal baggage.
However, ineligible for a refund are cigarettes and other tobacco-related products, food and beverage items, and oil and gas products or their derivatives. Other items could be potentially added to the list of merchandise that is not eligible for a refund, according to tax authorities.

The VAT regulations define tourists as individuals who do not have a permanent place of residence in Oman or the wider GCC region. Furthermore, VAT refunds cannot be claimed by those staying in the country for more than three months at a stretch. Crew members of a flight, ship, road transport or ferry service are not eligible for a refund as well.

IMPORTANT CONTACTS

In case of emergency, the following contacts might be helpful.

For general emergencies, call: 9999

For immediate police assistance, call: 9999

To order a taxi in Muscat, call: +968 9914 3222

For car accidents causing vehicle damage, call the police: 9999

If your car breaks down in Muscat, call a tow truck: +968 9914 3222

Keep in mind that the working week in Oman is from Sunday to Thursday. Most foreign embassies and consulates are located in Muscat and may close early, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.