IMHO, Oman is the most beautiful and fascinating country in the Middle East. It’s a shame that recent events in the world have caused anxiety for tourists and particularly (understandably) to the Middle East. However, Oman is a perfectly safe country, located in a turbulent region, and should be on your bucket list. Its grandiose landscapes and fascinating culture have inspired myths, legends and dreams that still take hold of the imagination. Oman has spectacular mountains, lonely deserts, idyllic beaches, picturesque villages, and elusive wildlife. A welcome and authentic respite for the modernism of its popular neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, Oman still offers a sense of the oriental spirit of 1001 nights with its low-key profile tourism profile. Now is the time to immerse yourself in the mysterious beauty of Oman, because the country gears up to attract much more tourists, with the opening of a new airport, a large conference center and a string of new hotels.
Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Oman with my travel guide. Find out more about:
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
- Travel requirements
- Getting around
- Inspiration, highlights & travel tips
- Recommended luxury hotels (+ reviews)
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Oman’s weather is typical of the Arabian peninsula, with scorchingly hot summers (April to September) and pleasantly temperate winters (October to March). However, the varied topography & geography of Oman makes its climate varied too:
- For most of the country, including the capital Muscat, the summer season is extremely hot, humid and unsuitable for travel. The temperature during this season peaks up to an average of 40°C (104° F). Sometimes the temperature can go as high as 50°C (122°F) during the day. Winter is the best time for travel, with an average temperature during the day of about 27°C (80°F) while the nights are breezy and cooler with temperatures dropping down to an average of 15°C (60°C). Winter days are filled with sunshine for most of the time (although recent years have seen an increase in the number of overcast and rainy days).
- The temperature in the mountains is around 15°C (30°F) degrees cooler than in Muscat year round, making it a great place to escape from the heat of the lower plains in the summer months, or to enjoy a refreshing break and perhaps a view of snow-capped peaks under the winter sun.
- The Dhofar area in southern Oman – where the beach resort of Salalah is located – sees monsoon rains from June to September. The rain falls under the form of a constant drizzle, transforming the landscape into a green, lush oasis.
HOW TO GET THERE
Most visitors arrive into Oman via Muscat International Airport, although an increasing number of visitors fly in via Salalah International Airport.
- Muscat International Airport (MCT) is the country’s largest airport and the main entry to Oman. It is situated close to the capital Muscat and features flights to several regional destinations as well as some intercontinental services to Asia, Africa and Europe. Click here for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Muscat.
- Salalah International Airport (SLL) is the Sultanate of Oman’s secondary international airport, and is the main gateway to southern Oman and the beach resort town of Salalah. Click here for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Salalah.
Before you buy a plane ticket, consider reading my tips & tricks for buying the cheapest plane ticket.
It’s also possible to enter Oman over road from the United Arab Emirates. The Musandam Governorate – where the Six Senses Zighy Bay resort is located – is an exclave, separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates, and is best accessed by land from the United Arab Emirates (2 hour drive from Dubai).
Requirements for entry into Oman differ from country to country, and are subject to change. Prior to departure, always check with your government and your nearest Omani embassy or consulate what documents you need for travel to Oman.
- You need a passport with at least six months validity to enter Oman.
- You must obtain a visa prior to travel unless you come from one of the visa exempt countries (which are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council) or one of the countries whose citizens are eligible for a one-month travel visa that can be purchased on arrival at any land, sea or air entry port in the country.
Make sure you read my 10 tips to plan a worry-free trip.
There’s very little public transport in Oman. You can get to the main towns and cities by public coaches, but to really see anything of the country you’ll need your own transport:
- Most travelers will rent a car. This indeed the easiest way of getting around the country. Car rental companies are present at major airports and central city locations. Although the road infrastructure is excellent, the driving conditions can be dangerous because of the undisciplined driver habits of the locals.
- One of the best ways to travel worry-free around Oman is by signing up for a tour or hiring your own guide-driver (which can be arranged via most hotels at an affordable cost).
- Domestic flights might be an option if you don’t have a lot of time and want to travel in a fast way from Muscat to Salalah (90 minute flight instead of a 9 hour drive). Flight are operated by Oman Air, the country’s flagship carrier.
INSPIRATION, HIGHLIGHTS & TRAVEL TIPS
There are several good reasons why you should put Oman on your bucket list:
- The old city center, Sultan Qaboos Mosque and Opera House in Muscat
- The magnificent Hajar Mountains
- Boundless Arabian deserts
- Stunning fjords of the Musandam Peninsula
- Gorgeous beaches, mainly around Muscat and Salalah
- Salalah’s coconut-fringed beaches and banana plantations
The following, in-depth article may also inspire you and help you plan your next holiday to Oman:
- Top 10 most fabulous luxury resorts in Oman
- Tips & tricks for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel
- Tips & tricks for buying the cheapest plane ticket
It’s impossible to suggest one itinerary for Oman, but I hereby share with you a schedule based on my holidays to Oman. This is a great itinerary if you want to see country in a time frame of one week (although two weeks are recommended if you have more time and want to see all of the country)
- Day 1-4: Muscat & beach (recommended hotel: The Chedi Muscat, Al Bustan Palace, or Shangri-La Al Husn).
- Day 5-7: Hajar Mountains (recommended hotel: Alila Jabal Akhdar or Anantara al Jabal Al Akhdar).
If you have more time, you can also extend your vacation with a couple of days at the Musandam Peninsula, which is accessed via road (via the UAE) or a domestic flight and which harbours stunning fjords in addition to Oman’s most fabulous hotel (Six Senses Zighy Bay). If you have two weeks time, you could also visit Oman’s Dhofar region in the south, around the beach resort town of Salalah (recommended hotel: Al Baleed Resort Salaha by Anantara).
RECOMMENDED LUXURY HOTELS (+ REVIEWS)
Please visit my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Oman if you are eager to know how I rank Oman’s top properties, based on my own experience at each one of them.
Below, you find my reviews of luxury hotels in Oman (with pros, cons, and tips to save money per property).
- Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay (Oman)
- Hotel review: InterContinental Muscat (Oman)
- Review: Oman’s most stylish resort, The Chedi Muscat
- Review: Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Oman)
- Hotel review: PHENOMENAL Alila Jabal Akhdar (Oman)
- Review: Shangri-La Al Husn hotel, Muscat (Oman)