From golden sands to warm coastal waters and bustling cities, Oman is a country that is making its presence known to the world. Oman is considered a great introductory country for those visiting the Middle East for the first time. It's easy to understand why this may be the case!
Oman, in many ways, is a crossroads of the world -- harmoniously merging old traditions and culture with new ideals and foreigners from around the globe. In Oman, Islamic practices have a significant influence on everyday life for Omanis and visitors alike.
A tour of Oman is a great way to experience what this diverse country has to offer without planning many of the finer details on your own. If you are considering a tour of Oman, there are lots of things you’ll need to consider before you explore this beautiful Arab country.
Hiking & Trekking Tours
Given the unique geography of Oman, there is plenty of hiking to be done while on a tour of the country. If you're on a tour of Oman, you might find yourself hiking dunes in the middle of the desert at the Wahiba Sands. You'll be able to venture into swimming holes and explore the beautiful green oasis areas of Wadi Nakhr -- known as the Grand Canyon of the Middle East. Whatever your landscape of choice, you'll find it in Oman and be able to get lots of exercise while you explore the land and wildlife.
Desert & Camping Tours
One of the coolest things you can do in Oman is camp under the stars. “Wild camping” as it’s called is legal in Oman. This means that you truly can camp anywhere you want, provided you have the right gear to do it properly. Sleeping outside provides you with a real connection to the landscape -- something the rural Omani people still do in certain areas.
Traditional Omani culture is alive and well to this day. In the capital, Muscat, visitors are treated to a mix of Arabic language and architecture with modern brands and progressive ideals. Outside of Muscat, there are many smaller towns and villages that are full of cultural experiences waiting to be explored. Many rural areas still rely on a traditional way of life that includes farming, agriculture, and producing artisan goods.
Oman is a small country with well-forged routes that tours follow to ensure you see all the best sights and have the best experiences. However, if you're embarking on a tour of Oman, there are still important details you’ll need to consider.
Best Time to Visit Oman
Weather-wise, Oman has a very reliably warm climate all year round. The summer months from June to August are very hot and are best to be avoided if you can. All other months of the year are when the days are warm but not scorching hot and the night offers cooler relief from the heat. Many tours only operate in the months outside June through August for this reason.
What to Look for in a Tour to Oman
If you are planning to visit Oman on a tour, there are several factors to keep in mind. Depending on the route around Oman, be sure to inquire about the transportation you will be taking from point to point.
If you’ll be doing any camping, check to see that all the logistics are covered for when you’re out in the Omani desert. You should feel confident asking any questions about the details of your tour or itinerary before booking any experience.
Typical Tour Cost
Tours of Oman vary in cost depending on the number of days spent traveling, what is included in the tour, and any extras like side excursions and other means of transportation. Many routes begin and end in the capital, Muscat. As such, an 8-day excursion that includes transportation, accommodation, and a few meals can cost around $2000. These costs typically do not include airfare to and from Oman, so be sure to factor that into your overall budget.
Packing Tips & Gear Rentals
Since the climate will be relatively warm during the duration of any tour, packing clothing that is light, versatile, and quick drying -- great for hiking in the desert! Renting gear, like camping equipment, is usually taken care of by your tour provider.
Remember, Oman is a Muslim country that aims to respect Islamic laws in everyday life. For clothing, this includes covering skin. Men are permitted shorts so long as they cover past the knee. Woman are strongly encouraged to cover their legs and shoulders at all times.
Other Tips for Travel in Oman
While Omani people are quite accustomed to foreigners in the country through tourism and different industries, you should still be as respectful as possible of culture and traditions in Oman. Learning the basics in Arabic will go a long way towards shaping meaningful interactions with locals.
If you are heading to Oman on a tour, you will require a tourist visa. Oman recently implemented an eVisa system, so you can apply for your visa online before you arrive in Oman. The visa is applied for and received electronically and the government will provide instructions for how you are to present the visa upon arrival.
As with any foreign travel overseas, consulting a travel doctor about the necessary vaccinations for Oman is a good idea before departure. Although you will likely travel when the temperature isn’t at its yearly peak, it is still a good idea to have a water bottle on you at all times and be hydrated throughout the day. This is especially true if you are doing any strenuous activities like hiking, swimming, or exploring the desert canyons.
Oman is generally a very safe country given the region of the world it is in. Travelers heading to Oman should take normal safety precautions in crowded markets and on public transportation to avoid being the target of petty crime like pickpocketing. While driving in Oman isn’t dangerous outright, careless driving practices across the country are considered a significant problem. Your tour operator should have a good safety record when it comes to transportation while on tour.