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Oman
General Information

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Airport Information

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Nightlife

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Hotels

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Weather & best time to visit

28°
Tuesday, 06.12.2016
06:00 UTC

Phone calls & Internet

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Shopping in Muscat

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Good to know

City map Muscat

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    Good to know

    Muscat – a brief overview

    A straggle of whitewashed low-rise building stretching almost 25km along the Omani coastline, recent years have seen Muscat engulf its suburbs in a Dubai-style building frenzy. Unlike the Emirati city, however, most of the newcomers are less than three storeys high, while the historic Muttrah district retains all of its old-world charm.

    Just as charming is the old Corniche, a picturesque stretch of seafront fringed by 18th-century balconied buildings and overlooked by the imposing 17th-century Mutrah Fort. But whether you’re in the Old or New Town, Muscat’s friendly locals and surprisingly clean sandy shoreline are bound to please.

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    Top 10 sights in Muscat

    ListMap
    Maskat, Oman, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Muttrah Corniche

    Muttrah Corniche
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    One of the prettiest stretches of seafront in Muscat, the Corniche is lined with old balconied buildings overlooking the harbour and thronged with vendors selling everything from fish to carpets.

    Bait al-Baranda

    Al-Mina St Mutrah
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat-Thu 0900-1300 and 1600-1800

    Perched on the end of the Muttrah Corniche, Bait-al Baranda is a tiny museum charting the cultural life of Muscat from its home in a restored 1930s villa.

    Wadi Shab

    Wadi Tiwi
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    The closest of Oman’s many wadis (riverbeds) to Muscat, Wadi Shab is close to the village of Tiwi and boasts dramatic sheer rock walls and pools of striking emerald green water.

    National Museum

    An-Noor Street
    Muscat
    Oman
    Tel: +968 24 701 289
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0930-1330 and 1700-1900

    Thanks to Oman’s past as the hub of an East African trading empire, there’s no shortage of striking jewels, whether on ruby-encrusted necklaces or set in the hilts of the museum’s collection of elaborate swords.

    Omani Society for Fine Arts

    Ruwi Sarooj St
    Shatti al-Qurm
    Muscat
    Oman
    Tel: +968 24 694 969
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat-Thu 0900-1300 and 1600-1800

    Housed in a converted 19th-century villa, the Omani Society for Fine Arts combines the work of local contemporary artists with big-name modern painters from around the world.

    Bait Al-Zubair

    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat-Thu 0930-1830

    Dedicated to Omani life in centuries past, Bait az-Zubair boasts a fine collection of antique household items, as well as an impressive amount of ceremonial daggers and silver jewellery.

    Qasr Al Alam

    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Closed to the public

    Protected by Forts Al-Jalali and Al-Mirani, the imposing Qasr Al Alam palace is home to Oman’s ruling dynasty and was built on the site of a former British embassy. Huge and sprawling, it is closed to the public but well worth a look.

    Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

    Sultan Qaboos Street
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat-Thu 0800-1100

    The third largest mosque in the world, Muscat’s main place of worship was built by Sultan Qaboos in the 1930s. Home to an impressive crystal chandelier and a vast carpet that took 600 women four years to create, it’s open to non-Muslims but women have to cover up.

    Amouage Factory

    Rusayl
    Muscat
    Oman
    Tel: +968 24 534 800
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sun-Thu 0830-1630

    Opened more than a quarter of a century ago, Muscat’s Amouage produces some of the most expensive perfumes in the world.

    Nakhal Fort

    Nakhl
    al-Batina
    Oman
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sun-Thu 0830-1630

    A 40-minute drive from central Muscat, this impressive 17th-century fort sits amid palm orchards near the old village of Nakhi and boasts its own museum and a weekly goat market.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Desert camel treks, luxury camping under the stars and 4-wheel drive wadi safaris through mighty canyons are some of the adventures awaiting the visitor to Oman.

    From quiet mountain villages, where time has stood still, to magnificent UNESCO forts, swaying date-palm plantations, tempestuous blow holes and beautiful beaches, these are the kinds of images afforded by the fascinating country of Oman.

    Geography

    The Sultanate of Oman occupies the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula and a total area of 309,500 sq km (119,500 sq miles or roughly the same size as Italy) including the coastal islands of Masirah, Halanyat and Salama, plus Musandam and Madha, which are completely surrounded by the United Arab Emirates.

    It is bordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the northwest, the Republic of Yemen to the southwest and the United Arab Emirates to the north.

    Oman has 2,092 km (1,300 miles) of coastline on the Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The interior is covered by a vast expanse of desert with around 82% of the landmass occupied by deserts and valleys. The Hajjar mountain range, which occupies around 15% of the country’s landmass, forms an arc extending from the northwest of the country to the southeast. The highest mountain is Jabal Shams, at around 2,980m (9,777ft).

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 3154134

    Population Density (per sq km): 10

    Capital: Muscat.

    Language

    Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken. Swahili is also spoken by Omani descendents from East Africa. German and French are spoken by some hotel staff while Urdu, Farsi, Hindi and Tagalog are widely spoken by Oman’s large expatriate workforce.

    Currency

    Omani Rial (OMR) = 1,000 baiza. Notes are in denominations of OMR50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 500, 250, 200 and 100 baiza. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10 and 5 baiza.

    Electricity

    240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

    General business opening hours

    Sun-Thurs 0800-1300 and 1430-1700. Government office hours are Sun-Thurs 0800-1400. All offices are closed on Fridays.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2016 – December 2017 period.

    Note

    Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given below are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last up to several days, depending on the region.

    2016

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2016
    Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension): 05. May 2016
    Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan): 07. July 2016
    Renaissance Day: 23. July 2016
    Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): 13. September 2016
    Islamic New Year: 03. October 2016
    Birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos: 18. November 2016
    National Day: 18. November 2016
    Birth of the Prophet Muhammad: 12. December 2016

    2017

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2017
    Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension): 24. April 2017
    Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan): 26. June 2017
    Renaissance Day: 23. July 2017
    Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): 02. September 2017
    Islamic New Year: 22. September 2017
    Birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos: 18. November 2017
    National Day: 18. November 2017
    Birth of the Prophet Muhammad: 01. December 2017

    All information subject to change.

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Muscat

    ListMap

    Most of Muscat’s bars are to be found within hotels, with little beyond late-night coffee shops available elsewhere. Those in the market for luxury lounges will be spoilt for choice, and there are plenty of English-style pubs.

    Nowhere, however, is cheap.

    Trader Vic’s

    Al Kharjiya Street
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    The Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s does cheerful luridly coloured cocktails by the goldfish bowl.

    John Barry Bar

    Shatti Al Qurm
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Nice for a quiet drink, the John Barry Bar boasts live piano music and a varied drinks menu.

    Rock Bottom Cafe

    Al Qurm St
    Qurm
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Muscat’s only bar specialising in live rock ‘n’ roll also doubles as a steakhouse situated in the Ramee Guestline Hotel.

    Kargeen

    Al Bashair St
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    There’s no alcohol on the menu but there’s a great atmosphere and plenty of strong coffee.

    Pavo Real

    Al Khuwair
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    A Mexican-themed bar that turns into a club as the evening wears on.

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Muscat

    ListMap

    Thanks to its seafaring past, Omani food is unusually spicy but retains a Middle Eastern simplicity: Think meat and rice plus lashings of strong Arabic coffee.

    While finding international fare in Muscat isn’t hard, it’s well worth dropping into one of the little cafés that dot its boulevards to sample some of the local cuisine.

    The Beach

    North Ghubra 232, Way 3215, Street 46
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Fresh seafood cooked in fire pits and a romantic beach location.

    Mumtaz Mahal

    Way 2601
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Authentic Indian food in a beautiful setting overlooking the picturesque Qurum Natural Park.

    D’Arcy’s Kitchen

    Way 2137 (Al Bashair St.)
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    For your burger or brunch fix, D’Arcy’s Kitchen is second to none.

    Ubhar

    Al Kharjiyah Street
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Despite the quirky menu (101 ways with camel), Ubhar is a stylish place to eat.

    Bin Ateeq

    Al Khuwair St
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    It doesn’t look like much from the outside but the Omani food on the menu is second to none.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Extreme Sailing Series (Regatta)

    16 – 19 March 2016
    Website

    Venue: Muscat Bay.

    Once a year, you can follow the exciting Extreme Sailing Series race from the white sandy beach in Almouj, as sport catamarans compete for the trophy. Spectators pay no admission to watch the event and have the refreshing waves of the Gulf of Oman close at hand if they feel the need to cool down.

    Ramadan

    6 June – 6 July 2016

    Venue: Throughout the city.

    During the Holy Month of Ramadan tents are erected in hotel gardens for people to break their fast after sundown with a selection of Omani favourites like harees (thick cereal dish) and sweetmeats like halwa (sugar and rose water confection).

    Salalah Festival

    15 July – 31 August 2016
    Website

    Venue: Salalah.

    When the monsoon-like Khareef rains begin to fall, the normally barren landscape around Salalah is transformed into a verdant paradise. Another good reason to look forward to this season is the Salalah Festival, which offers its visitors a variety of cultural events, concerts, shopping opportunities and sports events.

    Muscat Festival

    January – February 2017
    Website

    Venue: Qurum National Park and Naseem Park.

    The biggest event in Muscat (if not Oman) is this annual month-long festival held in several outdoor venues around the city. The festival showcases Omani and neighbouring Arabic culture with poetry recital, traditional dancing and craft displays. The event also attracts dance and acrobatic acts from other countries and includes fireworks and shopping stalls, mainly from the subcontinent and Far East.

    Tour of Oman

    14 – 19 February 2017
    Website

    Venue: Various venues in Muscat.

    With the aim of promoting and supporting the country’s young generation of athletes, the Tour of Oman cycle race was held for the first time in 2010. It not only welcomes young competitors, but also gives seasoned cyclists the chance to test their strength amid the fascinating scenery around Muscat.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Muscat

    ListMap

    Like those of the neighbouring UAE, Muscat’s hotels tend to veer between extreme luxury and modestly comfortable.

    Nevertheless, budget options are there for those who want them while those in search of something special will be spoilt for choice.

    The Chedi Muscat

    North Ghubra 32
    Way No. 3215
    Street No. 46
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Muscat’s grandest hotel boasts every sort of luxury imaginable.

    Grand Hyatt Muscat

    Way number 3032, building 2560 EAME, 133
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Huge and comfortably appointed with the usual high standards you’d expect from the Hyatt chain.

    Al Falaj Hotel

    Al Mujamma Street
    Greater Muttrah, 113
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Classic Omani décor meets Maldives-style service in this centrally located hotel. Good value.

    Park Inn

    Sultan Qaboos Street Al Khuwair
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Run by the Radisson hotel group, the Park Inn is central and very comfortable indeed.

     

    Mutrah Hotel

    Grater Mutrah Street 1
    Muscat
    Oman
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    The first hotel ever opened in Muscat, the Mutrah has seen better days but knows how to look after its guests.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Tuesday, 06.12.2016 06:00 UTC

    sunny

    temperature


    28°C


    wind direction

    north

    wind speed

    2.5 mph

    7 days forecast

    Wednesday

    07.12.2016

    28°C / 21°C

    Thursday

    08.12.2016

    28°C / 22°C

    Friday

    09.12.2016

    28°C / 22°C

    Saturday

    10.12.2016

    26°C / 22°C

    Sunday

    11.12.2016

    25°C / 21°C

    Monday

    12.12.2016

    25°C / 20°C

    Tuesday

    13.12.2016

    25°C / 15°C

    Climate & best time to visit Oman

    Because Oman is so large and the terrain diverse, the climatic conditions are as varied as the geography. The most popular time to visit is from October to April when the weather is warm and sunny and temperatures range from a very pleasant 25°C (77°F) to around 35°C (95°F) during the day. It is cooler at night, ranging in temperature from 17°C (63°F) to 19°C (66°F).

    From May to August, it is very hot and humid at the coastal areas, while the interior generally remains hot and dry. Between May and September, the southern Dhofar region has its own microclimate. Known as the khareef, the area catches the Indian Ocean’s monsoon season and temperatures can be 10-15°C (18-27°F) lower than the rest of the country. Most of the rain falls during the winter months and varies according to the region. Other than in Dhofar, it is rare to see rain between May and November. The coastal areas and the interior plains average 20-100mm (0.8-4 inches) of rainfall annually but this can rise to around 900mm (35 inches) in the mountains. It is common to see snowfall on the highest mountain peaks during the winter.

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    30 °C

    10 °C

    35 °C

    9 °C

    41 °C

    12 °C

    43 °C

    15 °C

    44 °C

    21 °C

    46 °C

    25 °C

    45 °C

    23 °C

    42 °C

    23 °C

    42 °C

    21 °C

    40 °C

    15 °C

    35 °C

    12 °C

    33 °C

    10 °C

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    26 mm

    19 mm

    9 mm

    9 mm

    2 mm

    1 mm

    2 mm

    2 mm

    0 mm

    2 mm

    9 mm

    18 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    9 h

    9 h

    9 h

    11 h

    11 h

    11 h

    9 h

    10 h

    10 h

    10 h

    9 h

    8 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    73 %

    74 %

    69 %

    66 %

    59 %

    73 %

    78 %

    82 %

    75 %

    71 %

    70 %

    71 %

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    24 °C

    24 °C

    24 °C

    27 °C

    28 °C

    30 °C

    30 °C

    30 °C

    29 °C

    29 °C

    27 °C

    26 °C

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan30 °C10 °C24 °C19 °C73 %26 mm29.5 h
    Feb35 °C9 °C24 °C19 °C74 %19 mm29.8 h
    Mar41 °C12 °C27 °C22 °C69 %9 mm19.0 h
    Apr43 °C15 °C31 °C25 °C66 %9 mm111.1 h
    May44 °C21 °C35 °C29 °C59 %2 mm< 111.6 h
    Jun46 °C25 °C36 °C31 °C73 %1 mm< 111.9 h
    Jul45 °C23 °C35 °C30 °C78 %2 mm< 19.2 h
    Aug42 °C23 °C32 °C28 °C82 %2 mm< 110.4 h
    Sep42 °C21 °C33 °C28 °C75 %0 mm010.7 h
    Oct40 °C15 °C32 °C26 °C71 %2 mm< 110.5 h
    Nov35 °C12 °C29 °C23 °C70 %9 mm19.6 h
    Dec33 °C10 °C25 °C20 °C71 %18 mm28.6 h
    year46 °C9 °C30 °C25 °C72 %99 mm810.1 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing code: +968

    Telephone

    Public telephones use phonecards which are available from petrol stations, supermarkets and some smaller shops. They are available in denominations of 1.5, 3 and 5 Rials. It is cheaper to make outgoing international calls between 2100 and 0700.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is variable.

    Internet

    There are a few internet cafés in Oman’s main cities. All the luxury hotels have business centres with Wi-Fi.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Muscat

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Like the rest of the Gulf, Muscat is fond of its mega malls but there are plenty of traditional shopping spots to browse. As you’d expect for a nation built on trade, Muscat’s ancient Mutrah Souk is a treasure trove of colourful babouche slippers, silverware and spices, including local favourite frankincense. Just as unique is the oudh-heavy output of Muscat’s Amouage perfume factory, while Shatti al-Qurm is home to a gallery selling beautiful handmade crafts.

    Markets

    Mutrah Souk is the main market and sells everything from traditional silver daggers to filigree jewellery and beautifully crafted metal tea sets.

    Shopping Centres

    Muscat Grand Mall is the biggest and is home to most international chains, as well as a few luxury local boutiques. Also worth a look are the Sultan Centre and the Zakher Shopping Mall.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. A small gift, either promoting your company or country, is well received. Dignity and respect are key in Omani culture and public criticisms are rare. As far as dress is concerned, it is important that women dress modestly beyond the hotel grounds, ie long skirts or dresses (below the knee) with covered shoulders; men should wear trousers and shirts with sleeves. Tight-fitting clothes should be restricted to hotel restaurants to avoid giving offence, although this is not strictly followed by some Westerners. Shorts should not be worn in public and beachwear is prohibited anywhere except the beach.

    Collecting seashells, abalone, corals, crayfish and turtle eggs is also prohibited. Dumping litter is forbidden. It is polite not to smoke in public, but generally no-smoking signs are posted where appropriate; smoking is banned in public places in Muscat. Homosexual behaviour is illegal.

    Photography

    Visitors should ask permission before attempting to photograph people or their property. ‘No Photography’ signs exist in certain places and must be observed.

    Good to know

    Health

    Food & Drink

    While tap water is generally safe to drink, most Omanis drink bottled water and this is widely available. You can safely drink carbonated drinks in cans and bottles. Outside the capital area and main towns, you should boil or sterilise water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice. Use iodine tablets and portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. Avoid ice cubes in your drinks.

    Food bought in the main supermarkets can be regarded as safe. Outside the capital area, milk may be unpasteurised and if so, should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurised. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

    It is advisable to avoid food and drinks bought from street vendors. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.

    Other Risks

    Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended, the latter particularly for those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, may have sexual contact with locals or be exposed through medical treatment ie, for an accident.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Hussain, Firazath
    Al Massaraat Medical Centre
    P.O. Box 853
    PC 116 Muscat
    Sultanate of Oman
    Tel. +968-2456-6435 / 2457-1033

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre