Alcohol is served in hotels and licensed restaurants and bars. However, drinking in public is not permitted. It is also illegal to carry alcohol in the car.
Bargaining is expected in the souk but is not quite usual elsewhere.
Most shops and malls are opened from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm. During Ramadan, the shops close later in the night. Embassies and Consulates are open from 8.00 am to 12.00 noon, Saturday to Wednesday. Banking hours are Sunday to Thursday from 8.00 am to 13.00 noon. The weekly national day off is the Friday.
The Summer months are between May and September when the weather is hot and humid. The best time to visit Oman is between October and April when temperature ranges between 25 and 35 C during the day and between 17 and 22 C at night. All buildings and vehicles are air conditioned in Oman.
The summer monsoon only touches the southern coast of Dhofar, which experiences during these months (July/August) regular light rain and reduced average daytime highs to 30° C.
Oman is deeply conservative though tolerant of others beliefs, practices and customs. Therefore, Omanis would not approve insufficient dressed men or women though they would not say anything so as not to offend you. It is best to be well dressed in all public spaces. The dress code is fairly liberal in Muscat, although decency is still expected. In the Interior, women are requested to wear tops covering the shoulders and non-revealing clothing in public. Swimwear should be restricted to the beach or pools.
Light and loose-fitting summer clothing in cotton is ideal for most of the year. Sweaters, light jackets or shawls may be needed for the cooler winter evenings.
No custom duty is levied on personal effects brought into Oman. It is forbidden to import drugs, arms, narcotics and pornographic material. Such materials are immediately seized. Non-Muslims may import up to two bottles of alcohol when traveling by air. The import of alcohol through land borders is prohibited.
Driving in Oman
Self-drive throughout the country is quite easy: the signs are all translated to English and people around are always ready to help! Here are few basic rules that are to be followed:
- Driving is on the right hand side of the road.
- Wearing the seatbelt is compulsory.
- It is prohibited to use your mobile phone while driving.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc. is prohibited.
- The driving speed limit on main city roads and highways is between 80km/hr and 120km/hr.
- Visitors with valid European, American, GCC or International driving license can drive only Rent a Car in Oman.
- In case of minor road accident, if the two parties agree, they can fill up the minor accident report themselves and approach the Car rental company and the insurance company directly instead of calling the police.
- In case of accident where injuries to people and/or damages to property are involved, or if more than 2 vehicles are involved or in case of major accident, then a police report must be issued on the spot and the vehicles should not be moved until the police arrives.
- In all cases, it is strongly advised to always carry your documentation with you.
- Roads are monitored by fixed and moveable radars. Over speeding is a traffic violation and is directly transferred to the Royal Omani Police. An appropriate fine is levied, with a minimum of ten Omani Rials. The fine amount will increase depending on the over speeding and other penalties could also be imposed. Jumping a red light is a major traffic violation and can result in heavier fines and penalties.