I can’t remember exactly when I first decided to add Oman to my travel bucket list. I do remember watching this amazing Marko Roth video about Oman (seriously though, all his travel videos are incredible) and feeling inspired to travel to this small nation in the Middle-East. After 2 years of pining, I finally got the chance to travel to Oman last month, and boy was it an incredibly moving experience. I’ll leave all the whimsical waxing for my vlog (keep an eye peeled for one about Oman coming soon), but wanted to write up a quick Beginner’s Guide for anyone else who is interested in visiting Oman. Read on for some tips for your first trip!
How to dress
Oman is a Muslim country, which means that conservative clothing is a must. While they do seem to take a ‘live and let live’ approach to foreigners wearing tank tops, shorts, and bikinis in some places, Oman is still pretty conservative. If you want to be a good traveller and avoid coming across as an ignorant tourist, try to dress more like a local. This means pants and loose tops that cover your shoulders and arms. I know that the hot weather makes this seem unappealing, but you can buy lots of great light-weight clothing that keeps you covered and cool at the same time. You’ll also have more protection from the sun if you cover up, which is an added bonus! I opted for wearing what I usually wear in India, which is pants with a kurta.
Getting around Oman can be incredibly difficult without a car, which is why you should consider renting one if you’re going to be exploring beyond Muscat. I would also recommend dropping a little extra for a 4-wheel drive if you can. This will allow you to be able to drive up into the mountains and some of the more rural routes without having to worry about your car spazzing out. Some mountains, like Jebel Shams, even have a checkpoint at the base where park authorities check your car to make sure it’s has 4-wheel drive and is suitable for the drive up. I’m not sure if they would actually turn you away if you didn’t, but the 4-wheel drive came in handy many times throughout our roadtrip, so you’ll be glad to have it.
Finding your way
Oman is a country that is rapidly changing, and it feels like there is construction going on all over the place. New, big highways are being created, and everything in general is undergoing a renovation in order to boost the tourism industry. Because everything is changing so much and so quickly, directions can be a bit tricky. We’ve gotten spoiled over the years because Google Maps seems to function really well everywhere we go. This definitely wasn’t the case in Oman. We ended up detouring and getting lost many, many times, and met other travellers who had the same experience. Long story short, sometimes Google Maps will give you directions that take you some place completely different. Stop to ask locals for directions and remember to relax. Getting lost is all part of the adventure, and when you go off the beaten track you may discover things you normally wouldn’t!
What to eat
I always like to include food suggestions for other vegetarian/vegan travellers because I know how hard it can be to maintain that sort of diet while journeying the globe! Omani culture embraces meat-heavy cuisines, and goat meat is a common staple on a lot of menus, however, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find great vegetarian food. Indians actually make up around 20% of Oman’s population and you can definitely see their influence in the food industry. There are Indian restaurants EVERYWHERE in Oman and all of them have Indian vegetarian fare. Also, don’t miss out on the chai and coffee shops where you pull up, honk your horn, and someone comes out to take your order. These were one of my favorite parts of the trip—I was constantly wired, I drank so much tea!
Are there any other tips you’d like to know about visiting Oman? Leave a comment or question below in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer!