Oman is the only country in the Persian Gulf where you can see mountains and waterfalls, desert and oases, fully feel the interweaving of cultures that came from Persia, Africa, India and the Far East.
Shopping and stores
Shopping in Oman is very “discreet”, you should not focus on the neighborhood of the Emirates – the “mecca” of trade. In traditional markets, you can buy silver and gold jewelry, sandalwood products, various oils, incense, traditional Omani knives (“khanjars”), traditional Omani headdress “kummu”, ground coffee with cardamom and much more, ranging from packaging incense for 0.50 OMR to a multi-thousand dollar antique knife. You can bargain if the cost exceeds 1 OMR, this is even considered a national tradition.
The bazaar in Matrah is considered the oldest market in the country (it is located in the center of Muscat, next to the Corniche promenade). In the market of the city of Nizwa (two hours by car from Muscat) you can buy real antiques, silver jewelry, find interesting specimens of daggers of the 19th century (perhaps even been “in business”). The continuation of the market are covered meat, fish, fruit and date trading rows.
Since 2002, the Amouage perfume factory (a French-Omani joint venture) has been operating in Oman, producing the most expensive perfume in the world. Omani coffee is best purchased in supermarkets in factory vacuum packaging. The cost of a 450 gram can is from 0.9 OMR and above. It is better to buy Amouage products in the Duty Free of Muscat Airport before departure. Friday is a national holiday in Oman. See other countries beginning with O.
Cuisine and restaurants of Oman
The national cuisine of Oman is characterized by an acceptable spiciness of dishes and “soulful” portions. It is worth trying fish and seafood dishes with local spices, especially shark meat. Of sweets, halva and dates are popular. The traditional drink of Oman is coffee, very strongly brewed, with the addition of cardamom, ground seeds or a drop of rose water. They usually finish the meal with a toothpick or cumin seeds to refresh the mouth.
Good restaurants are available mainly at hotels, but in the city you can find mostly eateries for a quick “snack”.
Taking food with your left hand is not customary in Oman. If the guest feels that he is unable to eat more, and the hosts continue to treat him, he just needs to shake the cup in his hands. Rice is taken with a pinch, some pasty dishes can be taken with a piece of bread.
Entertainment and attractions in Oman
Oman is known for its fortified forts – there are more than 500 of them in the country. Two of them, Jalali Fort and Mirani Fort, are located in Muscat. Bahla Fort at the foot of the Akhdar Mountains is included in the UNESCO list due to the significant length of the fortress walls – more than 11 km. The highlands of Oman are dotted with dry riverbeds – wadis, along which roads are often laid. In the sands of Wahiba you can see the highest dunes on the planet.
There are many national parks in Oman, where rare animals live – the oryx, the Arabian tahr, which was recently threatened with extinction, the Arabian wolf and leopard, the striped hyena and the ashen falcon. Giant sea turtles breed on Mazira Island.
Of the religious monuments, it is worth paying attention to the Sheikh Qaboos Mosque. The largest carpet in the world weighing 21 tons is also exhibited here.
The star rating of hotels in Oman corresponds to the global classification. The service is impeccable, corresponds to the level of UAE hotels. Most of the hotels are located in Muscat. Mostly among Russian tourists, 4-5 * hotels are in demand due to their proximity to the sea. Some hotels have their own beaches, some municipal hotels can stand on the shore, but the last 10 m of the territory will belong to the state. There are quite a lot of locals on the beaches, especially in the evenings and weekends (Thursday-Friday). Al Bustan Palace 5 *, Chedi 5 *, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa 5 *, Crowne Plaza Muscat 4 * hotels have their own beaches, which are fenced and guarded, and through which no one will pass. All beaches are sandy.
The mains voltage is 220 V, sockets can be three-pin, an adapter can be bought in stores or rented free of charge at the hotel.
The monetary unit of the country is the Omani rial (OMR), in 1 rial there are 1000 baize. Current exchange rate: 1 OMR = 149.68 RUB (1 USD = 0.38 OMR, 1 EUR = 0.4 OMR).
Payment for goods and services is made in local currency. In private shops, it is sometimes possible to agree on payment in dollars or EUR, but the price will inevitably be rounded towards the owner of the shop. Exchange offices can be found everywhere. Exchange offices are located everywhere, and you can change money in them without fear. ATMs are common, but not all accept foreign credit cards. You can pay by card in large hotels, restaurants and shopping centers.
Tips are not required, but they are expected from foreign tourists (including drivers, guides, hotel staff). Expensive restaurants add 15-17% service charge to the bill automatically, but in case of good service it is recommended to leave 5-10% of the bill to the staff. Tipping is not accepted in taxis, as the cost of the trip is negotiated in advance. In hotels, a local tax of 15% is added to the cost of service.