Electrical current is 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs
with rectangular, 3-pin flat blades are used.
The official language of Oman is Arabic, but English is
widely spoken. Hotel staff often also speak German and
A service charge is usually added to bills, however a "little
extra" is appreciated, as the service charge usually never makes it
to the attendant. A general rule would be 5% additional to service
charge, or between 10 to 15% where service has not been added.
Like all the Gulf States, Oman is considered to be under a high
risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, particularly against
Western interests, therefore vigilance is necessary. Crime, though,
is not a problem for visitors, although common sense precautions
should be practised. Rental and company vehicles have been
vulnerable to robbery in the southern areas of Thumrait, Marmul and
Nimr. Women are advised not to wear shorts or scanty clothing in
the towns to avoid risk of sexual harassment. It is advised to
carry a copy of your passport at all times.
Oman is a predominantly Muslim country and visitors should
respect religious sensitivity, particularly in the matter of dress
and public conduct. Women, in particular, should wear loose fitting
clothes that cover most of the body. Eating, drinking and smoking
in public during the holy month of Ramadan should be avoided, as it
is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Homosexuality is illegal in the
country. Importing obscene publications or videos is subject to
severe penalties. Alcohol is available only at licensed hotels and
restaurants and penalties for driving under the influence of
alcohol are drastic. The legal blood alcohol level in the country
is close to zero.
The business world in Oman is minute, with a small core of
families controlling most of the country's industry and trade. As
in most of the Middle East, it is preferable to conduct business
face to face and develop good working relations built on trust and
friendship. Hospitality is important and visitors will be treated
with respect; it is a good idea to have a basic idea of Omani
customs and attempting to speak some Arabic will be appreciated.
Business attire is usually formal with suits and ties the norm;
women in particular should dress modestly. English is spoken
widely. The working week is normally from Saturday to Wednesday,
with some businesses open on Thursday mornings, and hours can vary.
Most businesses are open from 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm.
The international direct dialling code for Oman is +968, and the
outgoing international code 00, followed by the relevant country
code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are not necessary. The
country has GSM 900 mobile phone networks in operation. Internet
cafes are to be found in Muscat and Nizwa and email is available in
most city hotels.
Travellers to Oman do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes and
2 litres/2 bottles of liquor per family, provided they are
non-Muslim visitors. Meat products officially require an Islamic
slaughter certificate. Videotapes for personal use may be
confiscated and sent to Ministry of National Heritage and Culture
for verification. Prohibited items include dates (including shoots
of date palm), coconut, ornamental palm trees and parts thereof.
Also prohibited are firearms and toy weapons, swords or knives and
flammable material, obscene reading material and non-canned
foodstuffs from cholera-infected areas. Items of value may be
exempted, subject to an assessment by a security officer.