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Oman Holidays

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Destinations > Oman

About OMAN HOLIDAYS

Oman is a fascinating country facing the Arabian Sea on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, Saudi Arabia in the west, and Yemen in the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea in the south and east, and the Gulf of Oman in the northeast. Oman is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity" and as such boasts evidence of early civilisation and trading routes across its deserts. A vast desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north and southeast coast, where the country's main cities are also located: capital city Muscat, Matrah and Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south. Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and more humid along the coast.

Muscat

About MUSCAT HOLIDAYS

The city referred to as "Muscat" is in fact three smaller towns which have grown together over time:
  • Muscat - often referred to as the "walled city", Muscat proper is the site of the royal palaces.
  • Matrah (Matruh) - originally a fishing village, and home to the maze-like Matrah Souq.
  • Ruwi - generally considered the commercial and diplomatic centre of the city.
A thriving and strategically located port of the Arabian peninsula in ancient times, Muscat is the capital of modern Oman. Made up of six provinces called wilayats and sitting on the white sandy shores of the Arabian Sea, Muscat has a lot to offer. Explore the Portuguese forts and the Palace of HM Sultan Qaboos. The Grand Mosque is a ‘must see’ and is a beautiful example of modern Islamic architecture. Explore the Mutrah Souq, famous for silver craft shops and perfumes. Adventure seekers can take a 4x4 or ATV to explore the Hajar Mountains, Wadi Bani Khalid and sand dunes. Or choose to chill out on one of the beaches with pristine white sand and crystal clear waters.

Regions of Oman

About REGIONS OF OMAN HOLIDAYS

The Sultanate of Oman, about the size of Britain, is made up of many diverse regions worth exploring.

The oasis city of Nizwa boasts an imposing fort, palm trees and bustling souk, whilst a few kilometres away the town of Bahla has an historic fort with 132 watchtowers. Jabrin is a town in north eastern Oman known for its impressive castle. Al Jabal al Akhdar, which translates to "Green Mountains", lies at the heart of the Al Hajar Mountains. Famous for its traditional rose water extraction, pomegranate, apricot, peach and walnut. The spectacular Nakhal Fort is dramatically located at the edge of the Jebel Akhdar Mountains in northwest Oman. Nearby is a beautiful oasis and hot spring. Rustaq, once the capital of Oman, is surrounded in palm trees with the pre-Islamic-era Rustaq Fort and monumental Al-Hazm Castle. The wadis of the surrounding area are worth exploring and are known for their natural springs.

Salalah

About SALALAH HOLIDAYS

Salalah is the capital of the Dhofar region, the second largest city in Oman and the birthplace of the Sultan. The coastal city is colourful and sub-tropical with heavy influences from Oman’s former territories in East Africa. During the monsoon season, June through September, the surrounding areas are transformed into an oasis with waterfalls and green pastures. The coconut lined fine white sand beaches can be enjoyed year round.

Visitors can stop by The Museum of the Frankincense Land to learn more about the production and trade of Frankincense used for incense and perfumes which the city is famous for. The Salalah region is also one of the best bird watching areas in the Middle East.


OMAN

  • Oman gained independence after vanquishing the Portuguese empire in 1651.
     
  • In the past, Oman used to be one of the richest countries in the world, with the wealth mainly originating from the incense trade.
     
  • The legendary city of Ubar controlled the Frankincense trade. It is said that Ubar was destroyed, buried beneath the desert because its wealth led the people away from religion.
     
  • There is a shrub in Oman, known as myrtus communis or yas. Its leaves are used for making perfume.
     
  • Oman allowed tourists to enter its territory only at the beginning of the 1990s.
     
  • Majlis al Jinn, the 9th largest cave system in the world, is found in Oman. This huge cave system offers beautiful, grand chambers and caverns to the avid spelunkers.
     
  • The search for oil began in the 1920s when the D’Arcy Exploration Company, a subsidiary of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, conducted a geological survey that proved unsuccessful. The Second World War and other events interrupted exploration until 1962 when the first successful well was drilled at Yibal
     
  • The tropic of cancer runs through Oman
     
  • Ras al-Jinz, the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula, is an important turtle-nesting site for the endangered green turtle. Over 20,000 females return annually to the beach where they hatched in order to lay eggs.
     
  • The Aflaj Irrigation systems in Oman, are listed amongst the World Heritage sites. They are over 2,000 years old.

OMAN

  • Muscat City (Grand Mosque, Omani market, Bait Al Zubair Museum, 2 Forts of Mirani and Jalali)
  • Muscat’s coastline by boat cruise
  • Birkat al Mauz - the deserted village of clay
     

OMAN

  • Wahiba Sands (the undulating masses of red and white dunes)
  • The Musandam peninsula (natural scenic beauty and popular for its fjords)
     

OMAN

  • Grand Canyon & Jabal Shams Mountain (the highest mountain in Oman)
  • Day on the ocean (dolphin watching and snorkeling)
OMAN 

  • If visiting Oman, women should wear a head scarf  and cover the legs and arms. Men will just need to cover the arms and legs.
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  • Visit Oman in January to experience Omani cultural events at one of the best Oman festivals.
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  • In Muscat if you fancy buying antiquities, pottery and silver craft, shop at Old Muttrah Souk one of the busiest place in the town.
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  • In Salalah, if you are interested in buying pure golden and silver jewellery, visit Al Hafah Souq.
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  • For  a popular fine dining restaurant in Muscat try La’s Sultanah or Al Tanoor restaurants, where you will find authentic Omani food as well as Moroccan and Latin fusion dishes.
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  • When catching a taxi, don’t forget to agree the price with the taxi driver before setting off.
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  • It is considered impolite to accept food with your left hand, so try to use your right hand when eating, particularly with locals.
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  • Looking for a pashmina head scarf?....visit the little souq in Sabco Centre, which specialises in local textiles.
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  • Oman is famous for its perfumes. For some of the most expensive and beautiful perfumes made from frankincense, musk and other exotic ingredients, visit Amouage near Rusayl.
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  • Al-Ahli Coffee shop in the middle of Mutrah Souq serves some of the best Arabic coffee in Muscat, as well as delicious fruit juices such as pomegranate, custard apple and mango.

Getting There OMAN


OMAN AIR
A daily service from London Heathrow to Muscat with complimentary food and drinks. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in or choose your seat.

General Facilities include:
  • In-flight audio and video entertainment with a choice of comedy or sport programs.
  • Selection of newspapers and magazines in English and Arabic (subject to availability).
Travel Classes:
Economy Class - seat pitch approx. 34”; luggage allowance 30kgs.

Business Class - 77.5” long lie-flat seat with a pitch of 82” is 22” wide; luggage allowance 40kgs. Offers electrically-controlled backrest, leg rest and seat depth, PC power outlet and two USB plugs.

First Class - fully flat bed, full size bed length 82” with seat width 25.5” and seat pitch 85.5”; luggage allowance 50kgs. Mini suite offers direct aisle access, eight point massage system built in, storage, dedicated space to hang a coat and 23” video monitor and a la carte dining. Electrically-controlled backrest, leg rest and seat depth, PC power outlet and two USB plugs.


BRITISH AIRWAYS
To Muscat via Abu Dhabi - a daily service from London Heathrow to Muscat via Abu Dhabi with complimentary food and drinks. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in, choose your seat and print your boarding card. Available up to 24 hours before your flight or at a check-in kiosk at the airport terminal, print the boarding pass and drop bags at the Fast Bag Drop desks.

Travel Classes:
Euro Traveller & World Traveller (Economy Class) - seat pitch approx. 31”; luggage allowance 23kgs (1 bag). World Traveller Y class can take 2 bags. Gold and Silver Executive Club members can carry an additional checked bag up to 32kgs as part of their free allowance. Entertainment’s Audio and Video system - choose from over 200 entertainment options is available for World Traveller passengers.

World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy Class) - seat pitch approx. 38”; luggage allowance 23kgs (2 bags). It is a private dedicated cabin with a maximum of six rows. Entertainment’s Audio and Video system - choose from over 200 entertainment options.

Club Europe (Business Class) - seat that converts into a 6ft fully flat bed; luggage allowance 32kgs (3 bags). Enjoy personal space in a separate, spacious cabin. Relax before your flight in one of BA lounges; enjoy complimentary hot/cold snacks and refreshments. Use separate check-in area and Fast Track security at London Heathrow. A member of the British Airways Executive Club can take advantage of 50% more Avios when flying Club Europe. Gold and Silver members can also boost their Avios with an additional Tier bonus.


EMIRATES
To Muscat via Dubai - flights from six regional airports – London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, and Glasgow to Muscat via Dubai. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in, choose your seat and print your boarding card.

General Facilities include:
  • “ice” entertainment system – personal seatback monitors provide up to 1200 channels to choose from (international movies, TV programs, music, video games) in all classes.
  • Dining - choose from regionally inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients and free drinks in all classes.
Travel Classes:
Economy Class – seat pitch approx. 32-33”; luggage allowance 30kgs.

Business Class – seat pitch approx. 48-60” / lie-flat beds approx. 79” long; luggage allowance 40kgs. Priority check-in & baggage handling; complimentary chauffeur-drive service (mileage restrictions apply); executive lounges in the UK and Dubai.

First Class – seat pitch approx. 69”; luggage allowance 50kgs. First class passengers enjoy individual private suites on selected aircraft; personal mini-bar; exclusive cabin crew service; dining service with fine wines and champagne.
OMAN
 
 
Language: The official language of Oman is Arabic. However, English is widely spoken and understood.
 
Currency: The official currency is Omani Rial (OMR) = 1,000 baiza. Credit cards are widely accepted.
 
Time Difference: +4 hrs GMT
 
Flying Time: 7,5 hours
 
Tourist Board: http://www.omantourism.gov.om/wps/portal/mot/tourism/oman/home
 
Visa Requirements: Visa for Oman are required. A single-entry visa will be received on arrival at Oman Seeb International Airport. Single-entry: three months from date of issue, one-month stay from date of entry (can be extended for one month). 
 
Passport: A valid 10 year passport is required with a minimum 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of return to the UK and an available empty page.
 
Security: For the latest information visit the foreign office website at www.fco.gov.uk and select ‘Country Advice’.
 
Voltage: 220/240v 
 
Religion: Islam is the main religion in Oman (including Shi'ite Muslim, Sunni Muslim), however the practice of other religions is permitted in this country. 
 
Health: Hepatitis A /Typhoid /Tetanus vaccinations are recommended before arriving to Oman. Check with your Doctor for latest information.
 
Water: Bottled water is recommended.
 
2012 Public Holidays:
1 Jan - New Year's Day
4 Feb - Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)
17 Jun - Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet)
23 Jul - Renaissance Day
19 Aug - Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) 
26 Oct - Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
15 Nov - Islamic New Year
18 Nov - National Day and birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos
 
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. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last anything from two to 10 days, depending on the region.

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