Oman – deficiency of time, bad planning, great impressions
Well, we decided to spend 6 days in Oman when planning our short late summer break in September 2015. Initially, we were focused on beaching and sun bathing. However, during the first hours of our stay we realized that the country offers much more than we thought.
Upon arrival at Muscat Airport the tourists have to take care of money exchange before paying for visa. It is recommended to change some more money to pay the taxi from the airport (fixed fare of 10 OMR to any place in Muscat).
The service at the immigration in Muscat was actually the worst one we experience in the Gulf countries. 1 hour queuing, slow process and… the separate queues for Indian & Pakistani workers who had to go through the special clearance with much longer waiting times. Not nice impression.
After the clearance you can visit the usual facility in the airports of Gulf countries i.e. duty free on arrival. Alcohol can be purchased there, however in much lower quantities than elsewhere in the region (2 bottles per person irrespectively of your preference being wine, whisky or cognac). Please note that your luggage is scanned immediately thereafter so trying your luck does not make sense :-).
What would we do differently when going to Oman again?
First of all we would limit our stay in Muscat to max. 2 days. There is not much to see there except the old souq and the governmental district providing for the unique mixture of the modern and the traditional architecture.
Moreover, we would take the car to drive along the coast direction Salalah, where we would spend some time to explore the area. Particularly in September when monsoon winds make the dessert dunes green.
On the way to Salalah we would enjoy kilometer-long, empty sandy beaches :-).
Also, we would contact a local tour operator (who are not very easy to find when you get there) to plan your trip.
What makes Oman unique?
Alongside with Bahrain, the daily life in Oman is pretty much normal. This means that Omani people work in all possible economy segments of the country, contrary to the UAE or Qatar. Omani men wear colorful turbans. This is also how they can be easily recognized.
Oman – contrary to other Gulf States – offers a lot of sightseeing options because it’s landscape is diversified, from beautiful sandy beaches through the desserts to the mountains with their rapid creeks and lush flora.
Next time we will plan our trip to Oman more carefully. Because we are sure there will be “next time”.