Each region in Oman, the second-largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, has its own identity and culture, and you will be wondering about so much diversity across the country. As a result of the entrance of many travelers from all over the world before the 1970s and the assimilation of many cultures, the culture of Oman was a mixture of different cultures. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said came into power in 1970 and decided to have a unique national identity and culture. Islam is the religion in this country and Ibadism is the most dominant religious branch in Oman, which is its differing factor compared to other Muslim communities. Unlike their Muslim neighbors, the mosques have simple decorations with no minarets. According to Ibadis’ suggestions, people should be modest and they are not supposed to drink alcohol. In public, men and women are expected to wear kinds of clothes that cover their arms, shoulders, and legs. During the Ramadan month, eating, drinking, and playing loud music in public are legally forbidden. However, Oman owes a high rank of religious tolerance including non-Muslim communities of Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Christians.
Violent, anger, and rude gestures in public are not permitted. You should take permission before taking photos in public. Don’t shake hands with women and let them start the conversation. Being invited to Omani’s houses is usual, but remember to prepare a small gift for their house and take off your shoes before your entrance. "Sayed" and "Sayeeda" are formal addresses for men and women, respectively. The locals respond well to those who try to speak Arabic and demonstrate that they are interested in their language and culture. As they don’t tolerate insulting comments about the Sultan or religion, try to avoid talking about the government or the Sultan in conversations. Although the weather is warm, men and women should cover their bodies by wearing loose ankle-length clothes for men called ‘dishdasha’ and full-length skirts and headdresses called ‘lihaf’ for women.
India, Africa and Arabian Peninsula affected on the food of Oman. The base of their food is the meat of chicken and lamb serving with rice. The most favorite dishes in Oman are Mashai which is made of roasted kingfish and ruz al mudhroub served with fried fish. Also, Arsia served with torshe, which is a combination of roasted lamb and sour sauce, is among the most delicious ones. Kebabs and Shawarmas are also categorized as Omani food.
Transportation vehicles of Oman include buses, taxis, ferry services, and planes. You can reach public buses all around the country from Sohar port city in the north to Salalah about 1000 kilometers. They are comfortable, cheap, and safe preferred by citizens and tourists. Muasalat is the transport company of the Oman government. There are two types of small and bigger buses. The former is in white and orange colors and the latter is more comfortable equipped with air-conditioning system and the ticket value is higher. On the other hand, there are two types of regular and company taxis. The orange taxis are private but the white ones work on specific routes with more than one passenger. The average cost of taxis from the international airport to every place in Muscat is about 6 OMR. Two major taxi companies are called Marhaba and Muasalat. They are the only permitted services to carry passengers from the airport to hotels that have the cleanest, safest, and most efficient taxis in this country.
You can enjoy visiting islands in the country by using ferries that connect all islands and the enclave of Musandam. It would be a good opportunity to visit Diba and Masirah islands, easily. Also, you can take your own/rental car with you to those places which are hard to go on foot or not cost valuing to take taxis. It would be also a good idea to use planes and fly from Muscat to Salalah with a one way-ticket and pay just 36 OMR (94$) in high seasons.
Unfortunately, the smallest part of the economy in Oman goes to the agriculture due to its deserts and climate and most of their income in this area goes to camel-breeding, fishing, growing dates, bananas, and coconuts in coastal plains and fertile provinces of Al-Batinah and Dhofar, respectively. On the other hand, its industry is all about gas and oil which are of the great importance to the labor force. Copper mining, aluminum smelting, the petrochemical industry, and cement production are among the most important fields. If you are searching for a job in Oman, you can read English-language Business Today Oman and Oman Economic Review; these search engines might help you: Careerjet Oman, Gulfjobsmarket, Al Jazeera Jobs, and Gulftalent. If you are going to setting up a business in Oman, you should meet some criteria including: applying for a license at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, investing a minimum capital of 150,000 OMR, and if you are a business person and foreign investor you are allowed to own 49% of company shares. Based on the labor law and working conditions of this country, you should go to work from Saturday to Thursday during a week about 40-48 hours and during the Ramadan month it decreases to 36 hours per week.
According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey in December, 2021, Oman owns the rank of 108th out of 209 cities which demonstrates that the cost of living is less than neighboring countries. Those highly skilled western workers will be offered to have good salaries and less expensive stay, car, and flights. One of the biggest problems for expats in Oman is their job insecurity which can cause lots of concern for expats. Based on the reports, accommodation costs are much lower than some other countries with lower rent and utility expenses. However, the costs do vary based on the size of the house, area, and included facilities. Although public transportation including buses and taxis are cheaper than in European countries, expats prefer driving on their own.
If you are willing to prepare local food, you will save more money. You should also be noted that some kinds of drinks, which contain ‘sin tax’, such as energy drinks, alcohol, pork, and tobacco will be more expensive in Oman. Having an authorized residence card and willing to buy alcohol, you should prepare from restaurants with proper license; however, you may face some difficulties and it will be costly. For more information you can see the table of cost of living in Oman in https://www.expatarrivals.com/middle-east/oman/cost-living-oman
Pre-school education in Oman is considered for those bellow the age of 10. There are some private sectors and public organizations that held these courses. It should be noted that nursery enrolment is limited in Oman. The opening hours of kindergartens are 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM and the teachers are free for designing materials of the curriculum to cover both school learning and leisure activities. The other two forthcoming levels are basic and secondary education. There was a reform happened in education system in 1997 to have a unified system for the first 10 years of schooling. There are two cycles for basic education: the first cycle for grades 1-4 and the second one for grades of 5-10. After that, there are 2-3 years of post-basic education that the students can finish this level sooner than usual. Public schools are free to the end of secondary education and classes are with Arabic language following Islamic curriculum.
Although there are some advantages of participating in a public school with basic differences, most of non-Muslim expat parents prefer to enroll their children in private international schools due to the difficulties of being in local Omani classes. As most of Omani pupils attend in public schools, private schools are small and less-crowded. However, they should be approved by the Ministry of Education, they are more flexible. Due to the large community of expats in Oman, expat parents should consider the time and the limits in international schools.
Oman has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. There are 59 hospitals, 897 medical centers, clinics, and dispensaries. Only 10 hospitals are private and the rest of them are government hospitals. Omani people and expats from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) benefit from free healthcare provided by the Sultanate covering specialists’ appointments, primary care, and needed medical treatments. Also, if you are an expat employed by the government, then you will receive healthcare. Otherwise, if you are working in a private sector or an expat from outside the GCC, then you will not be covered by public healthcare and in this case, you should have private insurance. After an announcement in 2018, employers are mandated to provide insurance for their international employees and workers. If you are an international expat, make sure that your insurance covers all medical treatments, especially air ambulance in emergencies that you need to fly back to your home country. There is a vast range of insurance providers in the country. Allianz Care and Cigna Global are among those known health insurance providers, but you should make sure that your ideal providers satisfy your and your family’s expectations. It is worth mentioning that medicines could be accessed easily but anti-depression drugs are banned in Oman and it would be better to talk to your doctor if your drugs are accessible overseas.
There are some awesome games and entertainment centers in Oman which are worth experiencing. Both, you and your children can spend lots of exciting hours on these recreational centers and participate in baseball games, ice-skating, escape games, bowling, shooting, culture and nature tour operators, etc. Here we name some of these centers: Troom Oman Escape Room, Vox Cinema, Yellow Submarine Kids, Al Seeb Bowling Center, Bows & Amows, Trampo Extreme, Muscat Bay, Dhofar Bowling, Fun VR Amusement & Theme Park, Oman Automobile Association Karting Track, Sohar City Cinema, Al Buraimi Park, BOUNCE Oman, Xcape Muscat, TRAVEL POINT LLC, Faby Land, Funzone, and The Base.
According to your favorites, there are several kinds of sports and outdoor activities that you can enjoy in Oman such as off-road driving, swimming, hiking in mountains, scuba diving, kitesurfing, boating, horse and camel riding. Hiking in mountains is one of the most rewarding activities to do in this country due to the western Hajar and its canyons, wadis, and mountain ridges. If you are interested to do so, don’t forget to take sufficient water with you and have a watchful eye on weather changes not to be surprised with rainfall and sudden fatal flooding; you can also see the best hiking trails in Oman Trekking articles published through Oman. Among other adventure activities, there are the possibilities to experience canyoning, caving, abseiling, tackling, rock-climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking. Oman is a good place for diving and snorkeling because the coastal waters are intact and reclusive most of the time which result in being the home for large marine lives and coral gardens. If lucky enough, you can also participate in bull-butting and camel-racing activities. They are held on National Days and public holidays. However, it’s a bit hard to gather information about the exact time and location and asking local people may help you.