Local traditions and culture in Oman

  • Local Customs
    by Ewingjr98
  • Local Customs
    by travelmad478
  • Local Customs
    by bradbeaman

Most Viewed Local Customs in Oman

  • peterman2's Profile Photo

    DRESS

    by peterman2 Written May 5, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    HI
    YES Omanis are VERY nice people !!!
    When i did wear my dishdasha i was with my omani guide,
    he suggest me to wear, to know the 'feeling',
    but the reaction of omanis was great, positive.
    The little ''hat'' was great,,,friendly reaction...
    Pierre

    Was this review helpful?

  • JAVATO's Profile Photo

    Meet to Oman people.

    by JAVATO Written May 4, 2008

    the people from Oman is really kind and friendly. But only men are.
    Men use to go to small juice shops and cafes to drink some juices, to take a coffe and to smoke a narguile.
    They talk beetwen them about life.
    If you can meet someone from Oman, it can be really great going with them to a cafe.

    Was this review helpful?

  • travelthrough's Profile Photo
    1 more image

    Traditional Omani-style dress

    by travelthrough Written Dec 24, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Oman is unique for its traditional dresses and clothes.
    Men usually wear a - mostly white - long dishdasha (long gown) with sandals and the traditional Omani "kummah" (cap). It is white with colorful patterns. In addition, old Omani
    men carry a cane stick - all of these items are sold on the local souqs.
    Omani women are quite different from other Middle Eastern women because they are usually slim and tender and love to express themselves in colorful clothes (especially old women in the countryside) and beautiful silver or gold jewelry.
    Be careful to take only pictures upon permission!

    Was this review helpful?

  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    Islam

    by traveldave Updated Oct 5, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Islam is the official religion of Oman. In coastal areas, the people have been exposed to outside cultures and influences for centuries due to maritime trading. Therefore, unlike in some of its neighboring countries, other religions and ways of life are tolerated. Alcohol is available to non-Muslims in hotels, Western tourists may wear shorts, and it is not uncommon to see Western women in bikinis on the beaches. However, visitors should keep in mind that what may be acceptable on a beach or in a hotel may not necessarily be acceptable on the streets. In public, female visitors should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and upper arms, and skirts that do not go above the knees.

    Inland areas are much more conservative, and activities and styles of dress that are acceptable in the coastal areas are not appropriate.

    Despite the openness toward other beliefs, Islam is nevertheless an important aspect in the lives of the citizens of Oman. Mosques are to be seen everywhere, from the largest cities to the smallest towns, and the call to prayer is heard throughout the country five times per day. Most Muslim women still wear the abaya, a full-length black covering. However, the hard-line fanatacism that is present in many Muslim countries is so far not present in Oman, and it is a safe country to visit in what can be a volatile part of the world.

    Was this review helpful?

  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    The Shihuh Tribe

    by traveldave Updated Aug 25, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Shihuh tribe is the main tribe to be found on the Musandam Peninsula. They are cousins of the Sharqiyyin tribe of nearby Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, and trace their origins back to Yemen. Until about the early 1970s, the tribe was isolated from the outside world. They did not trust outsiders, and it was common for visitors at that time to have stones thrown at them by tribesmen.

    Although some of the Shihuh live along the coasts, most live in the rugged mountains of the peninsula's interior. The land in which they live is rocky and arid, with very little vegetation. However, the Shihuh are able to use the small amount of rain that falls, mainly in the winter, to grow limited amounts of barley, wheat, and date palms. They also herd goats, whose meat and milk are staples. Most of the cultivated areas are high on the plateau of the peninsula, but the people live a couple of thousand feet below in the wadis.

    Visitors to the wadis of the Musandam Peninsula will see the typical stone hovels that the Shihuh and their goats live in (pictured here). They are called bayt al qufl, which means "cave house," since they are partly underground. The houses are constructed by putting a roof made of timber or stone over a stone-lined rectangular pit dug into the ground. The entryway is usually a small window-like opening less than three feet (one meter) square with a wooden door.

    Nowadays, the Shihu are no longer hostile to outsiders, but neither are they particularly friendly.

    Was this review helpful?

  • dansc0tt's Profile Photo

    Cover Up

    by dansc0tt Written Jun 5, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hoping that 99.9% of people reading this won't need to, but please take care to look 'respectable' in the eyes of locals when you are 'out & about'. This means dress modestly and if in doubt cover (male or female). While in a taxi we drove past a group of tourists in quite revealing clothing and not only does it upset the locals, but it also gives us more respecting tourists a bad rap!! Leave the speedos & bikinis to the beach.....in fact leave the speedo's to ageing, balding, porn star lookalikes.......

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ladies - keep it under cover!

    by Greenways Written Dec 6, 2006

    We have just returned from two weeks travelling around Oman whose capital, Muscat is as enlightened as most capitals but - if you plan to travel around the Interior (the countryside) then you may want to consider the feelings of the conservative people who live there. We spent a morning in Ibra which is a typical town about an hour and a half's drive from the capital. On Wednesday mornings, there is a women only souq. As we approached all we could hear were ladies chattering away as they bought and sold textiles, children's clothing and the usual sort of things that us girls buy. I made the effort to keep my arms and legs covered and wore a shawl around my shoulders. For this trouble, I received nods and smiles and even had my hand shaken and an 'asalam' from one very shy lady. At the same time I noticed she and her companion were obviously unhappy that the one and only other white western lady (nothing to do with me!) who sported a short tee shirt and very short shorts just about covering her ample bottom. I got the feeling other locals thought we were together so I moved on.

    It's not difficult to make the effort to cover up no matter what your thoughts are on religion and how you perceive women who do not show off their bodies. From discussions with some Omanis, they explained that there is a bad perception of western women so I think a little effort can help change that and make it easier for us more thoughtful ones to travel. Anyway, if you don't subscribe to that then think of the sunburn you won't suffer if you keep it undercover!

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Segregration in Restaurants

    by JohnniOmani Written Jul 4, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Be careful when you walk into a restaurant in small towns. The culture of Arabs is that they dont want offend you, they will never tell you that you are in the wrong. Make sure if you are in smaller towns that you go to the correct area of the restaurant. There are family sections and if you dont know you may cause major problems with the owners(they will feel uncomfortable and local customers may feel out of place with a foreigner sitting there or near them).

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Calm People

    by JohnniOmani Written Jul 4, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Omanis are gentle people therefore you must behave in a certain way in public. If you think that an Omani is doing you wrong either in a souq or taxi dont worry. Calmly tell the man that you believe you deserve better service and they will kindly help you. Overall, smile and be friendly.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Interaction

    by JohnniOmani Written Jul 4, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many tourists think that they can safely interact with women in the Gulf because they base it on their experiences in more liberal societies such as in Lebanon or some areas of Egypt or Jordan. Make no mistake, Oman is one of the most conservative countries on earth and the only way you will interact whatsoever is when you speak with cashiers etc in the service industry. You should never speak or confront women in public as this is a major taboo. Women can speak with local women but women only interact in public with their family members. Just take the lead from your surroundings and you will do fine.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Dress Code

    by JohnniOmani Written May 15, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Oman is an extremely religious and conservative society. They follow a conservative branch of Islam called Ibadi Islam thus making them dedicated followers of their religion. The dress code should be at all times shorts below the knee and t shirts at best for men with women wearing baggy pants and quarter length shirts. Outside Sohar, Muscat and Sur men shouldnt wear shorts and women shouldnt wear t shirts or shorts despite what the ignorant British expat Oil workers say or do. I have lived in this country in a very very conservative town and I have tried my best to respect the culture the best I could and I have been rewarded with countless friendships. My biggest pain is going to Muscat etc and seeing people dressed in shorts and tank tops.It irritates me sooo much because Omanis are too damn friendly to be rude. Point? You are in an Islamic country with a conservative branch of Islam = cover up please.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    Round water container

    by victorwkf Written May 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In ancient Oman, the container for water was round as shown in this photograph. It was normally tied to a rope and hang onto somewhere. When a person needed to drink, he just need to hold the container and pour the water. Interesting indeed :)

    Was this review helpful?

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    The bed in the fort

    by victorwkf Written May 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you visit the forts in Oman, you will discover only the ruler of the fort got to sleep in a bed! All the other people, including his family and guests have to sleep on mats. Unlike in other countries, the bed of the ruler usually look very simple.

    Was this review helpful?

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    White colour & height of buildings

    by victorwkf Written Mar 4, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Due to religion, you will notice that most of the buildings and houses in Oman are of white colour. In fact, certain areas of Muscat (e.g. the luxurious Al Khuwair suburb) only allows houses of white colour to be built. Also, the buildings and houses are not tall because Oman has lots of land, and the highest building in Oman is apparently the Sheraton Hotel which is probably about 20 storeys high !

    Was this review helpful?

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    Man & Camel

    by victorwkf Written Mar 4, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The camel is the most important animal in Oman. This is because life in the desert depends largely on the camel for food, transportation, camel milk etc. Some children in the desert have been drinking camel milk all their life and have never even tasted water before ! The camel is man's best friend in this part of the world :)

    Was this review helpful?

Oman Hotels

See all 78 Hotels in Oman

Top Oman Hotels

Muscat Hotels
425 Reviews - 1175 Photos
Salalah Hotels
97 Reviews - 253 Photos
Khasab Hotels
29 Reviews - 94 Photos
Nizwa Hotels
22 Reviews - 79 Photos
Sur Hotels
33 Reviews - 84 Photos
Wadi Kabir Hotels
See nearby hotels
Bandar Khayran Hotels
See nearby hotels
Shinas Hotels
See nearby hotels
Qantab Hotels
See nearby hotels
As Sib Hotels
See nearby hotels
Ruwi Gharbi Hotels
See nearby hotels
Al Hamra' Hotels
14 Reviews - 26 Photos
Al Amarat Hotels
See nearby hotels
Tiwi Hotels
12 Reviews - 23 Photos
Taqah Hotels
See nearby hotels

Instant Answers: Oman

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

103 travelers online now

Comments

Oman Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Oman local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Oman sightseeing.
Map of Oman