The Omani rial (OMR) is the currency of Oman, and it is divided into 1000 baisa. Being a former British colony, Oman used Indian Rupees until 1940. From 1940 to 1970 the money was called the baisa, then the rial was introduced, and baisa remained the subdivision of the rial.
Today, coin denominations are 5 baisa, 10 baisa, 25 baisa, and 50 baisa. Bank notes are 100 baisa, 200 baisa, 1/2 rial, 1 rial, 5 rial, 10 rial, 20 rial, and 50 rial. 50 rial might not sound like much, but at today's exchange rate of .385 rial to the US dollar, that is a 130 dollar bill!
Ladies can get their hands and feet decorated by Henna in most beauty salons for an average of 3 rials for hands, 5 for feet
Lots of newer designs decorate other parts of the body as a temporary tatoo
newer henna versions include the typical arabian red henna, sudanese black henna and even glitter nowadays
The inhabitants in Oman are mostly Arabs with some minorities of Pakistanis, Indians and Africans.
If you approach the locals in a decent way you will see how friendly they are. Smile and say hello, and you will receive a hello and a smile back. Some of the arab women will smile or giggle. The locals tolerate more from a westerner than the guest workers from India and Pakistan. But be wise and don't exploit this. Don't say hello to a woman if she is together with a man. And don't take photos without asking for it.
The Omanis are proud of their culture. I bought a Dishdasha, a kind of a suit for the "new generation" in Oman. And a cumma, which is a hat (see pictures). The locals gave me loudly credit for that. It was respectful to wear their clothes. Even though some Pakistani migrant workers didn't understand why I weared this unpractical suit. You can not run in a Dishdasha-suit, something I found out when I had to run across the street and stumbled.
Instead of Cumma you can also wear a Shimagh (Head Scarf) or a folded Musar (head turban). I liked the head turban, but it was too difficult to wrap around the head.
Quite some people (mostly ex-pats with their children) gather at dusk on the beach of shatti al qurm, and go watch the fishermen unlead their boat with their catch of the day. Those caught fish do not travel long distances before they are loaded again onto a jeep... because the jeep drives right into the water, where the boats arrive. All around... crying seagulls wanting to get their fair share. And many fish are left to them for supper. Small fish by Omani standards I guess... huge fish for swiss standard... oh to be a bird.
When exploring the prayer halls of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, you will discover the Quran on the shelves along the halls. There is the main series of a few books of the Quran, and next to them is the summarised index version of the Quran.
Before going to the prayers, Muslims are supposed to wash themselves up at this nice washing area of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Different areas of the washing area are for cleaning different parts of the body.
In order to mark the direction of the Islamic prayer (facing the holy city of Mecca) at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, there is an interesting structure (see photograph) which will serve as the guide during the praying ritual.
The chandeliers of the male prayer's hall of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque are simply amazing and could rival others in the world, especially the main chandelier on top of the middle of the hall (see photograph).
The female prayer's hall of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is located at the side of the mosque and is predictably smaller than the male prayer's hall with less decorations. There are mounted televisions in this hall where the females would see the prayer ritual in the male prayer's hall and follow accordingly.
The male prayer's hall of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is simply huge, elegant and can house up to a few thousand Muslims at any one time. Besides the beautiful architecture, the carpet of this prayer room is actually made from one single piece which is one of the largest in the world !
If you're in Muscat at night-time, chances are that you'll be in a Restaraunt or Hotel Bar but for a change, we found a great little Sheesha Cafe which isn't licenced and you can go and have a smoke with the locals.
Listen to the chit chat around you and immerse yourself in your surrountings
Oman is beautiful and nice to explore, but it’s not that easy for single woman who travel alone. A simple tips for a woman traveler who decide to travel alone, just bear in mind that Arabic men usually don’t deal a lot with women. Dress carefully when you walk around the town, don’t wear revealing clothes when you travel alone.
Another tips, some places that I’ve been are not really prepare for restroom for women. Either you need to use gent’s restroom or use a woman rest room which seems “untouched” for an ages. Just bring as many as wet tissue with you, that will be help.
You are allowed to visit the mosque free of charge as long as you are modestly dressed with long sleeves and trousers.
Women can wear: skirts as long as they are kneelength or greater, tops with high necklines, and hair must be covered.
You only have to be a little considerate of local customs, as Oman is still an Islamic Country that is trying to come to terms with Tourism and all that implies. Covering of shoulders till just below the elbow is fine for women and men should wear long trousers so as not to offend the Omanis. Learning just a phrase or two like Salaam Aleikum (the most common greeting in Arabia) and other phrases will always be greeted with a smile. When sitting the soles of your feet should not be facing anybody as this is considered rude. Accept food with your right hand if possible as the left hand is thought to be 'unclean' and used for other purposes. If offered coffee in the tiny coffee cups, when you finish shake the cup from side to side to signify you do not want any more, or else you may find your cup being filled time and time again. If taking photographs of the local people please ask permission from them, after all how would you like to have a camera thrust in your face without anybody asking your first? The phrase to ask permission is.. Moomkin Sura?