There are direct flights from the United Kingdom to Muscat. Reading the different web sites, it is confusing with regard to the visa and No Objection Certificates (NOC). I think some of the sites are a little out of date now, and as soon as I hear from the Omani Embassy in UK I will try to make things more clear for UK visitors. USA visitors seem to have less of a problem.
Not having been there for over 20 years, I expect an ordinary air conditioned car is OK for the coastal towns and larger cities. I was always amazed just how far a Mazda pick-up could get into the interior regions!. Even now I would expect to have a 4x4 vehicle for the really remote - and the best - areas.
Omani visa requirements
This tip was correct when we wrote it (Mar 2004) but apparently it's not uncommon for the requirements to change with no warning.
Also, we checked with the Omani government website and its advice didn't match with our experience, and that is also not uncommon!
A relative in Dubai is fairly certain that the exact requirements depend on the day you go!
We flew from Dubai to Oman (we had already entered Dubai for one night - we weren't in transit).
Visitors from the EU need an Omani tourist visa which you get at the airport. However, the visa will cost you 6 Omani Rials per person, and you must have exact money in local currency.
We'd been organised and got our money - but we didn't have small denominations. There is a Travelex bureau on the arrival side of the airport, but there is also a HUGE queue.
Our advice would be get your money before travelling, and the minute you get off the plane (if in a group!) get one person to join the queue for immigration, and another to grab the little blue forms.
Fill in the forms while you stand in the VERY slow queue. It took us two hours to clear immigration.
Also, be prepared to queue again on the way out - there seems to be a lot of staring at passports and computer screens involved in leaving the country (they disappeared with our passports for thirty minutes with no explanation, only to then return and say "No problem.")
Just relax and wait it out. It's worth it!
Don't try and drive to Oman!
Our plan had been to drive from Dubai to Oman, which should take about five hours.
We'd checked it out on the web before we left and everything looked good - hire car no problem, if you want to go to Oman just let the hire people know.
Because there was a chance we might have been able to borrow a car from a family member we didn't book the transport before we left...
Once in Dubai the first hire company told us we couldn't hire to Oman at all.
We tried Hertz, and at first they said everything was ok, but then we got a call to say there was a problem and that the Omani border point wouldn't let a hire car through with Dubai insurance.
With three minutes until the Emirates Airline offices closed we managed to buy flight tickets for the 37 minute trip by plane (see our separate tip about flying to Oman!)
Once in Oman we met someone who lived in the area and said it wasn't uncommon to take up to three hours to clear the border point by car.
Our advice - don't drive if you're on a short trip, or hire in Oman if you're staying for a longer period.
New road in the direction of Yemen
West of Salalah, after Mughsayl, the mainroad is passing by a spectacular mountaineous landscape.
This new road of about 80 KM, a highly technical achievement, is constructed by a British firm in four years with the help of hundreds of roadworkers. At the 1100 M high plateau of Jebel Qamar, it's possible to park the car and enjoy the breathtaking view.
Our Omani driver was very proud to show us this road.
This road gave the possibility to reach Yemen this way. During our visit the border was not open yet, but our driver said this could change vey fast.Related to:
- Road Trip
getting around oman
Oman Air has daily flights between Muscat and Salalah, and regular services to Sur, Khasab, Dibba and Massirah Island. Intercity buses serve most main provincial towns daily.
Renting a car in the sultanate is easy but not cheap. Its better to use Oman's comprehensive system of service taxis and microbuses. Drivers will depart when they have a few passengers, expecting to pick up and drop off other passengers along the way; it's a very cheap way to get around providing you're in no particular hurry. You can also take a taxi or microbus 'engaged' (ie, privately) by paying for all of the seats in it. Only Muscat has a local bus system.
Muscat Airport is 40km west of the city. There are car rental agencies at the airport and taxis and buses are available.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Europe and the Middle East have good air access to Oman, with flights available on most larger carriers between Oman and European/Middle Eastern capitals and other major cities. There's a departure tax of around US$8. Entering or leaving by land means travelling between Oman and the UAE as the border with Yemen is not open to travellers. There's daily bus service between Muscat and Dubai.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Muscat Self Drive
We used Al Maskry Self Drive . We were met at the airport with our car and chauffered down to their office in Al Ghoubra (on the main highway from the airport ). Acess to and from Seeb airport is straightforward however .Our rate was OR100 inclusive of taxes and insurance for 12 days for a compact automatic Nissan Sunny Ex with very few kms on the clock . Called in the office the day before we left to pay our bill , then left the car in the airport compound on departure for Al Maskry to pick up .
A car is practically a must - it would hve cost almost our hire rate to be taxied to and from the airport . Petrol prices are negligible .
It's a LONG long-haul
From North America there are no nonstops or even through flights, so you'll have to change planes in Europe. British Airways, Swiss Airlines, Lufthansa, and Air France all have through-flights to Muscat, though most stop briefly in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Bahrain. Oman Air has nonstops between here and Zürich in a pool service with Swiss. Otherwise, use Emirates, which is one of the world's best companies in my view. You'll have to change in Dubai, but that's a small price to pay for the comfort.
Visas: As of November 1, 2000, the UAE and Oman began allowing visitors with a visa from either country to visit the other without having to get an additional visa. More recently, Oman has announced "visas on arrival" to some 65 nationalities if they come during the Muscat Shopping Festival that begins in early January and continues for some 5 weeks.
Car or 4x4. There are local buses, service taxis, and regular taxis, but it's best to have your own vehicle. The Gulf is rather like the US: Cars are king. There are no trains in the Sultanate.
Seeb International Airport,...
Seeb International Airport, near Muscat, is the primary air entry point. There are many excellent connections to points beyond. If you're lucky, you'll see the Emir's beautiful 747SP aircraft out your window.
If you want to see something,...
If you want to see something, you really need a car. We travelled around with this jeep, the best way of getting around. The roads aren't always good, so a jeep is no luxury!!
In the city of Muscat, you can always take a taxi...you won't have trouble finding one!! LOL
4 wheelers are the best bet.
The best bet is to take a flight from any European destination to Dubai and then take Emirates Airlines to Muscat.
For visiting most of Oman's natural and historic landmarks, one has to go offroad. Therefore, 4 wheelers are highly recommended. A 4 wheeler will serve the purpose of crossing rocks, boulders and waterbodies and carrying all the load, as shown here.
u have two way to get to Oman,...
u have two way to get to Oman, by plane ...in Muscat we have Seeb Airport, it is 40km from Old Muscat. and also u can come from UAE by road..they r some buses coming from Dubai and AbuDhabi to Muscat everyday.
Here in Oman, the transportaion is tough one. what i mean here, the public transportaion is not that widly used here. u can find buses that they will take u any major city in Oman (go to Ruwai staion in Muscat, it is the best plase to find what u want)..but moving around the city is the hard thing here if u do not have your own car. Taxis r the only way here. they r two types, Normal Taxis and mini bus taxi (all taxis r coloured in orange and white)..if u want the taxi onlyfor yourelf, that will cost u more than if u r willing to share it with others. for example, u want to go Sohar (200km away from Muscat), if u go alone in a taxi, that will cost more than 15 OR..ok if u tell the driver that it is ok to share it, then that will drope to only 3 OR. so make your choise.
Seeb International Airport,...
Seeb International Airport, located in Muscat, is served by many international airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Swiss Air and Emirates. The national carrier is Oman Air which flies to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Pakistan, Qatar, Egypt, and Sri Lanka as well as performing domestic flights to Salalah, Masirah Island and Musandam.
Taxis or cars can be hired at the airport, or hotels will arrange for transport.
Residents in the UAE are able to drive to Oman by road. It is a journey of around 4 - 5 hours from Dubai.
What public transport systems are available?
Many visitors, if not hiring cars, tend to use taxis, which are reasonably priced. There are a number of metered cab firms now. Agree the price first if using an orange and white taxi. Mini-buses travel all over the commercial areas, stopping and picking-up on request. This form of transport is particularly cheap. The Oman National Transport Company is the state-run bus service which has a network of routes throughout the Sultanate. Long distance coach trips leave Ruwi bus station to the likes of Salalah for RO 16 return, making this a comfortable and cheap form of transport. The national carrier, Oman Air, flies to Salalah, Khasab and Masirah Island and is the only airline to make domestic flights within the Sultanate. Masirah Island has a regular ferry service to and from the mainland, but all other boat services are provided through tour operators. There are no trains in Oman.
Rub Al Khali Travel ---Abu...
Rub Al Khali Travel ---Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates -tel: 9712333232 -fax: 9712336642
OffRoad Emirates are licensed operators of self-drive adventure tours through The Rub Al Khali Desert (The Empty Quarter). Operations also include touring programs throughout The Arabian Gulf States including Iran, Syria and Jordan. They provide specially desert equipped 4X4 vehicles with GPS navigation and radio-mobile telephones. 7 days - 6 weeks of travel tailor made
Taxi and Microbus
If on a budget it is worth using the Microbusses to travel in the capital. A trip from Ruwi-Mutrah only costs 100 baisa, where an engaged taxi would cost you 4 OR, and an shared abot 2 OR.
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