Government: Monarchy with a provisional legislature (the Majlis Ash Shura)
Head of State: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said
Major industries: Oil, natural gas, agriculture, and fishing
Ruling body: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said is Head of State
Population: Approximately 2.5 million. Around 1.5 million are Omani nationals. The remaining are expatriates from India, Asia, other Arab countries, Europe and USA.
Religion: Islam, predominantly Ibadhi sect.
Language: Official language is Arabic. Other languages spoken include Urdu, Swahili and Baluchi. English is widely spoken and along with Arabic is the common business language. Most Hotel staff speak German and French as well.
Culture: Like all the Arab countries, Arab Islamic Culture dominates the life style in the Sultanate. However, being an international market, people of various other nationalities are also present.
National Dress: Men – dishdasha (robe),Kimah (cap),mussar (turban).
Women – jallabia (dress), sirwall (trousers), thobe (overdress cloak, lahaf (head shawl), abaya (black cloak). Women generally leave their face and hands exposed, while in the desert, women of the Bedouin tribes wear a mask, called a “birqa.”
Time Difference: GMT +4 Hours
UK Passport: Valid for at least six months
Visa: Available online 30 days before entry https://evisa.rop.gov.om/
Single entry tourism visa for stays up to 10 days – OMR 5
Single entry tourism visa for stays between 10 days and 1 month – OMR 20
Currency: Omani Rial OMR, OMR 1 = £2.02 (November 2019)
Climate: The country’s climate is predominantly arid and varies slightly from one region to another. In the coastal areas, the weather is hot and humid during the summer months, whilst it is dry elsewhere in the interior. Milder weather dominates the mountains and the Dhofar region all the year round. Winter temperatures can be as low as 15°Celsius and summer temperatures can be as high as 48° Celsius in Muscat and as high as 54° in the desert. Dhofar, located in the southern region of the country however, enjoys a regular monsoon between June and October, every year.
Best Time to visit: The best time of the year to visit Oman is between October and April, when the weather is pleasantly warm in the day and cool in the evening. Temperature averages at 25-35 degrees centigrade during the day and dips to 17-19 degrees centigrade at night.
Working Hours: Ministries and government establishments – 7:30 am to 2:30 pm (Sun-Thu, weekend is Friday and Saturday)
Private sector companies – 8:00am to 1:00pm; 4:00pm to 7:00pm (Sunday-Thursday) 8:00am to 1:00pm on Thursdays.
Markets: 8:00am to 1:00pm, 4:00pm to 9:00pm.
Banks: 8:00 am to 12 noon.
Timings differ during Ramadan.
Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, is the ninth month on the Arabic calendar which is a lunar calendar. Every year Ramadan shifts back about ten days on the western solar calendar. Restaurants and other eateries are closed during daylight hours during the Holy Ramadan period.
Shopping hours: Shopping establishments are open from 9am to 1 pm and 4pm to 9 pm. Department stores, supermarkets and shopping complexes are open throughout the day during Ramadan from 9am to 10 pm, with a short lunch break all through the week, except Fridays. These timings could vary with different shops.
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