Currency and Accommodation advice for first-time travelers to Oman
Oman is a country of the Arab nation and is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arab Peninsula. The country is strategically located and holds a lot of political importance. Despite popular belief of the Middle East countries, the country of Oman is very safe. The Omani people are also very friendly and are always welcoming to the visitors. Therefore, the factor of safety should be taken away from your list of worries.
However factors like currency exchange, money and accommodation are something we cannot let go that easily. The capital of the country, Muscat, was awarded as the capital of the Middle East for tourism in the year 2012, and since then it has been receiving large number of tourists every year. So, you might find trouble in finding accommodation. Since it is one of the most developed cities in the country, it is lined up with some of the best hotels, but still, you need to find the best option as per your requirements, preferences and budget.
Another problem is money management. If you do not have a well-devised plan, you might end up spending more money than you thought of. Since Oman has strict rules and regulations that tourists need to follow during their trip, they may end up paying hefty amounts of penalties. So, you can save this money by keeping in mind all their rules and regulations. Considering all these factors, here are some important tips or points related to currency and accommodation that you should consider when you are visiting the country of Oman.
Most of the people avoid visiting the countries in the Middle East, because they are known to be very expensive for travelers, specially those for the people who like to backpack. The Middle East vacations are often associated with luxurious trips and so on. Therefore you shouldn’t be surprised to see that most people who take a trip to the Middle East are often thinking twice before finally deciding to visit. On the contrary, your trip to the country can become budget friendly for you if you pay attention to what you are doing. The currency of Oman is Omani rial which is abbreviated as OMR. One Omani Rial is equal to 1000 biaz. The highest denomination of notes in the country is 50 rial, and both coins and notes are accepted as valid payment methods. Since the currency of Oman is not closed, you can easily exchange it at your home country and then go about your travel.
The Omani currency has consistently been rated as one of the highest in the world. This is a major reason for which people hold the notion that Oman is an expensive country. According to the stats of 2018, the currency of Oman has been rated as the third highest and is just behind Bahrain and Kuwait.
Keeping aside the exchange rates, it is common for travelers to use their cards while on a trip and hence most major credit cards are accepted at all hotels, restaurants and other facilities. For this purpose, it is best advised that you inform your bank beforehand so that you do not face any problem while using your card. But remember, taxi drivers in Oman only accept cash, hence you should make sure to carry some rials as well, so that you can pay for some small purchases and bills in cash. You can also easily withdraw cash from ATM’s which you will find at almost all convenience stores, gas stations and airports. You should also keep a check on your daily withdrawal limit, as it might be less than what you are used to at your home country. Hence these are some of the important factors which should be considered regarding the money and currency aspect in Oman.
Not sure if you can apply for your online Omani e-Visa? See all the requirements here.
Accommodation in Oman might be a problem for some. Although there are various hotels in all major cities and towns in the country, their standard might not be up to the mark outside of the capital of Muscat. You may also be required to pay much more for the services in cities other than Muscat. Most of the hotels, which are aimed for tourists, are all situated in the capital city. The local towns mostly include local two star hotels. Still, the standards might be doubtful. Most of the places are clean, but some might not be so clean for the price you’ll be paying. Nevertheless they pass as functional staying places. So, you should check the quality and standard of the hotel before making your booking.
Camping is also a widely used method of staying in the country. Since the country has a variety of beautiful deserts, you find most travelers putting up tents and staying in the deserts. You can also stay at some luxurious desert camps in the country. There are many desert camps found in the Wahiba Sands. You are allowed to go wild camping in the country, provided that it is not inhabited nearby. If you wish to camp near villages, you are required to ask for permission before setting up your camp.
One of the major problems of the country is the high pricing of hotels. In the popular destinations, you might find rooms for 12 OMR, however in some cases, you might have to pay even 20 OMR for even the cheapest of rooms. Also one thing you should check for always is if the taxes are included or not. It is important you check that, so that you are not required to pay more than you expected.
The rooms are pretty standard, and you get the two essentials of living in the gulf region, which include AC and TV. In most countries, getting hot water is standard, however in some budget hotels, you might not have access to hot water immediately, and might have to wait for a few minutes after turning the water heater on before hopping into the shower. You will find that some budget hotels have in house restaurants, but not always. However, you will easily find options to eat nearby in such cases. Another thing which most western travelers face is that you cannot find alcohol everywhere. Therefore you have to go to up market places to buy or enjoy alcohol.
See also: Can you drink alcohol in Oman?
These are some of the points which you have to keep in mind while travelling to the country of Oman.. As you know that currency and accommodation are the most important parts of any trip, you should plan your trip accordingly along these lines.