With a history dating back to the Stone Age, beaches and modern super cities, Oman is one of the highlights of the Middle East. By car, tourists can split their time between the capital and mountains of the north, the Central Coast, the lowlands of Zufar and the desert land wilderness of the Empty Quarter.
Driving Tips for Oman
Oman's road network is not as developed as some of its Middle Eastern neighbours, although the recently-opened, four-lane highway between Muscat and Sur has made travel easier than before. Due to the terrain and often mountainous country roads, driving a four-wheel drive is recommended.
Driving licences: UK drivers are able to drive around the country with their full UK photo licence (both parts) and an International Driving Permit.
Which side does Oman drive on: the right.
Motorways: 74mph (120kph)
Rural areas: 50mph (80kph)
Built-up areas: 50mph (80kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.00 per cent compared with the 0.08 per cent allowed in Britain. Severe penalties, including imprisonment, are a threat to those that drink-drive.
Driving age: 18 years.
Seatbelts: compulsory for drivers and front-seat passengers. There are currently no child seat or restraint laws in place.
Mobile phones and GPS: using a mobile phone when driving is strictly prohibited. GPS is allowed; however, English speakers might run into difficulty deciphering locations written in Arabic.
Cost of fuel in Oman: some of the cheapest found anywhere in the world.
Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payments are accepted by most petrol stations and car hire companies. British card holders are advised to contact their card supplier prior to travelling to the Middle East.
Insurance: while third-party insurance can be included with car hire, excess insurance comes recommended due to the dangers on the road and the possibility of an accident.
Traffic and parking: driving in Muscat can be a stressful experience due to traffic and scarce parking. Although penalties for parking illegally exist, they are rarely enforced.
Rail travel both into and around Oman isn't possible although interest in creating rail lines has been expressed by several international companies.
Hello Taxi and Muscat Taxi are two of the main companies operating in the country and charge around £1.20 per kilometre.
Long-distance buses from Dubai to Oman are supplied by Oman National Transport Company and are cheap at £10. The same company supplies domestic bus travel around Oman, between cities such as Muscat, Sur, Nizwa, Salalah and Sohar, at fares of around £2 to £5 per passenger.
Although Muscat has a port used by cruise ships, no frequent passenger services to Oman or around the country are available.
Practically every international flight into the country arrives at Muscat's Seeb International Airport. Some regional international flights are possible to Salalah; however, arranging a visa on arrival here can prove difficult. Flights from the UK to Muscat are possible with British Airways or Emirates and Etihad via Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Single-entry visas are easy to arrange at Seeb International Airport, are valid for 30 days and cost roughly £30 per person.
Most visitors begin their explorations in Muscat, the country's capital. The 'Walled City' is perhaps most famous for the Al Mirani Fort and Al Jalali Fort in addition to the Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace. Popular activities include walks along the Corniche and to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Near to Muscat and often considered part of the capital are the fishing villages of Matrah and Ruwi. While Matrah is known for being the host of the Matrah Souk, Ruwi is generally considered as Muscat's commercial and diplomatic centre.
Second to Muscat in the popularity stakes is the town of Bahla. Like Muscat, it has its own iconic fort which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This particular attraction isn't the only thing Bahla is famous for as its oasis is also a major talking point.
After having enjoyed the oasis in Bahla visitors can travel to the UAE by car via Buraimi. Historians love trips to Fossil Valley, located east of the city limits, and the Majid Qaboos mosque.
Tourists that love the great outdoors usually find time for a visit to the Hajar Mountains, which stretch into the UAE and are the highest of their kind in this part of the world. In a similar fashion, adventurous types love the rocky enclaves of the Musandam Peninsula that are located on the Straits of Hormuz. Also pleasing on the eye are the vast rolling dunes of the Wahiba Sands that appear to be never ending.
Parties that are interested in Oman for its beach resorts usually head to Masirah Island. This is where white sands and turquoise waters are on offer. Wildlife lovers particularly enjoy Masirah for its turtles and other wildlife species.
Oman enjoys a tropical desert climate which can be compared to that of nearby Dubai. Summers are notably hot and humid as temperatures often exceed 37°C and are as high as 30°C at night. Even in winter, the weather is still pleasant and the islands and beach destinations can be comfortably enjoyed.