Oman Travel Tips Social Profile
Food & Drink:
Numerous restaurants have opened in recent years, but many people retain
the habit of dining at hotels. There is a wide variety of cuisine on offer,
including Arabic, Indian, Oriental, European and other international dishes.
Coffee houses are popular. Waiter service is usual. Muslim law forbids
alcohol, but most hotel bars and restaurants serve alcohol. Visitors are
only allowed to drink alcohol in licensed hotels and restaurants. To buy
alcohol for home consumption, Western nationals must obtain a licence
from their embassy.
Nightlife: There are a
few nightclubs and bars in Muscat, mostly in the hotels. There are three
air conditioned cinemas in Ruwi and an open-air cinema at the al-Falaj
Hotel showing Arab, Indian and English films.
Shopping: The modern shops
are mostly in Ruwi and Qurum. The two main souks (markets) are located
in Matrah and Nizwa. Traditional crafts include silver and gold jewellery,
khanjars (Omani daggers), coffeepots, saddles, frankincense, handwoven
textiles, carpets, baskets and camel straps. Antique khanjars (over 50
years old) may not be exported. It is wise to check with the Ministry
of National Heritage and Culture for the necessary documentation before
purchasing. Shopping hours: Sat-Thurs 0800-1300 and 1600-2000. Souks open
0800-1100 and 1600-1900. Many shops close on Friday. Opening hours are
one hour later during Ramadan.
Special Events: Events
celebrated in Oman are generally Muslim festivals and feasts. For further
information on events in Oman, contact the Directorate General of Tourism
(see Contact Addresses section).
Social Conventions: Shaking
hands is the usual form of greeting. A small gift, either promoting your
company or country, is well received. As far as dress is concerned, it
is important that women dress modestly, ie long skirts or dresses (below
the knee) with long sleeves. Tight-fitting clothes must be avoided and
although this is not strictly followed by Westerners, it is far better
to adopt this practice and avoid causing offence. Shorts should never
be worn in public and beachwear is prohibited anywhere except the beach.
Collecting sea shells, abalone, corals, crayfish and turtle eggs is also
prohibited. Dumping litter is forbidden. It is polite not to smoke in
public, but generally no-smoking signs are posted where appropriate. Photography:
Visitors should ask permission before attempting to photograph people
or their property. ‘No Photography’ signs exist in certain
places and must be observed. Tipping: Becoming more common and 10 per
cent should be given.
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