Introducing
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The Sultanate of Oman
Contents
Introduction to The Sultanate of Oman   Slides   3
Muscat                                  Slide    4
Climate    ...
Introducing Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is situated in the south-eastern quarter
of the Arabian Peninsula, with a land area...
Muscat
          The metropolitan area of Muscat spans
          approximately 1500 km² and as of 2008, the
          popu...
Climate
Oman’s climate varies considerably
with the different regions, but sunny
blue skies and warm temperatures
can be e...
Food                                           Supermarkets
The Omani people are well known for their      Oman has a good...
Language                                           Start practicing!
The official language of Oman is Arabic,       Peace ...
Religion
Islam is the official religion of Oman, with most Omanis following the Ibadhi sect, named after its
founder Abdul...
Clothing
Most Omanis wear traditional dress during
work and social hours. Men wear an ankle
length, collarless gown with l...
Working
Across the GCC, many local companies prefer to start work a little earlier, break for a long lunch
(usually three ...
Money
The monetary unit is the Oman Rial (RO or OR)
which is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of
approximately US $1 = RO...
Banks
The well-structured and ever-growing network of local and international banks, strictly controlled by
the Central Ba...
Healthcare                                         Useful numbers
The general standard of healthcare in Oman is
high, both...
Shopping Malls                                 Shopping Malls include:
Muscat is the shopping capital of Oman and
offers a...
Souqs
Oman has some of the most lively, most authentic and colorful traditional markets ‘souqs’ in the
region. Distinguish...
Getting around
The most popular way to get around Muscat
and to the interior cities of Nizwa, Sur and
Sohar is by car. If ...
Travel
Muscat is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and is an easily accessible city. Most
European citi...
Education
                                                   For a complete listing of the
Oman, and Muscat in particular,...
Childcare
If you have a child of nursery age, you will find quite a lot of choice in Muscat. Facilities and
standards vary...
Housing
Muscat is spread out into distinct residential areas,
mostly divided by mountains, valleys or highways.
The main a...
Pets
Dogs or cats that are brought into the Sultanate of Oman need to be accompanied by certified
Ministry Health Certific...
Media                                                 Newspapers and magazines
Due to the laws of supply and demand, the  ...
Holidays
Muslim festivals are timed according to local
sightings of various phases of the moon and the
dates given are app...
Sports & Leisure
Wadis, deserts, beaches, and mountains are areas which make Oman unique to its neighboring
GCC nations. J...
Nizwa
Nizwa is the largest city in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region and is about 140 km (1.5 hours) from Muscat.
The city is known...
Salalah
Salalah is the second largest town in
the Sultanate of Oman and despite
lying close to the Arabian desert,
enjoys ...
Visas
A visa is required to enter Oman, whether
it is a visit visa, a work permit or a
residency visa. Visa requirements h...
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Introducing The Sultanate Of Oman

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A comprehensive overview of life and work in Oman for those thinking of relocating here.

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Introducing The Sultanate Of Oman

  1. 1. Introducing ‫ُ ن‬ The Sultanate of Oman
  2. 2. Contents Introduction to The Sultanate of Oman Slides 3 Muscat Slide 4 Climate Slide 5 Food Slide 6 Language Slide 7 Religion Slide 8 Clothing Slide 9 Working Slide 10 Money Slide 11 Banks Slide 12 Healthcare Slide 13 Shopping Malls Slide 14 Souqs Slide 15 Getting around Slide 16 Travel Slide 17 Education Slide 18 Childcare Slide 19 Housing / Maids Slide 20 Pets Slide 21 Newspapers and magazines Slide 22 Holidays Slide 23 Leisure Slide 24 Nizwa Slide 25 Salalah Slide 26 Visas Slide 27 Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  3. 3. Introducing Oman The Sultanate of Oman is situated in the south-eastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, with a land area of 300,000 square kilometers, and a population of approximately 2.5 million. Oman is home to approximately 600’000 The country is divided into eight administrative regions: three expatriates governorates (Muscat, Dhofar and Musandam) and five regions (A’ Dakhliyah, A’ Dhahirah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta and A’ Sharqiyah). Each region is further divided into smaller ‘wilayats’ (districts) headed by a ‘wali’ (district governor) and the capital of the country is Muscat. ‫ُ ن‬
  4. 4. Muscat The metropolitan area of Muscat spans approximately 1500 km² and as of 2008, the population of the area was 1,090,797. The rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains dominate the landscape of Muscat and the port-district of Muttrah, with its corniche and harbour forms the north-eastern periphery of the city. The ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in 1970, has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society. Muscat's economy is dominated by trade, petroleum and porting. Evidence of communal activity in the area around Muscat dates back to the 6th millennium BCE Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  5. 5. Climate Oman’s climate varies considerably with the different regions, but sunny blue skies and warm temperatures can be expected most of the year. The north is hot and humid during the summer, with temperatures reaching 48°C during the day and averaging about 32°C at night. Humidity can rise to 90%. The mean summer temperature in Muscat is 33°C, but the ‘gharbi’ (western) wind from the Rub Al Khali can raise Information on local weather and coastal town temperatures by meteorological conditions is available by another 6°C to 10°C. dialing 1102 (Arabic) or 1103 (English) from within Oman ‫ُ ن‬
  6. 6. Food Supermarkets The Omani people are well known for their Oman has a good range of supermarkets and hospitality and offers of refreshment. Omani grocery stores that cater to the multinational meals often have rice as the main ingredient population’s culinary needs. Carrefour, the along with meat. Maqbous is a rice dish, Sultan Center, Lulu Hypermarket and Al Fair tinged yellow with saffron and cooked over a are the largest and most popular spicy red or white meat. Fish is also very supermarkets. There are also smaller popular and feautures in many dishes such as supermarkets such as Al Jadeed, Pic n Save Mashuai, a meal comprising of whole spit- and Family Supermarket. Al Fair supermarket, roasted kingfish served with lemon rice. with branches in Al Qurm, Madinat Sultan Omani sweets are well-known throughout the Qaboos, Al Sarooj and Zakher Mall, is region, with the most popular being halwa. renowned for its British, European and Asian American fast food chains such as KFC, foods. It’s the only supermarket in the country McDonalds, and Burger King, are located in that sells pork products such as paté, the larger cities of Muscat and Salalah. proscuitto, salami and ham. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  7. 7. Language Start practicing! The official language of Oman is Arabic, Peace be upon you – Al Salamo Alaikom however English is widely spoken. Other Welcome/Hello – Marhaba commonly heard languages include Urdu, What? - Matha Baluchi, Swahili and Hindi. Most road signs, Goodbye - Ma Salama shop signs and menus are written in both Who? - Man Arabic and English. Thank You - Shukran Where? - Ayina Please - Min Fadlak How many? - Kam How much does it cost? - Bekam How are you? - Ke fa ha’allaq Why? - Lematha Yes - Na’am / Aiwa Excuse me - Affwan No - La I don’t know - Lusto Adree Good Morning - Sabah Al Khair ‫ُ ن‬
  8. 8. Religion Islam is the official religion of Oman, with most Omanis following the Ibadhi sect, named after its founder Abdullah bin Abadha. Ibadhism is regarded as ‘moderately conservative’ and a distinguishing feature is the choice of a ruler by communal consensus and consent. Muscat has two Hindu temples – a Shiva temple and a Krishna temple and churches of several Christian denominations are located in a multi-denominational compound in Ruwi. The Roman Catholic church of Saints Peter and Paul is also located in Ruwi, and a second Roman Catholic church, the Holy Spirit Church, is located in Ghala. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  9. 9. Clothing Most Omanis wear traditional dress during work and social hours. Men wear an ankle length, collarless gown with long sleeves (dishdasha). On their heads men usually wear a brimless embroidered hat, kumah. The silver dagger, Khunjar, is the most distinctive part of a man's attire. Traditional women’s costumes are very colorful and vary from region to region. In public, women cover their normal clothes with a full-length, black cloak-dress (abaya). Islamic ideals provide the conservative foundation of Oman's customs, laws and practices. Visitors and expats are expected to remain sensitive to the Islamic culture, and to not dress in a revealing or provocative style. This includes wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts. ‫ُ ن‬
  10. 10. Working Across the GCC, many local companies prefer to start work a little earlier, break for a long lunch (usually three hours), and return to work for a late-afternoon session. Split-shift timings are usually 08:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00. Not all companies follow these hours however, and many work a ‘straight shift’ with short lunch break. Most private sector companies work straight shifts, as do government organizations. Straight-shift hours are usually 07:00 to 14:00 for government organizations, and 07:00 to 16:00 for private companies (although hours do vary from one company to another.) Independent shops normally work the split shift, and many of the small shopping malls also close for an extended period at lunchtime. Most supermarkets remain open from 08:00 to 21:00, and some of the bigger malls (such as Muscat City Centre, Qurum City Centre and Markaz Al Bahja) are open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. The official weekend in Oman is Thursday and Friday. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  11. 11. Money The monetary unit is the Oman Rial (RO or OR) which is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of approximately US $1 = RO 0.385. The Rial is divided into 1,000 Baisas. Cash is the preferred method of payment in Oman, although credit cards are accepted in larger department stores, restaurants and hotels. Cash and traveler's cheques can be exchanged at licensed exchange offices, banks and international hotels. A passport is required for exchanging traveler's cheques. Local cheques are generally accepted in business but not for personal purchases. There are no restrictions on the import or export of any currency other than Israeli currency which is prohibited. ‫ُ ن‬
  12. 12. Banks The well-structured and ever-growing network of local and international banks, strictly controlled by the Central Bank of Oman, offer a full range of commercial and personal banking services. Transfers can be made without difficulty as there is no exchange control and the Oman rial is freely convertible to other currencies. Bank headquarters are clustered in Ruwi, Muscat’s central business district (CBD). There are also bank branches all over Muscat and Salalah, and in major towns such as Nizwa, Sur and Sohar. Banking hours are usually 08:00 to 12:00 or 1:00 pm (Sunday – Thursday). Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  13. 13. Healthcare Useful numbers The general standard of healthcare in Oman is high, both in the public and private sectors. Country code 968 There are many private specialist clinics, Emergencies/Fire 999 private and government hospitals, all staffed by qualified professionals. Police: Muscat 560099 Hospitals include: Ruwi 701099 The Adam Hospital ph: 968-434 055 Salalah 290099 Al-Buraimi Hospital ph: 968-650 033 Al-Nahda Hospital ph: 968-707 800 Ibra Hospital ph: 968-470 535 Khoula Hospital ph: 968-563 625 Quriat Hospital ph: 968-645 003 Royal Hospital ph: 968-592 888 Rustaq Hospital ph: 968-875 055 Sohar Hospital ph: 968-840 299 Sultan Qaboos Hospital ph: 968-211 151 ‫ُ ن‬
  14. 14. Shopping Malls Shopping Malls include: Muscat is the shopping capital of Oman and offers a cosmopolitan range of shops and Jawaharat A'Shati Complex goods ranging from expensive boutiques to www.jascomplex.com handicraft stalls. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights are the busiest shopping times Landmark Group (City Plaza) and many shops have sales during the www.landmarkgroupco.com annual Muscat Festival in January and in the months around the two Eid holidays. Markaz Al Bahja www.markazalbahja.com Muscat City Centre www.citycentremuscat.com SABCO Commercial Centre www.sabcogroup.com Qurum City Centre mall Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  15. 15. Souqs Oman has some of the most lively, most authentic and colorful traditional markets ‘souqs’ in the region. Distinguished old men in their ‘dishdashas’ sit behind the counters in small shops, while bejeweled women in their ‘abaya’ haggle with authority. One of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman is in Muttrah, on the Corniche. Gold and silver jewellery is found in abundance as well as numerous wooden carvings, ornaments and spices. ‫ُ ن‬
  16. 16. Getting around The most popular way to get around Muscat and to the interior cities of Nizwa, Sur and Sohar is by car. If you don’t own a car, you can hire one or make use of the many taxis available. Due to the heat very few people walk or cycle. There are no trains or trams in Oman however there is a reasonable public bus service in Muscat. Road signs are almost always signposted both in English and Arabic, as are street and house numbers. However, people tend to rely on landmarks rather than road names to give directions. Landmarks are usually shops, hotels, petrol stations or distinctive buildings. To confuse matters further, places are sometimes referred to by a nearby landmark, rather than their real name. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  17. 17. Travel Muscat is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and is an easily accessible city. Most European cities are only seven hours away, however, Muscat’s proximity to larger Middle East hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha mean that you typically have to connect via another Gulf city. There are some direct flights to London (on Oman Air, British Airways or Gulf Air), and there are direct flights to India, Pakistan and numerous Middle East countries. Muscat International Airport is located 35km, or about 20 minutes, from the centre of Muscat. ‫ُ ن‬
  18. 18. Education For a complete listing of the Oman, and Muscat in particular, is home to educational institutions in Oman several international schools catering to you may like to visit: children of various nationalities. Government http://www.schools-oman.com/ schools are for Omani citizens only, therefore if you are living in Oman as an expat you will have to send your child to a private school. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  19. 19. Childcare If you have a child of nursery age, you will find quite a lot of choice in Muscat. Facilities and standards vary enormously, as do the fees. Some nurseries accept children as young as six months, however this is the exception rather than the rule. There are often waiting lists for the more popular nurseries. Nurseries are usually open in the mornings only with some offering flexibility in terms of how many days per week your child will attend. If you don’t want your child to go to school for a full five days a week, you may be able to choose four, three or even two days a week. ‫ُ ن‬
  20. 20. Housing Muscat is spread out into distinct residential areas, mostly divided by mountains, valleys or highways. The main areas are Muscat, Mutrah, Ruwi, Wattayah, Qurm, Shatti Al Qurm, Madinat Sultan Qaboos (MSQ), Al Khuwayr, Ghubbrah, Azaibah and Seeb. Renting is the main option for accommodation for expats. When driving around Muscat you will see several ‘To Let’ boards hanging up outside available properties. A reliable estate agent can save you a lot of time and effort by arranging viewings of suitable properties. Maid Services One of the perks of expat life is how Electricity common it is for people to have domestic Water and electricity services are supplied by the help. Most expat families have some sort of government and are generally efficient and reliable. home help, whether it’s a full-time, live-in Voltage: 220-240 Volts housemaid, or a part-time ironing lady. There Outlets in Oman generally accept are several reliable maid agencies who can recommend a good maid and in some 1 type of plug: cases, help you with the paperwork. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  21. 21. Pets Dogs or cats that are brought into the Sultanate of Oman need to be accompanied by certified Ministry Health Certificates and an import license. Each animal imported must have a valid vaccination certificate for rabies. Further information in respect to bringing your pet into Oman can be found at the Al Qurum Veterinary Clinic website: http://muscatvets.com/index.htm ‫ُ ن‬
  22. 22. Media Newspapers and magazines Due to the laws of supply and demand, the Oman Daily Observer range of imported books and magazines http://omanobserver.com/ available in Muscat is relatively limited. To bring a title into the country, it must first be checked Oman Tribune for its content. Books that are deemed to be http://www.omantribune.com/ against the religious, cultural, political or moral Times of Oman sensitivities of the country will be banned. http://www.timesofoman.com/ Foreign newspapers and magazines are flown in regularly but are expensive. TheWeek http://www.theweek.co.om/home.aspx Al Shabiba http://www.shabiba.com/ Al Watan http://www.alwatan.com/ Oman Daily http://www.omandaily.com/ Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  23. 23. Holidays Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given are approximations. 2009 1 January Ras as-Sana (Islamic New Year) 9 March Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet) 20 July Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet) 23 July Renaissance Day 21 September Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) 18 November National Day and birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos 28 November Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) 18 December Islamic New Year National Day holidays are sometimes given a week later to make a long weekend and ensure that as many people as possible are in the country during the celebrations. ‫ُ ن‬
  24. 24. Sports & Leisure Wadis, deserts, beaches, and mountains are areas which make Oman unique to its neighboring GCC nations. Jebel Shams is Oman's tallest mountain and highest point, and is a popular destination for camping. Other popular activities include sand skiing in the desert, mountain-climbing, camel racing, and camping. The Muscat Festival is usually held at the beginning of every year. During this event, traditional dances are held, temporary theme parks open, and concerts take place. Another popular event is the Khareef Festival, which is similar to Muscat Festival; however it is held in August in Salalah, Dhofar. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  25. 25. Nizwa Nizwa is the largest city in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region and is about 140 km (1.5 hours) from Muscat. The city is known for its handicrafts and agricultural products and has an expansive souq showcasing an array of products. The main attractions in the city are the Nizwa Fort, the traditional Souq and Falaj Daris. Nizwa fort was built in the 1650's and is Oman's most visited national monument. A short drive from Nizwa centre is the old village of Tanuf, known for its seasonal waterfalls. Waterfalls in Tanuf are unique to the area within the steep mountain sides and the water reservoir. Tanuf with its dam, waterfalls, wadi and falaj is a very popular picnic destination during rain time. ‫ُ ن‬
  26. 26. Salalah Salalah is the second largest town in the Sultanate of Oman and despite lying close to the Arabian desert, enjoys a tropical climate through most of the year. Salalah is known as the perfume capital of Arabia and is a popular destination due to the natural attractions of the nearby mountains and abundant stands of frankincense trees lining mountain wadi courses. Around the city and into the mountains the countryside is lush and green during the monsoon period. The beaches and coastline are major attractions for scuba diving and bird watching. Salalah has an airport, mainly catering to domestic flights from Muscat and some regional cities such as Kuwait, Dubai, and Doha. Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
  27. 27. Visas A visa is required to enter Oman, whether it is a visit visa, a work permit or a residency visa. Visa requirements have been greatly simplified as the country welcomes increased tourism, however, regulations should always be checked prior to travel. A passport (valid for at least six months and with enough blank pages) is required for all visitors, except nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates who hold national identity cards; and holders of a Macau (SAR) Travel Permit. For further information you may like to refer to this website: www.rop.gov.om Introducing The Sultanate of Oman
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