Below is a brief on Oman and key factual information. All information is generated from the world wide web and is accurate at the time of publication.
Area: 309,500 sq. km, with 1,700km of coastline
Population: 2.33 million
Official Language: Arabic (English widely used)
Ruler: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said
Time: 4 hours ahead of GMT (GMT+4.00)
Currency: Rial Omani = US$2.58 (US$1 = RO 0.387)
Climate: Summer - 31-47°C; Winter - 20-26°C
Geography The Sultanate of Oman borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the West; the Republic of Yemen in the South; the Gulf of Oman in the North and the Arabian Sea in the East. Oman's terrain has a varied topography, with plains, desert, mountain ranges and wadis. The rock matter is predominantly sedimentary and is rich in metallic mineral deposits, like copper, chromite and gold. The two main mountain ranges are the Hajar range, running from Musandam to Ras al Hadd; and the Qara range in Dhofar, which attracts the light monsoon rains during the mid-summer months (July - Sept). Around 82% of Oman consists of desert. There are several islands located in Oman's waters, the largest of which is Masirah in the southeast which is accessed by boat and plane.
Climate The climate differs from one area to another. It is hot and humid in the Coastal areas in summer; while it is hot and dry in the Interior with the exception of the higher mountains, which enjoy a moderate climate throughout the year. Rainfall is generally light and irregular; although heavy rains and thunderstorms can cause severe flooding. Summer (May - September) (temperatures in centigrade) Coastal: DAY: 25-49 NIGHT: 19-32 Interior DAY: 18-50 NIGHT: 11-35 Winter (October - April) (temperatures in centigrade) Coastal:: DAY: 16-41 NIGHT: 11-22 Interior: DAY: 8-44 NIGHT: 2-19
Average temperatures for the north of Oman are 32-48°C from May to September; 26-36°C from October to April.
Due to the monsoon season, June to September, Dhofar in the south of the country maintains a fairly steady year-round temperature of around 30-35°C. Dhofar is transformed after the rains into a lush landscape of green fields and verdant vegetation.
Average rainfall in Muscat is 75mm. In the Jebel al Akhdar region, average rainfall can be from 250mm-400mm. The monsoon season in Dhofar can bring rainfall of between 100-400mm.
The work week begins on a Saturday, with Thursday and Friday making up the weekend - Friday being the day of rest. (certain businesses converted to Fridays & Saturdays; especially the banking sector)
Government offices: 7am-2.30pm, Saturday to Wednesday.
Currency & Banking
The unit of currency is the Omani Rial (RO) comprising of 1,000 baizas. In general, banking hours are Sunday to Wednesday from 8am to noon, and Thursday from 8am to 11am. Moneychangers are also open from 4pm to 7pm.
Dress: Oman is a Muslim country so it is important to observe a certain dress code. In public places, women should wear garments that cover their upper arms, and legs to the knee. They should not appear in public dressed in shorts, tight slacks, bare-backed or low-cut dresses. Men should wear long trousers and shirts. Shorts and sun tops should only be worn at the beach or by the pool.
Photography: While taking photographs, it is polite to ask the person in question if it is all right to do so. While children usually oblige happily, women may refuse especially if the photographer is male. Best months for photography are November - April in the early, mid-morning or late afternoon. Use a UV and polarizing filter. Keep in mind that it is forbidden to photograph airports, military facilities and borders.
Alcohol: Muslims may not purchase or drink alcohol and the sale of alcohol to expatriates is controlled through a licensing system. The use of alcohol in public is strictly forbidden, it is only allowed in licensed restaurants and clubs. During Ramadan alcohol may not be sold anywhere. Driving under the influence carries severe penalties.
Traffic Rules & Crime: Driving approach is hideous and crime is low key and the papers only do “good news” reporting