The capital city of Muscat is the center of business, culture, and tourism in Oman. It’s also the primary hub for public transportation services, including taxis and bus services. Outside of city limits and other urban centers, however, there aren’t a lot of transportation options in Oman. Like many developing nations, most people in Oman rely on personal vehicles to get from place to place. Visitors to Oman will have no problem getting around the major cities and tourist destinations. If you plan on traveling off-the-beaten-path or spending more time outside of larger cities, you may want to research your transportation options before you arrive – especially if you plan on renting a car or staying at a remote hotel with limited shuttle services. There are a variety of transportation options in Oman that may suit your needs when exploring this small but beautiful country:
Among the best ways to get around Oman is by taxi. Taxis are widely available, reliable, and affordable in most cities. If you want to hail a taxi on the street, be careful to double-check that it’s an official cab (they should have a meter inside). If you want to be extra cautious, you can always call a cab service and have the driver meet you at your location. While riding in a taxi, be aware of the traffic laws. Unlike in the United States, it is not against the law to drive while talking on a cell phone. Omani taxi drivers also tend to drive very aggressively and pass other cars in very close proximity. Always keep an eye out for pedestrians and animals. Many people in Oman walk, bike, or ride camels to get around. You may also see herds of goats, sheep, and cows crossing the road at certain times of the day.
Buses are another great way to get around Oman. Buses are usually found in urban areas, and you can usually find the bus routes and schedules posted at major bus stops. Buses are usually very inexpensive and can be a good way to meet locals and other travelers. A few notes about taking the bus in Oman: Buses might not be air conditioned, so be prepared for warm, muggy weather; bus stops are often very basic and don’t have any type of shelter; and you should be prepared to stand the entire trip.
If you’re planning to rent a car during your trip to Oman, you’ll be in good company. Many people arrive in Oman by plane and then rent a car to get around the country. If you do decide to rent a car, make sure you are familiar with the car rental laws, which are different in every country. Omani car rental laws are strict and can result in significant fines if you aren’t careful. Make sure to keep your car clean and in good condition. Also, keep an eye on the road and make sure you have a valid driver’s license. Many visitors to Oman rent cars and then drive to Yemen or other nearby countries. If you decide to do this, make sure to check the visa requirements for your destination country and that your car rental company will allow you to drive across the border. You may also want to take extra precautions like bringing plenty of water, snacks, and gas/oil/tyre-pressure check tools.
Oman does have a railway that connects the capital city, Muscat, to other urban areas. There are currently no passenger trains, but it’s expected to begin operating in 2020. If the railway is completed as expected, it will be a great way to get around Oman. It’s unclear, however, how much the tickets will cost and how often the trains will run.
If you want to get a feel for the Omani lifestyle and see the country in a way few tourists do, walking is one of the best ways to do it. If you’re planning to explore Oman on foot, make sure you have lots of water and snacks with you. It can be very hot, especially during the summer months, so staying hydrated is key. You should also wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin and scalp from overexposure. Walking can be a great way to explore Oman’s cities and rural areas. You can walk along the waterfront in Muscat or through the old neighborhoods of Sohar. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up one of the mountains in Oman’s eastern region.
From taxis to buses to renting a car and taking the train once it’s completed, you have plenty of options when it comes to transportation in Oman. Before you arrive in Oman, we recommend researching the best ways to get around your destination city. Once you arrive and start exploring, you can always find out more information about public transportation options such as bus routes and schedules.