Local Customs

Local Information
Local Customs

When staying in Muscat, there are a few local customs that should be understood and observed, improving and enriching your visit.

Where is Muscat?

Muscat is a city in Muhafazat Masqat, Oman. It overlooks the Gulf of Oman and borders the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. It is located at 23.61 latitude and 58.59 longitude with an elevation of seven meters above sea level.

What languages are spoken in Muscat?

The official language is Arabic. English is taught as a second language and is widely spoken around the country, and several Indian dialects, such as Urdu and Baluchi, are also spoken, especially in Muscat.

What is Muscat’s climate like?

Annual rainfall in Muscat is 10 cm in average, occurring mostly in the month of January. Dhofar is subject to the southwest monsoon and rainfall up to 64 cm has been recorded in the rainy seasons from late June to October. The climate is generally quite hot with temperatures rising to over 50 degrees Celsius in the summer months, from May to October.

What is the local currency of Muscat?

The local currency is the Omani Rial (OMR). Cash is often the best method of payment, especially when shopping in souks (markets) or using taxis. Credit and debit cards are also widely used as a method of payment.

What etiquette should I be aware of in Muscat?

Being an Islamic country, both male and female visitors and residents are always requested to dress conservatively and are advised to wear long sleeved tops and trousers.

Swimwear is only permitted on the beach and in designated areas.

Local Omani men generally wear an ankle-length, collarless gown called a dishdasha and women a long black dress called an abaya. If invited by a gracious Omani host at their residence, you will always be greeted with dates, fruit and Omani kahwa (coffee). Omanis, in general, are very hospitable people and will always go above and beyond for guests.

What is Muscat's cuisine like?

Today, much of Oman's culinary scene revolves around spicy, rich Indian and Levantine dishes. Some of the country's staple foods include rice, served alongside most dishes, unleavened bread, lamb, and beef. The national dish is shuwa, a slow-cooked, smoky and delicious lamb dish that is eaten on festive and religious occasions such as at weddings and during Eid.

What time zone is Muscat in?

Muscat is in the Gulf time zone, which is UTC/GMT +4 hours.

Which airports serve Muscat?

Muscat International Airport (IATA: MCT, ICAO: OOMS), formerly Seeb International Airport, is the main international airport in Oman and is situated 32 km from the old city and around 10 km from the hotel.

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