Oman and what to expect…
Oman is part of the Arabian Peninsula. Its principal religion is that of Islam. So bear this in mind when packing your suitcase. Women are treated far better there than in many countries in the Middle East, but there are still simple traditions that you should adhere to when going there or visiting the country.
As a female in Oman, not only do you need to be aware of what you wear but you also need to remember that the country is not used to the levels of ‘independence’ that we are used to in the west. Women do have the vote (as of 1970) .. but they still don’t hold the same sort of place in society as they do in the West.
As a woman in Oman
- ensure your shoulders and tops of the arms and legs
- swimwear should only be work on tourist beaches or swimming pools
- underwear should not be visible – either through your over-garments of sticking out from under your over-garments
- avoid wearing provocative clothing, like short shorts or figure hugging clothing as they are seen as unacceptable to the Islamic faith
- When travelling on public transport, women sit together. Never sit down next to a man you don’t know, it is simply unacceptable in Islamic countries. In taxis, when they are being shared, women usually sit in the back on their own, and another man will not sit next to you.
Generally, as a female or male visitor to Oman, remember that they are a country and culture that is not used to the levels of acceptance that we have in the rest of the world. They expect peoples behaviour in public to be delicate, with no public drunkenness or swearing. There is no tolerance of drug use / or any association whatsoever with it. Hefty fines and imprisonment will await you if you even think of dabbling in this area.
Same sex relationships are not tolerated in Oman so if you are homosexual, you should bear that in mind. Also, know that it is illegal for a man and woman there to share a hotel room or accommodations unless they are married… even if that means that you must become Mr and Mrs Smith!!
Some of these traditions may seem a little austere at first but you will soon get used to them. In time, you will actually become a little appalled when you return home to your own country and see how people comport themselves in public there. That’s how I feel now at least.
IT’S HOT!… Very hot!!
The temperatures in Oman are exceptionally high all year round. Take one look at the terrain and you will see that there is little annual rainfall. For the most part, the country is dominated by hot desert and mountain-scapes.
Temperatures in Muscat, for example range between 17 and 25 degrees centigrade in January and 30-40 degrees centigrade during the summer months of July and August.
If you feel that those high temperatures may send you into heat-stroke, you may prefer to spend a little more time in Salalah, where the temperatures tend to be at their highest in around May, at an average of 30 degrees centigrade.
Wherever you end up in Oman, do make sure that you are never without a bottle of water, as it is very easy to get dehydrated. If you notice that you are thirsty and your lips are dry, you are probably already suffering from the effects of dehydration – so immediately get yourself something cool to drink and sit down in the shade for a minimum of 10 minutes to try to get yourself back on kilter.