The national airline, Oman Air, travels frequently between the country’s two airports (Muscat/Seeb and Salalah). From the United Arab Emirates, Air Arabia currently flies to Salalah and Muscat (UAE).
The major cities in Oman are connected by frequent, daily bus routes (Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Sur and Nizwa). From Muscat to Dubai, there are many daily bus routes. From Muscat to Abu Dhabi, there is just one bus each day.
Because taxi driving is a protected profession in Oman, all taxi drivers are Omani citizens. Call/telephone Taxi services are available in Muscat. While they are usually safe and arrive when you expect them, the prices are rather expensive. Look for signs that say “Hello Taxi” and “Muscat Taxi,” among other things.
Owner-operated orange-badged taxis are typically un-metered and have agreed rates before departure. If you receive a really low fare, don’t be shocked if the taxi stops to pick up other people unless you specifically request a private ride. You may request an engaged taxi by simply saying to the driver, “engaged taxi,” and you will be charged for all four seats (4) and will now have the cab to yourself. Women must always sit in the back row by themselves. This is for your own protection and convenience.
Minibuses (Baisa buses) are also available; the idea is that you share the bus or vehicle with others and therefore pay a reduced fare. If women in Oman must utilize public transportation, they travel in this manner. If there are any other women on the bus, ladies should seat next to them. Men should take a different seat. If they do not respond right away, just stand at the door and wait for them to move. They’ll figure it out and relocate. Although this may seem odd to outsiders, it is standard Omanese behavior. If you don’t sit next to a guy, you’ll avoid any awkward scenarios with confused messages.
With Oman, it is really prohibited to drive around in a filthy vehicle, believe it or not. The cops may stop you and penalize you OMR10, but they are more likely to just advise you to wash your car.
It’s simple to get around Oman with your own (rented) vehicle. Muscat and Nizwa are connected by a four-lane road, while Muscat to Sur is connected by a newly built four-lane motorway (however, between Muscat and Quriyat it is still one lane each way through the mountains).
Large swaths of the Sur-Muscat road remain devoid of cell phone coverage. Be prepared to wait it out if you break down. Alternatively, catch a ride to the next town and locate a mechanic to repair your car.
Between Muscat and Sur, there is some lovely beach camping. To make your way securely into this seaside road, follow the paved path to SUR, then across to Wadi Shab. A 4WD is strongly recommended if you want to travel through wadis (unsealed valley roads in river bottoms). You never know how the road will be, and if it begins to rain, the wadis will soon become into rivers.
If at all feasible, rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Off-road driving in Oman is fantastic, and you’ll want to go off the beaten path again and again.
Oman has experienced significant flash floods every year since about 2001. Even landcruisers are pushed off the road and upside down by the power of the water pouring down the rock-hard, treeless slopes. Beware. If you see gloomy clouds or rain begins to fall. Find a high, dry spot to hide and remain put. You may contact the local authorities to see if they can provide you with further information. The issue is that since flash floods sweep rapidly from town to town, it is possible to get stranded due to washed-out roadways. White and red poles are placed at several wadi crossings to signal when it is safe to cross the wadi in the event of a flood. On the bottom, they’re painted white, and on the top, they’re painted red. Even with a 4WD, do not try to cross if the water level reaches the red-painted section.
If you can obtain a map of Oman, think of it as how Oman would want the roads to be. Some roads may seem to be well-constructed roadways, yet they are not even paved. Roads that aren’t visible on the map may simply come to a conclusion, and they might even be painted all the way to the end!
In Oman, distances are quite long. The issue is the daily mileage restriction of a normal leased vehicle, which is between 200 and 250 kilometers. Prepare to pay and bargain for more kilometers. In certain cases, monthly prices include unlimited miles.
By European and even North American standards, gasoline in Oman is extremely inexpensive. Regular gasoline cost about OMR0.12 per litre in January 2010, making it even cheaper than in neighboring United Arab Emirates.
The motorways/dual carriageways have been peppered with speed cameras since 2006, in an attempt to reduce the horrific road fatality toll. They’re every 2 kilometers in the center of Muscat; not all of them seem to be operational, but beware. According to residents, the speed cameras’ tolerance is 19 km/h.