Oman – 10 Things You didn’t Know

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Interesting, funny and quirky facts about Oman.

1. No Coca – Cola

There are almost NO Coca-Cola Company products while Pepsi is widely sold. It was very weird but I loved it. Coca-Cola was nowhere to be found. I have heard that in big luxurious hotels it is not a problem but not coffee shops and bazaars.

I spoke with many Omani about this, and majority of them didn’t pay that much attention to “this issue” as they seems to love Mountain Dew up to the point of total addiction. They called it ‘Omani Alcohol’! That is why Pepsi company is preferred I guess. It was not a problem, I’m not a big fan of fizzy drinks anyway, but as you all know I’m a bit strange and love everything which is slightly surreal.

Mountain Dew Oman - Interesting Facts

2. Liquor licence Issue

One needs a liquor licence issued by the police to be able to buy alcohol in Oman. The permit’s value is determined by one’s earnings. It is usually 10% of the basic salary. How do I know that? No, I’m not officially registered in Oman, simply I went for diving trip to Daymaniyat Islands with German and American Boys working and living in Muscat.

They old me that a proper Polish party could easily blow an amount permitted monthly! Oh, well, I know we can drink back at my home country but it is good to see it from a different perspective! Looking for all the dramas and accidents cause by alcohol in Poland maybe it is not such a bad perspective!

Daymaniyat Islands, Oman - Interesting Facts

3. Coffee + dates

Coffee is superb in Oman and it is always served with dates. The little cups are never full. Traditionally Omani drink coffee in a thousand little sips, each served separately.

It takes a lot of time. But that is the whole point of their amazing hospitality. To please guests with conversations while sipping delicious freshly made coffee with some of the best dry dates I have ever had in my life!

I have actually written about Arabic customs of drinking coffee for the Coffee Shop Blog.

Nizwa Souq, Coffee Drinking, Oman - Interesting Facts

4. Weekend = Friday + Thursday

Oman still has its weekend on Thursday and Friday. Friday is the Muslim holy day when Jumu’ah prayers take place. It will be changed to Friday and Saturday very soon, as well by Saudi leaving only Afghanistan to adhere to this weekend scheme.

5. Woman – only souq

Oman is the only country to have a women-only souq. It takes place every Wednesday in the city of Ibra. It is the most colourful souk of Arabia. Men are forbidden to even stick around. Women traders sells everything from spices to jewellery and fabrics to women buyers. 

Ibra, Woman Only Souq, Oman - Interesting Facts

6. Doors to Heaven

The country is famous for its ornamented doors. Doors in Oman are unique, colourful and embroidered. And no matter what the whole house looks like, even a simple house has truly stunning doors. As you may know from my Pinterest I’m a bit obsessed with taking pictures of doors, so it was little heaven for me! This is my OCD kicking in, I like series!

Omani Doors, Oman - Interesting Facts

7. Oldest Independent Arab State

Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. It has been ruled by the Al-Said family since 1744. It is true that most of the country’s citizens gained voting rights only in November of 2002 but Oman has a very interesting Foreign Policy which makes has changed an isolated and unstable Oman into a leader in Middle Eastern and global diplomacy.

I must admit I have been hight impressed by Omani people, they are truly hospitable, but as well super nice, polite, open to discussion on every subject even conservative ones. When I was visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, I have been invited for coffee by truly interesting woman for coffee and conversation. It was refreshing to hear her opinions on her own country which she loved.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman - Interesting Facts

8. Frankincense Trees

In Oman, frankincense trees only grow in the wild. Frankincense trees are facing an uncertain future worldwide. It is said that in the next 15 years production of the fragrant resin could decline by half.

It is used extensively in religious rituals and in the perfume industry. It has also been investigated for its medicinal properties. It is becoming a very precious and demanded feedstock. It is a very special tree for Omani, is not a mere tree for them. It is an embodiment of culture, history, sociology and geography.

Frankincense Tree,  Oman - Interesting Facts

9. Arab Horses Land

Oman is traditionally known for breeding Arab horses. Historically it has been famous for its purebred Arab horses. Omani people believe that the horse is an image of its master and a reflection of his courage, stamina and ability.

It is believed that Zaad AL-Rakeb was the first horse to be known in Arabia and to which all the Arab progeny horses were tracked back. It belonged to the Uzd, the old members of the Arab Uzd tribe of Oman.

Pink Horse,  Oman - Interesting Facts

10. Open for tourists! 

Officially Oman was open to expensive package tours and business travellers only and its allowed tourists to enter its territory freely only starting in 1987 when Omani government decided to eased visa restrictions. 

Up to 1970 there were no hotels in the country at all! These days they have some of the most amazing resorts to host you. It is really worth a visit, so pack and go before all the others will. Especially if you are such a desert lover as I’m!

Wahiba Sands,  Oman - Interesting Facts

Check out other funny pieces from the Things You Didn’t Know series. If you wish to write an article especially for this series please email me. I’m looking for participants.

Share on FacebookShare on VKShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

62 thoughts on “Oman – 10 Things You didn’t Know

  1. Omar

    Thanks for the lovely post and hope you come back and visit Oman again!

    I wonder how you were not able to find Coca Cola! it is found everywhere!

    Again thank for the facts and we look forward to welcome you again here :)

  2. Helen

    Great post! I had the pleasure of visiting Oman a couple of years ago while my boyfriend was working there and really loved the country. I definitely think more people should visit!

  3. Jessica Brown

    I like the doors to heaven. Doors are really very beautiful.

  4. Amir Aal Amir

    Welcome to Jewel of Arabia, we are tradition based modern people in Oman. Coffee and dates are the welcome custom in my country, don’t miss the Omani Halwa ( Omani Sweets), it’s also a part of Omani tradition to provide to welcome our guest.

    While in the northern parts of Oman gets hot and wild during the summer, the southern region enjoys what is known as Khareef or Monsoon in English. It becomes lush green and misty in Salalah.

    There’s a lot to see in Oman, such as the turtle beach where you can watch turtles that come to lay eggs, you can go down south to swim with our huge friends the sperm whalea, you can go to far north in the Musandam Peninsula to have fun with Dolphins, and there are must see places, so welcome to Oman and we call it Jewel of Arabia.

    • Hey Amir, thanks for your words, I know all that as I have been travelling in Oman back in 2012 but thanks for sharing with my readers :)
      Marysia recently posted…Best Beach Escapes for 2016My Profile

  5. distancesfrom

    Oman is easily #1 on my Middle East travel list and for all of the reasons you have just shown. Dates with coffee? Fantastic. Ornamental doors? Sign me and my camera up, please. Seriously though, it just seems like the perfect place to get your feet wet in the Middle East and I hope to follow in your footsteps soon. So, I guess they don’t have a problem with all the caffeine in that mountain dew?

    • Ha ha ha Oman is just amazing! I loved every minute in this country! I’m not sure if it is perfect introduction to Middle East, after travelling for years I would say that Jordan is much better, especially for someone who have never been in the region as it is better organized for travellers. I love both countries, Oman a bit more but Jordan just after it… You know i have this unofficial list of the nicest nations in the world and Omani are 2nd and Jordanians 3rd :)
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #111My Profile

  6. Marysia, I have to get to Oman, and especially that women only souk…looking up tickets….
    Corinne recently posted…Japan PostcardMy Profile

  7. Loay

    You can find coca cola in Oman almost everywhere. Second of all. The holiday is oh Friday and Saturday. Not Friday and Thursday.

    • Hey, appreciate your comment but not sure you read my article. First of all my article in from 2012 and the weekend were on Thursday and Friday when I was there, I as well mention that it will be change soon and provide a link with all details. And as for Coca Cola as I have mentioned that many times in the comments, it was my impression that everywhere they well selling Pepsi, I went to many places, little coffee shops and big hotels, as there were no Coke anywhere, just Pepsi. Maybe it was only my impression but what can I do about it?!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #81My Profile

  8. Oman Independent Traveller

    Great article, I have shared your post on Facebook and I agree with your note about Pepsi though why people are taking it that there was NO coca cola in Oman is amazing, some people don’t know how to understand humour I guess! Safe travels :)

    • Hey, thanks for sharing my post and thanks for assuring me that I didn’t go insane, as I really thought that Pepsi was omnipresent and Coca Cola not.
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #72My Profile

      • Darryl

        You are right about Coke. I live in Muscat, and whilst it is possible to get Coke in major supermarkets, Pepsi is far and away the brand leader. Nice article by the way!

        • Glad to hear it, I was thinking that it was something weird with my experience in Oman, ha ha ha
          Marysia recently posted…100 Happy Days ChallengeMy Profile

  9. Ahmed

    Great article! Being an Omani myself, I would agree on all the points except for the Coco-Cola part! It is widely found everywhere from small neighbourhood shops to supermarkets. Oman now is developing in the tourism field in a very wide manner and unlike other arab countries, Omanis welcome tourists and are open minded and accepting other foreign cultures.

    • As I have mentioned few times before I know there is Coca Cola in Oman but I must admit I have only found it in big hotels not in small shops, maybe it was just me! But I liked the feeling, it was a bit unrealistic! My style :)
      I can confirm with all my words that Omani are amazing people, one of the most hospitable, welcoming nation I have come across on my travels!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #72My Profile

    • Valerie Wade

      I have to agree with Ahmed. I lived in Oman for the past 3 years and have been able to find coca cola everywhere including the smaller local shops and restaurants. Im a coke drinker myself. I think it was just some strange fluke that you weren’t able to find coca cola during your visit.

      • Guys it actually may have been some fluke. I had a look at all the pictures I took in coffee shops, streets and I do not see Coca Cola anywhere. As I have said I know in my hotel you could get it and I didn’t visit super markets, but even when I was travelling around the country and stopped somewhere for coffee there was only Pepsi… I guess now I have to go back to Oman to buy some Coca Cola and have this impression I had changed :)
        Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #72My Profile

  10. Sakhawat Jameel

    I am doing a project on Oman, as an Islamic country, in course of “Islamic World View & Civilization” while my degree is B.S in Software Engineering but it’s a General Course (University Requirement) but sorry to say I can’t get the knowledge that I need for my project but this article is perfect and amazing!!!! And Friday holiday is must like few other Muslim countries due to Jumma(Friday) prayer. Woman – only Souk, I like that method as no men should be near that, and it should be in other Muslim countries.

    • You know i have spend only few weeks in Oman so my knowledge of this country is kind of restricted to what I have observed on my travels, what I understood from conversations with people and what I have read around after the trip. But I’m sure there is many study cases that can be found online.
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #72My Profile

  11. How strange that there are no Coca Cola products. Having said that I wish more countries restricted the sale of mass produced food that ruins our health! Great post!
    Charli recently posted…An Alpine Escape From QueenstownMy Profile

    • Thanks Charli!
      Marysia recently posted…10 Things about Azerbaijan You didn’t KnowMy Profile

    • Cynthia

      Coca-Cola products are available in Oman and have been for many years. Any supermarket and some independent eating establishments (including McDonalds) all sell Coke!

      • Cynthia as I have said in few comments already there was Coca Cola in exclusive hotels, but thats it, each little shop which I have entered had only Pepsi and that is more than fine, and sorry but I do not visit McDonalds as I much prefer to eat the local food.
        Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #67My Profile

  12. I thought that I would know at least one little thing about Oman, but all these are new to me. How fascinating! I can’t decide if I’m more amazed that Coca-Cola doesn’t have a foothold there or that frankincense is used for feedstock. Parts of Malaysia have Fri/Sat off for the weekend, but other parts have Sat/Sun off. I hear it’s really hard for parents and kids when work and school have different weekend days.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Family Trip Tips: Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, Cambodia with KidsMy Profile

    • Oh yes Michele, majority of countries is adjusting, and I fully understand that, but it is nice to experience it, it is a bit surreal, you know weekend days are so set up in my mind that I kept forgetting :)
      Marysia recently posted…Lucky 13th Quote Affair – AprilMy Profile

  13. Marysia, you are right! I definitely didn’t know many of these Oman facts. Their way of drinking coffee seems very special, and something I can easily indulge in.
    frankaboutcroatia recently posted…Zadar Photos: A Journey Through PhotosMy Profile

  14. I don’t know very much about Oman but this is quite interesting. It must feel a bit strange to have a different weekend when visiting. Those doors are exquisite. I’m glad they allowed visitors to what seems like a wonderful place to visit.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…The Wonders of Lower Antelope Canyon ArizonaMy Profile

  15. This article is way better than history class!! Thanks for transporting me to the exotic world of Oman! :D

    PS. Will the locals love me if I smuggle some cans of Coca Cola into the country?
    Raphael Alexander Zoren recently posted…How Pizza Hut saved my life at the Giza PyramidsMy Profile

  16. Brianna

    A friend recently visited Oman to teach a medical course and found it to be a thoroughly fascinating country. Thanks for some interesting tidbits, hopefully they’ll help if I ever find myself on Jeopardy.
    Brianna recently posted…Along the Danube on 2 wheels: cycling through Austria’s Wachau ValleyMy Profile

  17. I just missed spending several days in Oman this winter and your post is only reinforcing my desire to get there. It seems like a fascinating and different country,
    Dave Cole recently posted…Addis Day Trip – Debre LibanosMy Profile

    • It is an mazing country and very beautiful! Oh and people are amazing there. Omani have 2nd position in my most Welcoming Nations List!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #65My Profile

  18. Wow, what a great post! I love this kind of quirky information. I would love to visit the women-only souq, and see a frankincense tree. Wonder what they look like!
    Margherita recently posted…Chinese New Year in PenangMy Profile

    • Oh I should put a picture of one here, they are very old, usually having more than one trunk… very specific :) Woman only souk was great!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #65My Profile

  19. Why are the weekends on Thursday-Friday?

    Also, did you go to the womans-only souk. What was it like with no men around?

    Also, I love your little tick boxes as the end of the comment. I feel much happier being a geunine sweetheart and hearing about love afairs with my comments! :)
    Stacey recently posted…From an (almost) local: Top seven things to do in Prince Edward Island (PEI), CanadaMy Profile

    • Stacey I’m glad you like my boxed, I wanted them to go with my blog tittle :) It is on Thursday and Friday because of Muslim religion, a Special Prayer is at the ‘End the week’ meaning Friday. I think Oman, Saudi and Afghanistan are last countries to have weekend on Thursday and Friday as weekend. You know all Muslim countries adjusting to the rest of the world for economic reasons! Omani banks switched already but only banks! You know when they have Thursday and Friday and we have Saturday and Sunday off that lives you only with 3 working days for international business! Economy is the biggest change drive around the world those days!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #65My Profile

  20. Jenna

    Interesting facts! Surprised there isn’t any Coke there and that hotels weren’t around until the 70’s!
    Jenna recently posted…Alligator City: Airboat Tours in the Florida EvergladesMy Profile

    • Yes, Oman was quiet close country! I think it has some pluses… the traditions are very strong there!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #65My Profile

  21. Megan

    There is really no Coca-Cola? WOW and I thought they had invaded every corner of the globe lol impressed!

    • Really, maybe somewhere in the very expansive hotels you can get it but normal shops, coffee shops etc do not sell it. Pepsi is a king :)
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #65My Profile

  22. Urska

    Wow! It sounds amazing! I would love to see the women only souk!

  23. What!? Only Pepsi? That’s the oddest things to find out about Oman. I though Coca-cola was everywhere.
    Agness recently posted…What Is Today’s Backpacker And Why There Is a Need For New NameMy Profile

    • Ha ha ha, really! Recently I have found out that they have Coca Cola is some big resorts, but in shops it was impossible to buy!
      Marysia recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #51My Profile

  24. Escape Hunter

    Oman would be a great place to stop and visit… I love the colors of the landscapes. Shades of brown and green. The colors of the desert and the green vegetation. Love the contrast!
    If I’ll check out Oman, I’ll also pay a visit to Wadi Shab!

    • Wadi Shabi was amazing! You can see some more pictures in my Picture section. Generally whole country is superb!
      Marysia recently posted…Lucerne Lovely LightMy Profile

  25. Loren

    Oman is a really nice country to visit, and really nice post as well you have here. The information given is quiet impressive. Thanks for sharing

  26. Jon Patrick

    Fantastic! I couldn’t help but think I should surprise my ex-wife with a trip to Oman – because she refuses to drink any product that’s not Coke! :) (just kidding)
    Neat little tidbits about an interesting country, I appreciate this.
    Jon Patrick recently posted…My Fun LIFE!My Profile

  27. Mohamed

    Glad to hear that about my awesome country, not sure about some points thhough haha ;p As far as I know anyone above 21 can buy liquor in specified places like hotels and bars :P

    • Thanks Mohamed and actually possibility of buying alcohol in hotel bars is weird for foreigners, we can buy alcohol in normal shops and nobody really go to hotel bars in you do not stay there as a guest, while in Oman if you want to go to the bar or club you have to go to the hotel :)

  28. Oman is probably our favorite country in the region. (And the scuba diving is fantastic!)
    Lance recently posted…The Historical Core of Istanbul, TurkeyMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

CommentLuv badge