Local culture in Oman

Read our quick guide to local culture in Oman before your trip so you can appreciate this unique country even more!

Local Culture

Food

Omani food has strong Arabic, Lebanese, Turkish, and Indian influences. You’ll commonly find mezze style dishes available, and also plenty of fresh seafood and slow cooked meats.

Drink

Alcohol is only available in select restaurants and hotels and is usually pretty expensive. Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited, but you can get your own drinks to enjoy in privacy such as camping by beaches, sands, mountains, or actually in any remote areas. During Ramadan, drinking anything in public is prohibited, even for foreigners. Take care to drink in the privacy of your room.

Festivals in Oman

Salalah Tourism Festival (also known as the Khareef Festival) - summer

Held during the three months of the khareef (monsoon), featuring assorted cultural attractions, sporting events, concerts and shopping promotions.

Ramadan - dates vary according to local astronomical

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan represents a period in which to purify mind and body and to reaffirm one’s relationship with God. Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk, and as a tourist you will be expected to publicly observe these strictures, although you are free to eat and drink in the privacy of your own hotel room, or in any of the carefully screened-off dining areas which are set up in hotels throughout the city.

Eid al Adha - approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan

“Festival of the Sacrifice” celebrates the willingness of Abraham (or Ibrahim, as he is known to Muslims) to sacrifice his son Ismail at the command of God. The festival also marks the end of the traditional pilgrimage season to Mecca. Large numbers of animals are slaughtered during the festival. No alcohol is served on the day of the festival or on the day before.

Camel racing – October to April

Camel racing is an authentic Arab sport, and has evolved into an official and professional race where camels compete at speeds of up to 64 kilometers per hour on tracks specially built for this kind of race. Races take place mostly from October to April.

What to wear in Oman

Women should dress modestly in public areas. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and tight-fitting clothing should be avoided. Shorts should never be worn in public and beachwear should only be worn at the beach or at the pool.

Books

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. As much an anthropologist and ethnographer as traveler, in this classic book Thesiger records the nomadic life of the Bedu before the discovery of oil changed the region forever

Music

The country's coastal location has strongly influenced the music of Oman, with sailors bringing back musical flavors from, Egypt, Tanzania and further afield. Its close neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran have also left their mark.

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