Saturday, November 3

Oman : final review

After almost a year in Oman, it is time for me to go back definitely in my country. I would like to thank all my readers, and all the people that I've met in Oman and that brought me so much. Even if I won't be able to create a lot of new posts in the future, this blog will remain a helpfull guide for futur expats and tourists to Oman.



I think it is time to give my final review about Oman :
In brief, Oman is great country. It is a calm and welcoming state, whose people are very friendly. You have great places to visit around the country : beaches, mountains, canyon, wadis... As a tourist it is a wonderful place to spend one or two weeks. Even for the expats there is always something to do during the week-end : diving, driving a 4x4 in the desert, trekking or camping...

The problem for people who live in Oman for a long time, is that it is a small country with only a small community of expatriates. Consequently, the activities in town quickly become repetitive, as well as the people you met (especially in places where you can go out at night). If you are in Oman as a family it should not be a problem, but as a single person or an couple without children, Oman can become boring quickly enough.

One final point, which for me was very serious : it has been impossible to get a high-speed internet connection at home in 10 monthes! Considering that you sometimes feel isolated from the rest of the world in Muscat, it would have been of great value.

and you, what is your final review of Oman ?

36 comments:

  1. My family and I are due to come to Oman next year and your site has been a fantastic source of information and interest for the past year. We were very sad to see that you will be leaving and no longer posting on the various aspects of the country. Many thanks and good luck!

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  2. What? You're leaving Oman?! Why?.. I mean, you haven't yet completed a year..

    What was it? Your job? The country? or your contract ended or what exactly?!

    Anyways, wish you good luck to wherever you're going to. Too sad you'll be leaving Oman before getting your ADSL line! :-p haha..

    Regards from Amjad.

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  3. I had to leave Oman for personal reasons. But even if I could have stay I think I would have go back to France anyway because my wife had difficulties to find an interesting job for her here.

    Thank you anyway for your comment, I wish you all the best !

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  4. You did a great job
    Arrivederci :-)

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  5. About a year ago I stumbled upon your blog and, without a specific affinity for Oman, have been coming back to it frequently. You have been a keen and sympathetic observer. It was a pleasure to read this mixture of facts and perceptions. Good luck in France.

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  6. I arrived in Oman 2 months ago and started my own weblog. While searching tne het for nice pictures, I stumbled upon your site. Very nice indeed, and which so much information that I hardly have time to read even a small part of it before my visitors arrive.
    My bad luck I didn't discover realier!.
    Merci et bonne chance en France

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  7. Oh yes, and I will add a link to your site in my weblog www.peterinoman.web-log.nl

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  8. thank you for your support. Your blog seems very nice as well (even if i cannot understand the language) !

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  9. Yes, in Qatar I started a weblog in English but I refrained from it since there were only few visitors that did not understand English. And I will add your site to mine today definitely.

    Peter

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  10. well i been to oman in 2006. it is nice country with friendly people who like to help and support each other, especially foreigns and tourists. oman is a cheap country (cheapest country in gulf area).

    i really enjoyed your blog, and all the information are true and accurate.

    wish you good luck.

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  11. Hey, i really enjoyed this blog. I have very similar feelings about Oman. My Name is khaled and i have come to Oman in 2005. over the years, Oman has quickly progressed. It became quickly populated. I can remember in 2005, at around 8pm, the streets would be empty and all the shops and malls would be closed(in fact, there werent even many malls back then). But now, the night life is better in Oman. I definetly agree that Oman would be great for tourists coming to visit for a couple of weaks. I think Oman has alot of natural beauty and has many beautiful places o visit such as Wadis and Mountains. It is great for trekking, camping, diving, and many more great outdoor activities. But for people who live in the country for a long time, it can get dreadfully boring. I also feel that everything i do gets very epetitive. For example, what i and my family do during the weekends is that we go to city centre or Bahja Centre (Evry SINGLE WEEKEND) because those are the only two malls in Muscat. The only people i meet here in Oman are my schoolmates and teachers. There is never any one who i meet and become friends with outside of school. I think that you are absolutly right and that many people who have lived in Oman have had a similar experience as yours.
    This blog may sound negative and may make Oman sound like a boring country however that is not entirly true. Oman is a great country because it has some of the friendliest people i have ever met. It has a beatiful culture and heritege. It is a great, peacful and quite country to live in. For anyone who is planning to come and spend some time in Oman, i hope you enjoy it.

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  12. Hi,
    I was in Oman yesterday, just for some hours and I was so impressed that came to the net to look for more info and found your blog. It was very interesting to read your comments. Thanks!
    Carolian

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  13. Your blog could be a life saver to my side, and to be more serious, I need the boring family oriented culture to save my marriage and family from falling apart, even on the cost of less money, less life standards, many thanks to such informative blog.

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  14. Oman is so beautiful and attractive place so take enjoy of life with Oman.

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  15. Hi, I live in Salalah and travel alot to Muscat. I have been in Salalah for just over a year and well, i dont know how i survived that long. To me its a personal thing, i am South African and have 2 kids, (below 2). It is a very boring place, like i read above, there is NOTHING to do. In summer Muscat reaches above 50 (although they will not annouce this on the radio) and it is just hot hot hot and sand and more sand. The ppl are sometimes friendly but most times not. To me Salalah and Oman is a nice place to stay for a week. MAX! I hate to be negaitve but its terrible, i cant even send my toddler to a play school because they dont accept before 2yrs and secondly they dont have the best schools either. They teach in one classroom with all ages and a few teachers walk around and try do their bit! I for one wish ppl the best of luck. My hubby and I are trying for another year and then thats it. My child needs a good school where they speak and teach proper english. Also its so dirty, the animals eat plastic, the other cultures spit in the street, there are flies around, oh no need i go on!
    Like i say a holiday great, to live not great! If you are wondering why i am still here, because of the currency. Thats all!

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  16. I think Salalah is a smaller city where indeed you can experience these difficulties; But Muscat is a bigger city and these issues are less restrictive

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  17. Hi there... ur blog is pretty interesting, realistic & precise.. I'm from India & i'm planning to move to Gulf (Oman Dubai or Baharin) with my wife in the next couple of months.. the right offer is still awaited though.
    I would really appreciate if you could let me know what is the salary structure like in Oman along with the basic expenses like house rents, food, etc.
    Well ur blog gives a lot of info about the country & ur experiences there... I also hope that Oman is not as conservative as Saudi where Women cant even move out alone... forget working...i hope the situation in Oman is not as bad. I'm into the field of Fire Protection & Electronic Security Systems with 5+ years of experience & my wife is into the Cosmetology / Beauty Field with 3 yrs of experience.
    Can you guide as to wat should be the right salary packages for us?
    also let me know in case we do move to muscat, what area should we look for a house.
    Thanks a ton in advance.
    Regards,
    Sam P

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  18. Hi Sam,

    To have some info on basic expenses in Oman, you can check this post :
    Cost of living in Oman

    For info on women lifestyle in Oman, you can check this post : Women expats in Oman

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  20. I got a good job offer in Muscat and I'm due to decide this weekend whether to take it or not. I'll be moving there with my husband and 8mo. old son. I'm currently based in Dubai which is a great country / city to be in. I've read and heard a lot of comments about Oman, good and bad and I hope I won't regret the decision i'll make whether it's a yes or no... Need your advise.

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  21. I have to say my experience over my 9 months here in Muscat has not been great. The Omanis initially come across as very friendly and supportive of us expats, however I have picked up a dangerous undertone particularly in the young men. I have had three occasions where a young man has tried to goad me in to a fight (once in a hotel bar and twice in a hotel gym!) - I am not the violent kind (always been a coward and run a mile at the first sign of trouble), but if I had responded as they would have liked then no doubt I would have been immediatel locked up and deported the next day - and I believe is where the problem lies.
    Overall I would say that beyond the initial friendly facade, the Omanis hate expats and want us out.
    A second thing I must mention is the standard of driving - the local and Indian drivers here are very poor and do unpredictable things - the culture here seems to go against people applying a 'better safe than sorry' approach.
    And it is not particularly family friendly.
    My view, then, is that it is a nice place for a couple of weeks in the sun but not as a long term expat posting assignment. Sorry!

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  22. 24th. May 2010

    The above comment is interesting....
    It reminds me of an incident I experienced
    in a suburb outside Muscat in March.

    I (female, modestly dressed..) was walking to the local shop when a lone car( small car)
    came alongside, slowed down,opened the window
    and without any preamble shouted out
    'FUCK YOU'
    .... I never saw the guy before...but he almost crashed the car turning round to see what my reaction was...
    I was disturbed- naturally- and then got to wondering what is the real attitude of the locals to us ex-pats....what really is below the surface of the pleasant exterior....
    How do they really feel about us...?
    that said I have met some lovely Omani women that I would call good friends..kind, generous,
    helpful,lovable....

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  23. The comments of 11th may and 24th may are absolutely correct. It happens so oftenly to a lot of expats here. "Return response" and u r in a further and i would say bigger trouble. Rarely one will be heard thereafter.
    Verry ofterly a clear sound of "5 Rials" passes by women ears. The cars are being driven so recklessly (oftenly tailgating and flickering of high beam from far) . and its only the problem of attitude only. Car driving learning school must and on the must give the lectures on attitude development along with the driving instructions.
    Recently exhibitions and seminars were conducted by authorities and even after so much promises and publication of awareness one can see the attitude on the road that gives the thrust to the car engine. LOLz

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  24. My family and I recently moved out to Abu Dhabi from the UK and our experience there was that it is not a place to bring your teenage daughters because of the 'culture'.
    My daughters and in one case my 8 year old son were always followed or photographed when they went to malls with my wife, not when I was with them though.
    We enjoyed what we could of Abu Dhabi on an inadequate budget but they have returned to our family home in the UK and I am working in Muscat. I enjoyed Abu Dhabi but I love it in Oman because I enjoy the mountains and the opportunities at weekends to simply pick a spot on the map and see what is there, it is an adventurers dream.
    I think expat life in the ME can work for families until the kids are maybe 8 years old when it becomes restrictive for them to go out on their own. If your job gives you holidays that match theirs (teaching) and / or you can rent in a neighbourhood where they have friends that they can walk to then it is possible to extend your stay into their teen years.
    I work in a large organisation and have Omani collegues, they are great people and obviously would prefer to not have expats doing the management jobs so resentment is inevitable.
    Equally out in the villages and countryside they are polite and welcoming but until I have learned some basic arabic I will have to get by with a smile.

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  25. Guys, does anyone can explain to the smoking issues in Oman? I have asthma, and will need smoke - free restaurants, hotels, shopping malls etc? Do they exist? You think I will be able to VIsit? Thanks

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  27. I have family in Oman and can I say is about them is that they are a bunch of religious freaks without any sense of reality.

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    Replies
    1. That's a mean thing to say about your own family

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  28. One reason things become repetitive is that expatriates maybe look too much to spend time with others of the same nationality, doing the same things: If every weekend night is about getting hammered in the Al Ghazal I can see how that would go!

    I've lived in four Arab countries as a "foreigner" and visited many more. The best thing about Oman is that all, and I mean that literally (well, 99%), of my friends are Omani. That makes a big difference to finding something to do, or just feeling at home.

    Anyway, nice blog and good of you to give so much advice.

    Anonymous re. smoking: Smoking has been banned in all buildings since April 2010. Apart from a couple of tiny, closed smoking areas in very few places, basically every restaurant etc will be smoke-free.

    As an asthmatic you might also wish to know that you can buy salbutamol inhalers without prescription over the counter (e.g. Ventolin is about $10). The non-branded one, "Asthalin" is also stocked by many, is an identical drug and only costs about $2.50.

    Have a great trip. :)

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  29. I have been living in Oman for about a year now and I must say I cannot wait to get out of this place. Basically I have most things I need (restaurants, shops, etc.), but there are so many other things I miss. There is not much to do. I mean literally there is almost nothing to do. After a while you have been to all restaurants, seen all beaches around Muscat and the malls take about 2 days to look through and then you realize that you are much better of to shop in the summer when you are back home. Of course, you can also take your 4-wheel drive out of Muscat. There is for example Wahiba Sands, which is quite nice and Jebal Ahkdar and all these other places which have been recommend several times. It is nice alright, but I'm sorry, I can't see the overwhelming natural beauty everyone talks about. Well at least not the beauty, that would be worth to come all this way.
    I am 16 years old and I have feeling that I am missing something, while living here. I have been in Western countries all my life and this is the first time I have been to the Middle East. My friends in Muscat, compared with my old friends, are not street-wise at all. In some topics they have no idea at all. It might not seem so, but Oman is pretty cut off information and this really shows up when I talk to teenagers who have spent their who life here.
    To anyone who wants to move here with kids, I don't know if that's a good idea. Depending how long you want to stay and how old the kids are, but there are a lot of basic things in life they miss.

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  30. I lived in Oman for almost one year.
    My advice to every body to plan to go to Oman and living there please don't, you will regret it like me i am glad I have done my time. We have not have even one single happy day in this country.Despite every thing you read about Oman reality is something else there. life is harsh, insecure, boring and dull and driving is crazy and dangerous all the money you will get is not worth it .

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  31. My friend and I stayed at the Al-Bustan at the beginning and end of our recent vacation in Oman. It was a nice vacation and we have really enjoyed our stay there.


    .Jane

    " Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
    travel jobs | travel job

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  32. For a capital city, Muscat is quiet and relaxed. It's a natural beauty enclosed by sea and mountains. Come here to recharge your batteries or take respite from a frenetic life - to get away from it all, so to speak. 3 days max, lest it starts to become boring.

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  33. Hello there,

    Many of these posts show a real knowledge and insight into the obstacles and benefits of travelling in Oman. I am doing some university research of traveler perceptions about Oman, and would love to be able to talk with some of you about your experiences in the Sultanate. My email address is tessallee@gmail.com, please let me know if you'd be willing to spare a few minutes....

    Thank you!
    Tessa

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  34. Hello

    Here i come to Muscat, after a lot of research(cybersearch) optimistic, on a amicable note. Probably, i would consider working there along with my travel interests.

    As a tourist its a great place to venture.(Marine adventures, rock climbing) Mind the seasons, November- March. Rest of the time its hot with temp varying 38 - 50 degrees.Driving would be great. But the recent motorway accident toll put me off completely. In a span of 10 days( eid holidays), 65 ppl had lost thier lives, and the trend continues..

    I had an offer to work in Muscat which i took up. But, i wasn't learning much. Instead, i felt getting back to basics. Be it language, technology or work ambience. Just a month, i knew i wouldn't fit the bill, and i quit.

    Accomodation is expensive if you were to arrange by yourself. I felt its much more expensive than the one i lived in London. Here most of the times, its an unfurnished property for rent.You gotta get your own AC's.
    So,you do all by yourself. Well, if i were to consider a fully furnished apartment that wud cost me a fortune.

    Qurm, Madinat Qaboos are good places to be if the ladies do not want to be stared at.
    Schooling is not great if you have kids. TAISM and the British are exceptions if you can afford.

    There is no public transportation. U ought to engage taxis which is not metered. Else, u share the taxi for less moni. Commuting is a pain if you dont own a vehicle or can afford a taxi, keeping in mind, the weather conditions.

    Health sector is ok. Again, not great. Probably u would have to travel to another country for further treatment. Period.

    In a capsule its a good country to visit. It didnt work for me as to live there. To each his own!
    I wish you all the luck in your endeavours!

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