Oman and UAE – some logistic and technical information

From Milano there is direct flight to Oman with Omanair, but the price for plane ticket is quite high. We recommend combination with Dubai, because plane ticket from Zagreb (Flydubai) or Budapest (Wizzair) is usually cheaper. We got it for 210 € from Budapest.

There are two airports in Dubai. Wizzair lands on smaller Dubai World Center (DWC) where we made a reservation of a car and arranged insurance for Oman. That is necessary, because otherwise you cannot cross border. Of all rent-a-car agencies on that airport only Dollar provides insurance for Oman. On we rented almost new Nissan sunny for only 150 € for a week and for Oman´s insurance (which we previously arranged by e-mail) we added 82 €. You should consider renting an off-road vehicle if you have a lot of time and want to explore different parts of high mountain range of Oman. Part of high mountains range and Jebel Shams (great canyon of Arabic world) is accessible by car, but for Bilad Sayt and Jebal Akhdar it is necessary to have an off-road vehicle.

We first left Dubai for Abu Dhabi to see the most beautiful mosque and then further over border in Al Ain. There are two border crossings, we recommend shorter path over south border crossing. You have to pay tax for leaving United Arab Emirates (30 € for family of four) and you have to pay with bank card, because they don´t except cash. You also need your bank card to pay entry visa for Oman (46 € for family).

Another possibility is to go by bus from Dubai to Muscat and then renting a car in Oman. In that case you don´t need additional insurance, but for travel around Emirates you have to find your way with public transportation.

There is heavy traffic in Dubai and “traffic fight” on their six-lane roads is worse than on our two-line roads. But in Oman the drivers are different, they drive calm and they abide speed limit of 120 km/h. Maybe that´s because of radars every few kilometers or because of their character. After our first contacts with locals I believe the second assumption is correct.

Gasoline in Emirates and Oman cost only 0,40 € per liter. But the hotels aren´t cheap. In Dubai we slept for 85 € per night (triple room with breakfast in Moscow hotel), in Abu Dhabi we spent 55 € per night for only room, no breakfast, in Premier Inn Hotel. Oman was a little cheaper, we spent 45 € per night (or a little more) for triple room without breakfast, only in Muscat we were not able to bargain for less than 85 € (with breakfast in Nizwa Mutrah Hotel). On the reception we were able to bargain the price only a little compared to the prices advertised on Booking.

Luckily there are a lot of Pakistani and Indians in Oman, so the restaurants are cheap and they have very tasteful food. In grocery stores we bought only water, fruit and salted yoghurt which is really good in the heat.

It is expensive to visit Burj Khalif in Dubai, but buying the tickets in advance for specific hour of visit is cheaper and almost necessary because of limited amount of visitors. The show with fountains is free of charge. Depending on your wishes you can go and see all the luxury shops as well.

Entrance to mosque in Abu Dhabi is free of charge as well; even guided tour is for free! We recommend it, because it allows you to see the part of mosque that is closed for other visitors. Guided tour is every hour and at the entrance you can borrow suitable clothes. You need an identification document for that, and it must not be passport.

In Oman tourist sights are either free of charge of very cheap (for example Unesco´s Bahla fort approximately 3 € for whole family). There is also allowed to camp outside of camping sites, but we changed our minds because of heat (38°C in the shade at last days of April and there was no shade!) and sandstorm by the dunes. So we were happy in air-conditioned hotels.

In Emirates you can pay everywhere by bank cards, but in Oman you need cash in some restaurants. You can withdraw money from a cash machine (2,25 € commission) or in exchange bureau (low commission). There are a lot of exchange bureaus or cash machines in Dubai and Oman but not in the high mountain range.

Tourists bathe in regular swimsuits in wadis or sea in Oman, local men bathe dressed and there are no women to be seen. On a beach in Dubai we saw tourist women in bikinis and woman in burqa playing with her children in the sea. You need towels only to change, because in dry heat bodies dry immediately.

When planning the trip you should consider that mosques are closed at Fridays and the most appropriate time to visit souks (markets) is early morning. Famous goat market in Nizwa is going on at Friday mornings and Mutrah souk in Muscat was closed at Saturday morning.

Before going on this trip we heard some hesitations about security in “Muslim terrorist countries”. We felt secure in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and even more in Oman – we would dare to leave our purse or child wherever, nothing would happened.

We used application Here on mobile phone for navigation and it was quite necessary in Dubai. We used Oman´s SIM card to connect to the internet. There are two mobile operators in Oman – Omantel and Ooredo, which is more common by locals. You can buy SIM card in Omantel or Ooredo shop or in other technical shops. The price for 10 day for 1 G data is 10 € and it was enough for us. It is important that salesman after you buy the SIM card insert APN (this data is necessary to connect to the internet). Network coverage in Emirates and Oman is really good.

In Emirates and Oman the electricity is 230 V as in Slovenia but socket is English (type G), so we needed adapter for our devices.

Before that trip we were warned that it is very hard to cross the border from Emirates to Oman with a rent-a-car and that we should go by bus. We can deny that, we didn´t have any problems – but to use the same car in both countries made our trip easier.