We explored the Northern part of Oman on a 7-day self-drive trip. Our itinerary included impressive forts, stunning mosques and an overnight stay in the desert. We enjoyed cool swim stops in the wadi’s dotted around the country, spent an evening watching green turtles nesting on the beach and we ate some incredible Omani cuisine. A road trip in Oman was the perfect way to see this country.  

Road Trip in Oman - desert

Oman is very easy to self-drive as the roads are wide, new and well planned. The roads are not overly busy and locals are considerate drivers. 7 days in Oman is the ideal itinerary to get a good taste of this beautiful country.

Oman is one of the safest countries in the Middle East and you’ll often feel like you have the place to yourself as tourism is still in its infancy here.

Petrol is cheap and public transport isn’t established here yet, so everyone has a car. Unless you are here on an organised small group tour such as this one from G Adventures, then having your own car is key.

Visa Information

Most nationalities can get a 30-day visa on arrival. There is a desk located on the right side, just before you go through immigration at Muscat International Airport.

Visa costs 21 OMR ($54 USD) and can be paid by cash or credit card. You’ll receive a receipt of payment for the visa, you can then proceed through immigration.

There are two ATMs located opposite the visa on the arrivals desk which didn’t charge any fees to make a withdrawal.

Should you hire a 4WD in Oman?

Many people recommended that we hire a 4WD for our road trip in Oman. Yes, they are double the price of a standard 2WD car, however, it really depends on what you’d like to see and do during your time here.

We wanted the flexibility of taking the car anywhere we pleased, so we decided to spend the extra cash and rent a 4WD vehicle.

There were a few places on our trip that we were glad to have spent the extra money on a 4WD. The road to Jebel Shams was quite steep and there is a 7km unpaved part with loose gravel. It could be done in a 2WD, but the extra power of our 4WD made us feel much safer.

We also drove through the desert to reach our desert camp in the Wahiba Sands. The rest of the roads in Oman were wide and in excellent condition, perfect for larger cars.

Car hire recommended for a road trip in Oman

We hired a Toyota Fortuner through Expedia car hire for USD $311 for 6 days from the Dollar office at Muscat airport. We had a limit of 200km a day included in our rental agreement.

Any mileage over this is charged at 6 OMR per 100 km.

You drive on the right in Oman. All roads are very wide and all street signs are posted in English and Arabic. The speed limit is usually 120km/h or 60km/h in urban areas. It’s a good idea to stick to the speed limit as there are many speed cameras set up along highways.

Fuel stations are everywhere and they all have attendants to assist you. You can pay by cash or card. Most will have a shop and some have toilets.

Petrol is cheap—0.22 OMR (0.57 cents) per litre.

Driving to Jebel Shams

Buy a SIM card on arrival or download a digital eSIM

Upon arrival, we bought an Omantel SIM card from the desk at the airport. There are a few different providers to choose from.

We paid 7 OMR ($18). Our Sim card included 2 GB of data (valid for 30 days). We chose a longer plan as we weren’t entirely sure if we’d stay in Oman a little longer, so we paid a few extra rials.

Most sim packs for 7-10 days can be purchased for 5 OMR. Make sure you turn off all your phone apps before you put the sim card in your phone so it doesn’t immediately use up all your data.

The data package is great and we used an app called ‘Waze’ to navigate us around Oman as our Google Maps app wasn’t ideal for directions here, the turn-by-turn function wasn’t good.

Try and download the Waze application before your arrival in Oman. You will certainly utilise it during the next 7 days in Oman.

eSIM for Oman is the Way Forward!

If we returned to Oman (and we’d love to), we’d just buy this eSIM for Oman. It’s so easy to just download it and activate it before you arrive, and your phone will connect with a local provider the minute you land in Oman. 

RELATED POST: The Best Travel Websites to Save you Money

Oman money & travelling costs

The current exchange rate is 1 OMR (Omani rial) = USD $2.60. The rial is divided into 1000 baisa.

Many things can be purchased on a card here, however, it’s a good idea to always have some cash with you.

We used an excel spreadsheet to record all of our expenses whilst in Oman.

Our overall expenses in Oman came to a total of USD $998 for two people for 7 days. This includes accommodation, car hire, petrol, food, sights, and miscellaneous items.

This doesn’t include our visa or flights. Depending on where you are flying from, I recommend that you search Skyscanner for the cheapest flights.

Food in Oman

We found local food to be quite affordable in Oman. In general, a shwarma with bread, salad, and hommus cost 1 OMR. Pepsi costs 0.20 OMR, a coffee costs 1 OMR, and a local meal of rice, meat, and salad costs around 1.5 – 2.00 OMR. Expect to pay from 6 OMR for dinner in a nicer restaurant.

They say that the water in Oman is OK to drink. You can also buy bottled water in bulk if you choose. We bought a big 6 pack of water from Carrefour and had it in the car with us, it cost 0.625 OMR for all six bottles.

What to Wear in Oman

As Oman is a Muslim country, this means that everyone should dress respectfully. Women need to cover both their shoulders and knees and men are expected to wear t-shirts and long trousers.

For the majority of our trip, I wore loose-fitting clothing such as long-sleeved light shirts and long light cotton pants. The only time we needed to cover our hair was at the Grand Mosque in Muscat.

If you’re female and you plan to visit any other mosques, you’ll need to cover your hair. We always travelled with light scarves in Oman, very useful and also cheap to buy in the country.

Inside the Grand Mosque in Muscat

Best time to visit Oman

Winter is the best time to visit Oman as the summers are extremely hot. We didn’t really have a choice on our trip to visit every country, so we visited in mid-May. It was also Ramadan during the time we visited. We experienced hot days, around 35-41 degrees Celsius, the nights were very warm too.

Accommodation

As with previous trips, we booked our accommodation on Booking.com. Prices in Oman are quite high for what you get, but there are some gems to be found. Remember that if you have a car, you can afford for your hotel to be out of town that little bit more.

We chose hotels that are comfortable which include ensuite, air conditioning, good WiFi, and free parking.

If you are on a tight budget, the cheapest option is to buy a tent and wild camp for free almost anywhere in the country. This is very safe and we’d certainly do it next time.

Our Oman Itinerary

  • Nizwa – 2 nights
  • Wahiba Sands – 1 night (desert camp)
  • Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve – 1 night
  • Muscat – 2 nights

Our road trip to Oman was for a duration of 6 nights/7 days and we covered a total of 1286 km.

When planning your itinerary, remember that as Oman is an Islamic country and the weekend is on a Friday and Saturday and many places will be closed on Fridays.

Our 7 Day self-drive itinerary in Oman

road trip in oman

Day 1 Muscat – Nizwa (2 nights)

Distance: 178km

Get Connected in Oman with eSIM!

airolo digital esim travel resourcesGet connected the easy way when you’re travelling – and buy an eSIM.

An eSIM works like an app: Buy it, download it, and get connected within minutes!

It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original mobile phone number too!

Read more about how eSIMs work or click below to view which eSIM data plan you need for Oman. Use our referral code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

Buy an eSIM for Oman!

TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES  

✈️ Flights: WayAway, Skyscanner, and Expedia are the best sites to search for the cheapest flights and great deals from your home country.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.comAgoda, and Hotellook are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.

🏥 Travel Insurance: Don’t forget travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing.

🚌 Transportation: To book trains, Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we use Omio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.

🚘 Car Rental: DiscoverCars, & Europcar are reliable platforms to book rental cars.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures or Expat Explore offers the best group adventures around the world. Use our promo code VERYHUNGRYNOMADS at checkout to receive 5% off your Expat Explore Trip!

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only platforms you will need. They offer everything at unbeatable prices.

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range (we love this Stack’d Carry-On Spinner Suitcase).

🛄 What to Pack: To help you get started on packing, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

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💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE is the best online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. It’s so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product!

✅ Check out our Travel Resources Page for more Useful Tips to Save you Money!