Once upon a time there was … Sinbad the Sailor, the Frankincense Trail and the Three Kings of Orient. Oman’s exciting and eventful past has long been general knowledge. However, the proud people and the breathtaking landscapes behind these legends are still a well-kept secret, which is well worth discovering. A visit to Oman will give you a first glimpse of this country, its people, its traditions and its countryside.
Omanis are among the world's friendliest and most hospitable people. As a foreigner you will be welcomed, as a guest you will embrace the land and its traditions, and as a friend you will enjoy hospitality. While your private sphere and personal space will always be respected, a smile or questioning look on your part will lead to enthusiastic responses, and any invitations you may proffer will certainly be reciprocated.
The Sons of Sinbad
The Omanis are an ancient seafaring people, worldly wise and cosmopolitan. They have developed a distinct culture. Daily life is international, common languages are Arabic, Urdu and Swahili, and English is largely standard. Skin color is irrelevant. Religious freedom is guaranteed to everyone.
Liberal and tolerant
Oman is unique in in its Islamic thinking. This is based on the liberal, tolerant and democratic traditions of the Ibadhis. With 70% of the population, Ibadhi thinking underpins the state, and it exists in a peaceful coexistence with all the other faiths which are represented. Everyone accepts and respects the beliefs of the other; religion is a private matter. Oman is the only Gulf country with Christian churches, of various persuasions, and Hindu temples.
Considering the special role Islam plays, Oman's politically neutral stance is understandable. Oman is a non-aligned country, is not a member of OPEC, and often acts as an intermediary between Arab and Western countries, as well as between Muslim brother countries, and is comfortable filling this role.
A safe destination
The nation's wealth does not flow into private pockets, but is invested for the benefit of each individual citizen. Therefore a large middle class has evolved in Oman. Additionally, there is low population pressure, because the country is sparsely inhabited. Above all, these conditions lead to a happy society living with an astonishingly low crime rate. Conflicts between the people and the government, as have recently appeared in other Arab countries, are not the case here. Most Omanis are satisfied with the government. This is also reflected in the ranking of the "Failed States Index." Oman has been listed here for many years in the grouping of stable and safe countries in the world, only a few places behind Germany.
The health and hygiene standards in the country are very high and a good reasons for travelling to Oman. Vaccinations are not required. Tap water everywhere is drinkable, and it is safe to consume raw fruits and vegetables, likewise the food in smaller, simple and less expensive restaurants. The paved roads meet European standards, driving is on the right, and of course women are allowed "behind the wheel." Signs everywhere are in two languages: Arabic and English.