4 Important Etiquette Tips for Travelers in Oman

What are the laws around alcohol in Oman? How should visitors dress? Get to know Omani cultural norms before you go, and avoid embarrassing yourself or getting into trouble.


A woman walks through a temple complex in Oman. Photo © Getty Images/Mlenny

Don't show your frustration

In Oman, showing anger is frowned upon, and swearing or offensive hand gestures are actually against the law. Verbal abuse, impatient gestures, even using the wrong facial expression can be enough for someone to fill out a formal complaint. Nobody in Oman is immune to this. Even an accusation of being frustrated is enough to initiate legal proceedings.

Before you say, "Are you serious?" that's exactly the kind of thing you want to avoid while you're in Oman.

As Sifah Bay, Oman.
As Sifah Bay, Oman. Photo credit: iStock

Social etiquette in Oman

Omanis are very polite and friendly people, some of the friendliest in the world. Nonetheless, you should also be polite in return and avoid doing anything that will cause offence. Never insult Islam, and during Ramadan eating, drinking, smoking, playing loud music and dancing in public places during daylight hours is strictly forbidden and punishable by law, including for non-Muslims.

Discussing rumors about the Sultan's private life is illegal, and shouldn't be a topic of conversation in Oman. You won't just offend the locals, but could also get in trouble with the Royal Omani Police.

Holding hands or kissing in public isn't appreciated, and locals will get a little offended if they see travelers doing this.

It's likely travelers will receive lingering stares from locals, but in Oman staring isn't impolite, it's just a sign of curiosity.

Similar to elsewhere in the world, whipping out a camera or binoculars near military sites, airports, or government buildings will probably be taken the wrong way – especially by the security guard carrying a machine gun nearby. Photography of certain military or government sites is not allowed.

Dress conservatively

Women should always be dressed conservatively, keeping their shoulders, chest and legs covered while traveling around Oman. Wear loose fitting clothing, as wearing tight pants and tops in extremely hot temperatures isn't ideal.

When visiting mosques, men should wear long pants and women should have their heads covered.

Nizwa, Oman. Photo credit: Getty Images/weltreisendertj

Alcohol and other religious restrictions

When you travel to a Muslim country, there will always be some restrictions on pork products, alcohol, pornography, and how you dress.

Pornography is completely illegal. It is a punishable offence under Omani law to drink alcohol in public, be drunk in a public area, or to drive under the influence. However, it is possible for tourists and visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants and clubs. Actually, if you live in Oman and are a non-Muslim you can apply to get a license to drink in your own home from the Royal Oman police.

Omani hotels might (not always) refuse accommodation to heterosexual couples that aren't married. If you are married, make sure you are carrying proof. Check the rules for your accommodation in advance to be sure. Homosexuality is illegal in Oman.

Related articles

Travel Insurance

Simple and flexible travel insurance

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Get a quote


  • seyi said

    it too much too bear

  • Shoaib Imran said


  • Mona said

    Stupid page. I don't know what idiot wrote this. Pork is totally legal and is sold quite widely, sharing hotel rooms for unmarried omanis is also not against the law . No corruption in the police system. Loool totally deluded person writing this article. Did you actually ever visit Oman or are you just a regular person spreading some false rubbish on the net making it awkward for ppl interested in visiting

  • Arya said

    Dress conservatively?? Bullshit! I have completed my 15 years in Oman and I'm used to wearing a crop top or a offshoulder top and even shorts or one piece. Never been judged or arrested for doing so.

  • SAM SMITH. said

    oman is an islamic country .DON'T YOU FORGET IT.

  • SAM SMITH. said

    HI, if you don't like SAUDI ARABIA....you must avoid, OMAN!!!

  • Srinivas said

    I am unware of the rules of Oman. But, i was really offended when i was judged by a person who was wearing a full Omani dress. He came to me and i should not wear boxers. The boxers which i was wearing covered till my knees. It's disgusting when people are told what they should wear and what they should not!!????

  • Akash said

    do i have to go jail if i watch pornography in oman.

  • Martin said

    Whoever wrote this does not know what they are talking about.
    I've been to Oman many times and it is nothing like described here. Don't listen this...find a more accurate website with accurate information.

  • jaya said

    whom l can report. A lady who is living with a man without marriage in our building. she starting cleaning his flat now she is sleeping with him. we are living her with family. what we can to let her giving bad example to our kids especially to my daughter. she is having an illegal reletionship which against islam ang oman law please help us to expose this arrogant lady in our building.

  • Rosa said

    Jaya, wth? OK that lady is living illegally. So what? How is she setting a bad example? How is she interfering in your life? She's happy with her life. Why are you judging her and saying u want to expose her? That's very rude of you. Simply for no reason you are getting offended. And you are not offended by that guy who brought her to live with him? He is not a problem but she is since you have a daughter? Shame on you. I feel bad for your daughter for having such a parent.

  • ram said

    any non muslims eat in public is punished in Oman?

  • Deepika said

    It is very friendly and warm country. You are totally free to wear whatever suits you.
    Yes it is very hot.
    I did not find anyone staring there.
    People are extremely helpful and will help you if they will find you stuck (this is what happened to us when our vehicle got stuck in sand at the beach).
    It is one of the most beautiful places I have visited and will recommend ????

  • Pearlie M. McNutt said

    I recently took a DNA test to find out more about my African roots and found that I am (39%) Cameroon, South Bantu, Congo, and (19%) Benin/Togo & (8%) Mali. My ancestors were stolen from African approximately (150) (plus) years ago. Judging from what is written on Facebook (World Nomads) website, Oman is not a safe place for American(s) or other tourists to visit! Also, the information stated on this site advises women to dress almost like a muslin woman (covering her body from head to toe) with loose clothing.

    Though I wish to know more about my tribe(s) and customs, I am not sure if I would consider visiting. Not sure what is currently the status of government in this part of Africa. Could someone who currently lives there tell me the "whole" truth about the Cameroon and Bantu people(s) life styles as it really is in this day and age?

  • Teo said

    Rules are applied arbitrary and capriciously. For example, I have had no problems bringing pork back from Dubai. Sometimes the 200% duty is imposed, other times not. Other times it is confiscated. It’s just random and depends on the ROP officer on duty. I does no use to argue about it - just get over it.

    As for being safe for Americans - yes. I’m a US citizen and have been living here for the past 18 months. No issues whatsoever and I feel safer here than certain parts of my home town.

    Women don’t need to cover and should dress modestly. Some dress trashy and get leered at by the Hindis and Pakistanis, as might be expected. Indeed, I work with two Omani women who choose not to wear an abaya or hijab and both are respected in the office.

  • Zag said

    Must've been on one writing this debacle.

  • Eloka said

    How do I get to Oman or make friends with Oman single women somebody help.

  • Glory Akrasi said

    Why is dating a crime in Oman? I mean..... If they don't date..... How do they marry?

  • U V said

    Glory, If someone wants to have a partner in their life, then they have to get arranged in marriage. I think dating in Oman is prohibited, I'm not sure...

  • Shyam said

    Who cares if a woman is having a live-in relation. I cant believe such conservative people live and I am an Indian and I am shocked at a fellow citizens views but your views are your choice so I am not interfering in it. Omanis have arranged marriage. Its dress modestly in Oman more than dress conservatively. The Indians and Pakistanis who stare are mostly from the lower ends of the society and there stare is just shock as they have no seen such stuff in their countries or a prohibited from doing

  • Scott said

    I'm British but I've lived in Egypt for several years. I read so many good things about Oman, so I decided to visit. I must say, it's one of the most beautiful, friendly, happy, tolerant, well-ordered places I've ever been.
    If you're from the west, please bear in mind that, in many parts of the world, it's quite shocking for people to be seen out in public wearing next to nothing. It denotes more of a lack of self-respect and some locals might actually be concerned about your state of mind. It's a similar thing about being obviously drunk in public. People are more likely to pity you and try to arrange a safe way for you to get home.
    Omanis are generally very open, helpful sophisticated and tolerant. But they're also traditional and have an incredibly rich cultural heritage. So, my advice is, please visit Oman, enjoy it (it's a wonderful place) but just keep in mind that they have their own values. Dress decently, don't get drunk in public and just go with the flow. Omanis aren't in the least bit aggressive and are far more likely to help you than give you any problems.

Add a Comment