Oman Travel Safety - Crime, Law and Politics

Oman is one of the Middle East's safest countries despite being in a volatile location often in the headlines as a flashpoint for east-west relations. Is there anything to worry about?

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Politics in Oman

The current situation in the Middle East does mean that Oman currently has a higher than usual degree of political tension. Oman borders with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, both of which are at each other's throats. The Omani border with Yemen is the subject of "Reconsider your travel" by numerous government travel advisories due to the ongoing conflict in the country. Omani authorities won't allow you to enter Yemen unless you are officially authorized to do so.

Be aware of when large-scale gatherings and demonstrations are about to occur and avoid them. Most protests have been peaceful, but where they occur near the UAE border they have been known to turn violent and protestors have been killed. Due to its traditional non-interventionist attitude to foreign policy, Oman has been playing a diplomatic role amongst the Gulf States as war ravages Yemen, largely driven by Saudi Arabia. Staying neutral has also ensured stability in the country despite the high-security presence. 

Terrorism

Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Daesh affiliated groups, and others do operate in the Arabian Peninsula and have been involved in attacks on several Gulf countries including neighboring Yemen. While the likelihood of a terror attack happening in Oman is lower than other Gulf states, the possibility still exists. Attacks are likely indiscriminate and may not necessarily target foreign interests or touristy locations.

Always monitor government travel advisories, news reports, and official warnings. Be aware of your surroundings as you always would anywhere you travel.

Crime in Oman

Oman is a wealthy country with a strictly religious, moral and legal code which means that crime of any type is severely punished, and the deterrent seems to work. Most Omanis are relaxed and polite people, so crime is not in their nature. However, some travelers have been the target of petty crimes and there have been reports of assaults at night. 

Nonetheless, take the usual precautions to protect your valuables, be aware of your surroundings and women should take extra care when traveling alone, especially when out at night.

Laws in Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is an absolute monarchy, meaning the Sultan has the final say. Being an Islamic country, sharia law has helped found and shape Oman's legal system. 
As you would in any Islamic country, dress with modesty and respect the local traditions. This is particularly important during the time of Ramadan and other religious observances.

Drugs

There is zero tolerance for drugs in Oman whether it's possession or trafficking, severe penalties apply including the death penalty. Even having a small amount for personal use can see you spending at least a year in jail.

Photography

Like other countries, Oman doesn't take too kindly to people photographing government and military buildings plus airports. Be a good nomad and always ask people before photographing them.

Drones

Flying a recreational drone is illegal in Oman with a minimum penalty of three years in jail if you disobey the law. Omani authorities have had to restrict drone operations due to several incidents involving recreational drones flying too close to airport infrastructure and plane flight paths.

Lese Majeste

It's an offense to insult or make offensive remarks about the Omani royal family, the government and its officials. 

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is illegal in Oman and punishable with a stint in jail of up to three years, and sometimes the death penalty.

Bad Behaviour

Offensive behavior and language in public and also on social media is prohibited. Even flipping the bird at someone while driving may get you in trouble. Also, public displays of affection are a no-no too. 

Alcohol

The legal drinking age in Oman is 21. It's an offense to be publicly drunk or consume alcohol in public.

Unmarried Couples

You may have read that it's an offense for a couple to share a room whether you are unmarried or just friends of the opposite sex. Yes, that's true BUT it's also an offense for Omani authorities to ask about the marital status of a couple. 

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34 Comments

  • Rheanne said

    What... Have you lived in Oman.LMFAO! The biggest protest on the border was only ever like five people.. Wow! So violent! And violence after "midday prayers on Friday" are you kidding me, that's the least likely time for violence. Last year there was a couple house robberies in the border town- that's it..no more then that. Get your research right! It's very clear that you wrote on biased opinions based on region. Yes the countries surrounding Oman have incidents but none of them play any effect on safety here. The most violent place in Oman is probably muscat or sohar- because they are more populated and more diverse with expats. And yet it's rare to hear that anything serious happens.

  • Harthi said

    Waaaaw I realy love that's country. No rapping people no protestors people no crazy people in roads no,,, everything is nice in Oman especially the Omanies people are soooo kindly. But there is one advice when you go there you have to rent a car because the taxis are not available in all areas. Also when you go to public beach try to not wear bikini or such clothes but you can were it in hotels. Finally Oman is Open country and the king of Oman is respectful man indeed

    Good luck guys

  • S said

    Are you kidding me... Ur making oman look bad... Oman is a very safe country i have been living in oman for 15 years and i honestly have never heard of any crime. No rape. No thieves. No crimes. It is a queit country and totally free even if u go out at 3 am u will only find one police car in the road. And thts it. In oman i would do things tht i can never do anywhere else. I keep my car opened and go to a shopping market or leave my bag and phone and wallet on the table of a resturant outdoor and go to the toilet and come back and it will be still there. In oman they respect all religions and beliefs other than other countries. Even in their mosques its very peacfull. Islam has three doctrines and they all pray together side to side and that is amazing becuase you cant see that in any other country. In oman causing disorder between tribes or families or religions could get you up to 10 years in jail. In oman everyone respects other people are quit they are thankfull for any of what god gives them and they are always smiling to your face and if you are a foreign they welcome you to there houses and they treat you with great hospitality every thing is cheap you can go to the barber and a haircut costs 2 britsh pounds only which is around 1 omani rial and a sandwiches ( shawarma) cost from 60p to 1 pound it has very nice places to vist it has rock mountain, sand mountains , green mountains, nice beautiful beaches , deserts, and some places have snow in the winter. It has beautiful islands. And it has beautiful forts where you can enter most of them for free and if u need to something for entry u pay about 50 p per entey it has one of the best resort and hotels in jabl al akhdar 3000 meters above sea level. You can also see dolphins that you can see. And you can also see huge turtles that come from Australia from the ocean lay there eggs in the beach in ras al had, and ras al jinz.

  • Aziz said

    Well, I'm Omani myself and I'm proud to say that Oman is very safe and secure, no one carries a weapon and you don't need a weapon simply because you'll never need to defend yourself. The worst thing that I faced from living in Oman for 18 years, before I moved to the US, was some traffic violence, I mean stupid teenager drivers who would like to tease you to race them. Another thing I should say that My family's house got robbed once, which is in a small town, the house was left empty for several hours and at that moment there was only one person living in the whole house who wasn't there when the house got robbed. Honestly, I'd walk in the middle of the night without being scared of anything in the Omani cities like Muscat, Sohar and Salalah. but when it comes to walking in small alleys in a small town at 2 am... not so much.

  • Nancy Nicola said

    I am a single woman with a two year old child I wanted to go to Oman with my child as it seems peaceful and nice . Would it be recommended?

  • Adam said

    I'm an Australian citizen and travelled to Oman in 2017. I've travelled a lot throughout the world including Africa, South America and Europe and I felt that Oman was one of the most beautiful places I have ever traveled. The people were incredibly polite and friendly. Have never felt safer in any other country, not even in my own home town! Highly recommended you visit

  • solomon chianumba said

    i am a family man, i want to relocate to Oman but i don't know any one their that can render me help.

  • Jim said

    The comment earlier from a Omani favorable person said, "Also when you go to public beach try to not wear bikini or such clothes but you can were it in hotels." So, if you dress per normal in the West, what happens? Does not sound safe to me.

  • eugene phillips said

    i was in oman for a month great friendly place

  • Alex said

    Jim - The bikini issue is not about safety, nor is it about laws, it's about respecting the culture of the place you are. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do...", which isn't to say you have to dress exactly as local Omanis, but think of it in the same way you would about Europeans not going topless on beaches in countries where that's not the norm (such as the U.S.). From what I have read (I'm researching going there too), bikinis etc. that you'd wear on a beach in Mexico, U.S., etc. are fine on private hotel beaches, and more conservative dress should be worn on public beaches out of respect for Omani culture. But again, the bottom line is that there is no indication anywhere that I can find that Oman is anything other than a lovely, friendly, and very safe place. Would you go to a big city in Europe? The U.S.? Africa? Likely you'd be in a much more dangerous place than you would in Oman.

  • Eva Pol said

    My wish to travel to Oman is probably impossible because I cannot use Turkish-style toilets due to a bad knee. What is my chance in the larger cities to encounter Western-style facilities?

  • Yahya Masters said

    In Qatar, it seems like what they describe as Oman, but I hear that Oman is even better. I always am Leary of anyone being hired from out of country because I have heard of horror stories. For the Nigerian Woman seeking employment, please be extremely careful by gathering as much information from separate sources before taking the leap. As for Qatar, it seems okay, but I have heard of out of country contract companies promising great things, but then making harsh conditions when you arrive...like low pay, long hours, little if any days or time off, and holding your passport. If you will be working for an Oman citizen, instead of a foreign company, you might be in a better situation, but I do not know that for sure; so please be careful. I am considering taking some time off in Oman...so far, sounds good! By the way, Qatar is extremely safe; and I enjoy working and living here...my wife feels safe here, also!

  • Eva pol said

    Hi Eva,

    Almost every public place in the capital Muscat has western toilets. Now a days, its the other way around, it's harder to find Arabic toilets, especially in hotels, malls, etc.. they all use western toilets.

    However, in the countryside, search the area before you go. If there is any hotel there, then you will be fine because almost all hotels have western toilets not Arabic.

    I hope you will make it to Oman and have a great time here.

    Source: I'm Omani =)

  • Joe said

    I am actually at the airport leaving Oman after a holiday. I am American and this is my 2nd visit here in les than a year. Omani people are very warm quick with a smile and always helpful. It is very safe and amazingly clean! Go to Oman if you have the chance before it gets too cosmopolitan. Also western style bathrooms are everywhere so should not be a problem for anyone with bad knees

  • Toni said

    I am reading some positive comments, I am a 50 year old woman and am planning on heading to Oman while my family go onto Abu Dhabi. It sounds like a positive experience, so am I right in believing that I am OK as a female travelling solo?

  • Roger said

    I'm thinking about a long weekend in Oman in February. I'm trying to find a tour company in Muscat that is NOT 5-star. Some of the day trips I've seen advertised are way above my budget! Can anyone recommend a tour company?

  • chimi said

    Hello,

    I am From Bhutan. My husband is planning to work in Oman.We have one kids around 2 years.Is it good opportunities to work in Oman.How is the living standard? Can we save for the future?Or other middle east place is better.

    Please help.:-)

  • Rev Rosemary said

    I still do not understand after I read all this good repirt about Oman. I have read some articles not one about Tanzanian women who were mistreated beaten, raped in Oman. Are those claims falls or what? I am just puzzled amnd fear for the lives of women who are treated like that

  • EJ Salim said

    Rev Rosemary,
    All these claims are false ... They where mostly made by maids who wanted to go back to Tanzania but refused to pay for the air tickets
    And recently, I heard, their law had forbidden Tanzanian women to work as maids in any other country except Tanzania.
    And rape and any other crime against women -Omani or not- is severely punished by law.
    the country is known to be one of the most safest countries is the middle east for a reason.
    Travelling as a woman solo is safe, police officers are every where
    I can walk around the area without being worried or scared
    By the way I am a biracial Oman Tanzanian woman :)

  • Onyinyechi said

    Why are they treating Nigeria girls in Oman badly like slave...I have been given a job in Oman as a househelp is it advisable for me to go and work in Oman.

  • Quaye Felix said

    i am in Ghana -Accra i want to travel to Oman to buy cars form Oman is it possible and if is possible can someone show me or tell me how to do that. hope to hear from good people of Oman , thanks

  • alan said

    Hi,

    I'm a 43 year old Canadian teacher who has been here for a year and a half. It is true, Oman is safe, especially if you are a man, If you are a woman, I would be very slightly more cautious IF you are in an unknown area, extremely dark and the area is full of migrants. Only then would your chances be slightly raised, and to be fair, this is rare. However, this is something to consider anywhere really. So, no, this isn't Tokyo, but relatively speaking, it's very safe. As for beatings, I do feel if you are not a Western woman and depending on the Omani family that you would be working for, you could be mistreated if you work for them. Heavy violence, while low, still happen here and throughout the Middle East (I have never heard from any of my friends personally, nevertheless... Overall, there is no question about it, the people here are genuinely very relaxed and friendly, but do keep your wits about you. Enjoy Oman!

  • Tariq said

    mr oman expert. Have you taken crystal meth before this writeup.

  • Ysa said

    Hello! I just wanna ask.. coz I am a Christian, is it ok for me to go or work in Muscat? Is Oman an open country? Pls answer me.. Thanks so much!

  • Ariwahstar said

    Pls i want to travel to Oman... I hope it's safe in Oman

  • Faiz said

    I have been working in Oman for the past 14 yrs. My contract was for 4 yrs and 10 yrs later I’m still here. Safe country and nice people. Go for it.

  • Faiz said

    Forgot to mention I’m here with wife and 2 kids. And they all are enjoying life in this country.

  • Alfeenru said

    I heard whatsapp and facebook can not be used in Oman. Is it true. How bad are the restrictions over social media platforms

  • Floxy said

    I want to travel to Oman to work as a nanny & iam a Christian, hop i wi b safe

  • donald s thomas said

    I don't know about Tanzanian women but Filipina's don't have it as good. What can a foreign woman do if sexually molested by her mother's Boss? She's 19. If she says anything then he can fire her mother who is single. Who can she go to since she's not a citizen there? She's terrified.

  • Oman-Beaches said

    Oman is the safest country in the middle eastern peninsula!
    I am an Omani citizen.

    All other middle eastern countries are currently involved in an all out war with Yemen, while Oman (who shares a border with Yemen) is taking in hundred's of thousands of Yemeni refugees and thousands of them are in dire need of hospital treatment.

    Oman is a country of peace, come to Oman!

    Also- (The Bikini issue)
    You can always go to one of the many available 5 star resorts, with a private beach..

  • Prudence said

    Is there any problem with being left handed in Oman, ie is it and insult or forbidden?

  • Shrek said

    "I heard whatsapp and facebook can not be used in Oman. Is it true. How bad are the restrictions over social media platforms"

    What you heard is false. Whatsapp and Facebook are available and there is barely any restriction over social media except for some specific.

    "Is there any problem with being left handed in Oman, ie is it and insult or forbidden?"

    Of course not! there are no problems with being left handed. it is not an insult nor forbidden.

  • Shrek said

    Also. You do not need to worry about your religion. Anyone is welcome here.

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