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Muscat

The old town of Muscat

Practical Info about Muscat

Time

GMT +4.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220/240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs with rectangular, three-pin flat blades are used.

Currency

The currency of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR), divided into 1,000 baisa. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaux, hotels and at the airport. Outside banking hours, moneychangers operate in the evenings and at weekends. US Dollars are recommended. American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are readily accepted in large shops and hotels and by an increasing number of traders in souqs. Most banks in cities and towns have ATMs.

Communication

The international direct dialling code for Oman is +968, and the outgoing international code 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are not necessary. Oman has GSM mobile phone networks in operation, with international roaming agreements with most international operaters. There are internet cafes in main towns and cities.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 999.

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Milad un Nabi (Prophets Birthday) 13 Jan 3 Jan
Lailat al Miraj (Ascension of the Prophet) 27 May 16 May
Renaissance Day 23 Jul 23 Jul
Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) 28 Jul - 31 Jul 18 Jul - 21 Jul
Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) 4 Oct - 7 Oct 23 Sep - 26 Sep
Al Hijra (Islamic New Year) 25 Oct 13 Oct
Birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos 5 Nov 18 Nov
National Day 22 Nov 18 Nov

Climate

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Despite being on the coast, the weather in Muscat can be unbearably hot. The best time to visit is between December and March, when the more temperate winter season provides humane temperatures. February is the coolest month. The rest of the year temperatures can be well over 100°F (38°C). Sudden rain can cause flash floods, although precipitation is unusual.

Getting around the city

Buses are the best and cheapest way to get around in Muscat. Modern buses travel major roads with specific bus stops. For more out of the way destinations, Baiza buses are common and zigzag through the back roads effectively, although the buses themselves are sometimes a bit dilapidated. Taxis are widely available and an easy way to get to and from the airport; insist that the driver uses their meter unless there isn't one, in which case agree on a price before getting into the car. Taxis are expensive but convenient when you can't find a bus or don't want to wait in the sun. There is no subway or railway in Muscat and some travellers prefer to rent a car and drive themselves around.

Muscat International Airport

www.omanairports.com

Getting to the city

Public buses run by the Oman National Transport Company stop on Sultan Qaboos Highway outside of the airport complex.

Car rental

Car rental facilities are available in the Public Concourse outside the Arrival Area.

Airport taxi's

Taxis from Muscat International Airport can be found outside the arrivals hall. Payment can be made before the ride at the taxi counter outside of arrivals. They have a convenient fare chart for major hotels and the cost is usually under OMR 10 for the 20-mile (32km) ride to the city centre. Taxis are also available for transport to other cities inside Oman.

Facilities

The airport is currently being enlarged. There is a currency exchange bureau, food courts in the arrivals and departures sections, a large, well-stocked duty-free shop in both arrivals and departures, and a book shop. There are public telephones, a prayer room and left luggage facilities.

Parking

Short and long term parking facilities are available in front of the terminal building for a cost.

Internet

Free wifi is provided throughout the airport, but a mobile phone is required for registration.