Oman

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Flag of Oman Oman
Information
Language: Arabic
Capital: Muscat
Population: 2,577,000 (2006 estimate)
Currency: Rial (OMR)
Hitchability: <rating country='om' />
More info: AVP Free Encyclopedia (Russian)
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<map lat='20.7' lng='55.9' zoom='5' view='0' country='Oman'/>


Oman is a country in the Middle East, bordering the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Hitchhiking in Oman (especially in the more populated north) is quite easy. A lot of people are curious about people standing in the middle of nowhere and give you a lift because they want to know what you are doing here. Food is often "included", even if you insist you are not hungry, you will find yourself with a big kebab in your hands a few minutes later. Most of the petrol stations that are outside big cities and along the road have free filtered water which you can use to refill supplies. Hitching in the remote areas of Oman is incredibly easy - as soon as a car comes along. If you have to wait more than a few minutes for a car, then the chances that it will stop are very good. Also, waiting in a spot and then starting to walk when a car comes helps greatly, the Omani are really kind people, and will feel obliged to stop and help you out.

It's also possible to hitch the taxi's that roam the roads. If you do it right, you can get about 20% of your lifts in free taxis. If you are walking besides the road, turning around and thumbing when a car passes, but not thumbing for a taxi, often they stop anyway. They drive up besides you, and ask you where you are going. Tell them "maafi fluce"(I have no money), and tell them that you are walking to your destination. Often they will let you in for a free ride, it happens quiet often if your walking on the side of the road. And don't worry, once your in, they will not then turn around and ask you for money at the end of the ride - Oman's taxi drivers are the nicest I've ever found in the world.

alex: I found it easy to hitchhike in Oman, however, hitchhiking as such is not known and many people want to drop you of at the bus station or give you money that you can use the bus. When they grasped the idea, some wanted to make an additional way of 300 km just to bring me closer to my destination. Many people also just stopped for me out of curiosity. I had sometimes a hard time to find out where they go to and often ended up to have lift just for a couple of kilometres (being dropped at a bad spot). Further, I never used public transport in the cities as I found it easy to hitchhike there as well. Many people speak English. There are petrol stations along the motorways. No payment was expected for lifts. Great hospitality.

Muscat

Hitching in and around the area of Muscat is very difficult, making up for the ease of the rest of the country. Too much traffic, too many taxis, and the people see too many tourists. They are curious, but often by the time they decide to make a decision they have been swept away by the rest of the traffic. Using the micro-buses inside the city might be a viable option as they only cost 500 baizas. Most of them go to the central terminal in the Ruwi area, which is also the terminal for long-distance buses.

Muscat is a pain to get out of, it is an incredibly long, stretched and highly dense city, as all the people live along the coastal strip. One thing to try is finding a small entrance to the main road, and try waving to cars about to enter the highway, tell them you have no money for a taxi, if they could take you to where they are going. Often times they will take you all the way to where you need to go in the city. As they hardly never see a backpacker, you are more of a novelty than the hordes of retired tourists and aging ex-pats that crowd the place.

Southern Oman (Dhofar)

The Dhofar region around Salala in the south is quite hitchable. Many guest workers (mostly Pakistani and Indians) hitchhike to work there so it is nothing unheard of. There are no high-speed highways in this region so people should be able to stop for you in most places. As the distance between Muscat and Salala is over 1000 km it is worth considering taking the bus and start hitchhiking once you're in the south. The bus starts at the Ruwi terminal in Muscat, takes 12 hours and costs 6 Rial (August 2011).

It is recommended to make sure that your lift can take you into the next town. The heat is not as bad as in most other places in the Arabic Peninsula, but bad enough. You will still need good sun protection and water as you will sweat a lot. Inside towns though you can usually cool down as most bars, supermarkets and shops offer air conditioning. Due to a special climate the weather is moderate and humid in July, August and September. It is said that there is a lot of tourism coming to Dhofar in this time increasing the prices in general.

Common visa facility with UAE

Oman has a common visa facility with UAE, if you obtained your UAE visa in Dubai airport and it is still valid for at least 3 weeks; then you can get a 3-weeks free visa for Oman. It's only the countries mentioned on this site that are benefiting from this: [1]. What that website does not mention though, is that this is ONLY possible if you go through the Hatta border (I hitched from Dubai down to Al Ain border, only to get the information that I had to go through Hatta). You still need the exit-stamp from UAE even though you want the 3-weeks free visa.

The price of the "normal" visa has increased and there are many websites that provides the old (cheaper) price. Check this website for the correct prices: [2]

Cities

alex hitching in Oman

Links

Applications-office.png This article is a stub. This means that the information available to us is obviously insufficient. In these places little information is available or the description is severely outdated. If you have been there, whether hitchhiking, for travel or as part of an organized tour − be sure to extend this article!