I am staying in Muscat Oman, alone. I am a western woman traveling alone there. I am wondering if anyone has any insight on how the culture there is with respect to women and more so white women traveling alone? i want to be respectful of their culture and laws but I don't want to be in danger myself. Should I fear for my safety walking down the street? should I even be going alone on the streets, to the market and such? or to visit monuments, the beach etc? should I get into a cab with a male driver? should I fear he will take me elsewhere than the place I ask for? are there female cab drivers? Do I need to cover from head to toe or can i wear western conservative clothes?
Hello and welcome to the Forum!
I don't have experience with travelling to Oman particularly, but have been to many other places in the Middle East.
Generally, a female travelling alone in the Middle East is not under the threat that most people perceive. However, dressing conservatively is the most important; this means long loose pants (or skirt) and long sleeve shirt - no exceptions to this - regardless of how hot it is. This should also apply to men - I always wear long pants and shirts, even if the temperature hits over 40 Celsius. Unless you are going diving or on a private resort, the beach visit you are used to in many other countries is going to be out of the question. You will need to cover your head with a scarf if you visit a mosque that allows non-Muslims.
General travel rules should apply - don't go out alone at night, rely on cabs from the hotel or a shuttle if possible and be cautious of excepting a drink from anyone else - this can be difficult because shop owners often offer tea to customers, and refusal can offend - so go with you gut feeling on this. A good rule for females travelling anywhere is to state that your boyfriend/partner/ husband is back at the hotel or that you will meet him shortly. Some people wear a fake wedding band, "the deterrent ring", which can also assist.
As a general rule, don't divulge your hotel name to people you meet - there are two reasons for this apart from the obvious safety one as it also prevents touts from waiting outside of your hotel trying to sell you things such as items or day trips when you leave. I usually am vague in my response such as "it is near the market", "near to the fort" or something similar. For some reason I never seem to remember the hotel's name when I am asked, but my memory miraculously returns when I have finished my sightseeing for the day ;-)
You may well be approached by local females if you are travelling alone. Their level of English might be poor, so bring a phrase book where you can point to phrases if you don't know Arabic - it is amazing what a difference this can make.
If anyone has specific info on Oman, I would love to hear more.
Hope this helps.
PS: I deleted your duplicate thread on the same topic.
Don't worry too much. Was there 12 months ago. The country is having more and more tourists, people are very friendly, and you should get dress as in any other muslim country. Not much, not less than a trip to Morocco.
People are wonderful, you will enjoy!
Hello Adina 😊
As the guys in the last two posts said, you wont be in any danger in the Middle East provided you wear clothes that they(people in the particular countries) find acceptable and stay within the law. Also, it is reasonable to keep your physical distance from all men there. If any try to get within arms reach of you, moved towards some women. This is an understood signal that all men will understand in the middle east, and will back off. On public transport too, be sure to sit beside women. If there are only available seats beside men, stand to the side until a man free zone is created for you to sit in, which will be what generally happens. Also, dont stand in queues with men in them. Stand to the side, and somebody will be asked to serve you, as it is considered reasonable that you wouldnt want to wait in a line with men. When you want to ask something in the street, ask a women, and then all men around will then also offer their assistance with direction giving or buying things. This all seems over the top, but behaving in a way that people in the middle east understand will keep you safe, so dont hesitate to insist upon the personal space away from men, that you are considered entitled to in the Middle East. If in the unlikely event that a man keeps bothering you, despite everything, go into a restaurant or cafe, and look slightly worried, while glancing in the offenders direction. The restaurant owner will soon tell him to clear off. Hospitality is a very strong tradition in the Middle East. No need to ever get aggressive when somebody is bothering you. Take on the attitude that shows you know people will help you. And never do things like smoke in public, unless you are in a fairly nice restaruant where other women are smoking or in your hotel lobby or courtyard. Smoking is sure to brand you as an immoral women in the eyes of many. If anyone tries to charge you more than you expect to pay for something, dont argue, just look a bit confused. That usually sorts it out. You are a guest in their country as far as they are concerned, and will be granted some kind of status between what women and men have there. The worst of the middle east is that the relentless sexism in society and law is just plain offensive. That gets to all women, to varying extents, but you will be unlikely to be in any physical danger.
I havent been to Oman, but I have been to Iran, Turkey and Egypt. 😊
This is excellent advice Mel - every female heading to the Middle East should read it.
Two more thing to adds - if you do decide to disagree about a price, do it in a calm tone - and usually with a smile. A smile can be disarming. It is an alternative to a confused look - though you could combine both approaches - confused look first, then the calm tone.
As for physical distance, what is acceptable to a female amongst friends and colleagues in Western countries - such as a man shaking your hand or touching your shoulder or arm - is totally unacceptable in the Middle East. Ensure on the same standards for you as would apply to local woman. If a man touches you in any form - back away - give a stern look - say "La" (No), and put you hand out as would one would expect to indicate "stop". If that occurred to me and I was a woman, I would immediately do what I suggested above, walk away and have nothing more to do with that person.
Hiii dindin ...
Oman is very safe country ... you dont have to worry to much .. as guys wrote that you should be within the law and respect the tradition and culture .. Omani's are friendlly people and they treat tourist and forginer's who stays in the country in a good way. The law is strong in Oman and it will protect the person who have the "Right" without looking who is in the other side, if he is a local or not.
Iam sure you will enjoy your stays in Oman and you will have great time. You have just came down to the country, and soon u will make friends and hang around the place.
I have sent you my contact details to your PM. If you need any help, got any questions, i will try my best to help. Dont worry it's free of charge as i dont have a traverl company. looool.
Have a good day!
Hello I’m from the UK, London to be exact. I am thinking of coming to Oman Sohar to work as an English teacher. Please could you help me by answering a few questions about with what life would like living in Sohar.
As you can tell from my pic I’m a Black man so how will i be received.
What is there to do in terms of leisure and cultural activities?
Is it easy to make friends?
I’m a single what is the dating scene like? Can I date just expats? Can I date Omanis?
What is the public transport system like? I don’t drive.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
I have not worked in Oman yet - off there later this year - but I have been and travelled fairly extensively in the Middle East. Omanis are a bit different from most of the rest of the people in the region as they were the regional maritime power until us white guys arrived as colonists in the 1600s. They had a big empire and are still much more outward looking than most countries in the region. COnsequently they are quite out-going and friendly without having the "side" that you might find in some other parts of the region.
They had strong links to East Africa and the Somalia region too and there are lots of Omanis who are very very dark-skinned so you wont stand out like a sore thumb - your main problem may be that people expect you to be a Muslim! That said, political correctness does not exist in the Middle East and you may find that a bit of a shock after London at first if you are at all sensitive - I know I did!
Here are the answers for your questions:
1) Omani's live together and they don't differentiate between Black/ White people. As long you will be good to them, respect them, they will be good to you as well.
2) In general Omani's are friendly/helpful people.
3) Public transportation, In Sohar you will be able to move by using a cab or a mini bus Taxi. But it will be much more better if you have your own license and drive there. I think Cabs are expensive. If you have UK Licensee than you can just apply for the International License there in UK and bring it with you. Driving in Oman is safe.
After all, where ever you will go in this world .. you will always bump into good and bad people. Respecting the people, culture and religion will make you more closer to the society.
Wish you a good luck.