Safety and security
The political situation in Oman is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.
There is a threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.
Be vigilant particularly in public places. Avoid large gatherings and all demonstrations and always take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place;
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home;
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business;
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible; and
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Oman, report it to the local police immediately. If you require further assistance you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Riyadh if you need help.
If you are planning to drive in Oman, you should be cautious. Driving is on the right and driving standards are good, by regional standards, but drivers do tend to speed and tailgate. Remember traffic laws in Oman are strictly enforced. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance;
- The legal blood alcohol level in Oman is close to zero and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. There’s a minimum 48 hours in jail for any traffic offence in which the driver tests positive for alcohol;
- Be aware of Oman’s traffic laws, which are strictly imposed;
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights; and
- Don’t use a mobile phone whilst driving (you can be given an on-the-spot fine).
There are good roads in Muscat and between Muscat and major towns in the interior. However, driving at night can be dangerous outside Muscat, as there is a risk of hitting camels that stray onto the road.
If you are involved in an accident you must stay with your vehicle and call the Royal Oman Police. If you are involved in a minor accident, it may not be necessary to call the police, but you must follow the procedures set out on the ROP website. You must keep a Minor Road Traffic Accident form in your car. You can get one from the ROP website or from your insurance company. Car rental companies are responsible for keeping forms in their cars.
All off-road travel should be with at least two vehicles suitably equipped in case of emergencies. If you are intending such travel, you should take out sufficient insurance to meet the costs of rescue.
Hiring a vehicle
If you are hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Rental and company vehicles in particular have been vulnerable to robbery in the Thumrait, Marmul and Nimr area of Southern Oman. If you rent a car, you should take advice on security from the hire company before you travel.
Many areas of the Gulf of Aden are highly sensitive. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected, and there have been occasional arrests. Piracy in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden is also increasing in frequency, and is a significant threat.
We advise against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from the shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23° N in the Arabian Sea, 78° E and 15°S in the Indian Ocean.
Fri, 13 May 2016 09:41:59 BST