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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Etiquette in Oman - Facts to Know– Learning the art of Mingling in Oman
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Etiquette in Oman - Facts to Know– Learning the art of Mingling in Oman

Being a country from the Middle East, a number of unspoken rules govern the Omani culture. Although locals are known to be hospitable to foreigners, it helps to be aware of general etiquette in Oman

1

Greeting

The Omani's have a unique way of greeting one another. English is not commonly spoken among locals but it is generally accepted and often understood. However, if you want to connect better with the locals best greet them with the traditional 'Salamalaikum' which means peace to be upon you, to respond you may say 'Walaikum salam'. You can also say 'Marhaba' if you want to welcome a person. When you greet people of the same sex you may shake hands and often this is followed by a light kiss on the nose or both cheeks. Be cautious when greeting people from the opposite sex, Omani's prefer little to no physical contact. When greeting a local woman, always wait for them to initiate a handshake if at all.

2

Communication

It helps a great deal to learn the art of communication in Oman. Arabic is the language primarily spoken and if you know your way around commonly used phrases it would significantly help. English is also often understood but it is confined to the more high-end touristy places. When it comes to communication Omani's prefer a direct style. Some of them have a loud manner of speaking which is more of a norm than anything else. Never get into a confrontation with a local. Always remain calm during a turbulent situation. When having a conversation expect periods of silence as this is the norm here.

3

Personal space and touching

As long as it is between the same sex, Omani's are relatively comfortable standing in close proximity to one another. It is not uncommon to witness a fair amount of touching between members of the same sex. In fact, you may even see men holding hands and this is considered a sign of close friendship. When conversing with a member of the opposite sex however significant distance should be maintained and your hands should be kept to yourself. In fact, there is almost no physical connection between men and women in public.

4

Clothing

Omani's dress very modestly in public. In fact, the traditional Oman attire for both men and women are long and show little skin. There are no dress codes as such in Oman but refrain from wearing shorts and sleeveless attire. When visiting religious places, it is better if women have their heads covered. Some of the best hotels in Oman are rather liberal about attire within the hotel premises. The Al Wadi hotel is one such place.

5

Taboos

There are a couple of taboos that is best kept in mind. For instance, you should never point your foot at a person, or take photographs of people without their permission. Homosexuality is prohibited and acts indicating homosexuality can actually get you imprisoned. It is also illegal to use foul language and gestures in public.