Why Oman is great for solo female travel

Why Oman is great for solo female travel

Having just returned from Oman, I cannot sing its praises enough as a destination for solo female travel when compared with other destinations in the Arab States and Middle East.

Let me explain why. It was my first visit to Arabia, but I have been to Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan a few times and was somewhat hesitant to travel there and drive around on my own as a solo female traveller. It was only a couple trips to Jordan and Israel that restored my faith in being a tourist and not being hassled and treated like one big cash cow.

Also, I wanted to dive, and diving can sometimes be a bit male-centred although my previous personal experience as a scuba diver was always good.

Muttrah Corniche

Some facts about Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is a country of about 5 Million people occupying the southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula. Oman is the oldest Arab state and is said to have been formed over 8000 years ago and today is an attractive mixture of deeply traditional and comfortably modern.

Oman was once part of the Persian Empire and was converted to Islam at the life time of the Prophet Mohammed. From medieval times, Oman was ruled by the indigenous dynasties, with parts under short-lived Portuguese and Ottoman rule. The country became rich through slave trade with East Africa – Zanzibar was once an Omani colony – and a few centuries later, through oil.

And it was the oil, combined with the prudent rulership of the late Sultan Qaboos, that turned Oman from a relatively poor country a into a prosperous state, with structured education, healthcare and governance programmes.

Also, the Ibadi Islam practised in Oman means a great level of tolerance towards other cultures and religions, with Buddhist and Hindu Temples as well as churches existing peacefully next to the often grand mosques.

Oman is easy to get to

Oman has several international airports, of which Muscat International Airport is the largest one, It was rebuilt a few years ago and is an efficient no nonsense airport in the town of Seeb. 

Not quite as frequently flown to as Dubai or Qatar, it gets a decent number of flights from major European cities as well as South Asia – where many of Oman’s workforce comes from.

Coming from the Americas, you would usually connect in the Gulf or in Europe. 

Oman is easy to travel in – if you can drive

One slight drawback might be the scarcity of public transport easily accessible to visitors. But then, if you look at this large country, where towns are often built in the traditional low rise wy and usually really spread out as they Omanis definitely have plenty of space, then driving, of course makes sense.

You can rent a car very easily for a decent rate, and no, unless you want to go on some mountain tours or off-road into the desert, you don’t need a 4×4 car.

Beautiful -and huge!- Bahla Fort

No hassle, no rip-offs, just friendliness

One thing I noticed immediately – the people in Oman were genuinely friendly. 

This was my first proper visit to Arabia, but I have spent several trips to Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt fending off overly intrusive vendors, taxi drivers, self-proclaimed guides and many other males who really wanted to get into business with me. Maybe now that I am older, it gets less naturally, but let me tell you, in Oman, there was no such thing. 

There would be a friendly “hello, how are you”, from both men and women, a few pleasantries, then move on. You definitely see more men out and about, but most were minding their business, and were always courteous, sometimes downright helpful without expecting anything in return. 

You will also come across men from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or Southeast Asia, who usually live in Oman on their own, supporting their families back home. Again, no issues here whatsoever. Everyone seemed to stick to the rule to leave women alone unless they approach. 

It’s best to behave conservatively. Obviously, as a while female, I was most likely going to be a tourist, although I was asked whether I work in Oman. Adapting a modest dress style helps –  cover knees, upper arms, no big cleavage. Head scarves aren’t needed, lots of Indian ladies don’t wear them, either. But asking if something is permitted, watching the locals and generally sticking to local customs is very much appreciated. 

Oman’s souks are a delight to visit


Respected Tradition

Five minutes after my arrival, I got to experience one of Oman’s great traditions – there were scent diffusers places everywhere in Muscat Airport, which made the somewhat tedious immigration wait at 4am just a bit more bearable.

The pretty (and quite touristy) Nizwa Souk

From Rock climbing to Scuba diving – Oman has it all

I am happier in and under the water, so I can confirm that the Arabian Sea around Oman is lovely, with a superb marine nature reserve od the Daymaniyat Islands just outside Oman, and some decent beaches in and around Muscat. Although I have been told that Dhofar region in the far South has the best beaches, and about thousand kilometres of unspoilt coastline in between. 

Al Hamra, set in beautiful surroundings


Despite singing its praise, I acknowledge that Oman is perhaps not the most destination. It is an absolute monarchy with a Human Rights Index of 6.8 (2022) which places it above the average of 5.4 and comparable in Human Right to Kazakhstan, Cuba, Laos and Jordan, to name just a few. My home country, Germany, has an index of 0.8, United Kingdom as 2.3 and USA 4.5, just for comparison.

However – compared to its neighbouring states, Oman is perhaps the most conflict-free destination of them all, offering safety, variety and a warm welcome. Hence, my recommendations stands as one of the nicest and easiest destinations on the Arabian peninsula. But, full disclosure here, I read about most of the others only and probably wouldn’t choose to visit Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Yemen right now. I had absolutely no troubles during my short solo trip to Oman and recommend a visit without hesitation.

Al Hamra Old Village

Where I stayed

With diving not being cheap and being on a bit of a budget due to some upcoming unpaid work, holidays and commitments, I stayed in a few fairly budget-friendly hotels in Muscat, Nizwa and Al Hamra. Generally I don’t think safety is a major issue in most accommodations. Here are my choices, and a mini review. 

Haffa House Hotel, Muscat

None of my hotel choices was a complete flop although Haffa House is not for everyone. I booked this somewhat aged hotel hoping for some vintage sharm, which can under certain circumstances be found in its generously sized lobby, the palatial architecture and lavish common areas, but definitely not in the rooms, which need a good scrub and refurbishment.

However, it was super close, almost walking distance, to at least three excellent Indian vegetarian restaurants, and being under Indian management, the breakfast was pretty interesting and featured some decent Indian food. Location is okay, it’s car centric on the side of a highway, but it only takes ten minutes to dive to Muttrah Corniche and is close to the beaches and Old Muscat, too.

I paid about 35 Euro per night in a standard single including breakfast and taxes, which is not bad for a former four-star with pool and fitness suite.

Alsahwa Hotel, Seeb

I had another night to spend before embarking on a trip to the interior, so I picked the small new Alsahwa Hotel in a residential area – it also is really close to the airport.

There really isn’t too much of touristic interest around but with a car, it doesn’t matter. It is super clean, cheap, very comfortable – for just 39 Euros for an absolutely huge double room per night. I also had one of the best pedicures ever at a local beauty salon and enjoyed some pretty local restaurant and visited the Amouage Visitor Centre just around the corner.

Al Hamra Old House, Al Hamra

Al Hamra Old House is very charming old adobe style house in the semi-abandoned village of Old Hamra, this guest house has some way to go to become slick and professional, but I appreciated my clean quiet room and the friendly staff. I had to scale some pretty steep steps in order to get to my bathroom, and cutesy plastic bunny lamps were totally not going with the elegant old house, but well, I had a lovely sleep and some really nice village walks there, so I am not complaining, especially since it only cost about 30 Euros.

Alaqur View Inn, Nizwa

Of all my accommodations, the Alaqur View Inn was the most expensive and perhaps the most disappointing. Let me explain. Nizwa is quite touristy, and this lovingly refurbished old house is right in the centre of Old Nizwa, next tot the bazaar. For the 50 Euro I paid, I got a perfectly serviceable smallish double with a basic bathroom but no breakfast or decent tea in the room, but a prima location. It was clean and the ned comfy, so Ia m not complaining.

Muscat Inn Hotel, Muscat

I was really just booking the Muscat Inn Hotel to get a few hours sleep between the ballet and my flight, so I wanted cheap and convenient. You are not going to find it on Instagram or CondeNast Traveller any time soon, but for 25 Euro, I got a huge comfy room,  Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a nice veg Indian Restaurant and a cracking fabric shop are in walking distance and rooms are huge and super clean. 

The Small Print

I visited Oman on my own in 2024 with the primary intent to gain a scuba diving certification. Being a fair weather diver, I wanted a nice warm country, high safety standards, and a few days of sunshine. Having been interested in Oman for quite some time, I decided to tack a few days vacation onto the course. I paid for the entire trip from my own funds, no sponsorships, no discounts.

The only way I may earn a small commission is from affiliate links to Booking.com, where I linked my accommodation – I stayed in all of the recommend places.

Oman blog post pin

13 thoughts on “Why Oman is great for solo female travel”

  • This post is very useful for me because I have been wanting to visit Oman for a long time, but I was wondering what it would be like to travel there as a solo woman. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Hi, thank you for your nice comment! I was a bit hesitant because of the solo female thing, but turns out it’s nothing to worry about. Really really loved the trip to Oman and would love to visit again, because I only had a week, and most of that was spent scuba diving.

  • I appreciate the candid inputs on places you stayed and visiting Oman solo. I have been hesitant about visit Oman solo, but your post is reassuring.

  • I wouldn’t have considered solo travel to Oman, especially as a woman, but you’ve definitely put the possibility in mind. It sounds like a wonderful country to visit!

    • Hi Cris, That is what I thought before I started reading more about Oman… turns out solo travel as a woman is no problem whatsoever, only slight issue is that there’s not a great deal of public transport, but driving was easy. It felt totally safe, very friendly, too!

  • Oman must be quite a special place to visit. Nice to know that you enjoyed your experience. Also good that is safe for female solo travellers. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow! Oman looks incredible! Thanks for shedding light on the possibility of travelling to Oman!

  • That being said, there is always hesitation when traveling solo to an Arab country. But, posts like yours only help encourage women around the world to take that step towards planning an itinerary.

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