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Housing and Lifestyle

Oman - Housing and Lifestyle

 
What is living in Oman really like? Here is a brief summary of what to expect from life in the region. 
 
Housing


There are plenty of property options in Oman, so you should have no difficulty in finding a home to suit you and your needs. Under certain circumstances it is possible to buy your home, but a number of the sites earmarked for foreign purchasing are still years from completion. In reality it’s far more likely that you will rent. 

The main accommodation types are villas, campus-based housing in gated communities, or apartments in high-rise buildings. The vast majority of expats live in Muscat (the capital) or its commuting environs, though housing is easily found across the country. 

The apartments and gated campus properties are usually equipped with communal amenities. These will differ from site to site, but tend to include a swimming pool and / or gym. Villas are generally a bit larger, with a private garden and living quarters for hired help – which is easily found in Oman. 

Many employers will sort your accommodation as part of your package, but if you are sorting it independently then it’s a good idea to consult an estate agent. To give you an idea, a three-bed property in a city centre can cost about £865; a little further out of the centre, the price is more like £600. 

Lifestyle

Moving to Oman could be perfect for you, but as a Muslim country there are notable cultural differences that should be considered before making the decision to move.

  • The working week runs from Sunday to Thursday, and standard working hours are between 08:30/09:00 and 17:30/18:00. Almost everything is closed on a Friday, the holy day. 
  • Life in Oman is ruled by the Muslim faith’s prayer times and religious events. Muslims pray five times each day, and the mosques issue a call to prayer through public address systems at the selected times. 
  • Similarly, the calendar is also based around Islam’s religious events; the main public holidays are around Ramadan and Hajj – the dates of which vary each year. You would be expected to use your annual leave to celebrate Christmas and Easter (although the international schools do have a fortnight’s break at these times). 
  • For both genders, knees and shoulders should be covered at all times whilst out in public. Women in particular will face criticism for wearing any tight, revealing or see-through clothes, though these are not encouraged in men either. Yet in compound accommodation and other private areas, people are free to dress as they choose.
  • Unmarried couples are not allowed to live together, and same-sex relationships are also against the law. Public displays of affection (even between married couples) are also frowned upon. 
  • Alcohol consumption is permitted, but only in certain places such as hotels, and only to people who have applied for a licence of their own. 

Entertainment

You will want to make the most of the many and varied options available to you during your leisure time in Oman. Many people make use of the country’s generous coastline to relax on the beach, but there are also a number of outdoor activities on offer. Kitesurfing and scuba diving are just two of the popular pastimes you might like to try – there’s also a climbing wall in Muscat if you’ve got a head for heights! 

There’s also an enviable choice of shopping malls and coffee shops / eateries, and there are family-friendly places such as cinemas and bowling alleys for you to choose from. 

When the weather is especially hot, many residents choose to escape the heat by heading to the country’s mountainous region, where a number of archaeological sites and outdoor activities await. 

In addition to all of this, there are also several places where you can enjoy an alcoholic drink in the evenings with friends. And if you’re living on a compound, there are often events and activities organised such as cinema nights and general social gatherings. You are sure to find something to tempt you, whatever your interests.

Weather

Oman is hot all year round; in the winter months the temperature tends to be around 20-25°C, and this increases to around 40°C in the summer months. Many locals escape this heat – and the occasional risk of dust storms - by heading indoors to the air-conditioned buildings. The country has an average annual rainfall of just four inches, and this is split more or less evenly across each month of the year. There is also a very slight risk of tropical storms from the Arabian Sea, in which the coastal settlements are very occasionally flooded.  

Ultimately only you can decide if living in Oman is right for you. But it can offer a refreshing experience of a very different culture, with the comforting fact that English is widely spoken here. Alternatively, if you’re of Islamic origin, choosing a career in Oman can allow you and your family to either return to your roots, or simply experience life in an authentic Muslim country.

 

 
 

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