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Car required?
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Charybdis



Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:40 pm    Post subject: Cars Reply with quote

Thanks for the information about prices. Seems consistent with what I've been told (about $350/mo). Has anyone done better than that and is there a reputable dealer to rent from in Nizwa?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15608
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another useful piece of paper to bring along with a current driver's license that runs a year or more, is a "no-claims" letter from an insurance company. It will cut your insurance premiums by a large amount if you buy.

VS
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natureguy



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:59 am    Post subject: Renting a car in Oman Reply with quote

In Sohar (the price may vary slightly from one town to the next but should be in the same ballpark), a car rental will cost RO 140--160 ($365--416)) for an economy car such as a Toyota Yaris. Many of the car dealers offer rentals as well as some international car hire agencies. One might want to check in Muscat as the cost may be slightly lower since there is more competition among dealers.


You can drive legally with your country (or USA--State) driving license as long as you are still in the country on a tourist visa. Once your sponsor has completed your work visa (good for 2 years) you will be required to get an Omani driving license. It is important to get the Omani driving license ASAP once the work visa has been processed as the auto
rental insurance will no longer cover you in case of an accident.
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Mojoski



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:15 am    Post subject: Re: Renting a car in Oman Reply with quote

natureguy wrote:

You can drive legally with your country (or USA--State) driving license as long as you are still in the country on a tourist visa. Once your sponsor has completed your work visa (good for 2 years) you will be required to get an Omani driving license. It is important to get the Omani driving license ASAP once the work visa has been processed as the auto
rental insurance will no longer cover you in case of an accident.


Is this the way it's done in Oman? They bring you in on a tourist visa and then process your work visa in country? You don't have to do a "visa run" to change your visa? I was wondering how they'd be able to get me there in two weeks.
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natureguy



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:20 am    Post subject: Omani visas Reply with quote

Hi Mojoski,

CFBT and Hawthorne, the agencies who hire for the Colleges of Applied Sciences, both bring new hires in on a tourist visa (obtained by the individual on arrival at the airport in Muscat) handle work visa) and then process the work visa. The sponsor will take your passport while the work visa is being processed in Muscat. This process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months.

Other recruiting organizations and private colleges may handle it differently but most official matters in the Gulf happen very slowly so be prepared to wait it out. Visa runs across the border aren't necessary as the sponsor will/should automatically renew your tourist visa while the work visa processing is taking place. Just be sure to note the date you arrive in Oman and remind your sponsor when it is time for the visa to be renewed. While this is clearly the recruiter's/employers job, it doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution as it's you that will be in violation if something comes up.

I mention this because I had an accident while driving a rental car during the period of time that my work visa was being processed and the insurance company initially refused to pay for the damage (ouch!). Thank goodness Hawthorne (my sponsor) was actually on top of that one and had renewed my tourist visa which made me legal as I was still driving on my US driver's license. I just want other new teachers to be aware of Oman's laws while driving on a foreign driving license. The law is also very specific about having an Omani driving license once the work visa has been stamped into one's passport.

Hope this helps and prevents some stress for new hires.
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natureguy



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:39 am    Post subject: Work visa and driving in Oman Reply with quote

Sorry, just read my last post and am not sure it was absolutely clear regarding obtaining an Omani driving license.

It is a bit of a catch-22 since an individual cannot obtain an Omani driving license until the work visa has been processed. Since you may have rented a car soon after arrival based on your tourist visa and foreign country license, it is imperative to keep track (via your sponsor) of the work visa process, dates etc. Just be aware and try to expedite the Omani license with your sponsor/employer as it is necessary for them to supply you with a letter for the Royal Oman Police in order to obtain the Omani driving license.

Some rental agencies do not make new clients aware of this catch-22, and, once again, you will be the one to suffer in case of an accident.
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sliderama



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 90
Location: al reef

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was renting a car in Salalah for 150 OMR a month which roughly equates to the $375 mentioned. But I bought a used car after a three months as I figured it was a waste of money to rent for more than one year.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15608
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: Renting a car in Oman Reply with quote

Mojoski wrote:
Is this the way it's done in Oman? They bring you in on a tourist visa and then process your work visa in country? You don't have to do a "visa run" to change your visa? I was wondering how they'd be able to get me there in two weeks.

Unlike some other countries in the Gulf, Oman has a very efficient and normally painless process... as long as your employer keeps on top of things.

When I was hired by my last job in Oman, I had a multiple entry tourist visa (then available for those with a GCC work/residence visa). Rather than my new employer pay for a visa for me to enter, I asked if my tourist visa was OK to use. They said, no problem... and it wasn't. I even managed to get my car registered (which had arrived in Oman from Kuwait before me and had already made it through customs) with the tourist visa... even though everyone said that it couldn't be done. (outstanding Omani fixer managed it with a letter from my employer...)

If you do come in on a tourist visa, just keep track of the dates
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xolotl



Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Motorcycles and scooters Reply with quote

Hi all. I'm new to the forum but have been lurking for quite some time now. I may be moving to Nizwa in the near future and I must say that I've been really encouraged by the posts here.

A quick question for those of you who live in Nizwa and/or Muscat: what are your thoughts on buying/renting a scooter or motorcycle to get around, in lieu of a car? Is the traffic in general just too crazy to entertain such a possibility?
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jdl



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 632
Location: cyberspace

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is quite a serious biking community in Oman so a motorcycle is a good way to go. Can't beat the weather!!!!! The friendships are great and not of the esl instructor variety so you will get a social break. Check out Bikersoman Motorcycle Club or any of the dealerships in Muscat (HD, Honda, Yamaha, BMW)

http://www.sjsoman.com/bikersoman/aboutus.htm

In my opinion Oman has some of the best riding in the world and definitely the best roads! Nizwa is right in the middle of it! I had my Harley for 3 years, put on 25,000 km and saw most of Oman on it. What an experience. Go for it!

Two friends of mine have dual purpose bikes..off/on road and that may be a better way to go if you want to do some wadis and desert. Although I have driven the Harley through Wadi Tyeen (50 km or so) I would not recommend it except for the lark.

Driving a bike in Oman I found to be no more dangerous than driving in North America(perhaps less). The roads are in better condition and often divided and if you have experienced LA, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Antonio, Houston, Miami or any other large city, Muscat is a piece of cake. Nizwa is no problem.....been there, done that and am living to tell about it.

"Live to ride, ride to live". Anyone can rent/buy a Rio to get around in.....if you want to experience Oman get a bike or a 4x4 pickup.
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xolotl



Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:23 pm    Post subject: biking in Oman Reply with quote

jdl, Thanks for the tips and the big endorsement for biking in Oman. Very helpful. Although I'm somewhat of a beginner--I've had a Honda Rebel here in NYC for a little over a year--I've also driven a scooter in India for extended periods. Oman sounds very feasible. I love the freedom of the bike. And I'll be sure to check out the club...
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desultude



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 614

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to the OP:

If you do not get a car, please be sure to compensate those you ride with.

A car rental is a big expense, and it is rude to expect someone else to bear the expense while you are the epitomy of the "free rider". And remember, it is not just gas but also the cost of the car rental that should be shared.

After a while you will go from being a free rider to a leech- really. Eyebrows will go up when you need a "lift" and don't offer to help out with the expense. It gets old real fast.
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washingtonpost



Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cars are essential in all Gulf countries. None of them has a really decent bus service apart from Abu Dhabi. That's the only place you could really manage without a car. Yes friends become thin on the ground if you become too dependent on them for lifts. Oman is such a beautiful country, you need wheels to explore it properly. There are some inter-city buses from Muscat to Buraimi, Nizwa, Salalah, Ibri, etc but you have to be there early to get a seat and you can't rely on getting there at the projected time. Buy a car. Interestingly they are not much more expensive than cars in the UAE. The UAE has the best vehicle bargains in the Gulf. Much cheaper than Qatar!!!
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Dekadan



Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd resurrect this. I'm an avid motorcycle rider and wondering how things have progressed since this time. Has the traffic changed noticeably? I've ridden motorcycles for 6 years now and much prefer them to cars. My former Saudi students showed me videos that raised the hairs on my neck of drifting and tilting cars to be on two wheels, is Omani traffic similar?
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madrileno



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 133
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dekadan wrote:
is Omani traffic similar?


Driving is a nightmare all over the gulf.

Some roads in Oman are just awful, no matter how the traffic is. The highway between Sohar and Muscat is all torn up due to construction. It's been that way for the past two years. The road between Muscat and Ibra that runs through wadi al auq and the hajar mountains can make you cringe, especially when driving at night and half the road lights are out.

Don't get me started on driving in Muscat, particularly on weekday mornings between 6 and 8.

Throw into this mix the average driving skills and road etiquette of Gulf Arabs, and you may as well pretend you're playing GTA5.
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