How much it costs to go backpacking in Oman

Costs and living expenses for a backpacking trip in Oman, broken down by city and activity

To help future travellers to Oman, I tracked my spending over the 9 days I was in there in November. Since there’s not a lot of information available (even less Singapore-specific info), I hope this budget report will encourage Singaporeans (and other travellers) you don’t need to break the bank to have great travel experiences, and to head to Oman for a holiday.

p1030417The corniche at Mutrah in the evening, Muscat

Things to note:

  • The costs in this writeup are costs only a traveller will incur, such as food, drink, transport and accomodation. Because everyone has a different idea on how much to spend, I’ve excluded items such as gifts bought for others and replacement parts for equipment.
  • We did not go into every museum, castle or fort.
  • Flights and insurance are not included in the trip budget since most people have a different comfort level and require different levels of insurance coverage. To be transparent, my flight tickets cost S$770.20 (Qatar Airways, with a 2.5 hour transit in Doha) and insurance cost me S$55 (MSIG).
  • It pays to have some Omani Rials (OMR) on hand when you arrive in Oman. To my knowledge, the only place in Singapore that changes SGD to OMR is the money-changer at Level B2 of Mustafa Centre. Their rates are good. The alternative is to get USD to change to OMR in Muscat (like all tourists do), and incur a hefty commission fee.

Detailed budget breakdown can be viewed here.

Exchange rate used for this trip: S$1 = 0.277OMR

p1030032Taking a break in Wadi al-Muaydeen, somewhere near Nizwa


  • Total Travel costs per person: 315.64 OMR (S$1139.40)
  • Average cost per person per day: 35.09 OMR (S$126)
  • Average cost of food per person per day: 2.20 OMR (S$7.96)
  • Average cost of accomodation per person per day: 8.98 OMR (S$32.40)
  • Average cost of car rental & petrol per perspn per day: 13.91 OMR (S$48.40)
p1030471Morning at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Sample costs:

  • Mwasalat inter-city bus: 1.9 – 3 OMR (S$6.90 – 10.85)
  • Mwasalat bus within Muscat: 0.200 – 1.00 OMR (S$0.72 – 3.61)
  • Baisa bus (shared minibus): 0.1 – 0.5 OMR (S$0.36 – 1.81)
  • Shared taxi: 0.5 – 1.5 OMR (S$1.81 – 5.42)
  • Museum/ atttraction entry fees: 0.5 – 5 OMR (S$1.81 – 18.05)
The ruins of Tanuf, halfway between Nizwa and Bahla, Al Dakhiliya Governate

City-by-city breakdown
(includes transport to the city & accommodation)

Average costs per day for one person. From experience, booking accomodation online is better. However, booking over the phone or in person allows you to bargain the prices down by 1-2 OMR.

  • Nizwa: 14.92 OMR (S$53.85)
    We stayed at an Airbnb home in Nizwa
  • Hajar Mountains
    We hired a guide. See notes below.
  • Sur: 24.91 OMR (S$89.93)
    We stayed at Sur Hotel
  • Muscat: 14.76 OMR (S$53.27)
    We stayed at two places, but we’ll recommend only Naseem Hotel in Mutrah
p1030254A watchtower overlooks the city of Sur and its lagoon

Other considerations:

  • To save even more money, it is possible to camp. In Muscat, the Capital Yacht Club charges 1 OMR (weekdays) to camp overnight at its beach, with access to shower facilities. Outside of Muscat, you can camp at any wadi or beach. Usual camping precautions apply.
  • Your meal budget will be determined by what you eat. I ate mainly Indian/ Pakistani/ Bengali food (pratas, naans, briyanis, thalis). These eateries are everywhere because of the large number of Indian expat workers and are cheap. Western, Turkish and Arabic food are slightly more expensive. Local Omani food is rare, because locals don’t see serving food as a noble profession (according to my guide Yusuf)
  • I paid for a guide (Yusuf) during my 2D1N in the Hajar Mountains. It was the biggest expense of the trip, However, food, transport & petrol is all included. I have no regrets because Yusuf was a great guide. He’s professional, polite to a fault & knows his way around very well. Speaking Arabic, his ability to communicate with villagers in the Hajar Mountains was indispensable.
  • Most guidebooks recommend renting a car to see the country. But I don’t think that is necessary unless you want to travel very far out into the desert and visit isolated towns and forts. That said, inter-city transport is cheap but centered on Muscat. So you’ll have to return to Muscat if you want to travel anywhere else.
  • Tipping is not common
  • I always bargain when taking a shared taxi
  • There are ample public water dispensers in big cities where you can replenish water for free. Mosques will allow you to do so if you ask politely, outside of prayer times.
  • I didn’t visit every single fort or museum, and only chose what I thought seemed interesting.

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