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Travel by road from UAE to Oman – Step by step guide

Uncover the magic of Oman's khareef season without breaking the bank

UAE to Oman

Seeking an exciting and budget-friendly escape from the scorching summer heat? If you’re a nature enthusiast, Oman’s enchanting khareef season should be right at the top of your travel wish list. And as the price of flights continues to soar, some weekend getaways may seem financially burdensome. But with Oman right at the UAE’s doorstep, just a leisurely 6-hour drive away from Dubai to Muscat, or 12-hour drive to Salalah, there’s no need to book a flight, making it an even more enticing prospect.

Spanning from June to September, the khareef season, famously known as the monsoon season, is undoubtedly one of the most alluring times to immerse yourself in the delights of waterfalls, scenic drives, invigorating hikes, kayaking escapades, and the breathtaking verdant landscapes that grace Oman’s terrain. Salalah, the second-largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, is particularly famous for its extensive beaches, vibrant green spaces that flourish during the monsoon season, and delectable cuisine.

With a full tank of fuel, your favorite snacks in hand, and essential road trip tunes at the ready, it’s time to hit the road from UAE to Oman. Let the adventure begin!

Before you go: orange card, visas and insurance

Before setting off on a road trip to Oman, there are a few things you need to organize. Carry your valid Emirates ID and passport.

Travel by road from UAE to Oman - Step by step guide

Firstly, you’ll need to check that your car insurance covers you to drive in the sultanate. If it does, you can request an “orange card” from your insurer. This is typically provided free of charge and can be presented as an emailed electronic format or as a physical card — it’s worth noting that it’s not always orange.

If your insurance does not cover you to drive in Oman, you can purchase temporary insurance at the border crossing for AED106 (depending on the vehicle); however, this typically covers third-party damage only.

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Oman Visa: All UAE residents can get a visa on arrival to Oman. You are asked to fill a form at the border. You can check what type of visa you need on the Royal Oman Police website.

To expedite the process, you can save time by applying for an e-visa in advance through the online platform. Make sure to complete the application at least five days in advance. 

Furthermore, nationals of 103 countries are eligible to enter Oman visa-free for 14 days. See the list at the bottom.

Please note: Your UAE residency visa must be valid for the next three months or longer, and your passport must be valid for the next 6 months.

Driving From Dubai To Oman: Route Options

There are multiple route options available for driving from Dubai to Oman.

The two countries share several border crossings; however, it’s important to note that only specific border crossings are accessible to tourists and non-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) citizens.

Travel by road from UAE to Oman - Step by step guide

Out of these options, three main crossings are worth considering, and the choice of which one to take will depend on your starting point and destination.

  • Hatta – Al Wajajah border crossing: closest to Dubai and the most sensible and preferred choice if you’re short on time. Located approximately 140 kilometers from the center of Dubai, the journey to the border usually takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It’s important to note that attempting to use the border crossing at Al Madam, along the E44 road, is not recommended, as this crossing is exclusively open to citizens of GCC countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. Opt for the E102 route, bypassing the small “spur” of Oman which sticks up into the UAE, before joining the E44 to cross the border at Hatta/Al Wajajah.
  • Meyzad – Hafeet border crossing: Consider the Mezyad crossing for a more interesting journey, showcasing a different part of the UAE (Al Ain) before reaching Oman. This route is ideal for travelers heading to central/southern Oman, such as Nizwa or Jebel Shams, including Salalah. From Dubai, the Mezyad border crossing is approximately 160 kilometers via the E66, taking around 2 hours. It’s also a suitable option if you’re traveling from Abu Dhabi, with the same border formalities as driving from Dubai to Oman.
  • Khatm Al Shiklah border crossing: Takes less time as the roads are free from traffic, but the primary distinction is that, unlike Mezyad, the UAE and Oman border posts are quite far apart. After being stamped out of the UAE, you’ll need to drive nearly 30 kilometers before reaching the Omani border post.
  • UAE/Oman Dibba border crossing: The E99 route, passing through Fujairah, provides a connecting road for UAE residents to travel to the south of Musandam, to the areas of Dibba and Zaghi.

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Leaving UAE & Exit Fees

Pay exit fee: The initial step of the exit process takes place on the UAE side, where you submit your passport to the designated official and pay a Dh35 exit fee. Card payments are usually accepted, though it’s a good idea to also carry cash. At this stage, you might be requested to provide proof of car ownership (called as mulkiya“) and registration.

If you happen to be driving a vehicle that is not registered under your name, like a rental car, it’s essential to carry a letter of consent (No-Objection Certificate or NOC) from the car’s registered owner or rental company, along with their contact details. Although this might not always be requested, I highly recommend having it readily available to prevent any potential awkwardness during the border crossing.

Once you’ve paid your exit fee, you will be given a receipt.  Proceed to the next checkpoint and show this receipt.  They will then put an exit stamp on your passport.

Photographs and recording at the border point are not allowed, so keep your phone firmly in your car.

Entering Oman

Once you’ve completed the official exit from the UAE, you’ll only need to drive a short distance to reach the Oman border post.

by road from UAE to Oman

Complete immigration form/show e-visa: If you already have your e-visa, join the appropriate vehicle lane and hand over your passport to the border official. If you don’t possess an Oman visa and is opting for visa on arrival, you’ll be directed to park your vehicle to apply for one. Here, you need to fill out an immigration form. The visit visa fee is 5 Omani rials per person (Dh47) and you can pay in the local currency or by credit card.

You also need to present your Oman car insurance here. If you do not possess motor insurance for Oman, there are insurance offices at the border post, where you can purchase temporary insurance for your vehicle, which is usually valid for the duration of your stay in Oman.

Once your visa process is completed, proceed to one of the occupied cabins where the Omani border police will inspect your documents. The border official will give you a piece of paper with an entry stamp for Oman. Make sure to hold this paper to give to the official in the next booth.

In the next checkpoint, you will undergo a full vehicle inspection. Ensure all car doors, including the boot, are opened for inspection. The officers are meticulous, so be prepared if they request to look inside any bags, luggage, or glove compartments.

On the road to Oman

As you venture deeper into Oman, a world of natural beauty unfolds. If you’re travelling in the Khareef season, you will also notice a rapid drop in temperature from 45°C to 25°C.

Should you break the journey with an overnight stay?

Deciding whether to split the journey with a night stay depends on your circumstances. Consider the following questions before making a decision:

  1. Can you drive continuously for the 12-hour journey to Oman (if you’re heading to Salalah)?
  2. Are you comfortable driving at night, considering some hours will be without daylight even if you start early?
  3. Do you have another driver with you who can take turns driving?
  4. Are all travelers adults? Keep in mind that kids might find a long trip uncomfortable.

Check out hotels here.

Things to note during the road trip

  1. Carry Omani rials as some of the fuel station and restaurants on the way do not accept AED or credit card.
  2. Preload Google Map for the trip – or buy Omani sim card for data or activate roaming data on UAE sim. Google map will be very helpful for your journey. 
  3. Speed limits in Oman are usually 120km/h on highways, 80-90km/h on rural roads, and 40km/h in urban areas, unless otherwise shown. Oman has a 10kph buffer (unlike 20kph in most of the UAE).
  4. Be aware of any rain advisories issued. Though rain is so rare in Oman, flash flooding is common when it does. Try to avoid heading into the mountains, entering wadis or driving off road.

For how long can you stay in Oman?

• 14 days – visa on arrival
• 30 days – eVisa

Must go places in Oman

Wadi Darbat

Travel by road from UAE to Oman - Step by step guide
Wadi Darbat; Photo credits: Tales of Travel, Instagram

Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss Wadi Darbat, a captivating valley that offers a plethora of activities for families. From paddle-boarding to picnics and hiking to powerboats, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Ayn Athum

Ayn Athum, another must-see waterfall, is about a 20-minute scenic drive in the Dhofar mountains and can only be witnessed during the khareef season.

Al Mughsail Beach and Blowholes

Next on the list of top attractions is Al Mughsail Beach and Blowholes. This stunning location features a white sand beach that stretches up to the Marneef Cave, famous for its renowned Blowholes. Accessible through stairs from the cave, these natural fountains provide a mesmerizing sight. The water jets from the blowholes vary with the seasons and can reach heights of up to 28 meters during Khareef season.

Jabal Samhan

Jabal Samhan, the highest point in the Dhofar region, stands at over 4000 feet. The view from this vantage point is truly breathtaking, and if you’re fortunate, you may witness mountains passing beneath you. It’s an ideal spot for capturing mesmerizing timelapse videos and photographs, especially when clouds hover gracefully over the landscape.

Al Baleed Archaeological Park Salalah

Al Baleed Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site by the Arabian Sea. The park features an indoor museum – “The Museum of Frankincense Land,” displaying artifacts and Omani boat models from 3000 BC to present. Open until 8 pm with a nominal entry fee.

Bimmah Sinkhole Wadi Tiwi

Travel by road from UAE to Oman - Step by step guide

Another popular destination to visit is the Bimmah Sinkhole at Wadi Tiwi located at Hawiyat Najm Park. It’s a limestone crater filled with crystal-clear turquoise water, and explore the breathtaking Wadi Tiwi valley with its emerald pools and ancient villages.

Island of Masirah

Couples traveling from Dubai to Muscat can delight in a visit to the tranquil island of Masirah. This remote and untouched gem in Oman is reachable via a ferry from Muscat. Accommodations on the island range from excellent hotels to luxurious Masirah beach camps, offering the perfect outdoor adventure.

Masirah is renowned for its turtle nests, providing a unique opportunity to witness tiny baby turtles hatch. Additionally, the surrounding waters are known for frequent blue whale sightings, making it a fantastic spot for diving enthusiasts to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

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Haffa Beach

Haffa Beach in Salalah is renowned for its coconut palms and is a popular coastal destination with golden sandy shores and clear blue waters. The beach provides a serene and relaxing atmosphere, making it perfect for families and travelers seeking tranquility. Visitors can indulge in swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing while witnessing picturesque sunset views.

Nizwa Fort

Travel by road from UAE to Oman - Step by step guide

The 17th-century Nizwa Fort stands as one of Oman’s top attractions. Its massive circular tower offers stunning views of the mosque, souq, distant rocky mountains, and the surrounding date palms in this oasis city. The fort has been meticulously restored and houses a collection of historical items, including jewelry, tools, and a timeline of the region’s history.

Oman 14-day visa-free countries list

The countries are as follows:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • North Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritania
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Suriname
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam

The exemption is subject to certain requirements including a prior and confirmed hotel booking, health insurance, and a return ticket.

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