We asked our readers to tell us 47 reasons why they love Oman. The response we received was overwhelming but here are our three winners, and here’s what they wrote:
WINNER: Dr Suddapalli Bhaskara Rao
1 The Sultan of Oman who acceded to the throne on July 23, 1970 is celebrating his 47th Renaissance Day in just a few days. My love for the Sultanate of Oman stems from the kind, compassionate, dynamic, visionary man who enabled many expatriates to earn their bread and live in honour while taking Oman to be a guiding example in all spheres of human development, as is reflected in various indices published from time to time.
2 It is a peaceful country, with a very low crime rate. It also gives us freedom to follow any religion or belief; besides being so tolerant to all faiths and nationalities, with a number of non-Muslim holy institutions like Hindu temples, Christian churches, Sikh Gurudwaras etc displaying a rare secular feature of this country. I feel proud to say that I have attended over 200 Hindu religious festivities in Muscat during my tenure that was not possible for me in my 50 years of stay in my own country! Such is the opportunity and freedom that Oman afforded me with no interventions of any kind.
3 The neutral stand of Oman not only aids the relationship of Iran and the West, it also plays a pivotal role to mediate between Iran and the US.
4 It has over 2000km of beautiful coastlines with spectacularly pristine beaches. It also has a varied landscape of mountain ranges, wadis and beautiful plateaux.
5 It has a cultural heritage, with numerous forts, museums, art places, corniches, souks, and many more traditional attractions.
6 World class hospitality is extended to one and all, with Omanis being simple, down-to earth, and open to friendship. Omanis are also very helpful in general.
7 Oman is known for its stability by all accounts and for not being aggressive, with solid trading ties with many countries including my mother land –India.
8 It is one country where harmony has been prevailing for the fifth consecutive decade, with no internal strife or any known aggression from alien forces.
9 Despite its precarious water levels, Oman is keen in seeing that greenery, especially flowering plants, are maintained with care at public places
10 The Sultan’s love and passion for music gave Oman the Royal Opera House Muscat that is unique in many ways.
11 Besides the Islamic importance, the architectural value of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, in Muscat, is simply fabulous. Apart from non-Muslims can also visit it.
12 Over the last 19 years, I have witnessed the stunning infrastructural development that has been taking place here. Roads like Muscat-Quriyat, Muscat-Sur, Muscat-Barka etc used to be a nightmare for years but not anymore. Now, I love driving in Oman: the best being the Muscat-Sur and Al Batina expressway.
13 The construction of these highways and flyovers have also made life easier for us, causing limited inconvenience to the commuters during its construction period. Equally impressive is the fact that they open overnight without much fanfare.
14 Despite not knowing Arabic, I have never felt out of place. English and Hindi is widely spoken and understood.
15 The patriotic spirit, the democratic fervour as seen in the public franchise system, and above all, female empowerment, are the leading indices that Oman has been proven to be strong in.
16 Palaces of the Sultan, especially the Al Alam Palace, in Muscat, are worth viewing from outside.
17 Unique frankincense preparations.
18 The food – particularly shawarma. Also, all international foods are available, here.
19 No income tax on wage earners.
20 Preference to women, with separate queues in every place of public interaction.
21 Oman Halwa is truly mesmerising.
22 I love the half-ripened and fully-cleaned dates, which I often take to India and the US.
23 Huge canyons like that of Wadi Ghul.
24 Camel and horse races of high quality. The Sultan’s Cup is one such example.
25 The spirit of Ramadan during the Holy month, the fervour and bonhomie of people.
26 The castles.
27 The quality of living.
28 e-governance and fast transactions.
29 The able and service-oriented Royal Oman Police (ROP).
30 One of the best public-utility-services in the region
31 Fast-growing mobile and internet spread
32 Availability of beverages
33 Screening of movies in my mother tongue i.e. Telugu.
34 Good air and water quality, and not to forget, well-maintained drainage systems
35 Prompt fire-fighting and rescue teams that saves many lives, especially during those stranded in wadis
36 The upcoming airport in Seeb looks stunning
37 Places like Jebel Shams and Musandam
38 The chivalry, folklore dances and traditional music
39 The henna and bukhoor
41 Not to forget the social causes the country stands for: various charitable organisations like the Oman Cancer Association, Dar al Atta and Omani Paws, help those in need
42 The Muscat Festival
43 The recently opened Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC)
44 Social media in Oman
45 The fishing culture and traditional fish markets
46 The availability of various meats (unlike that of many other countries)
47 The great maritime belt.
Second Prize: Lorain Correia
1 I am blessed with a kind Ruler –His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said –who treats us expatriates and locals equally, thereby making Oman a safe and beautiful place to live in.
2 His Majesty has allowed churches to be built for Catholics like me for worship without any restrictions.
3 There are no differences based on religion in Oman at all. All are treated equally.
4 The people of Oman are really nice, and are ready to lend a helping hand when in trouble.
5 They respect and treat women with dignity.
6 Oman is blessed with beautiful landscapes, garden, parks which can be visited at any hour of the day or night safely.
7 There are a number of hotels that provide superb facilities to the residents of Oman at a reasonable rate.
8 The beautiful shopping malls wherein one can shop for fruits, vegetables, household items, or even clothes, make shopping convenient.
9 There are many Indian schools for our kids to study in and enhance their knowledge.
10 We can participate in public competitions with no restrictions.
11 The police are strict and don’t give partiality to anyone who goes against their law.
12 There are many hospitals and dental clinics easily accessible. Each and every corner of Oman has a hospital.
13 Ambulance services are provided should there be an emergency.
14 Telephone and internet services like Omantel, Ooredoo etc. are at available every corner of the street. Kudos!
15 Besides this, the helpline to these services are so beneficial at any time of the day.
16 During Ramadan, Christmas, Diwali and other festive seasons, shopping malls organise their goods making it convenient for shopping..
17 Festival decorations are available and plentiful in Oman.
18 I do not feel like I’m missing out on anything because Christmas decorations are available in plenty, and in beautiful colours and designs with a wide variety to choose from.
19 The shopping centres have beautiful birthday cards, anniversary cards etc. to post to our near and dear ones.
20 Postal service is efficient.
21 There are taxis at any time of the day, in case of emergencies.
22 Roads are safe to drive and there are traffic signals everywhere; unlike my hometown in India.
23 There are pedestrian crossings everywhere, thus making it safe for all.
24 We are allowed to bring our parents here without much difficulty (with just a minimum salary requirement).
25 Direct flights to our hometown are easily available.
26 There is no problem of electricity and water in Oman. I’m so happy and feel blessed.
27 For the kids, there are a number of play areas and games organised by malls, making them feel happy to be in Oman.
28 There are food counters in every mall, and on every street corner.
29 I get to taste a variety of foods, from Chinese, all the way to Indian and Turkish.
30 There are a number of hotels to visit.
31 Variety of services from relaxing massages to pedicures to relax.
32 There are many beauty parlours around home. Some even provide home services… so nice.
33 I get to see many ancient forts and castles
34 I love eating Omani dates and I do carry them along whenever I head home for holidays
35 There are spas, gyms and yoga classes, which help me to relax.
36 There are picnic spots in Oman to visit, which can offer memories to be cherished forever.
37 Music stations like Merge 104.8 and Al Wisal that set the tone right for the day. Thanks to you guys, we can listen to it wherever we go in Oman.
38 There are many competitions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that keep me busy. I love to participate and try to win.
39 It is also safe depositing our money in the banks, here.
40 There are ATMs everywhere
41 I grew up in Oman. This is a beautiful, safe and pleasant place to live in.
42 Oman has advanced a lot. There are better roads and buildings than what you could find in the late 1980s.
43 I used to live in Ruwi in the 1980, and this place has advanced so much. I actually love living here now.
44 His Majesty has given us expatriates all the facilities to enjoy in Oman. Every door is open to us from hospitals to the public gardens.
45 I do not feel inferior to anyone here; such is the level of treatment I receive from the people around.
46 I feel proud living in Oman for so many years, and I pray for good health for his Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
47 Lastly, I can say Oman is just a beautiful, secure and politically stable place to live in. Thank you, Your Majesty.
3rd Prize: Jonitha Dcruz
1 Oman is a peaceful country.
2 Oman is safe to travel by day or night.
3 Car drivers stop to allow you to cross the road.
4 Oman is one of the cleanest countries in the world.
5 There is plenty of sunshine.
6 Omanis are friendly and welcoming.
7 Oman abounds in natural splendours.
8 I love the beaches of Oman.
9 You can see mountains from wherever you are.
10 I love the shopping malls.
11 I like to make friends with people from all over the world. Oman has people from around the globe.
12 It is good for family life.
13 I can save money, monthly.
14 The roads are excellent.
15 There are easy flight connections to anywhere in the world.
16 There is lots of greenery around.
17 It is my second home.
18 I like the falaj system.
19 I like the forts, springs and wadis.
20 I like the Salalah Tourism Festival.
21 I like the Muscat Festival.
22 I like the Muttrah souk.
23 I can get a great work-life balance.
24 Even strangers are ready to help.
25 24×7 medical service.
26 There is a choice of restaurants, serving international cuisine.
27 People live in peace and harmony.
28 Good quality of life.
29 No air pollution.
30 Shops at petrol stations and some supermarkets and pharmacies are open 24 hours.
31 The place does grow on you; the longer you stay, the more you love Oman.
32 A strong currency.
33 Good choice of international brands in automobiles, fashion and more.
34 Lots of places to explore.
35 Fresh meats, fruits and vegetables are available from around the world.
36 Expatriates are treated with respect.
37 It’s easy to catch up with friends.
38 Happening weekends.
39 No noise pollution.
40 I love the turtles at Ras Al Hadd.
41 I like to watch camels moving around freely in Salalah.
42 I like Omani halwa, shuwa, mandi and shawarma.
43 I like the gardens in Oman.
44 I like reading the ‘Y’ magazine during weekends.
45 The expressways make travel a pleasure.
46 New malls and iconic landmarks are always coming up.
47 I like the performances at the Royal Opera House Muscat.