Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Here is a guide to camp in Oman, based on our past trip for a 3 day long weekend in the United Arab Emirates.

How many days for Camping in Jebel Shams?

Ideally a long weekend of 3 days. Yes you can be nuts and wake up at 4 AM and drive, go through borders, etc and get to campsite earlier, but reality is that you might not be driving alone and everyone would agree to meet up bit later that that!

In our case, we met up at a petrol station on the 311(Mohammed Bin Zayed Hwy) in between Global Village and Al Barari. Once we’ve all had our coffees, we were hitting up the road to the border to Oman, which took us 2 hours.

How long does it take to cross UAE-Oman Borders?

As it was a long weekend, exiting the country took a lot of time. We were in a very small passport control spot and there was quite a long queue to get our exit stamp. It literally took us 1h20 minutes and that wasn’t all, we needed to pass the Oman border. Note that you have to park your car and go process everything at the immigration office and same on the Omani side.

Exit fee at the UAE Border: 30 DHRS is the fee we all had to individually pay for services charges and what not.

There was quite a drive of at least 15 minutes before we arrived to the Oman entry border. It was quite weird to have the city in between the two border checks where we had to wander around before even having our Omani Stamp. It was quite a weird feeling to be there, we were wondering on what territory we’re actually on!

Entry visa fee to Oman: 50 DHRS. Took us about 1H to wait in the queue and have it all ready. To our surprise, they did not ask for our car insurance. We saw a car insurance counter and it had a few customers so we we’re under the impression they would ask for it and send people without proper paperwork to go get one; a typical way that we thought made logic for them to make money. Ladies beware, bring your tissues, toilets we’re quite horrible and it stank so badly. We really didn’t have a great experience in there sadly.

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
We love taking pictures of each other sharking haha

Finding a campsite in Oman

Once the whole process was done, we we’re in business to drive around Oman to look at the beautiful scene. Since it took us so long at the border, we were quite rushed. We passed by Snake Canyon but didn’t get the chance to explore it.

We had a few trails and finally found our spot at around 4PM, which was quite late as our first camping site was planned to be in a valley and that would make the sun disappear earlier than it is usually planned to. We had to be quick into setting our camping material, as it is always a bit painful to do it all in the dark. As it got pitch black, we were preparing all the necessary items for the fire.

Another great successful night eating good food, good company and beautiful sky with a million of stars.

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Day 2 in Oman

Once we woke up, it was time to eat breakfast and start wrapping up our things. We went for a ride around in villages until we hit a beautiful village with a mini fort and these greeneries that are quite similar to rice patties. It was such an amazing feeling to see that in Oman, when usually you only expect it in Bali or Sapa in Vietnam when you are in the search of Rice fields.

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Heading to Jebel Shams

As our day kept passing by way too fast, we already had to rush on top of Jebel Shams and get ready to find our 2nd camping site. Along the way, we tried to hit up 2 antennas that we saw the days before deep down in the valley. The ride was quite bumpy. While we were wandering around there, a few locals that were having a BBQ not too far came to us and gave us around 10 beef skewers. It made us feel so warm and it was totally delicious. Loved the seasoning even though the beef was quite chewy. Meanwhile we could see them gather in circle on their carpet feasting, it was beautiful to see. Some of them asked to take a picture with me, which I found quite funny as they were in all awe of meeting an Asian. 10 minutes later we found our other members of the group smoking shisha and having Omani Chai with other locals on a cliff. They invited us all to join where we spent a good hour admiring the beautiful mountain while sipping on chai, eating a bit of fruits, fish and Omani sweets. They were incredible hosts, and we had to gift them some bread and cheese to thank them of their hospitality.

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Finding a campsite in Jebel Shams

As we head up higher to find our campsite, there was this vista spot where many tourists evidently stopped by. We knew it was a tourist spot as there was a little cement hut across the streets made specifically for vendors to sell their little crafts. Not long after 4PM, we were running late again to get our equipment ready. Same as the day before, as we finalize everything, we had the fire pit ready and burning to start warming ourselves as it was quite windy.

Temperature while camping on top of Jebel Shams: Bearable. Really. No need for coats, we had sweatpants and a top and decided to add a funny onesie on top to be quite warm!

Returning to the United Arab Emirates

As we wanted to go to Wadi Shams, a spot with actual water where you can swim, we woke up quite early to pack up, but not the whole group was as much in a rush. We ended up taking too much time to eat breakfast and pack up that we didn’t get to go to the Wadi as everyone wanted to be in Dubai by 6PM. We stopped in a local restaurant for a bite, that ended up taking like an hour, Mitch and I were not particularly happy. Took us few hours to finally get to the Omani check out border which was totally fast as we didn’t need to get off the car. As to come back in the United Arab Emirates, it literally took us 10 minutes to get everything process and, of course, no fee. We wish it took this fast when we got into the country, but this is what you should always expect on long weekends, many like to go camp in Oman!

2H drive later from the border, we were back in Dubai. Coming back to town was much more efficient than the expected and that was just perfect for all of us to be able to wash our stuff and do housing things before starting the work week!

Hope this guide was helpful. If you have any questions on how to navigate in Oman without data, where to go and all, do not hesitate to comment below, tweet or send over your questions to us!

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
Our silly onesies, thanks to Nicole and Libby!

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
Outfit from
Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman

  • Have you been camping before?
  • Would you love to go to Oman and discover the country?
  • Tell us more about your own camping experience!

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Camping in Jebel Shams, Oman
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  • Rochelle Medrano

    Hi! We’re planning to camp in Oman as well but we will start driving at around 6 pm onwards. I would like to know if you have an idea about the timings allowed to cross the border? Like let’s say we get to reach the border by 11pm? And if we will be processing the visa here in Dubai, do we need to pay for those charges at the border?

    Thank you so much!

  • Kim Bui

    Sounds like a great way to spend a long weekend! It seems like you were able to do so much in so little time, and at such different locations as well. Loving the onesies! So cute, I almost brought mine to Japan with me but it’s way too hot right now!

  • This looks and sounds like such an incredible experience! I’m so jealous! I camped in Jordan and the scenery is quite similar, but have always wanted to visit Oman since a 5 hour layover at the airport in 2012. Seeing the views of Muscat as we landed really ignited something in me, and ever since I’ve been dying to visit Oman!
    I’ve heard a few different stories about the border crossing you took. One of my Indian friends was visiting relatives in UAE and they took a wrong turn somehow and ended up at the border. In all th confusion he somehow managed to get into Oman without having a visa, but almost got arrested tryin to get back into UAE. Scary!

  • Abhinav Singh

    I was in Dubai last month and was tempted to cross the border and explore Oman. I have heard some great things about Oman. Your blog justifies that. I didn’t know that camping was possible in Oman though. By the way, fun pictures. I love the way pictures are creatively shot.

  • Fiona Mai

    I have zero travel experience in the Middle East and would certainly love to know more about this area. I’ve never thought of travelling to Oman before but after reading this, I think I should look for more info about this country. That was such a fun camping experience you had, and the landscape looked awesome, too 🙂

  • Marcie

    Wow! I hadn’t really thought of camping in another country before! Your photos are lovely and it looks like you all had the best attitude! Looks like you made memories that will last a lifetime!

  • James Smith

    I’ve never been to Oman which puts it on my list! I thought the border crossing would be quicker but I have been to far worse border crossings (24 hours +) so a couple of hours and no bribes is easy. Your pictures are beautiful especially the rice paddies.

  • I’m normally not into camping. However, camping in the desert sounds like a treat! The desert landscape is simply stunning and the rock formations are absolutely gorgeous!

  • megan_claire

    The scenery in Oman looks incredible – really does seem like paradise for a camping trip. Crazy that the border crossing to Oman from the UAE took so long, though awesome that it was a quick shot getting back!

  • Reshma

    Didn’t know that moving to Oman from UAE would take so long. Good to know that you had a great time camping despite the initial hiccups. Loved your pictures, they are gorgeous. Thanks for the detailed information 🙂

  • We loved Oman, Jebel Shams and swimming in the wadi. We did it quite different from you, as we flew from Dubai to Muscat, and started touring from there. Plus we didn’t camp, so time wasn’t as critical to us. Sounds like you enjoyed your time, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had planned.

  • Camping has its own charm. Isn’t it? 🙂 Loved your camp life in Jebel Shams Oman. Never thought it was possible. And that green patch was a treat to my eyes. I was wondering how would it be to camp in a desert like place.

  • I have a fried who works in Oman. Think I should visit here too soon!

  • Such an interesting read on a country I know very little about. It looks a great destination for outdoor activities and adventure!

  • Oman has been on my list but didn’t know about the camping. Sounds great!

  • I LOVE your campfire onesies! But in other news, I would never have put Oman and Camping in the same sentence – what an incredible landscape to wake up in!

    • Haha aren’t they cool? They kept us warm so goooood! Yes many people that are not living in the region doesn’t know it. Oman is definitely THE next trending destination, it’s so beautiful!

  • Mike Lagman

    I didn’t know Oman is such an amazing place. I like the view of the rice fields/terraces, and wow, is that a football field? Glad you shared this post 🙂

    • The rice fields blew our minds! The soccer field is so random, a donation because it was made for a car commercial!

  • Gokul Raj

    I will be moving to Oman in 3-4 months for a new job. This post has made me really excited. Would love to go camping on weekends.

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    Personally, I would like to say it was a very appealing article. Oman is one place I have heard a lot about. The details given about each and every thing was very elaborate. The pictures included were really funny as well as beautiful. The annotation of each day was very well written.

  • I love Oman! I’ve been camping on Jebel Shams quite a few times. I love the drive up there and seeing a glimpse of local village life. Thanksfully I always avoided holiday weekends so I never had such long waits at the border!

  • Marissa Abao

    What does the sign ‘matching women’ mean? It is kinda odd. This was an interesting camp site that you have chosen. When I think of camping, there are a lot of trees surrounding the area, rivers and streams. However, the sunset here must be awesome and the rock formations are cool too. How cold did it get at night?

    • Haha you know what… we have no idea! We thought it is probably a bad translation and just went for the picture haha! The camping spot was indeed different than the usual thing, but goats in the morning made it funny and special! It did get cold but not unbearable. What can be annoying is the fog that can make your tent a bit wet! Hope you get to try it one day!

    • Thera

      “Matching women” is a procedure to match the veiled( face covering) females with their official documents(ID or passport). Since they don’t show their faces to stranger men, a female officer would make sure she is the correct holder of the ID.

      Great article, hopefully I’ll have a chance to camp there this weekend.

  • That looks like a ripper camping spot.

    Any chance to go camping for a long weekend is a good one!

    I’m curious being two Islamic nations, is it not frowned upon for the ladies to be showing so much of their arms and shoulders (at least when you guys were crossing the borders)?

    • Yeah, while crossing border Thuymi was def not wearing chill clothing! Although, shoulders is fine, it is quite an expat-friendly region, hence it wasn’t as strict as the rest of the world may think! Hope you get to try it soon in Oman Chris!