Life in Sohar

Suhar, a coastal city on the Gulf of Oman, is approximately 240 kilometers north of Muscat, the capital of Oman, and a similar distance from Dubai in the neighboring state of the United Arab Emirates. Suhar was once the old capital of the Sultanate of Oman and has been credited as the mythical birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor.

Locals recognize two seasons in Suhar: summer and winter. The Summer period is long, hot, and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 40C. Summer extends typically from April to October. The winter is generally warm and temperate with day time temperatures in the 20s and occasional rain is experienced which at times leads to light flooding.

Suhar boasts a lengthy coastline with clean, sandy beaches. A main feature in the city is the beautiful, long “corniche” which attracts walkers, cyclists and joggers from early morning to late at night. Opposite the corniche, is the newly-restored, 13th century Suhar Fort, one of the oldest in the country, and a modern souq.

Suhar has several 3, 4, and 5-star hotels which provide access to swimming pools, gyms and spa amenities in addition to restaurants serving local and international cuisine.

The town centre of Suhar has a busy souq with lots of shops, markets, tailors, cafes and restaurants. In addition, there are several modern shopping malls around the city which house hypermarkets, clothing, electrical and furniture stores, coffee shops, restaurants and cinemas.

Another leading attraction in Suhar is the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Mosque, located 2 kms from the University, and opposite the Sultan’s Palace in Suhar. Visitors are welcome to visit the mosque at designated times.

Beyond the city, there are mountains, wadis (dry river beds) with all-year spring water, and valleys for adventurous activities in addition to traditional historical places such as forts, castles and mosques.

Suhar has a wide variety of traditional and modern shops. There are several hypermarkets (Carrefour, LuLu and Nesto) and malls (Suhar City Centre, Oasis Mall, Safeer Mall, China Downtown) located around the city, in addition to a large number of traditional shops, tailors and souqs selling everything from household goods to jewelry, material, fresh food, and traditional sweets (Halwa) and dates.

Suhar has a number of national and regional banks located in the centre of the city. Banks are open Sunday-Thursday from 8am to 2pm with some main branches having extended opening hours. ATM machines are located throughout the city and in all main shopping Malls.

The city of Suhar and the nearby Port of Suhar have attracted a large number of expatriates to live and work in the region. This has led to the development of a number of 3, 4 and 5-star hotels in addition to smaller hotel-apartments around the city. Several leading hotel chains operate in the city including the Crown Plaza, Radisson Blu and Mercure. These all provide a range of services and facilities to customers and residents including membership to gyms and swimming pools.

Suhar has a large variety of restaurants and cafes around the city and in the leading shopping malls serving traditional Omani food in addition to Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, Lebanese, Yemeni, Afghani, Iranian, Thai, Korean and Chinese cuisine as well as many other international cuisines.

Suhar has a large number of properties to rent throughout the city, from villas to apartments. In addition to the private residential complexes (Palm Garden, Dawood, Sohar Garden and Mango Farm), there are many properties available on the beachfront and around the town. Rents vary depending on the size of the property, location and period. The majority of accommodation is unfurnished.

Public transport is quite limited in Suhar and therefore most people buy or rent a car. There are several car rental companies in the city and a large number of car dealerships to choose from. Unlike most countries, car insurance covers the car, not the driver, and is relatively cheap to buy. Car insurance on privately owned vehicles covers travel to the UAE while additional car insurance is required for rented car wishing to go to the UAE. The city also has a large number of taxis strategically located throughout the city. The national “Mwasalat” bus company has recently increased its activities and now provides a local city bus service in Suhar and to the Port of Suhar as well as daily bus services to Muscat and Dubai, in the UAE.

Suhar City is a busy commercial centre while the Port of Suhar is a large industrial hub with several national, regional and multinational industrial plants in operation. Steel manufacturing and processing, trade and logistical support, oil, gas and petrochemical industries, minerals, aluminum, ceramic and food logistics and processing are just some of the industries located in the Port of Suhar

Suhar has a large governmental hospital with numerous branches in the City in addition to 3 private hospitals (Aster Clinic, Badr Al Sama Clinic and LifeLine). There are also several other private medical centres and clinics in the city as well as dental and eye clinics.

Suhar has a number of pre-schools, public governmental schools from Grade 1-12 (Arabic), and private international schools. In addition, the city currently has 4 higher educational institutions offering a range of undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

There are several ministries in Oman which provide clear guidelines and regulations on the laws, responsibilities and rights of all citizens and/or residents. For any information on visas, labour laws and regulations, investing in or setting up a business in Oman, licensing, taxes and customs etc., please refer to the relevant authority websites. In addition, the Royal Oman Police has headquarters and offices throughout Suhar and provides all relevant information in Arabic and English on its website.

Suhar does not have any embassies or consular offices, as most of which are located in Muscat.