Oman is known as a hidden gem in the Arabian Peninsula, a beautiful and very safe place to travel to. It’s also pretty easy to get here so add this spectacular place in your travel bucket list. Usually, it’s overlooked because most tourists head to glamourous Dubai or glitzy Abu Dhabi. Because of that, it tends to be rather peaceful. The best part is that Oman has preserved its heritage and ethnic values so well that it gives us a chance to experience the Arabic Kingdom without any distortions caused by modernization and excessive luxury.
My own trip to Oman
I was actually visiting Dubai when I heard about how beautiful Oman was. Just the pictures I saw online made me decide to head over there. It’s like an Arabian Oasis straight out of some Arabian fairy tales. The historic touch as well as the naturally beautiful spots, all of it made my trip there quite adventurous. My visit was short though so after some time I managed to find discounted flights going to Oman and then took my sweet time exploring it.
Safety and ease of travel
It’s a great place for first-time travellers to get used to the Arabian culture without getting overwhelmed. Compared to other Middle-Eastern countries, it’s a humble place that still retains its traditional charm. However, keep in mind that it’s a wealthy country thanks to all the oil reserves so if you’re used to travelling in luxury, there are high-end facilities and hotels available. The transport network is also very good allowing to get around easily.
Safety wise, you can relax because Oman is probably the safest country in all of Middle-East. Locals here also speak a bit of English and there are many immigrants a well so communicating with them isn’t all that hard either.
When to visit?
Since it’s located on the Arabian Peninsula, you can expect sweltering hot summers with pleasant winters. So I Suggest you visit here in colder months because all the natural beauty can be experienced outdoors. However, check weather forecasts because this place is prone to flash floods. Winter also tends to be a wet time to be careful on the more mountainous areas.
Where to stay?
There is a wide range of places, suitable for most budgets in Muscat, but outside the capital, there are hardly any good places. You’re most likely to find ridiculously pricey hotels outside the capital so try to stay in the bigger city and go for day trips in order to explore about. You can look up different districts though, and choose the one that suits you.
Since it lies along ancient spice-trade routes, Omani cuisine comprises of Persian, North African, Indian and Arabic flavours. The fragrant dishes, as well as the traditional desserts soaked in honey or rosewater, are simply delicious. However, you’ll be disappointed to know that the few choices for authentic food are pretty expensive so you’ll have to stick to fast food in food courts or chain restaurants. There are old rustic looking eateries but don’t get your hopes up.
Best places to see
A local traditional market located in Muscat. It’s a great place to buy traditional Omani items. And even if you don’t wish to buy anything, simply check it out. The cacophony of colours and the lively atmosphere will put you in a good mood. It’s a great place to take pictures at since the traditional metal pots and kettles along with the dull yet colourful lights, makes for a great picture background.
Beaches in Musandam
If you wish to relax at beautiful sandy beaches then head to the far northern side of Oman, to Musandam. It happens to be surrounded by the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf hence you can find many beautiful beaches here. While some may be crowded due to their popularity, you can find rather isolated beaches for a peaceful time. Make sure you only go in the evening or during winter time otherwise you’ll get nasty sunburns.
Wadi Bani Khalid
This little patch of natural beauty is an absolute must-see. Located in the Al Sharqiyah Region, it has many water pools and springs that keep the water flowing in the valley all year round. If you’ve ever seen an Arabic themed painting with a small blue water body surrounded by date trees, then this place is probably the inspiration for that. There are also small villages scattered about as well as colourful plantation and red rock formation. One of the most picturesque places one can visit in Oman.
Forts and castles
Oman has a very rich heritage and you can find out more about them by visiting the many well-preserved forts and castles around. I suppose if you happen to like exploring historical places then this place is perfect for you. The country also has respect for its culture and tradition which is apparent from these old buildings. You can find a fort in most corners so look up online and make sure you explore at least a few of them on your visit there. Some of the more popular ones are Nakhal Fort, Nizwa Fort, Jibreen Castle, Al Hazm Fort, and Al Rustaq Fort so you can visit one of them to get started.
Another beautiful city located in the Dhofar Region in southern Oman that’s a very tranquil place. It’s most popular for hosting the Khareef Festival, which lasts from July to September every year. It makes the whole city seem lush green with different plants and palm trees spread about as well as lovely weather. It’s simply a beautiful natural escape with gentle rains and vibrant greenery.
Also known as Dabab sinkhole, it’s located in eastern Oman near Muscat. It was naturally formed when the lower layers of lime-stones dissolved away over time causing the upper surface to collapse creating this big hole. It’s a very beautiful place though with crystalline turquoise water surrounded by a huge rock formation. Stains haven be built so you can get up close to the water safely. A great tranquil place to relax at for a while.