Here is a highlight list I have put together after 2.5 years in this country. (no order)
1. Mutrah Souq in Muscat
2. Jebel Shams (hiking)
3. White beach near Sur (amazing)
4. Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid (both are stunning)
5. Watching Horse races in Badiya in the Sharqiya region
6. Women's Wednesday Souq in Ibra
7. Dune bashing and sand surfing in the dunes of Wahiba
8. Dolphin watching and fishing off the coast of Muscat.
9. Turtle watching at Ras al Jinz near Sur (Arabian Coast)
10. Salalah during the Monsoons season( June to September)
11. Driving from Salalah to Yemen border through incredible mountains.
12. Visiting the beautiful forts of Jabrin, Rustaq
13. Visiting the Fjords in Musandam Peninsula
14. Walking and people watching near Al Shatti beach in Al Qurm Muscat (near Embassies)
15. Visiting the interesting souqs of Bahla and Nizwa
16. Visiting and watching the ship builders build dhows in Sur
18. Driving through the mindblowing empty quarter of Saudi Arabia and Oman (from Muscat to Salalah and it is about 1000KM)
19. Visiting old mosques in Samail and Fanja near Muscat
20. Visiting the old city in Ibra, OmanRelated to:
- Whale Watching
Walking Tour: Mutrah to Muscat
This walking tour can take up one full day. I started my tour at Mutrah Port. If you are there early enough, visit the fish market. Walk along the cornishe, pass the Al-Samak roundabout. From here one already have a beautiful view of Mutrah Fort. On the right hand side you will see the beautiful merchant's houses. Further on, at the traffic lights, cross the street to visit the Mutrah Souq. One should return to the souq to spend more time there. Continue along the cornishe.
As you leave Mutrah, you will see a interesting fountain, which is visited by many locals. Next you will reach Al-Riyam Park. Continue along the cornishe, which will eventually bring you to Muscat gate, where you can find the Muscat Gate Museum. Continue into Muscat proper. Here you will find the Sultan's Palace, Al-Jalali Fort, Al-Mirani Fort, Bayt -Az-Zubair, French-Omani Museum and many places, buildings of interest.
The stretch from Al-Riyam to Muscat is a bitt stiff, so carry enough water with you to drink.
I really enjoyed this walk, which did take up a big part of a day.
On the way back from Wahiba Sands to Muscat (about 80km before Muscat), camel races were taking place in a small road side village. If you get the oppurtunity, you should try your best to watch this local sport.
Men, young and old are dresses in traditional attire, with belt and khanjars. The race was attended by a huge crowd of men, women and children. There were camel races as well as horse races.
It seems that these races are not advertised, and one should ask around as to they are to be held.
This is one of the highlights in Oman.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Whadi Bani Khalid
The wadi can be visited as part of the daytrip to Wahiba Sands. The winding road which you take to get to the wadi is in itself a great experience. Magnificent views of the mountains, with some look-out points.
It is worth visiting more than just the waterhole. The villages at the other end is a wonderful experience, as it is not touristy - and very friendly locals.
The waterhole can be quite packed with visitors, but a great experience. It is worth going with a tour operator, as some of the roads can only be reached with a 4WD-vehicle.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
The Sands can be visited as a daytrip from Muscat. Beautiful copper coloured sands, with camels, Bedouins and authentic desert living.
A 4x4 vehicle is a must, and might be best to go on an organized trip with a driver and guide.
It is a destination in Oman that can keep you busy for a few days. The road from Muscat to Wahiba Sands is extremely picturesque and almost a trip in itself.
This is a must visit!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
The ruins at Qalhat
The ruins at Qalhat along the coastal road between Muscat and Sur is worth visiting, especially for the Bibi Mariam's tomb and the beautiful coastal scenery. However, you need a 4 wheel drive to reach this place but they are in the process of constructing a good road. More information & photographs are at my VT Qalhat page.
Jebel Akhdar in Arabic means "Green Mountains" and this region of the most verdant outside of Salalah and the Batinah Coast. To go there requires a 4-wheel drive ( and a road permit because of military installations in the area). One of the most scenic areas in Oman, coupled with the friendly local inhabitants, this region is a natural spot for tourism.
The Bimmah Sinkhole is located on the coastal road from Muscat to Sur, and is a must visit because of its sheer natural beauty. The colours of the water is simply fantastic, and you can even swim in the crystal clear water or camp next to it. More photographs & information are at my VT Qalhat page.
Nizwa makes an easy daytrip from Muscat. I took the bus from the station in Ruwi. It is not possible to reserve a seat, buy a ticket from the driver. The bus leaves at 08h00 and also at 14h30. The trip takes about 2h20min.
The Fort in Nizwa is most probably the most visited site in Nizwa. It is worth taking the trip to see this well preserved fort.
You have a great 360 degree view from the top, appreciating a view of the Hajar Mountains and date plantations.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Snorkelling and Diving
There are some excellent snorkelling and diving in Oman, and the untouched coastline is perfect for anyone wanting peace and quiet. Diving courses are given at the Al Sawadi Beach Resort as well as Blue Zone. Omans waters are full of life!Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
The Wahiba Sands is a relatively huge desert located south of Muscat and is a good place to visit if you want to experience a desert environment and the life of the Bedouins (nomads of Arabia). There are a few tourist camps in Wahiba Sands where you can stay and try out some of the activities, including desert adventure driving, desert skiing, trekking, cultural performances etc. The sunrise & sunset are very beautiful here. More photographs of Wahiba Sand are at my travelogue section of this VT webpage.
This place has to be one of my true favorites in the country. It is a classy beach resort where tourists and expats can get away from the Islamic everyday life and relax by a beach with a drink or book in your hand. You can swim in the sea, play anything from beach volleyball to badminton to using the gym. You can play basketball, rent sea scooters, drink and eat at the 3 local pubs on site or camp on the beach (using their facilites) Winter offers some great discounts and this place is the absolute perfect place to get away from it all. The rates vary from season to season ranging from 15 rials a person per night to 25 rials a person per night but the camping huts on the beach (10 rials a person per night) is dynamite. You gotta love the 20$ buffet because it is incredible and non muslims can even get pork etc ! Overall, I love the place! I copied the most recent information as of October 2006.
Garden / Sea View
Room Bed &
Breakfast Half Board Full Board All Inclusive
Single 50.00 55.00 60.00 70.00 48.00
Double 50.00 60.00 76.00 90.00 70.00
Child (6-12) - 2.00 5.25 8.00 10.00
Extra Bed 5.00 9.00 15.50 21.00 48.00
Divers' Rates (Garden/Sea View)
Garden / Sea View
Room Bed & Breakfast Half Board All Inclusive
Single 61.00 66.00 73.00 75.00
Double 85.00 93.00 107.00 110.00
Wadi Bani Khalid
The Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most beautiful wadis (rivers) in Oman which is filled with water all year around unlike most of the dry wadis in Arabia. The scenery is fantastic and it is something like an oasis in a dry surrounding. Tourism is coming and they are building a park next to this wadi, so you should come and see it before it becomes too touristy. More photographs of Wadi Bani Khalid are at the travelogue section of this VT webpage.
Bahla - A town famous for pottery & its fort
Bahla is a small town in the mountainous region of Oman near to the town of Nizwa. This town is famous for its beautiful fort (which is a UNESCO heritage site) as well as for its traditional pottery makers (not many are left now). There is also a nice mosque near the town. More information & photographs are at my VT Bahla page. Please note that the Bahla Fort is still under renovation during Jan 2005 when I visited the place, but I am not sure when it will be ready.
Picnics with locals
One of the best experiences you can have in Oman is sitting down with some locals and enjoying some food and drinks(non alcoholic of course). If you are lucky to find someone who speaks English well you are in for a true delight as Omanis stop at nothing to be polite to their visitors. Omanis will give you enough food for two lifetimes and they will even explain the culture and traditions to you if you ask. Overall, sitting with Omanis is a blast!Related to:
- Budget Travel
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