Whenever someone mentions Arabian peninsula, people normally thing of UAE and its famous city of Dubai, but just underneath the UAE lies mystery and little known country of Oman (Sultanate of Oman).
Travel to Oman is perfect for all the real adventurists! Even though Oman is in general a very dry country and is mostly famous for its deserts, there is so much more to see and do here. Oman travel offers everything to its visitors; lots of sun, rich tradition and history, lively markets, amazingly friendly people, wild camping and miles and miles of unpaved roads, which are ideal for the off-road lovers! Travel to Oman is just something a real traveller should not miss.
If you are still not sure, why travel to Oman, should get your attention, read our TOP things to do in Oman.
TOP things to do in Oman
- #1 Muscat – when you travel to Oman, you will most likely arrive first in its capital city Muscat. I could say Muscat has nothing to do with the real Oman image. Here the roads are clean, wide and have street lightning, people are dressed according to the latest fashion trends and the city has full of green areas, which don’t really show us, that Oman has problems with lack of water. To get to know Muscat, visit one of the many shopping centers, which offer you everything from a Starbucks coffee to a 3D cinema, which are very popular among Omani’s rich people. Take a walk along the Muttrah corniche and feel the real Arab spirit on its colorful and mystical market. Don’t forget to visit the main city mosque – Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is the only mosque in the whole Oman country, where visitors, who are not Muslims, are welcome to enter. Before you leave the modern Arab life and continue with your Oman travel, take a pick at the amazing blue and gold palace of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. Read more about things to do in Muscat here.
- # 2 Remote villages – Oman is rarely populated country and it feels the most beautiful places are always the one, which are hard to get to. The most beautiful village of them all is called Bilad Said and you will need a 4×4 vehicle and lots of navigational skills to find it. It lies in the middle of Oman’s mountain range, but when you reach it, you will know your effort was well worth it! Just the road, which leads to Bilad Said is worth taking the trip – this was one of our favorite things to do in Oman.
- # 3 Deserts – Because of its many deserts, we could say Oman is a real desert country! One of the most famous and visited desert is Wahiba. Amazing sand dunes, which can be as high as 200 meters, are out of this world! On your travel to Oman, don’t ever miss staying at least one night in this Wahiba Desert, where peace and quiet will be nothing compared to the one of the most amazing starry sky you will see here. You will never want to leave! One of the most rewarding things to do in Oman is pitching your tent in the middle of the sand, making a fire and listening to the night!
- # 4 The Wadis – Even though Oman lacks of rain, we still can see many water pools in different Wadis on our Oman travel. Their vivid green water is so inviting, it’s ideal to take a short swim in them. If you decide to freshen up, please be aware, you are in an Arab country, where swimming and bathing suits are something very rare. Swimming, especially for women, is only possible if there are no locals around! One of the best Wadis to visit on your Oman travel is Wadi Shab – lots of trekking possibilities as well.
- # 5 Nizwa town – The mountain area of Oman starts with the town of Nizwa (historically Nizwa was a capital of Oman in 6th and 7th century AD). The town is most famous for its amazing fortress and tower. You can visit the fortress, explore its museum and get to know some Oman’s rich history. Don’t forget to climb on the tower, from where you can see the whole town area. While in Nizwa, I recommend also visiting its market, but please note the markets in Arab countries are closed on Fridays!
- # 6 Coastal towns – The biggest part of Oman population lives on the coastal side of the country, where their main economic activity is fishing. If you really want to see the whole picture of Oman on your travel, you cannot miss on a typical fishing town Sur. The town of Sur is interesting also as one of the only places in the country, where traditional fishing boats called “dhows” are still being hand-made.
- # 7 Fortresses – Due to its strategic location, Oman was continuously endangered and attacked threw out the history. If we know this, more than 1000 fortresses in the country, are no surprise. We could say fortresses are one of the most recognized landmarks in Oman and with that visiting some should get on your bucket list for things to do in Oman. Many of them are perfectly rebuild, so don’t forget to visit the most famous like Bahla, Jabrin, Rustaq, Nizwa and Nakhla. The most beautiful of them all is for sure the Bahla fortress, which is under Unesco protection.
- # 8 Markets / bazaars /souqs – if you are like us, markets are an absolutely must see in each traveled country and the same goes for Oman travel. Arab markets are always full of colors and smells. Even though they seem chaotic, they are well organized and everyone knows their place. Oman travel is an absolute paradise for traditional Arab markets. Best towns to get to know the real market atmosphere are Nizwa, Rustaq, Sur, Quriat and Muscat. Don’t forget to bargain for the price, before buying anything!
- # 9 The Grand Canyon – Yes, also Oman has its own Grand Canyon. To reach it, you need to find the highest road in the country (2000 meters above the sea level). The Grand Canyon is very impressive and if you are a trekking lover, you will find your paradise here!
- # 10 Sea turtles – The most eastern part of Oman (Ras al-Jinz) is known best for the sea turtles, where they lay their eggs. We can see seven species of sea turtles on our Oman travel, but the most numbered are the Green turtles. Every year Oman gets more than 20.000 sea turtles from Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia. The best time to see them laying their eggs is little before sun rise.
- # 11 Kitesurfing and windurfing – Due to strong winds from May to September, Oman is perfect also for water sport activities like kitesurfing and windsurfing. There are many good places on the coast, but experts say you cannot miss with the Masirah Island, which many people say it’s a kitesurfing and windsurfing paradise! If you like water sports, one of the best things to do in Oman, is to try these popular sports.
No matter, what your interests are, I am sure travel to Oman will not disappoint you. Massive tourism has not discovered Oman yet and that is probably the main reason, why this Arab country is full with real, charming and hospitable people. We have completely fallen in love in Oman and we know to be visiting it soon again! There are many things to do in Oman, which we have not done and seen, so we cannot wait to be back.
More photos about Oman travel here.
You can read our article about Oman travel, published in an In-Flight Magazine Adria Airways here.
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