The desert landscape of Oman ranges from the barren rocky mountain in the north to the empty rolling sands that cover the border with Saudi Arabia. Most Omanis live in the fertile coastal strip between the mountains and the sea in the north of the country and around the town of Salalah in the south. Oman also own Musandam, the rocky peninsula overlooking the shipping lanes between Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Oman has long been famous for boat building. Its large wooden sailing ships once carried cargoes along the Persian Gulf to East of Africa and the rest of India.
These are the top ten not to be missed places in Oman.
Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House in Muscat
is imposing and clearly visible at the entrance of the district capital city with its all white marble exteriors. For a non-Omani, the price of the entrance varies depending on the citizenship of the performing divas or tenors. At the main hall a fifty ton musical organ can be admired and the chairs in the theater are comfortable and well spaced. The bar is well stocked with drinks and the whole interior is simple and an adjacent shopping mall can be found aside from the famous opera house. The all marble finish was fully completed in 2011 and was publicly opened in 2012. Its great acoustics reverberates on the theater. The armchairs are equipped with individual monitors for multilingual subtitles. The welcoming staff hands out a guide book containing their varied and interesting program schedules for the month.
The whole building represents power and wealth of the Sultan of Oman. It is a contemporary building done in luxurious setting but certainly not exuberant. Inside, the building looks massive with its light-colored stone and presented in Omani style; very simple, just a few twirls, white marble and colored marble and outdoors in the beautiful interior floors. The crystal chandeliers gave even greater emphasis to the magnitude of the great hall that is guarded by tall and imposing guards in traditional dress with gray-green turban. But they can not be photographed. Note the large round table with inserts of precious stones and mother of pearl material which is rich in Oman. Most of the shops carry sophisticated and signature brands. At night it is beautifully lighted and highlights its special architecture inside and outside.
is the most popular beach of Muscat. Along the Corniche you can find bars, restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. In the afternoon the beach is alive with kids playing soccer and in many stretches of the attraction. If you’re lucky you may have the opportunity to practice sports such as jet skis. At sunset and when it is low tide, the beach becomes quiet and most of its visitors enjoy walking at dusk and observe how the scenes becomes a lover’s lane as couples enjoy holding hands while walking on its sandy shores. The sea is ideal for swimming and the water is tolerable enough even in cold weather.
It is a beautiful beach which is sparsely populated and near the town center and national road making it easily accessible in various points of Muscat. It stands close to first class hotels and there are a lot of foreigners who try out other forms of water sports adventure. The beach is clean and filled with thatched umbrellas and showers. Small pink shells can be collected and there are lots of parking right along the beach. Restaurants offer guests the experience of having a Shisha smoke and a cup of Arabic coffee as they watch the waves and go people watching or simple admire the marvelous sunset.
Bait Al – Baranda Museum
Bait Al – Baranda Museum
in Muscat explains very well the history of Oman from prehistoric to the geological formation of the Sultanate of the current reigning ruler. The simple but incomparable museum use to be an old manor house where the first occupants have located different elements that explain the rich cultural history of Oman. The museum is located in the old district of Muttrah, a few meters from the main entrance to the market and promenade. The museum has interactive information about Muscat and its geographical characteristics. There are few genuine antique remnants telling about the life of the citizens in the early century.
It is very interesting to see the comparative photographs of different places in the capital of Oman showing its past and present state. There are great selections of archaeological pieces representing each dynasty. A huge collection of old weapons, sultanate flags, potteries, traditional and national costumes are well laid out in all levels of the small museum. Each exhibition room explains the emergence of Oman in art, culture, and fashion. The pleasant museum even has a special tour designed for children in a fun and educational way to have a better understanding of how the city use to look like and also how it was created.
The Marneef Cave is located at approximately 40 km and in the western part of Salalah in the Dhofar region. It is a cave formed by the waves washed from the sea rocks. The cave itself is not accessible, only the rocky plateau above the cave. It calls out to its visitors with its stunning scenery and blow holes in the ground, through which the sea water is sprayed out when the waves shoot up in high sparkling fountains. It is an ideal place to take in the nature and the wonder of the attraction itself. It is an impressive natural spectacle in the Arabian Sea.
The view of the coastal scene and the mountain landscape behind is the most scenic spot of the region. It stands connected to the nearby Mughsayl beach which is filled with tourists who come on board their rented 4 x 4 to enjoy the ride along the sandy beach of the shore. The sea is not ideal for swimming as strong currents and high waves rule its waters especially during the months of June – August. There are no cafes or picnic areas on the beach and cave attraction so it is advisable to bring your own food and drinks.
Nabi Ayoub’s Tomb (Prophet Job’s Tomb)
The Prophet Job’s Tomb is about 26 Km far from the city of Salalah. To reach it, one can rent a taxi that will pass through a good asphalt road that leads to the complex with several buildings where the grave is located. The grave is in one room of the building that measures about 10 by 20 meters. In the middle of the room is the grave. It has Arabic inscriptions with a large green cloth and covered. On the walls hang several panels with Arabic script. Before entering the room, shoes must be taken off and left at the door, silence must be observed, men and women must wear modest clothes where the shoulders, arms, and knees must be covered. Photography is allowed but no flash must be used.
The story of Prophet Job is read in the Old Testament by a guide, it tells how he is deeply revered because of his unshakable faith. His great story earns the respect and admiration not only by Christians but also by Jews and Muslims. Outside the room shows the footprint of the prophet Job and a marble slab with an Arabic script beside it. It is a rewarding visit that depends primarily on the personal attitude and faith of the observant tourist. The mausoleum with a sacred grave is located amidst majestic mountain scenery.
dates back its existence since the 17th century when it was built by the first Imam of the dynasty with the primary aim of protecting its land from incoming conquerors. It is one of the oldest ruins of war in Oman. It has been impeccably restored and some rooms on the ground floor serve as a museum where there are exposed furnishings, clothes and jewelry in various display cases. Even if the original furnishings are no more located in their designated rooms, in its place there are screens showing movies about the Omani society and history.
Having been used as a defensive camp, the guide shows the various pitfalls that people used to defend themselves such as wooden steps that were taken away (so that the enemy ran into a hole) and fissures from which it was thrown boiling oil extracted from macerated dates. The fort is also rich in photographic opportunities as it is full of interesting corners. The view from the main tower is really remarkable. Some points of the fort are not accessible by people with mobility impairments. Like many other forts in Oman, the fort has been preserved with an affordable entrance fee for tourists and locals. Not much can be seen on its interiors and the rooms are almost empty apart form the presence of a few guns.
Wadi Ghul-Oman’s Grand Canyon
Dubbed as the “Grand Canyon of Arabia”, the
in Nizwa is a spectacular canyon that plunges more than 1,000 meters from the flat edge of the ravine.
For a short time the park authorities constructed a small balcony and steel cables that protect against drops because the risk of falling was lean and strong on this charming abyss. This canyon is worth the trip in Oman and resembles the Grand Canyon of the Colorado in a smaller scale. It is accessible on a rented van with a short access by road from the city center. After a small village on the left you get to the site on foot with a breathtaking panorama of 1000m of empty and rocky cliffs.
The Wadi Ghul is awesome and you can climb the 2000 meter high sloping mountainous road and be delighted with its stunning views. On the edge of the mountains there are huge date plantations and oasis to visit.
The most beautiful Wadi in Oman, the magical place and enchanting
is worth a trip when in the city of Sur. Tourists come here to enjoy the silence and peace. Swimming on its natural lakes is a must. At the entrance of the Wadi there are pillars of the motorway where you can conveniently park your car after you take a small boat that ferries and takes you on the other side of the river. It is important to have comfortable shoes and warm clothes. The trail is made of rocks, soil, rivers where one cannot get to the end without going into the water. Some rocks are made slippery by algae.
To get to the most beautiful part of the water that is about two meters high, you have to swim and bring your own stuff in the square near the famous lakes. The final part of the Wadi is a natural lake with blue green water with rocks creates a true paradise on earth impression. To see the true source of the water you must pass a narrow path with a neck deep water height and swim under the rocks. For the more adventurous it is possible to trace the source of the water with a prepared rope with a piece of wood to go up for the perfect high dive.
When in Khasab, do not miss out on taking the one-day cruise in the
of Musandam Peninsula on board an old style boat that can accommodate about 30 people. The best part of the cruise is taking a dive in the crystal clear waters and be surrounded by thousands of fish of every color and species.
Try to get into the water with a piece of bread and they will be eating from your hands. At the conclusion of the great day, while falling to the port, come and say hello to the dolphins that play in the wake of the boat. The whole tour is a truly worthwhile experience.
The Khasab Castle is quite small and the structure is simple but it has an impressive central tower that is older than the rest of the fort. The palace has been well restored and adapted to house a historical-ethnographic museum that is quite interesting (to enter a section of the central tower firmly push the door).
In the courtyard there is a beautiful reconstruction of a typical “house of locks” and a stilt house. It is a good way to learn about the city of Khasab and its colorful past.