When you travel to a new country, a new city or a new region, you want to experience the place head-to-toe. Discover and indulge in its heritage & culture, language, traditions, food and with the people. Every traveler seems to look for a ‘connection’ that is warm, a habby (the letter ‘P’ does not exist in the GCC) smile to progress through the day. This is what I experienced in Muscat, the capital city of Oman, and the memory of the moments stay fresh in my mind to this day. So, if you’re planning your next trip, don’t hesitate as you can find a local connection in this exceptional Arab country (Yes, it is liberal compared to other GCC countries).
I traveled from Bombay; a city known for its hustle and bustle and fast-paced life to a country entirely opposite. I was a bit nervous about being in Oman, but who says only one experience is better than the other? As you pack your bags to take a break from your mundane routine, even before you realise it, let me tell you that, the travel to Oman will be your life’s greatest joy. While you’re in the stunning Sultanate of Oman, you can make a connection with its sensational beaches, spectacular mountains and kind-hearted Omanis. Here are top 5 experiences you must discover on your trip.
#1. Majestic landscape of Jebel Shams
Best way to admire nature and enjoy the chilly weather, is heading to a destination about 250 Km from the city and around 3000 meters above sea level. Jebel Shams, a part of the Al Hajar mountain range is quite known for offering tourists and residents alike the true ‘experience’ of appreciating natural beauty. The place offers a camping site where you can set up your tents, which till today serves as a perfect spot to beat the heat; adding a bit of adventure to your trip. If you’re into trekking, there is no better place that offer routes that are quite strenuous and enthralling. You can also enjoy star gazing from the campsites.
#2. Walk at the turtle reserve, Ras Al Jinz
Oman is quite known for its white-sand, virgin beaches with crystal-clear waters – most of which are secluded – that face the Indian Ocean with soaring sand dunes or rugged rocks. One of the places called Ras Al Jinz offers an ultimate experience at night with Turtle Watching. In the country, the experience of observing green sea turtles laying their eggs is a moment to remember. The tour begins in pitch dark (in batches) where you’ll see turtles hatching. You can also swim or snorkel during the day and if you are lucky, you might just spot a couple of baby turtles!
#3. Desert camping/adventure at Wahiba Sands and Wadis
Oman’s beauty lies in both, deserts and its wadis, but to experience an authentic Arabian thrill, Wahiba Sands which is 239 Km away from the main city, offers a magical stillness of the desert. During the day you can hop on to a 4×4 SUV and let the trained drivers take you on a unique sand dune bashing experience. At night, light a bonfire and camp under the stars for a perfect conclusion to your trip. To find yourself amidst the high-rise mountains, walk through some of the greatest wadis (Wadi Shab is spectacular) or check out the Wadi Dayqah Dam (city’s largest water supply reservoir) which today serves as a major tourist spot.
#4. Go Local Shopping at the Old Muttrah Souk
The best way to connect with the people there, is to walk around and talk to the local merchants in the city. The Souk which is located at the Muttrah Corniche is a one of the famous and a must-visit destination. Operated by the local market shop sellers, you will find an array of Omani artifacts. Built keeping in mind the Omani heritage, the Souk offers a pleasant view under the modern timber roofing facing the beautiful Corniche. If you are a great bargainer (it’s better if you carry cash for better deals) this place is for you.
#5. Check out the landmark called the Bimmah Sinkhole
Carved directly by nature, the sinkhole is an hour’s drive from Muscat and offers a pleasant day-out with family. The sinkhole is a dramatic limestone opening filled with emerald water and is definitely worth a swim for water lovers. Surrounded by a park and a huge staircases (around 40-50 stairs down), this is an ideal location for relaxation.Oman is the place you can truly enjoy traditional Arabian culture coupled with exciting adventures, amazing landscapes, and an incredible range of activities. Go, make your local connection now!