Oman is a small country located between Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. It is a place known for its hospitality and rich culture. The area that is now Oman has been inhabited for an incredibly long time, and also has one of the oldest ruins in the world, that dates back more than 100,000 years. This Arabian gem has always been overlooked by travelers making it a much underrated holiday destination. Combination of an ancient Middle Eastern spirit with a modern appearance and a few epic things to do in Oman certainly makes this place worth the visit. Let’s dig deep to know why you must visit Oman this year.
Some Facts About Sultanate Of Oman And Its People
Official Name: Sultanate of Oman
Population: 5,374,041 as on July 2022
Official Language: Arabic
Currency: Omani Rial
Climate: Dry desert, hot and humid along the coast
Total Area: 309,500 km² (119,499 mi²)
South Asians (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) make up around 45-55% of the total population.
The Arabian Oryx, a white antelope with a unique shoulder bump and long straight horns, is the National animal.
A pair of crossed Khanjars on the national flag and other government logos symbolizes manhood and bravery.
Oman is one of the oldest human-inhabited places on the earth with people living in the country for at least 106 thousand years.
Apart from tourism the major portion of the economy of Oman comes from export of oil, trading of fish, dates and some agricultural products.
How To Get To Oman To Experience The Top Things To Do In Oman
Traveling via air is the most feasible option to get to Oman. It is well-connected to many European and Asian cities. The capital of Oman, Muscat has three airports (Muscat International Airport, Salalah Airport and Al Khasab).
Oman shares its border with UAE, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Crossing the Oman border is hassle-free if you have a visa for Oman and the right documents with you.
Travelling From UAE – With just 400km drive from Dubai, this is one of the best options to reach Muscat. You can either opt for self-driven cars, hired taxis or by bus from Bur Dubai.
Travelling From Saudi – Distance between Saudi Arabia to Oman is over 1330 km. Drive from Riyadh to Muscat will take approximately 15hrs.
Travelling From Yemen – With a road distance of over 2360 km it is going to be a long drive from Yemen to Oman. It takes approximately 28 hours to get her from Yemen.
Here Are 10 Good Things To Do In Oman
Walled Capital City
Muscat, Oman’s capital, is a wonderful place where the past and the present blend together seamlessly. Oman’s port capital, Muscat sits on the Gulf of Oman surrounded by volcanic mountains and crystal clear water. The city’s streets, old Ras Al Jinzs and buildings leave an Arab, Portuguese, Persian, Indian, African, and modern Western influence. This unusual architecture is what distinguishes the capital city of Muscat from others. A visit to Muscat’s national museums, ancient forts, many mosques with intricate carvings and tall minarets are some of the most immeasurable things to do in Oman.
Must Visit Places: Mutrah Corniche, Grand Mosque, Bait Al Maqham Castel, Royal Opera House, Bait Al Zubair.
The word “Wadi” is a term used to describe valleys and dry creeks in North Africa and the Middle East. The Wadis are generally dry that get filled naturally with rainwater. These crystal clear blue waters are extremely fun to plunge in or simply to dip your feet in. There are many wadis in Oman, but the most popular one of them all is Wadi Bani Khalid. Most of the wadis are dry throughout the year except for the rainy season, but Wadi Bani Khalid maintains a constant flow of water throughout the year. Many of the dry terrains are popular trekking sites. Do add these wadis to your itinerary as it is 100% one of the best things to do in Oman.
Must Visit Wadis: Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Tiwi, Wadi Shab, Wadi Al Abriyeen, Wadi Damm, Wadi Darbat.
The hypnotizing sand dunes are a must-see for everyone who visits! With large areas of deserts enclosing Oman, visit to the beautiful sand dunes makes for a great attraction. You can indulge in fun activities here, like sand boarding, sand dune bashing, quad biking or even go on a camel safari. This place is also very popular for its ultimate Arabic safari adventures. Hire a four wheeler and drive through the sandy mountains and dunes in these deserts. Visiting these hypnotizing deserts are one of the must things to do in Oman.
Must Visit Deserts: Al Wahiba Sands, Bawshar Sands, The Empty Quarter, Ramlat Tawq
Stunning Castles And Forts
If you want to explore the rich history and culture of this place add Oman’s forts and castles on your itinerary as it is one of the best things to do in Oman. One of the most underrated countries in the Middle East is filled with many stunning historic forts and castles. There are over 500 forts and castles that date back to the 13th and the 17th centuries. If not all, some of the major forts and castles can be visited by booking a day tour from the capital city itself. These tours will take you through the amazing Islamic culture and ancient Arabic architectural marvels.
Must Visit Castles And Forts: Nakhal Fort, the Al Jalali Fort, Jabreen Castle, Sohar Fort, Bahla Fort, Bilad Sur Castle, and Nizwa Fort.
The country’s 3165 km-long coastline offers endless options for beach-lovers. Popular beaches along the coastal cities attract most of the crowds, but there are many serene beaches. They are mostly tourist-free so you can have the beach mostly to yourself. At beaches like Yiti and Raz Al Jinz you can also observe turtles laying eggs, while Al-Sawadi and Kumzar are great diving spots. One can also go snorkeling, kiteboarding, surfing, kayaking and fishing at these fascinating beaches. Visit to these beaches guarantees a perfect beach vacation.
Must Visit Beaches: Yiti Beach, Turtle Beach, Al Mughsail, Al Bustan, Raz Al Jinz, Al-Sawadi, Bandar Jissah, Tiwi Beach and Al Qurum.
Generally people think that The Sultanate of Oman is all desert dunes, but in reality, almost the full width of the national map is surrounded by mountains. This country is dotted with wonderful mountains that lie along the Al Hajar range. They are the perfect destination for people who love rock climbing and other such daring activities. There are also many charming mountainous villages that are worth exploring. The rugged landscapes and awe-inspiring geology of this mountainous region makes it one of Oman’s biggest tourist destinations.
Must Visit Mountains: Al-Hajar mountain range, Wadi Bani Khalid, Hajar Mountains, Dhofar Mountains.
There are plenty of things to do in Oman but a visit to the souks will be the highlight of your trip. The souks are traditional marketplaces where one can buy everything from handcrafted goods and pottery to incense and jewelry. A visit to the souk will take you through Oman’s unique culture, heritage, and beautiful architecture; all in one place. You’ll be surprised to know that some souks are dedicated to women only, and men are not allowed inside. If you are looking for the best deals without spending a lot, this is the right place for you. There are tons of vibrant souks throughout, so make sure you pack light as you will undoubtedly return with lots of goodies.
Must Visit Souks: Mutrah Souk, Seeb Souq, Souq es Sabt, Bahla Souq, Sohar Souq, Ibri Souk, Ibra Souk
Don’t forget to check out the aromatherapy while you are here. Aromatherapy uses the natural oils from flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of plants for the wellbeing of the mind and body. These oils have good antibacterial properties and healing effects when inhaled. Frankincense obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia is a specialty here, and is considered a precious gift. It is said to have healing powers because of its purity and comes in many styles to choose from. The Land of Frankincense, an area along the incense road that features frankincense trees, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Oman being a country with a wealth of history, it’s no surprise that its home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each of these UNESCO sites located in different parts of the country makes you feel transported back in time. Take a walk through history to collect interesting information about this place and to capture these precious moments. Do add this on top of your things to do in Oman list, for it will leave a lasting impact on you.
Must Visit Sites: Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn, Land of Frankincense, Aflaj Irrigation Systems, Ancient City of Qalhat and Bahla Fort.
An Ultimate Foodie Destination
The Omanis make absolutely delicious food. A very evident influence of Indian, Arabian, Pakistani, Iranian and African can be seen in Omani cuisine. Their staple is spiced rice and marinated meat, and this is the base of a lot of dishes. Meals are often meat based with chicken or fish that are lightly spiced served with rice and flatbreads. Shuwa, considered to be the national dish, is one where the meat is wrapped in banana leaves and then slow-cooked in an underground sand oven for two whole days. Due to its long coastline different kinds of seafood are consumed, including sharks.
Must Try Food: Shuwa, Machboos, Harees, Muqalab, Mashuai, Sakhana
Omanis are known for their kindness and hospitality. Once you are here to see this beautiful piece of Arabia the people of Oman make you feel at home. The history, heritage and beautiful panorama of Oman makes for a perfect holiday destination with your loved ones. If we have missed any top things to do in Oman and if you have any more reasons to visit Oman, do share them in the comments below.
The incredible attractions along with the friendliness and hospitality of its citizens makes Oman a special place to visit.
Frankincense, Perfumes, handicrafts and Khanjars are some of the best things to buy in Oman.
3 to 4 days is the ideal time to explore all major Oman attractions.
It’s 100% guaranteed that you would spot different kinds of dolphins in the sea of Oman.
November to March is the best time to visit Oman. Do remember to avoid the scorching summer months while planning your trip.