When you think of a vacation on the Arabian peninsula, you probably think of the UAE and its city of Dubai. But that’s just part of the paradise… there is more. The peninsula holds a secret haven that lies just underneath UAE. It’s the Sultanate of Oman, a treasure trove that holds numerous sites to see and adventures to be had. Thinking of a unique place to visit? Here are some reasons why you might want to point your compass towards Oman.
Experience the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Seeing the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque mosque is not just for your eyes. It’s an unforgettable experience that engulfs all your senses. The mosque is a stunning example of Islamic architecture, a diamond that stands out in the harsh desert environment of Oman.
Some of the most breathtaking parts of the mosque include a 21-ton hand-woven carpet, a refreshing, well-manicured garden, and a prayer room that has been luxuriously decorated with all sorts of ornaments and art. There is also a grand chandelier that stands at a height of 14 meters and a diameter of 8 meters. It has 1122 light bulbs and 600,000 dazzling crystals. Now that’s extravagant!
Oman has numerous spots that a history buff would appreciate. But, if you want a multi-layered experience that stretches beyond just history, then find your way to the Nizwa Fort and Castle. It was erected in the 17th century and construction took 12 long years. Apart from some rich history, you will also get to interact with the locals as this is a popular meeting site for them.
Oman’s beaches are unlike most you’ve seen. Apart from the usual flat carpets of sand, you’ll also find beaches in coves of mountains. Now that’s unique. If that is not enough for you, you can head to Al-Sawadi beach which is covered with colourful shells. As a bonus, you get the chance to cross over to Sawasi fort when the tide is low.
Oman’s Canyon and Mountains
The breathtaking views of Oman’s 3000-meter-high mountains are enough for a memorable time. But, if you are feeling particularly brave and adventurous, you can go hiking on Oman’s Grand Canyon, which has steep 1000-meter-high sides.
The desert sun is likely to make you crave a swim and Oman has exactly what you might need. You can choose from a few wadis to take a plunge in. The best is Wadi Bani Khalid, where you get to swim in turquoise water that perfectly complements the white sand that surrounds the area.
Nothing beats the view of sunrise or sunset over the red giant dunes of Wahiba Sands, one of the most visited deserts in Oman. The desert has permanent camps that have been erected to host tourists. but, for those that seek more challenging fun, wild camping is allowed, too.
Enjoy a performance at the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is the place to be if you are looking to immerse yourself in Omani music, art and culture. Commissioned by Sultan Obassi in 2001, the opera house is the perfect embodiment of modern Omani architecture. It includes an auditorium, retails outlets where you can get cultural souvenirs, as well as a beautiful, well-trimmed garden.
Culture and Etiquette
Oman’s locals are welcoming and warm to tourists. But, as this is one of the most conservative and traditional places in the world, it would be prudent of you to respect their cultural norms.
Dress Appropriately: One of the most important points to remember has to do with dressing. You are required to dress appropriately when out in public, not showing to much skin.
Maintain your calm: It is not a good idea to exhibit conspicuous expressions of anger or raise your voice while out on the streets. Even loud laughter and certain hand gestures might be seen as offensive.
Female Tourists: Women visitors shouldn’t expect any problems in Oman. It might seem unusual to the locals to see females walking around unaccompanied but so long you are appropriately dressed, there won’t be any problem at all.
Getting around Oman
You will not find much public transport in the country apart from a few bus routes connecting major towns and cities. That cannot be enough to get you to the best parts of the country. If you demand a richer experience, you might want to sign up for a tour, pay for a private driver, or even hire a car and do the driving yourself.