Major Tourist Attractions: Jebel Akhdar, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Royal Opera House Muscat, Bahla Fort, Nizwa Fort
Located on the southeast tip of the Arabian peninsula, Oman is a land with great natural beauty, rich history, and deeply religious people. Its number of outdoor activities - both active and relaxing - as well as its cultural attractions make it a great destination for visitors interested in a variety of different activities.
Oman is a Muslim country ruled by Islamic Law. In recent decades, its ruler Sultan Qaboos has taken steps to open the country (such as economic reform, expansion of rights, and increased spending on education), that have led to an increase in tourism in this beautiful country. Today, you’ll see camels roaming freely, citizens and tourists lounging on beaches, elders smoking flavored shisha in cafes, and the bright colors of spices and textiles spilling from local souks.
Omanis are ethnically diverse, consisting of Arabs, ethnic Iranians (Balochis and Lurs), Hindus and others. There are at least 12 different languages native to Oman. National dress is conservative. Men wear a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves. It is often accompanied by either a piece of fabric fashioned into a head dress or a cap. Women wear a knee-length dress (often brightly-colored) over pants and a head covering. Visitors are encouraged to dress modestly in public, but it is only necessary for women to be fully covered when visiting mosques. Specific dress codes are generally much more relaxed at Western hotels.
Only an hour flight from Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Oman is not as remote as you might think. Accommodations in Oman range from desert camping (and “glamping” opportunities) to larger Western chain hotels and resorts.
Here are a few of the opportunities available to visitors to Oman:
- Hike in Wadi Ghul (“wadi” is the Arabic word for “valley”), often referred to as Oman’s Grand Canyon.
- Sunbathe on the pristine beaches of the Gulf of Oman.
- Visit the historic Portuguese forts of Muscat.
- Shop at the Mutrah souk, which features traditional Arab market items as well as clothes, jewelry, textiles, hardware, and household items.
- Hire a cab in Muscat for a tour of the city by a local.
- Take in the splendor of the Grand Mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers and features the second-largest carpet in the world.
- Join a night tour at the Paz al-Jinz Turtle Reserve to watch turtles on the beach.
- At the gorgeous Wadi Shab, swim, climb waterfalls, and cliff dive, if you dare.
- Take a 4x4 dune excursion or go sand boarding at Wahiba Sands.
- Bird watch at Al-Ansab Wetland, home to 280 different bird species.
Address: P.O. Box 202
Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos
Phone: (968) 2464-3400