Visiting Oman

Destination of the month for May is Oman.  I’m not suggesting you should go there now.  Don’t.  It’ll be far too hot.  But if you’re thinking of getting away for some sunshine this autumn or winter then you really should consider Oman.  Just a seven hour direct flight from the UK and you will find yourself in a totally different landscape and culture.  And even in the depths of the British winter you will find warmth and sunshine.  The best time to travel (to avoid scorching summer temperatures) is between October and April.  

I love Oman because of all the amazing things to do and sights to see.  It’s a great destination for honeymooners, with some seriously romantic hotels, or families with teenagers or young adults, or active travellers.  It equally suits watersports and diving enthusiasts, culture vultures, and those who simply like to lounge by the pool in a luxury hotel or on one of Oman’s many stunning beaches.  Whether you want to hire a car and remain fully independent or prefer a fully guided itinerary, Oman is the perfect destination. Hotels vary from stunning de-luxe hotels, to simple, more authentic accommodation.  We can book whichever you want and of course work to your budget.  

Read on for some ideas for activities and sights in Oman or click here to visit our website for some ideas for a holiday in Oman. 

Tips for visiting Oman

Oman is an Islamic country and women should dress accordingly – covering arms and legs when in public spaces and heads when in religious spaces.  Western dress (including bikinis) is generally acceptable in tourist hotels.  

Alcohol is also not readily available outside tourist hotels.  We may have to book you into a “dry” hotel as part of your tour.  If we do, we will tell you and you can stock up in Duty Free on your way in if you don’t fancy a detox!

Oman Holiday Inspiration

Walk in the Jebel Akhdar

Oman is a great destination for walkers.  A couple of suppliers offer full walking group holidays but Oman is also great for those who just want to do some day trekking as part of a more varied trip.  Some of the paths are reasonably well marked and you can self guide.  Others, including a trek to the top of Jebel Shams, better suit a guide.  Either way the views are spectacular.  Our favourite is the Balcony Walk.  It is probably the most famous walk in Oman, but for a good reason.  You walk along a narrow path, seemingly on the cliff’s edge with stunning views of the mountains and walls of a natural rocky amphitheatre.  You will encounter friendly goats along the way and at the end of the trail find the remains of an abandoned mountain village teetering above the ravine below. 

snorkel or dive the arabian gulf

Snorkelling in Oman is great and you stand a good chance of seeing not only beautiful tropical fish but also turtles.  Most of the coastal waters remain unspoilt with healthy coral gardens and a few wrecks.  Diving is also good here and it is possible to go diving from the capital, Muscat.  The beautiful Daymaniyat islands are a day trip’s distance from Muscat.  If you have time on your hands then include the Musandam Peninsula in your trip which has perhaps the best diving in the country – as well as staggeringly beautiful fjords.


Mountain villages

For a glimpse of a traditional Omani way of life a visit to some of the picturesque mountain villages is a must.  Some villages are situated on steep mountainsides, others in small valleys forming an oasis of market gardening in an otherwise dry landscape.  You will see original mud houses as well as the traditional fajal water irrigation system. Other villages are in the middle of date plantations and you can visit a living museum showcasing the traditional way of life.  At the right time of year a visit to the rose growing villages on the Saiq plateau is a must.  The roses are grown to distil the rosewater used in much middle eastern cooking and it’s a unique setting, wandering past gardens of damask roses with a mosque minaret in the background.

Channel your Larence of Arabia in the desert

Oman is home to two vast and beautiful deserts full of rolling sand dunes. The first, and more accessible of the two, is just a few hours’ drive from Muscat.  There are plenty of desert camps where you can spend the night in a Bedouin tent (albeit one with air conditioning if you wish!), stroll out into the never ending sand dunes and of course ride a camel. Pick the right camp and you can still feel the utter isolation and peace of the desert. In Dhofar, the southern part of Oman, you will find the Empty Quarter with pristine sand dunes stretching for hundreds of kilometres towards the Yemen border.  This desert is a little more inhospitable without the luxury camps. So you will need to visit on either day trip from Salalah or on an organised accompanied overnight trip with a guide. 

Oman desert
Oman mosque

Discover Oman's history and culture

You can see as much history and culture as you like in Oman.  Headline sights include the Sultan Al Qaboos Mosque in Muscat with its dazzling marble and tiling and the sand coloured mighty fort at Nizwa.  Travel a little further afield and you can visit Bronze Age beehive tombs and a number of other forts. The Mutrah souk in Muscat is a great experience as is the souk in Nizwa.  If you’re near Nizwa on a Friday and get up early then you can visit the famous livestock market.  

Seek out some Arabian wildlife

You will definitely see goats!  They are everywhere in the mountains – one even followed us on a two hour walk and we had to drive him back to his village at the end!  But you may also see the Arabian Oryx with its distinctively long sweeping horns.  And in the desert, camels wander freely nibbling at tiny pieces of shrub.  At sea you may glimpse dolphins and the occasional whale.  And if you visit the Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve you will have the chance, depending on the time of year, to see turtles laying their eggs on the beach or hatchlings making their first trip out to sea – an unforgettable moment.  

Oman camel
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