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The Biggest Oman Itinerary: A 7-10 Day Road Journey

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Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman: one of the stops on our Oman itinerary, a 10 day road trip around north Oman

Our Oman itinerary took us on a 10-day road journey throughout the north of the nation. We visited beautiful mosques and sandcastle-like forts, hiked up sand dunes and alongside the rim of the Grand Canyon, swam throughout the crystal inexperienced waters of wadis, and took prolonged walks on empty seashores.

Oman is probably going some of the safe worldwide areas to go to throughout the Middle East, it’s simple to self-drive, and in addition you’ll have many areas to your self as tourism is barely merely beginning to develop proper right here. It’s moreover the right place for some winter photo voltaic.

If in case you could have a lot much less time, you presumably can merely do this Oman road journey in each week.

Oman Self-Drive Recommendations and Sources

Visa

Most nationalities can get a 30-day Omani visa on arrival from the international cash commerce desk merely sooner than immigration at Muscat Worldwide Airport. This costs 20 OMR and needs to be paid for in cash solely. There’s no ATM nevertheless you presumably will pay with any international cash, although the fees aren’t very good. It worth us US $60 each paying in when 20 OMR should be $52.

Would you like a 4WD in Oman?

Most people recommend a 4WD for an Oman road journey, nevertheless they are not lower than double the value of an on a regular basis 2WD automotive and whether or not or not you need one relies upon upon your itinerary.

We decided to lease a small 2WD SUV as a result of it has bigger clearance than an on a regular basis sedan. For this route we didn’t desire a 4WD other than going up Jebel Akhdar mountain the place we employed a driver on the bottom to take us up. The road up Jebel Shams was steep and unpaved in parts nevertheless we managed in a 2WD. Most roads in Oman are paved, quiet, and in good scenario.

When you occur to can afford it, a 4WD presents you peace of ideas and might will allow you to uncover just a few of Oman’s thrilling off-road tracks, nevertheless you presumably can deal with with out one.

Driving up Jebel Shams in our 2WD SUV

Driving up Jebel Shams in our 2WD SUV

Oman automotive hire

We rented a Nissan Kicks small SUV by RentalCars.com for £261 for 10 days from the Thrifty office at Muscat airport. We had a prohibit of 200km a day which is frequent in Oman and was tons for us. Technically you desire a world driving enable in Oman nevertheless we’ve got been on no account requested for one.

Our Nissan Kicks SUV (not 4WD) on the way up Jebel Shams, Oman

Our Nissan Kicks SUV (not 4WD) on the best way by which up Jebel Shams

We now have a separate annual automotive hire insurance coverage protection protection which coated the excess.

In Oman you drive on the right. The tempo prohibit is often 120km/h or 60km/h in metropolis areas.

Fuel stations are attended—you presumably can depart a small tip nonetheless it didn’t seem like anticipated. Most stations have a retailer and some have bogs and a restaurant. Petrol is inexpensive—decrease than 40p a litre.

Lodging

We booked most of our lodging on Booking.com, which ceaselessly labored out cheaper than reserving direct. Prices in Oman are pretty extreme for what you get. In all places we stayed was properly equipped (ensuite, air-con, WiFi, free parking) and sensible reasonably than modern. Resorts add 17% tax.

In case you might be on an honest funds, probably the most inexpensive alternative is to buy a tent and wild camp with out price almost wherever throughout the nation.

SIM Card

We bought an Omantel SIM card from the desk on the airport. The Hayyak “New Welcome Pack” worth 2 OMR (£three.75) along with 1.5 GB data (legit for 10 days) and 1 OMR credit score rating. Completely different packages may be discovered and the employees speaks English.

The data bundle deal was very useful as we used Google Maps for directions (although flip by flip is not going to be supported). The mobile signal was normally faster than the lodge WiFi.

Oman Journey Costs and Money

The current commerce worth is 1 OMR (Omani rial) = £1.87, €2.12 and $2.60. The rial is cut up into 1000 baisa.

There are only a few ATMs on the airport and there was no price to utilize them with a abroad card. It’s best to prime off on cash as some resorts and petrol stations are cash solely.

We used our Trail Wallet app to hint our Oman payments. We spent £134 ($173/€145) a day for two people with the most costly objects being lodging (£68 a day) and transport (£38 a day).

We found meals low cost in native consuming locations (reasonably than resorts) and it worth us decrease than £14 a day (not along with the meals which have been included in two of our resorts). We didn’t spend reasonably quite a bit on leisure as there aren’t many expensive factors of curiosity and our favourite actions—hikes and wadis—have been free.

Oman travel costs for a couple on a 10 day road trip, shown in the Trail Wallet app

Our Oman journey payments confirmed in our Path Pockets app.

Our costs don’t embody flights to Oman. We flew Bangkok-Muscat-London with Oman Air. It wasn’t probably the most inexpensive alternative nevertheless we preferred to fly direct. It’s possible you’ll search Kiwi and Skyscanner for the right flight presents.

When to Go to Oman

Winter is the right time to go to Oman as a result of the summers are terribly scorching. Our journey was in early December and the local weather was good—spherical 25ºC and sunny all through the day with pleasantly cooler nights. The nights at Jebel Shams mountain and Wahiba Sands desert have been very chilly and we needed warmth garments.

Journey insurance coverage protection

Journey insurance coverage protection is essential in case one thing goes flawed in your journey. We used True Traveller as on a regular basis—they’re the right deal we’ve found for UK and EU residents. World Nomads is one different well-respected agency we’ve used thus far.

Water

We heard blended tales about whether or not or not the water in Oman was drinkable. As I’ve a fragile stomach we decided to not risk it and drank bottled water instead.

Our Oman Itinerary

  • Muscat – 2 nights
  • Nizwa – 2 nights
  • Jebel Shams – 2 nights
  • Wahiba Sands – 1 night time time
  • Ras Al Hadd – 1 night time time
  • Sur – 1 night time time
  • Muscat – 1 night time time

Our Oman road journey was for 10 nights and we drove 1378km throughout the north of the nation. Distances aren’t prolonged on this route and we had quite a few down time, so that you presumably can merely do this itinerary in seven days. If time is temporary, in the reduction of the first preserve in Muscat to at the least one night time time, the Nizwa/Jebel Shams house to some nights, and skip the night time time in Sur (you presumably can go to on the best way by which from Ras Al Hadd to Muscat).

If you end up planning your Oman itinerary, understand that as Oman is a Muslim nation the weekend is on a Friday and Saturday and plenty of areas shut on Fridays.

Our Oman Road Journey Map

Observe: The distances of each leg of our journey are taken from Google Maps (which we used for navigation) and the events are the exact time it took us. I’ve well-known if we stopped for a break.

Days 1–2 Muscat (2 nights)

Our flight arrived at Muscat Worldwide Airport at 7 pm and we picked up our rental automotive and drove 30 minutes to the Mutrah house.

The next day we acquired an early start (arriving at eight.30 am) for Muscat’s best attraction—the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This beautiful, giant, fashionable mosque is open to company from eight am to 11 am day by day in addition to Friday and is free. There is a strict costume code—ladies ought to cowl up completely with prolonged sleeves, prolonged trousers or floor-length skirt, and a shawl (I used my sarong). Abayas may be discovered to lease must you don’t have one thing applicable to placed on. Males should placed on prolonged trousers and cover their shoulders.

Don’t miss the mosque—it is utterly lovely, every the serene grounds and the extravagantly embellished main prayer hall. I prefer to suggest arriving early to get pleasure from it sooner than the tour groups arrive.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, a highlight of any Oman itinerary

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Inside the afternoon we rested once more at our lodge sooner than heading out at three pm for the 30-minute stroll to Mutrah Corniche. This was my favourite part of Muscat (and one among many few walkable areas) with a fantastic promenade with white buildings backed by rugged mountains overlooking the ocean. It’s significantly good at sunset.

Mutrah Corniche in Muscat, Oman

Mutrah Corniche

The shut by Mutrah Souq reopens after the afternoon break at 5 pm. The crowded alleyways are touristy nevertheless a terrific place for memento procuring.

The place to Hold in Muscat

The view from our room at Mutrah Hotel, Muscat

The view from our room at Mutrah Resort

We stayed at Mutrah Hotel between the Little India house of Ruwi and the Mutrah Corniche. The decor was dated nevertheless our room was giant with a seating house, ensuite, fridge, aircon, OK WiFi, and room service. We had a view of the mountains behind the lodge and there is a SPAR grocery retailer all through the road along with only a few low-cost Indian consuming locations shut by. It was one among many most cost-effective resorts we current in Muscat and we’ve got been pleased with our various.

The place to Eat in Muscat

We had lunch at Welcome Restaurant, a small, simple, vegetarian Indian restaurant near our lodge. At lunch they solely had thalis nonetheless it was very good with an array of curries, puffy puri bread, and a sweet for beneath 2.5 OMR (£4.70) for every of us along with water.

We had dinner near the Mutrah Souq at Bait Al Luban, an upmarket restaurant serving typical Omani delicacies. It’s named after frankincense (which is grown in Oman) and the pungent scent smokes by the restaurant. They even add it to the water.

We sat on cushions and ordered from the primary fee vegetarian half—our Omani vegetable curry and fava beans in tomato sauce with date flatbread have been good. Afterwards they launched us a large bowl of delicious Omani dates. Bait Al Luban is dearer than most consuming locations in Oman, nonetheless it’s not unreasonable and it’s worth it for a selected meal as there aren’t many trip spot consuming locations in Oman.

Day three Muscat – Nizwa (2 nights)

Distance: 176km
Time: 2 hours

The drive to Nizwa was simple on good top quality highways by the desert surrounded by barren mountains, passing the occasional oasis metropolis. We continued earlier Nizwa to the 17th-century Jabrin Fort (additionally referred to as Jabreen or Jibreen Fortress), top-of-the-line forts to go to in Oman. Entrance was solely 500 baisa (£zero.95) and it wasn’t very busy. There’s a labyrinth of rooms to find and you may get pleasure from views of the date palms and mountains from the battlements.

Jabrin Fort (aka Jabreen Castle), a stop on our 10 day Oman road trip

Jabrin Fort

You may also go to shut by Bahla Fort nevertheless we’ve got been exhausted so headed once more to Nizwa to confirm in to our lodge.

Nizwa isn’t a really partaking metropolis. It’s very unfold out and the outskirts (the place the resorts are) are filled with strip malls and fast meals chains. The fort and souq house are worth a go to though and we went throughout the late afternoon. The Nizwa Fort is now open from eight am to 6 pm (in addition to on Fridays when it’s eight–11.30am and 1.30–8pm) and the souq opens throughout the mornings and from 5 pm to eight pm.

Nizwa Fort, Oman

Nizwa Fort

We now have blended feelings about Nizwa Fort. It is beautiful, significantly the massive spherical tower which you can climb for views of the city and mountains previous, nonetheless it now costs 10 events what it used to—5 OMR (£9.40). For that worth you may anticipate it to be greater maintained, nevertheless the lights throughout the exhibition house flashed annoyingly. It almost definitely didn’t help that we’re not great into forts, so must you aren’t on an honest funds or are a historic previous buff then it is best to go to.

On our second morning in Nizwa we visited Jebel Akhdar (Inexperienced Mountain). The underside of the mountain is in Birkat al Mawz, a 15-minute drive from our lodge. When you attain the town adjust to indicators to indicate left to Al Jabal Al Akhdar. You drive up the mountain until you arrive at a carpark and police checkpoint—it’s 4WD solely previous this degree. As we’ve got been in a 2WD we parked and a youthful man referred to as Mohammed immediately approached us in his shiny 4WD and offered to drive us up for a tour for 35 OMR (£66).

On the best way by which up we stopped at different viewpoints for spectacular views of the rugged mountains and villages that cling to its sides. On the Saiq Plateau you realise why it acquired its title as a result of the inexperienced refers again to the terraces of fruit bushes and roses which may be grown throughout the villages. Spring is a larger time to go to to see all of the issues in bloom.

Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Jebel Akhdar

We spent about two and a half hours having enjoyable with the views and taking fast walks throughout the cool air (take layers!). An fascinating addition may be the two-hour hike between the villages of Al Aqr and Al Ayn.

We’ve got been once more at our lodge by lunchtime, so that you presumably can skip the extra night time time in Nizwa and proceed to Jebel Shams.

The place to Hold in Nizwa

Lots of the resorts in Nizwa are pretty faraway from the centre. Al Karam Hotel Apartment was one among many most cost-effective areas we found nevertheless was surprisingly good, no matter its random location off a freeway surrounded by desert. Our one-bedroom residence was spacious, clear and comfy, if reasonably characterless. We most well-liked having a separate entrance room with couch and used the small kitchen to self-cater. WiFi was pretty good (4 Mbps up and down). A breakfast buffet is included throughout the worth.

The place to Eat in Nizwa

There didn’t seem like wherever notably good to eat in Nizwa, so we self-catered on the fantastic, giant Lulu Hypermarket. It really has all of the belongings you presumably can in all probability need along with a beautiful prepared meals half the place we stocked up on samosas, dahl, curries, rice, salads, hummus, and bread. They even had all of our favourite British sweets and it’s a terrific place to buy low cost dates.

The Nizwa Fort Espresso Retailer between the fort and the souq regarded like a fairly sensible choice for a espresso, juice, and snack.

Day 5 Nizwa – Jebel Shams (2 nights)

Distance: 108km
Time: 2 hours 20 minutes by way of Misfat

It’s possible you’ll go to Jebel Shams as a day journey from Nizwa nevertheless we decided to spend only a few nights up there to profit from the views and tranquility. On the best way by which we stopped at Misfat al Abryeen, one amongst Oman’s oldest and most picturesque villages. From the modern facet of the village there are unbelievable views of the outdated village clinging to the mountainside and surrounded by lush date palms—strolling by the oasis is a highlight.

Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman

Misfat Al Abriyeen

Misfat is an fascinating place nevertheless we felt just a little bit intrusive exploring the village itself. It’s a tiny, typical place of crumbling mud properties and has turn into widespread with company. There are indicators all over reminding guests to cowl their shoulders and knees and warning people away from strolling down personal alleyways. It might be further rewarding to stay in a single day at Misfah Old House guesthouse, although it’s expensive for what you get. 

The narrow winding streets of Misfat al Abryeen, Oman

The slender winding streets of Misfat al Abryeen

We continued to the very best of Jebel Shams. A 4WD is advisable nevertheless we heard it was doable to make it up in a 2WD. And we did, nevertheless I do not recommend it for nervous drivers or once you’ve bought no off-roading experience. There’s a 7km a part of steep, rocky filth monitor, some parts sandy and rutted, and if we had acquired caught we’d have been in hassle.

On the excessive, merely sooner than Jebel Shams Resort, there’s a viewpoint the place you presumably can see down into the dizzying depths of what’s usually referred to as Oman’s Grand Canyon and admire the prolonged hair goats posing on the ledge.

Goat at Jebel Shams, Oman

We spent the afternoon satisfying at our lodge and purchased an early start the following day for the highlight of Jebel Shams—the Balcony Stroll. The hike (a little bit of the W6) begins 10 minutes extra down the road (one different off road half) from the tiny hamlet of Khateem. Merely adjust to the pink/yellow/white splotches of paint on the rocks to adjust to the trail alongside the sting of the canyon. It’s an out and once more hike and the views are fantastic instantly so that you presumably can merely stroll just a little bit method.

Hiking the Balcony Walk in Jebel Shams, Oman
View from Balcony Walk in Oman

It’s worth persevering with to the abandoned village of As Sab the place tiny stone and filth properties perch precariously on the sting of the canyon beneath a ledge of rock. It’s unbelievable that people lived in such a harsh (if beautiful) environment.

The entire hike (three.5km each method) took us 2.5 hours along with a break at As Sab. We’ve got been the first people to succeed in at eight.20 am and had lots of the hike to ourselves and averted the worst of the heat. We spent the rest of the day satisfying at our lodge.

The place to Hold and Eat in Jebel Shams

The view from the terrace of our sunset chalet at Jebel Shams Resort, Oman

The view from the terrace of our sunset chalet at Jebel Shams Resort

Till it’s worthwhile to wild camp, there are solely two areas to stay on the excessive of Jebel Shams. We stayed on the nicest of the two—Jebel Shams Resort. It’s not numerous a resort and it’s pretty expensive, nevertheless we liked our tranquil preserve. Our Sunset Chalet had twin beds (sadly all of them do), a settee, desk and chairs on the terrace, a fridge, and a small heater (needed on the chilly nights). There could also be presupposed to be WiFi at reception nonetheless it didn’t work for us and we didn’t have mobile signal each.

Breakfast and dinner are included throughout the worth—the meals was first fee and had vegetarian decisions. I prefer to suggest bringing bottled water, snacks and lunch as a result of the small snack bar is barely open 12–3pm and has a restricted menu. There are not any completely different consuming locations or retailers on the mountain.

The shut by Sama Heights Resort is cheaper must you preserve in a single amongst their furnished tents. 

Day 7 Jebel Shams – Wahiba Sands (1 night time time)

Distance: 253km
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes along with detour to Ibra and lunch break

Wahiba Sands is what you picture everytime you take into account the desert—rolling sand dunes, camels, and Bedouin tents. To find the realm it’s best to stay the night time time in one among many desert camps. We wanted someplace simple (we didn’t need A/C and a pool), quiet (some are close to noisy 4WD trails), away from cities with minimal light air air pollution, and near a giant sand dune that we might climb. Many camps present camel rides and 4WD dune-bashing drives nevertheless we’ve got been content material materials to find on foot.

The Desert Retreat Camp met all of our requirements and had the benefit of feeling distant nevertheless being solely a 20-minute drive into the desert. Most camps require a 4WD to achieve them otherwise you presumably will pay a extreme worth for a change from the town of Al Wasil, nevertheless we’ve got been instructed this camp was accessible in our small SUV. And it was, nonetheless it was nerve-wracking driving by the sand.

A nerve-wracking drive through the desert to Wahiba Sands

A nerve-wracking drive by the desert

The meeting degree is at three pm on the Desert Retreat Camp office on the Al Maha petrol station in Al Wasil (there’s a retailer and restaurant there too). We paid in cash (make sure you prime off upfront) then adopted the data’s mud cloud as he sped by the sand.

The Desert Retreat Camp is the ultimate camp on this part of the desert and there’s nothing else spherical other than only a few buildings the place locals retailer feed for the goats that wander shut by. As there was only one completely different customer that night time time, and there’s no WiFi or 3G, it was splendidly peaceful.

We’ve got been greeted with Omani espresso in tiny cups and the right dates we’d eaten so far. The Bedouin goat hair tents are specified by a double ring on the foot of a dune, all with their very personal personal nevertheless separate bathroom. Many camps don’t have electrical power nevertheless we had a lightweight and a dodgy making an attempt power degree. Our tent was furnished merely with two twin beds pushed collectively, a desk and a coat rack. It was all we needed as we’ve got been proper right here to profit from the setting.

Our tent at Desert Retreat Camp, Wahiba Sands, Oman

Our tent at Desert Retreat Camp

It’s solely a 15-minute stroll as a lot as the very best of the dune nonetheless it’s a difficult climb as you sink into the sand constantly. It’s worth it for the views of rolling dunes, significantly throughout the glowing light at sunset and daybreak.

Hiking up the sand dune next to Desert Retreat Camp, Wahiba Sands, Oman

Climbing up the sand dune subsequent to Desert Retreat Camp

Dinner and breakfast are included throughout the worth and have been good—vegetable curries, selfmade flatbread, rice, salad, and hummus adopted by delicious Omani halva. We spent the night time time consuming tea throughout the campfire, then gazing on the explosion of stars.

Day eight Wahiba Sands – Ras Al Hadd (1 night time time)

Distance: 213km
Time: 4 hours by way of Wadi Bani Khalid

From Wahiba Sands we headed within the course of the coast with a stop at one amongst Oman’s hottest wadis, Wadi Bani Khalid. It’s a shocking drive over the mountains off Freeway 23 by small villages—merely keep following indicators to the cave/water swimming swimming pools.

From the carpark it’s a five-minute stroll to the clear inexperienced swimming swimming pools surrounded by date palms and rocky mountains. It has been developed with only a few bridges, seating areas, and a restaurant, nonetheless it doesn’t detract from its magnificence.

Wadi Bani Khalid, an Oman road trip highlight

Wadi Bani Khalid

We spent a blissful few hours swimming throughout the cool water, getting foot massages from the nibbling fish, and sunbathing on the rocks. It was one amongst our favourite areas in Oman. We had the buffet lunch (4 OMR) on the restaurant nevertheless you may be greater off bringing a picnic ought to you may.

The desert stretches all the best way by which to the ocean at Ras Al Hadd. It’s a bleak little metropolis, nonetheless it does have a stretch of untamed, empty seaside with golden sand and turquoise waves. It’s greater for strolling than for sunbathing or swimming, though. We chosen to stay proper right here to be close to the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve that’s a 15 minute drive away—it’s cheaper than staying on the reserve.

Truck driving on Ras Al Hadd beach, Oman

The Ras Al Hadd seaside can be used as a road!

The place to Hold in Ras Al Hadd

Ras Al Hadd Guesthouse is probably the most inexpensive place we found throughout the house at merely 18 OMR (£34). It’s troublesome to hunt out as if it’s marked appropriately on Google Maps it’s unclear one of the best ways to get there. Adjust to the guesthouse sign off the precept road and drive off-road over a big a part of filth then onto an house of broken up tarmac that looks as if an airport runway. Make sure you lookup pictures of the lodge upfront so that you presumably can head within the course of the massive inexperienced and white developing.

Whatever the odd location, the guesthouse was good. As customary, the rooms have been characterless nevertheless sensible with a fridge, TV, A/C, balcony with sea view, and unreliable nevertheless first fee when working WiFi. The employees was nice. Observe it’s cash solely and there’s no ATM shut by.

The place to Eat in Ras Al Hadd

There’s a strip of simple espresso retailers (Omani vogue consuming locations) on the precept road. We chosen the first espresso retailer on the left earlier the Ras Al Hadd Motel coming from our lodge. As normally occurred in Oman they didn’t stick with the menu nevertheless gave us a various of veg or non-veg, rice or paratha bread. We ended up with a surprisingly first fee Indian thali with dahl and a few vegetable curries. It solely worth 2 OMR (£three.75) for every of us along with light drinks.

Day 9 Ras Al Hadd – Sur (1 night time time)

Distance: 42km
Time: 40 minutes

We awoke early for the 5 am tour (it is also potential to do one at 9 pm) on the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, which we had booked only a few weeks upfront by e-mail (reservations are advisable). They ship a data out onto the seaside first to seek out the turtles, nevertheless sadly they couldn’t uncover any so we returned to our lodge dissatisfied. Not lower than we weren’t charged the 7 OMR (£13) fee. Winter isn’t the right time to see the turtles (extreme season is July to October), nevertheless you do have a chance of seeing only a few yr spherical.

After a nap and wander on the seaside, we headed to the shut by metropolis of Sur stopping on the fishing village of Al Ayjah for lunch and a stroll. It is also potential to go to the dhow boat-building yard shut by.

Al Ayjah fishing village in Sur, Oman

Al Ayjah fishing village in Sur

There wasn’t quite a bit to do throughout the afternoon, nevertheless at sunset we went for a stroll on the seaside the place a number of of native males have been participating in giant soccer video video games. We didn’t see a single native girl strolling wherever in Sur.

Trying again, we might have skipped the night time time in Sur and continued to Muscat.

The place to Hold in Sur

Sur Hotel was basically probably the most major place we stayed in Oman. Our small room had reasonably depressing decor, nonetheless it had all the usual companies and was very low-cost at 11.7 OMR (£22). It was good for one night time time.

The place to Eat in Sur

Vegetarian mezze at Sahari in Sur, Oman

Mezze at Sahari in Sur

Sahari has good Arabic mezze with a view of the lagoon between Al Ayjah and Sur. Service was sluggish and it’s dearer than most areas (you’re paying for the setting).

Our Indian dinner at Sea Sur restaurant subsequent to our lodge was first fee.

Day 10 Sur – Muscat (1 night time time)

Distance: 382km
Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

On our method from Sur to Muscat we stopped at Wadi Shab, one amongst Oman’s best factors of curiosity. It entails a 45 minute hike in a shocking canyon then a swim by a set of swimming swimming pools to achieve a small cave which accommodates a waterfall. We arrived at eight.20 am and have been the first people there, nevertheless this resulted in us getting terribly misplaced. We’ll be writing about this rapidly so that you just don’t make the similar mistake! I do recommend an early start, though, as a result of it’ll get very busy by late morning. It’s a ravishing place and properly worth a go to.

Wadi Shab, a highlight of an Oman self-drive trip

Wadi Shab

If in case you could have the time, you presumably can moreover stop at shut by Wadi Tiwi and the Bimmah Sinkhole.

In Muscat we stayed in a singular house, the diplomatic enclave of Qurum subsequent to the city’s best public seaside. It felt like a singular world from Mutrah with fancy villas, foreigners carrying skimpy clothes, a scarcity of low-cost retailers and consuming locations, and further Western chains like Costa Espresso and Pizza Particular.

We might have paid 5 OMR (£9.40) to utilize the pool of the extravagant Grand Hyatt hotel subsequent door, nevertheless late throughout the afternoon it wasn’t worth it, significantly as we’d have spent a fortune on meals and drinks. We went for a stroll alongside the seaside instead.

Qurum beach, Muscat, Oman

Qurum seaside, Muscat

The place to Hold in Muscat

Beach Bay Hotel was one among many nicest resorts we stayed in Oman, although it’s comfortable reasonably than explicit, and just a little bit dated. It’s just some minutes stroll from the seaside and the breakfast was my favourite in Oman with a giant variety of mezze. It’s significantly dearer than Mutrah Hotel the place we stayed beforehand, nonetheless it’s top-of-the-line value on this house. It’s useful for the Grand Mosque and airport.

The place to Eat in Muscat

We walked about 30 minutes alongside the seaside to the Oasis by the Sea procuring centre the place there are a selection of consuming locations. We had a tasty and low cost falafel sandwich at Arax Falafel.

Our Oman road journey resulted in Muscat with a flight out the following morning.

What to Pack for Oman

Everyone should costume modestly in Oman. For males this means t-shirts and prolonged trousers (although you’re going to get away with knee-length shorts). Women should cowl their shoulders and knees, and open air Muscat I usually coated my legs and arms. My customary outfit was linen trousers or jeans plus a protracted sleeve shirt. Or I’d placed on a t-shirt and take a cardigan to cowl up with after I acquired out of the automotive. You solely should cowl your hair on the Grand Mosque—I used a sarong.

Erin wearing a sarong as headscarf plus long sleev shirt and jeans at the Grand Mosque in Muscat

Erin carrying a sarong as headband plus prolonged sleeve shirt and jeans on the Grand Mosque in Muscat

For swimming in wadis, I wore capri leggings and a saggy t-shirt of Simon’s. For mountaineering the Balcony Stroll, I moreover wore a t-shirt and capris plus only a few long-sleeve layers for the chilly morning start.

A few completely different points to pack for Oman:

  • Universal travel plug adapter Oman makes use of the UK three pin plug.
  • Torch (flashlight) – For desert camps.
  • Bradt Oman Guidebook – The freshest and full data. We used the Kindle model.
  • Arabian Sands book – There aren’t many books set in Oman nevertheless this could be a good one. It’s set throughout the late 1940s when Englishman Wilfred Thesiger explores deep into the deserts of Oman and surrounding worldwide areas. He was one among many ultimate people to doc the Bedu way of life sooner than oil was discovered and most Bedu gave up their nomad strategies for the cities—a alternative you’ll understand everytime you find out how harsh life throughout the desert was.

For further particulars about Oman be taught my posts on What’s It Like to Travel in Oman and 11 Beautiful Places to Visit in Oman

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11 Lovely Locations to Go to in Oman

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Grand Mosque in Muscat, one of the best places to visit in Oman

Oman isn’t a rustic that many individuals take into account visiting, which is a disgrace because it has loads to supply and is among the most secure international locations within the Center East. In Oman you possibly can go to forts and deserts, mountains and seashores, mosques and souqs, and swim in gorgeous wadis.

These are our favorite locations to go to in Oman:

1) Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

The main prayer hall of the Grand Mosque in Muscat, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Oman

Most journeys to Oman start within the capital Muscat and excessive on everybody’s record is a go to to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It’s a shocking trendy mosque that lives as much as its title with house for 20,000 worshippers. The extravagant primary prayer corridor contains a large chandelier, intricately detailed blue mosaic tiles, and the second largest handmade Iranian rug on this planet—it took 600 ladies 4 years to weave.

The mosque’s grounds are a serene place to wander and benefit from the harmonious traces and archways of the varied buildings and exquisite gardens. On our go to a uncommon rain bathe turned the marble flooring right into a reflective pool.

The place to Keep: Beach Bay Hotel has comfy rooms, an ideal breakfast, and is barely a two-minute stroll from Qurum Seaside within the diplomatic space of Muscat. You need to use the Grand Hyatt’s pool subsequent door for a small price. 

2) Mutrah Corniche, Muscat

Mutrah Corniche in Muscat, Oman

Earlier than sundown head to the opposite facet of Muscat to the Mutrah Corniche. Be a part of the locals for a stroll alongside the stunning seafront the place white buildings and mosques are backed by rocky mountains and forts that glow golden within the late afternoon mild.

Close by you possibly can store within the slender lanes of the Mutrah Souq, one of many oldest markets in Oman, for frankincense and myrrh, ceramic incense burners, silver jewelry, pashminas, turbans, genie lamps, fluffy camels, and rather more.

The place to Keep: You might keep at Beach Bay Hotel (above), however Mutrah Hotel is inside strolling distance of Mutrah Corniche and is cheaper (however a bit extra fundamental). 

three) Jabrin Fort

Jabrin Fort (or Jabreen Castle), Oman

From Muscat we suggest taking a visit inland to the Nizwa space the place you possibly can discover forts, mountains, and historic villages.

Jabrin Fort (often known as Jabreen Citadel) dates again to 1675 and appears like a sand citadel amidst an oasis of date palms. You may wander by the labyrinth of rooms and see the defensive strategies used just like the homicide holes, gaps within the flooring the place they used to pour boiling date oil on enemies.

The place to Keep: Nizwa is an effective base. Our self-catering house at Al Karam Apartment Hotel was spacious, comfy, and reasonably priced. 

four) Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort, Oman

One other in style fort to go to is the 17th-century Nizwa Fort with its large round tower which you’ll be able to climb for views of the mosque, souq, distant rocky mountains, and the date palms that encompass this oasis metropolis.

Nizwa Fort has just lately been refurbished and there are actually historic objects on show like jewelry, instruments, and a timeline of the world’s historical past. You may as well watch ladies making crafts and baking bread over an open fireplace. Look out for the homicide holes right here too.

The place to Keep: We stayed at Al Karam Apartment Hotel—see above.

5) Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Jebel Akhdar means Inexperienced Mountain however you may surprise why as you ascend its slate gray and burnt orange sides, barren apart from just a few thorny dried up bushes. The inexperienced refers back to the villages of the Saiq Plateau, 2000m above sea stage, the place considerable rainfall permits the expansion of pomegranates, grapes, peaches, apricots, and roses for the rose water that’s utilized in Omani sweets and as fragrance. Spring is the perfect time to go to when the roses are in bloom and the terrace plantations are a vibrant inexperienced.

Jebel Akhdar is a straightforward day journey from Nizwa (and even Muscat), however you do want a 4WD to ascend the steep winding highway (we employed a driver on the police checkpoint). The views from the highest of the villages surrounded by jagged peaks are spectacular, and the chilly air is a reduction from the recent plains.

The place to Keep: We stayed at Al Karam Apartment Hotel, a 15-minute drive from the bottom of the mountain in Birkat al Mawz. Should you can afford it, the brand new Alila Jabal Akhdar excessive up within the mountains seems to be gorgeous. 

6) Misfat al Abryeen

Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman

A lot of the outdated villages in Oman have been deserted, however Misfat al Abryeen continues to be inhabited and is among the most picturesque in Oman. It’s a maze-like village of crumbling mud homes in slender passageways sloping down the mountainside. Beneath the village you possibly can comply with the falaj irrigation channels and stroll by the luxurious date and banana plantations—it’s shockingly inexperienced after the desert.

The place to Keep: We visited Misfat between Nizwa and Jebel Shams. For an attention-grabbing native expertise and home-cooked meals, you possibly can keep on the Misfah Old House guesthouse. 

7) Jebel Shams

The view on the Balcony Walk at Jebel Shams, one of the best things to do in Oman

It’s a protracted drive on steep, tough roads to the highest of Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest mountain, nevertheless it’s value it for the gorgeous views deep down into Wadi Ghul, generally known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia. It’s some of the lovely locations in Oman.

Our spotlight was the Balcony Stroll, a reasonably straightforward however dramatic 2.5-hour hike which winds across the cliffs midway up the rim of the canyon to the deserted village of As Sab. Tiny stone and dust homes perch precariously on the sting of the ravine beneath a ledge of rock—an insane place to stay.

The place to Keep: Jebel Shams Resort is the nicest of the 2 lodges on the prime of the mountain. We had an excellent view from our sundown chalet and it was handy for the perspective and Balcony Stroll.

eight) Wahiba Sands

Wahiba Sands, Oman

For the true desert expertise head to Wahiba Sands for rolling sand dunes, camel rides, and 4WD adventures. We spent an evening in a country goat-hair Bedouin tent on the foot of an enormous dune which we climbed for sundown and dawn. We watched camels wandering previous, drank tea by the hearth, and gazed on the sky lit up with stars. It was splendidly peaceable.

The place to Keep: Desert Retreat Camp was essentially the most attention-grabbing place we stayed in Oman. We favored the easy tents, wonderful Indian meals, and peaceable location. 

9) Wadi Bani Khalid

Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

One among our favorite issues about Oman had been the wadis, rocky ravines or dry riverbeds that solely include water at sure instances of the yr, however many have swimming pools you possibly can swim in.

Wadi Bani Khalid is a shocking oasis within the desert with crystal clear inexperienced water surrounded by date palms and rugged mountains. The swimming pools are large and swimming in them is so refreshing within the desert warmth. It’s the proper place for a calming afternoon.

The place to Keep: We visited Wadi Bani Khalid on our method from Wahiba Sands to Sur. The Oriental Nights Rest House is among the nearest lodges if you wish to keep close by.

10) Sur

Sur, Oman

At Sur the desert meets the ocean. You’ll discover lengthy empty seashores, the picturesque fishing village of Al Ayjah, a dhow boat constructing yard, and simply north, the turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz. (Sadly there have been no turtles on the seashore after we visited for the 5 am tour).

The place to Keep: To go to the turtle reserve we stayed on the Ras Al Hadd Guest House (less expensive than the reserve itself) after which moved to the essential Sur Hotel within the centre of Sur. Each had been cheap and handy.  

11) Wadi Shab

Wadi Shab, one of the best things to do in Oman

Whereas Wadi Bani Khalid is all about rest, Wadi Shab is about journey. You’re taking a ship throughout the river, hike for 45 minutes by a shocking valley, then swim by a sequence of swimming pools to succeed in a cave which incorporates a waterfall. It’s attractive and top-of-the-line issues to do in Oman.

The place to Keep: We visited Wadi Shab on our method from Sur to Muscat. The Sama Wadi Shab Resort is the closest lodge to the wadi. 

Locations to Go to in Oman Map

I’ll be writing an in depth Oman journey itinerary of our 10 day journey quickly with extra sensible particulars and you may also learn our publish on what’s it like to travel in Oman.

What do you assume are essentially the most lovely locations to go to in Oman? Depart a remark under as I do know we missed a lot of Oman’s sights.



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OmanRoad Trip

What’s it Wish to Journey in Oman?

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Nizwa Fort, Oman

I needed Oman to be unique. To not really feel like wherever else we’d been earlier than (a problem after eight years on the street). Possibly not fairly slap-you-in-the-face India completely different, however pleasantly bewildering Japan completely different.

After we arrived at Muscat airport it did really feel unfamiliar at first. The locals put on ankle-length robes—white dishdasha with turbans for males and black abaya for ladies. The toilet featured squat bogs and was a busy mess of girls chattering in Arabic.

Then we walked into the arrival’s corridor and had been greeted with a Costa espresso and WH Smiths, two British chains that we hardly ever see exterior the UK.

Oman is a contemporary, rich nation. It could have solely gained its wealth with oil cash within the 1970s and been closed to vacationers till the 1980s, however in Muscat now you can discover Pizza Hut and Starbucks and supermarkets stocked with all our favorite British candies, alongside the shiny mosques, bustling souqs, and easy Indian cafes.

I used to be a little bit dissatisfied by this at first. Muscat felt so simple and probably not the unique vacation spot I’d hoped for. Simon, then again, took consolation within the acquainted and fortunately gorged on baggage of Minstrels and Toffee Crisp Bites, treats we hadn’t had for a yr.

Regardless of its modernisation, Oman isn’t all chain eating places and buying malls, and we discovered that the additional away from the cities we travelled, when Starbucks was changed by primary espresso retailers and goats grazed by the aspect of the street, the extra we loved it.

Erin and Simon at Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Us at Jebel Akhdar

I discover Oman tougher to explain than different locations we’ve visited, maybe as a result of we struggled to get beneath its pores and skin on a brief journey, maybe as a result of it has fewer apparent sights than extra standard locations. I’ve no snappy reply to the query of what Oman was like, however listed below are our impressions after a 10-day street journey across the north of the nation.

The place is Oman?

The Sultanate of Oman isn’t a well known vacationer vacation spot so that you is likely to be questioning the place precisely it’s. Oman is positioned on the Arabian Peninsula and shares borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest.

It’s Simple and Secure

We discovered Oman a straightforward nation to journey in, however you do want a automotive as public transport is restricted. Many individuals converse English; the roads are usually quiet, tarmacked, and in good situation; and crime charges are very low. We felt completely protected and by no means apprehensive about theft or scams or skilled any problem. Oman is among the most secure international locations to journey within the Center East.

Muscat just isn’t Dubai

Mutrah Corniche in Muscat, Oman

Mutrah Corniche in Muscat

Regardless of the massive highways and buying malls, Muscat is a low key capital with not one of the glitz or skyscrapers of neighbouring Dubai. Town may be very unfold out between the jagged mountains and the ocean. The flamboyant homes, upmarket eating places, and lengthy stretch of seaside of the diplomatic space Qurum really feel very completely different from a budget Indian eating places, busy buying streets, and medieval forts alongside the corniche of Mutrah. There aren’t many main sights however the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque does stay as much as its identify.

Grand Mosque Muscat in the rain

The Grand Mosque in Muscat

Individuals

Oman is a Muslim nation so that you’ll see many mosques, hear the decision to prayer 5 occasions a day (anticipate to be woken at daybreak), and received’t discover alcohol in most eating places and retailers. 46% of the four.5 million inhabitants are expatriates, primarily from the Indian Subcontinent.

We discovered the folks pleasant however pretty reserved, particularly the ladies who didn’t normally acknowledge us, whereas males in villages and on hikes would say good day. I’m wondering if this is able to have been completely different if I had been travelling alone.

Oman is an absolute monarchy. Sultan Qaboos bin Mentioned al Mentioned has been ruling the nation since 1970—the third-longest present reigning monarch on this planet. He rose to energy after overthrowing his father and proceeded to finish Oman’s isolation and make large modifications to modernise and develop the nation by constructing faculties, hospitals, ports and a street and telecommunications community.

Panorama and Cities

Oman is 82% desert and we skilled it in lots of varieties from the rolling dunes of Wahiba Sands to the rocky barren mountains round Nizwa and the sandy seashores of Sur. Goats, camels and donkeys might be seen wandering by the aspect of the street in additional rural areas.

Wahiba Sands, Oman

Wahiba Sands

Many of the cities are pretty trendy and never notably enticing. There are a lot of previous mud hut villages you may go to, however most have been deserted and are in ruins. Misfat Al Abriyeen is among the few that’s nonetheless inhabited.

Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman

Misfat Al Abriyeen village

I beloved the matter-of-fact store indicators in Oman proclaiming their objective like “promote meals stuffs”.

In case you are a fan of forts, you’ll love Oman as each city has one among these sandcastle-like buildings, many lots of of years previous.

Certainly one of our favorite issues about Oman was the oases that break up the bleakness of the desert with patches of vibrant inexperienced date palms.

Wadi Shab, Oman

Wadi Shab

A number of the oases are present in wadis—dry ravines which generally include wonderful swimming holes of emerald water.

Meals

Oman doesn’t have a powerful meals tradition and conventional Omani meals principally consists of meat and rice. Regardless of this, it’s simple to be vegetarian as most eating places serve both Indian meals, the place there may be all the time dahl and vegetable curries, or Arabic/Turkish meals with hummus, salads, flatbread and different mezze on supply.

Vegetarian Indian thali at Welcome Restaurant in Mutrah, Muscat

Vegetarian Indian thali at Welcome Restaurant in Mutrah, Muscat

We had been proud of the easy meals we ate, nevertheless it isn’t a foodie vacation spot, and there aren’t many stand-out eating places. The commonest place to eat is a primary espresso store serving fast-food dishes with aspirational menus—they normally didn’t have every little thing on the menu however had been completely satisfied to counsel vegetarian choices for us.

Surprisingly Oman does have improbable supermarkets. We beloved Lulu Hypermarket and once we had an apartment in Nizwa we self-catered from the ready meals part with dahl, curries, salads, hummus, bread and a lot extra. It was higher and cheaper than most eating places.

One culinary enjoyment of Oman is dates, that are grown there. They’re low-cost and scrumptious and served with conventional Omani espresso in tiny cups.

It’s Fairly Costly

Oman has made the aware choice to focus on the upper finish journey market fairly than backpackers. We discovered lodging notably costly, particularly contemplating in every single place we stayed was purposeful fairly than particular. Essentially the most fascinating place we stayed was the easy however atmospheric Desert Retreat Camp in Wahiba Sands.

The bedouin tents at Desert Retreat Camp, Oman

The bedouin tents at Desert Retreat Camp

Some attractive new motels are opening up as tourism will increase, just like the Alila Jabal Akhdar, however you need to pay lots of of kilos an evening for any fashion. 

We spent £134 ($173/€145) a day for 2 folks with 51% of our price range on lodging. We discovered meals cheap exterior motels and it price us lower than £14 a day (not together with the meals that had been included in two of our motels), petrol is lower than 40p a litre, and our favorite actions—hikes and wadis—had been free.

The most affordable method to journey Oman could be to wild camp without cost as it’s authorized in many of the nation.

It’s Not Busy However Tourism is Rising

It’s simple to get off the crushed monitor in Oman. We visited in excessive season and travelled the most typical vacationer route, however there have been nonetheless solely a handful of overseas vacationers on the main sights—normally older Europeans (British, French, German, Italians) travelling as a pair with a information/driver or in small tour teams. There was just one different visitor at our desert camp and we had two of the most well-liked hikes within the nation to ourselves by beginning at eight am. When you stray just a bit from the favored sights you’ll be the one foreigner round.

Tourism in Oman is rising, although, so now could be the time to go to.

What to Put on in Oman

Locals costume modestly and it’s necessary that guests do too—there’s no must cowl your hair (besides ladies when visiting mosques), however each women and men ought to cowl their shoulders and knees, and in additional conservative areas I most popular to cowl my legs and arms too. I normally wore linen trousers or denims and a free lengthy sleeve shirt.

Erin taking photos at Jebel Shams

Erin taking photographs at Jebel Shams

The climate in Oman in December was excellent—about 25ºC and sunny throughout the day, with cooler nights. You do want heat garments if you’re going up the mountains—the nights on Jebel Shams had been near freezing.

Do We Suggest Visiting Oman?

Sure, we positively suggest visiting Oman. If it’s your first go to to the Center East, I might in all probability suggest Jordan as an alternative because it has extra main sights and higher meals. However if you’re seeking to get off the crushed monitor in a protected nation Oman is a superb alternative. In case you are a fan of desert, forts, wild tenting, and adventurous 4WD trails, Oman could be excellent.

I’ll be writing heaps extra about Oman quickly together with our street journey itinerary. Depart a remark under when you have any questions.



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