After one month of traveling I can say that Oman has one of the friendliest, hospitable people and a beautiful places with many hidden oases I’ve ever experienced until now. A country which developed a lot since the current, beloved, Sultan Qaboos is leading the country, since 1970. Therefore there were barely any facilities at all. These days Oman is a rich country which -still- looks a kind of undiscovered for the tourism market. Tourists do visit Oman, but mainly one or a couple days by hopping off the cruise ship. If you want to go on a trip to a country which still looks undiscovered, but developed and with people who would love to welcome you: Welcome, to the Sultanate of Oman.
See here the highlights of Oman and what you definately should do or visit when coming here.
#1 Wadi Tiwi & Wadi Shab
An oasis hidden in between the mountains. Both beautiful wadi’s (litterally translated: valley) where you can go for a swim. Although Wadi Shab is the most know wadi, Wadi Tiwi offers you a beautiful waterfall on the top of the mountain. What Wadi Tiwi marks off is that Wadi Shab has a steep ride to the top through narrow streets. It requieres a 4 wheel drive, and will take you to some isolated villages. After the rain it’s impossible to go to the top of the mountain by car, because rocks, water and sand will be blocking the roads. Unfortunately I didn’t see the top beacause of that, but the narrow street up to the village was a memorable ride.
Wadi Shab is the more known wadi, which is located a few kilometres further. An easy accesable wadi and a must to visit. A suprising, canvas-like place, hidden between the deserted mountains. Go for a swim in the crystal clear water. What most tourist don’t know about is the waterfall in a cave at the end of the wadi. It takes some time to get there, so make sure you’ll be there on time. After some easy hiking and some swimming through a narrow gap takes you to the cave, where you can climb up the waterfall using the rope, which is attached steady.
#2 Sleeping at a locals home
Definately a must if you truly want to experience the hospitality of the Omani people. Thanks to them I saw mainly all the places which I wanted to visit in Oman, without taking expensive tours through tourist companies. And, the locals can show you the hidden places, where no tourists come at all. Do something back to show your graditude, by paying for their dinner or bring a small present from your home country, for example. Initially they will not accept it, but it’s a kinda code of conduct to refuse it the first two times. They will definately appreciate if you’ll do something back for them. The hospitality is something which I haven’t experienced in our Western world, and this is definately something we can learn from in my opinion.
#3 Abandoned and hidden beaches
Usually in many countries the most beautiful beaches are packed by resorts and restaurants. In Oman most of them are still deserted and undiscovered. The most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in Oman. Especially because at most of them you can have a total beach just for yourself or together with your beloved ones.
Read here more about The Abandoned and Hidden Beaches of Oman
#4 Jebel Akhdar
Adjacent to the picturesque village are the typical terasses on the top of the mountain located, which bloom in the Summer season. But whether it’s the Summer season or not, around the terrasses you can hike through the villages and see the terrasses from different side. The hike will take you through the fields and traditional waterpipes. In the Winter the locals of the village mainly leave their houses to go down the mountain, where the temperature is more pleasent and they own a second house. Some villagers stay behind and will be happy to see some living creatures.
#5 Jebel Shams & Jebel Samhan
The States have the Grand Canyon, Oman has Jebels Shams and Jebel Samhan. Go to the top of the mountain for a breathtaking view and take some pictures while sitting on the edge of the mountains. But be careful ;). Jebel Shams is at the country side a couple of hours from Muscat, Jebel Samhan in the South and has a view over the sea. But if you take enough time to visit both sides of Oman it’s definately worth visiting both of the mountains.
#6 Camping in the desert and seeing sunset
Go to the desert to see the red sun setting behind the red sand dunes. It’s a beautiful sight where you can make some panoramical pictures. Set up a campfire after the sunset and barbecue your own taken food. Wake up in the early morning to see how the sun rises.
Go on a Friday to see how Omani’s get together to race in the sand dunes with their cars and quads. And maybe join them if you dare? 😉 Or challange them to catch up on the flat areas. It’s a nice show to see. The desert is not just a big sandy place ;).
#7 Wadi Beni Khalid
An easy accessible wadi, which is loved by locals in the weekend. Many tours are organised to this wadi, although, it’s still not crowded. You can go for a swim at the beginning of the wadi, but it’s worth to hike a bit for a more beautiful view and a to go for a nice swim. Go a bit further and you can visit the cave a bit up to the wadi. Bring your flaslight, because inside it’s pitch dark. It needs a bit of crawling to come to the suprising part: a hot river which flows in the cave, which causes a natural sauna.
#8 Grand Mosque Sultan Qaboos in Muscat
Don’t leave Muscat before visiting this mosque, an absolute must! The biggest mosque in Oman and is mainly white on the outside. The carpet inside the mosque consists of 1 piece and took 4 years to produce it by hand. The chandelier was made of Swarovski cristals and has the height of 14 metres. And impressive piece of art work.
#9 Playing with the local animals
Camels, goats, donkeys, turtles and dolpins. Of bunch of these animals you can meet everywhere throughout the country.
Camels are like the pigeons of Oman. The locals frequently get frustrated by them, while they just cruise around eveywhere they like. Even on the highway, whether you drive with a high speed or with a big truck, these animals don’t worry at all. They won’t make way for you. Stroke them, play with them, take pictures with them, you can do it all! I experienced them as very friendly, calm and humble and made a whole photoshoot with those beautiful creatures. I can’t get enough of them!
Goats you’ll see everywhere. Take some bread of dades with you and you can make them do funny tricks. Make them stand up on two feet while they rise for the candy and make sure you take the picture at the right moment.
Unfortunately I haven’t seen any turtles at all, most likely it’s very common you’ll see them while snorkeling in the sea.
Last, but definately not least, was swimming with wild dolphins! To me it was a highlight in my life! In some bays of Oman many dolphins come to eat and play there. Probably they have their home base and briefly leave it. While swimming with them they swum with their belly up underneath me to check out what kind of creature I was. Sometimes with four of them at the same time. The water wasn’t that clear, but around me I heared them making their whistles and clicking and suddenly they circled around me a couple of times. Above the surface I saw them comeing up to breathe and sometimes to make a fancy jump. I’ll never forget these moments.
#10 Visiting abandoned villages
Rent a car to visit abandoned and authentic villages. Tour organisations also organize these kind of trips, but it’s way cheaper to rent a car and go discover it by yourself. One of the most beautiful villages I’ve been in Oman is definately Misfat al Abriyeen. A small village which is build in the mountains. With it’s fields and typical construction makes this village a picturesque place for a nice hike.
In the South you can visit Mirbat. The village looks kinda abandoned, but most ruinously houses are still inhabited. This is actually what gives this village it’s charm. Especially the traditional doors will never lose its beauty.
#11 Souk in Muscat
Visit the Souk in the evening while many Omani families spend their evening to have a traditional karak tea of do some shopping. Take some pictures of the locals, some would even ask you to take a selfie with them. But be cousias by taking pictures of women without asking. Buy the famous Omani frankincense, which mainly is originating from the South of Oman. A typical souvernir to take home, which, as they say, has many health benefits and is, until now, pretty rare in our Western world, especially the pure form of it.
More pictures of Oman and other destinations, click here!
11 highlights of oman