3 things to know about Oman
- Oman is the perfect travel destination for landscape lovers. You can rarely find destinations that got it all. Rough Mountains, white beaches, red deserts, and unique Wadis.
- Oman is a good place to discover the diverse Islamic culture because of his welcoming people that value tradition (and are open to answer any question you could have to learn more about this culture).
- Oman is one of the sparsely populated countries in the world. If you want to find a quiet place this is the place to go.
Discover Oman – The Land of 1001 Nights
Before I started my new job at Evaneos, I just knew little about Oman. As part of this new job, I got the chance to research this country. And it was only at that moment that I started to realize what an interesting country I was working on.
Oman is, in fact, one of the last remaining Sultanates in this world, and Qaboos bin Said al Said is currently the longest-ruling monarch in the Middle East. The country has also a rich history as a trade empire, which at its peak spread from Iran down to Zanzibar. The 70th biggest country in the world is situated right next to UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. However, this vast country is only populated by 4.5 million, which makes it great for people like me that enjoy the sound of silence. During my research,
A few weeks later I found myself in the newly built airport in Muscat. One of the Evaneos local agents, Ahmed, picked us up and showed us around for the next 3 days. For the remaining 6 days, we had numerous business meetings in Muscat that we needed to attend. That is why this report will only provide a glimpse of what Oman has to offer. Let’s now discover what makes Oman such a great place to visit.
Best season to discover Oman
We decided to visit our agents in September because the high season in Oman goes from October to March. This is due to the heat in the summer months, which can be quite unbearable, especially for us, European visitors.
In the winter months, however, this place seems to be perfect. It is a country of sunshine with winter temperatures of 30 degrees and almost no rain. During our trip, it was the end of summer and we mostly experienced temperatures around 40 degrees. Thus, if you are sensitive to high temperatures I would advise you to plan your visit for the winter months.
All landscapes that you can imagine
The characteristic that amazed me the most in Oman, is the diverse and scenic landscapes that this country has to offer. When you arrive by plane you already get a sneak peek of the mountain ranges that meet the sea. But that is only the beginning…
Mountains & Canyon
We arrived in Muscat, located by the sea, and slowly made our way into the Al Hajal mountain ranges.
The scenic mountain road is a must-do for all 4×4 Drive enthusiasts. In the end, this adventurous gravel road will lead you to the Jebel Shams canyons. The perfect place to enjoy a beautiful orange-red sunset.
In this harsh environment, only a few people decided to live, so you rarely see anybody, which enables you to soak in this place just by yourself.
The next day we had the chance to visit our first Wadi, Wadi Bani Khalid. Wadis are valleys that store water and often present the only location where you can find it due to the lack of rain.
These Wadis are often hidden between mountains and the water that they supply transforms the usual dry surrounding into a vivid green oasis. Palm trees, flowers, and reed seem surreal in this harsh environment.
The water will provide the perfect refreshment during a hot day and Oman is one of the rare places where you can find those.
Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that it is an Islamic country, so women have to wear a swimsuit and if possible shorts to cover their skin as much as possible. Swimming in these surreal surroundings was definitely the highlight of this trip.
There are various deserts in Oman and it is a great destination to see them.
Our local friend Ahmed recommended we see the Wahiba Sands desert. This 12 500 square kilometer big desert is one of the most scenic ones in Oman due to the red color and up to 100-meter high sand dunes.
Here again, we were alone, and after an exhausting climb to the top of the sand dune, we enjoyed another beautiful sunset. Sand dunes as far you can see with no buildings to spoil the view.
If you enjoy beautiful, white beaches to tan and swim in, Oman is also the perfect place for you. Oman has 3165 km of coastline, enough to find your own little beach. We chose one close to the village of Fins and I was honestly amazed by it.
White sand that you can easily compare with one of the White Sunday islands in Australia. In combination with the clear turquoise water, the little cliffs to one side, and the mountains on the other it was just an unbelievable view. This day, we jumped in for a quick swim in the perfect temperature water and after some minutes some sea turtle stopped by to say hello.
The easy encounter with those beautiful animals can be explained by the fact that Oman is actually one of the biggest breeding grounds for sea turtles. Approximately 20 000 turtles annually find their way, between April and August to the Oman coastline to lay their eggs.
As you can see, Oman clearly has it all for landscape lovers that want to experience diverse sceneries in one country.
I mean, who doesn’t like goats?! They are just awesome. One time in Oman I even saw one on a tree.
Awesome creatures and there are plenty that walks around everywhere.
So if you like goats Oman is the place to be!
After living in Istanbul I was already aware of the great hospitality of Muslims, however, it was great to see the same level of hospitality as in Turkey.
People are kind, respectful and are happy to share information about their culture and traditions. Furthermore, we were constantly welcomed with dates and tea wherever we went. We were also invited for lunch on numerous occasions, even though we insisted that we can pay for ourselves.
I would say that it was quite easy to approach them, even in English, but having a local accompanying you definitely help as well.
Rich culture & tradition
I have been to a few countries and tradition, as well as culture, is always something that countries promote. But most of the time when you are visiting a new country you find yourself in a tourist trap.
Oman was very refreshing in this way. In this rapidly changing world, they managed to preserve some parts of their culture and tradition.
The majority of Omani men for example still wear the traditional outfit, a thawb, and a Kuma or Massar. Oman also has an impressive level of craftsmanship, from carpets to daggers to the last place in the Middle East where the last dhows (traditional wooden boats) are crafted. There are also numerous souks (bazaars) and markets where you can find this craftsmanship.
This presence of tradition and culture makes it easier to get a richer experience while traveling.
Discover Omani cuisine
In those mentioned souks you will also find spices from all around the world, a constant reminder of the rich trading history the country had. The easy access to various spices as well as the influence of people from other countries created a delicious cuisine.
No matter where you will go or where you will stay, you can be sure to get delicious food in great quantity. Shakshouka (eggs in sauce), Quroos (Omani pancakes), and Halwa (date jelly) were just a few of the delicious delights we enjoyed.
Last but not least, something which is a big part of the Omani tradition: the dates. Don’t leave without having tried them!
As mentioned earlier, I only had the chance to travel to the North of Oman so this report is only a glimpse of the country. On our trip, we met numerous Omanis and they were all pretty amazed by the beauty of the South of the country, so I will definitely go back in the near future to extend this report.
Until then I would like to get your feedback. Were you ever in Oman? Do you have anything to add? Do you have a different opinion? Or did you enjoy reading this article? Then please let me know, I would love to get your feedback.