Oman is not a well-known travel destination: the reaction to the mention of this Middle Eastern country is a mix of confusion over where it is, and questions about why anyone would want to visit. There are several reasons, actually. Here are the Favourite 5.
1. The City of Muscat
This is not your typical Middle Eastern capital city. There are few high rises and nearly all buildings reflect a unique blend of tradition and modernity. You can see this firsthand with the Al Alam Palace, otherwise known as “the flag palace,” which is one of the many homes of the ruling Sultan.
Built in the 1970s, the palace has a futuristic vibe and is a perfect example of modern and contemporary Islamic architecture — quite a contrast to other, more stately palaces you’ll find in other Middle Eastern capitals.
2. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The only mosque in Oman open to non-Muslims, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is also one of the largest and most impressive structures in the region.
Built in 2001 and named in honour of Oman’s present ruler, it includes the world’s second largest chandelier, which is decorated with more than 600,000 Swarovski crystals. Its central minaret, pristine, white prayer halls, blue frescoes, and mosaic tiles make it an absolutely stunning — and must-see — stop while in Muscat.
3. The World of Wadis
Oman’s mountains are filled with wadis, which are riverbeds found in deep and narrow gorges.
These riverbeds are fed by natural springs which result in lush oasis-like areas with turquoise water rock pools and waterfalls perfect for swimming.
Places like Wadi Bani Khalid are also ideal for hiking and canyoning.
4. The Wahiba Sands Desert
Spanning 4,000 square miles of reddish gold sand with towering dunes over 400ft, Wahiba Sands desert is one of the most beautiful deserts in the Middle East.
Bedouin tribes can still be found here and you will likely be invited for some kahwa, or coffee flavoured with cardamom, as you make your way across the dunes for spectacular star-gazing or high-adrenaline dune-bashing.
Let’s face it: when you think of turtles, you don’t necessarily imagine them living in the Middle East. However, Ras al Jinz, located in the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula, happens to be a nesting site of the endangered green turtle. There, you can experience first-hand the nesting process of these amazing sea creatures without disrupting their natural process.
Article and Photos via our Friends and Affiliate, G Adventures
Written by Sofia Montezo