The Sultanate of Oman is the oldest continuously independent state in the Arab world. The nation has the Arabian Sea on its southeast and the Gulf of Oman on its northeast. In this post, we will look at the tourist places in Oman, whether Oman is expensive, and is Oman worth visiting.
The key highlights of the tourist places in Oman are:
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Bahla Fort
- Jebel Shams
- Ad Dimaniyat islands
- Wadi Bani Khalid
In this post, we look at the answers to:
- Where is Oman?
- What are the tourist places in Oman?
- Is Oman expensive?
- Is Oman worth visiting?
Oman attracted 3.1 million visitors in 2017 and was named the Best City To Visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet. The nation is known for its nature-based activities, historical and cultural landmarks, as well as several World Heritage Sites. Let’s dive in!
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Where is Oman?
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the Southeastern Coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman is derived from Pliny The Elder’s, Omana, and Ptolemy’s, Omanon. The country’s climate is hot and dry n the desert interiors while it is humid along its coastline.
The capital city of Oman is Muscat. Compared to Dubai, the city of Muscat is a breath of fresh air. In this city, there are no flashy cars or buildings. Interestingly, Muscat’s old walls and gates still stand today.
Where to Stay in Muscat?
There are 6 main areas to consider on your next trip. Whether your trip is with family or for business, check out The Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In Muscat.
What are the Best Hotels in Oman?
The best hotels in Oman are:
If you are looking to relax, this is the place to be. This hotel is located on Shatti Al-Qurum beachfront. The hotel boasts 279 rooms and suites. All rooms come with magnificent views of the ocean.
This resort is located along the Musandam Peninsula, where rugged mountains meet the emerald green sea. This resort offers a range of villas, suites, and beachfront villas each with its private pool.
This luxury tented accommodation is located in the Wadi Al Abyad. The resort has 50 tents and spreads over 17 acres. Some of the outdoor activities here include dune bashing, visit a camel farm, or explore a sea cave.
What are the Tourist Places in Oman?
Oman is home to many tourist spots. In this post, we will look at the nine top places to visit in Oman. Times Travel recently published an article for first-time visitors to Oman. To attract tourists, Oman plans to build its own ‘Eiffel Tower.
Oman seeks to have an iconic landmark on its own as its Gulf neighbors each have their landmarks. Dubai has Burj Khalifa, Riyadh has Kingdom Center and Bahrain has the World Trade Center. The first tourist place in Oman which we will look at is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
This is the main mosque in Muscat. The mosque’s prayer carpet is the highlight. The carpet combines Persian Tabriz, Isfahan, and Kashan designs. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque had the world’s first highest chandelier until it was overtaken by Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque in Dubai. The chandelier is at the center of the men’s prayer hall.
The second in our tourist places in Oman is Bahla Fort. Bahla Fort is Oman’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site which was listed in 1987. The Banu Nabhani Dynasty built this fort between the 12th and 15th centuries. This fort is built entirely from mud brick and straws.
The tribespeople were known for controlling the trade in frankincense. Frankincense continues to be one of the most sought-after souvenirs in Oman and is a must-buy when in the Sultanate.
There are several stories on legends and paranormal activity reported at this fort. A story is that a wizard was stoned to death 1400 years ago. The fort was built over his grave to prevent his grave from turning into a shrine.
This fort is located about 113 miles from Muscat, which is easily a 2-hour drive. The restoration works were always interrupted by unforeseen forces which led to claims that this fort was haunted. This fort has been featured in Times Travel and Financial Times.
The Mountain of Sun, Jebel Shams is Oman’s Grand Canyon. Jebel Shams is the highest mountain in Oman and is a famous sightseeing spot. Jebel Shams is located 150 miles from Muscat.
This site has been featured in CNN Travel, National Geographic UK, and South China Morning Post. Jebel Shams is located 146 miles from Muscat which is roughly a 3.5-hour drive from the city.
Nizwa Fort is one of the largest forts in Oman. The structure was built in the 12th century. This fort kept the city safe for centuries. The unique feature is that it is built above an underground stream. Another highlight is its imposing circular tower.
Nizwa Fort is located 98 miles from Muscat which is about 1.5 hours drive from the city.
Do you know that there this fort is an excellent example of architectural deception?
This is due to the fact that the fort was constructed with a variety of maze of rooms and false doors. As you walk around the fort’s secret passageways and narrow staircases, you will see doors with holes on them. It was from these holes that burning oil or hot date syrup was poured onto intruders.
Hawiyyat Najm or “the deep well of the falling star”, is what the locals believe to be Bimmah Sinkhole. A collapse on the surface area led to the find of this sinkhole. The local belief is that this sinkhole was by a falling star.
Muttrah Souq is the next on our list of tourist places in Oman. Souq is the Arabic term for Bazaar. This place is one of the oldest marketplaces in Muscat and is constantly buzzing with activity. This marketplace is on Lonely Planet, Forbes, CNN Travel, and Times of Oman.
Do you know that the Arabic name for Muttrah Souq is Al-Dhalam?
Al-Dhalam means darkness. Hence, the other name for this market is the Market of Darkness. The term came about because of the many lanes and alleys which blocked out the sun rays. Visitors needed a lamp to know the way they were going.
Ad Dimaniyat Islands
This group of islands is part of a protected nature reserve. This nature reserve is located about 44 miles from Muscat. There are nine islands, each home to coral reefs and sea turtles.
Visitors to this island need to obtain approval from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA). The rate for foreigners is OMR 10 ($ 26) for adults to camp and dive at the reserve. This place is in National Geographic and The Telegraph UK.
Khor Rori is an estuary located about 650 miles from Muscat which is approximately a ten-hour drive. This place is a famous archaeological site, Sumhuram.
Sumhuram was an outpost for the Kingdom of Hadhramaut at the end of the first century. Inscriptions state that this place was a royal initiative. Hadrami immigrants settled here and to control the frankincense trade.
This site is on Indian Express, South China Morning Post, and Slate Magazine.
Do you know this site has a Mormon connection?
Mormons believe that Khor Rori is “The Land of the Bountiful” where Nephi stayed during his travels from Jerusalem.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is a province about 150 miles from Muscat which is a 2.5-hour drive. This wadi is one of the popular wadis among tourists to Oman. According to Oman News Agency, Wadi Bani Khalid recorded 220,000 visits in the year 2019.
The rise in tourists could be because Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most beautiful wadis in Oman. Wadi Bani Khalid is an all-year destination as it has year-long interconnected pools and waterfalls. This is a pleasant respite from the city. This place is in Buro, Los Angeles Times, and Daily Hive.
Is Oman Expensive?
The average cost per person is about $195. Oman is not a “budget” destination as the costs for traveling and accommodation could eat into your budget. However, food is cheap, depending on the location.
However, you can travel to Oman on a budget as this couple did.
Is Oman Worth Visiting?
Yes! Oman is one of the best places to visit because:-
- Oman is still off the tourist radar which means fewer crowds. This means having the tourist sites all to yourself or with minimum tourists.
- Omani’s are famous for their hospitality and are friendly people.
- Oman has some of the best beaches which are worth visiting.
- Oman is home to the highest mountain range in the Eastern Peninsula, the Al-Hajar Mountains. These mountains were on Lonely Planet, National Geographic UK, and Hong Kong Tatler.
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