Rising from the desert, Oman exemplifies modern Arabia, while still retaining deep-rooted connections to its Bedouin heritage. From centuries-old traditions of frankincense trading, silver crafting and fishing to modern oil production, the Omani people honour the past while embracing the future.
The nation’s reverence for their Sultan and the Islamic religion is evident throughout the country in places like Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the glistening capital city of Muscat. One of the best places to visit in Oman, its striking features includes a 14-metre tall chandelier sparkling with Swarovski crystals, and an immense, hand-woven prayer carpet.
Excursions in Oman offer the chance to go 4 x 4 off-roading on sand dunes, watch professional camel races or join Bedouin guides for camel treks across the A'Sharqiyah Sands, also known as Wahiba Sands. Visitors can enjoy scuba diving in the Daymaniyat Islands, a nature reserve 18 km off the shores of Barka on Oman’s northern coast. In the Al Hamra district, you can explore the 2 million-year-old Al Hoota Cave nestled at the foot of Jabal Shams Mountain, while 80 km west of Muscat, Barka is known for its halwa confection shops and a lively fish market.
Nicknamed ‘the Jewel of Arabia’, the capital city Muscat, overlooks the Gulf of Oman, framed by the towering Al Hajar Mountains and the caramel-coloured desert of the Wahiba Sands. Its Old Town’s treasures include the elegant Al Alam Palace, flanked by the 16th-century Portuguese forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani. One of the most popular things to do is stroll along the Mutrah Corniche while enjoying the view of wooden dhow boats bobbing offshore. A day out at Qurum takes in one of the most popular beaches in Oman, stretching between the Intercontinental® and Crowne Plaza® hotels.
The bustling Mutrah Souq is the place for shopping. You’ll find the famous Omani frankincense and dates here. Dining in Muscat is a treat – you can savour rich curries and sizzling seafood, complemented by aromatic, cinnamon and cardamom-spiced coffee.
When visiting Oman, guests are expected to abide by cultural norms. These include dressing conservatively in public – covering up from the shoulders to the knees and wearing loose-fitting, unrevealing clothing. Women must cover their hair at religious sites. Alcohol is not a part of Omani society, but many international hotels and resorts have licenses allowing its sale and consumption.