A collection of my best photos of Oman that will inspire you to travel there someday.
Oman: a name so exotic and inviting, yet strangely unknown to many. At least I knew close to nothing about it before my recent trip there with my husband and our 2-year-old daughter.
We spent most of Christmas and New Year’s traversing the country’s northern region — from the sprawling capital of Muscat to the massive sand dunes of Wahiba Sands, continuing onto the picturesque fishing town of Sur before visiting the spectacular Wadis along the coast. What we found was a humble nation packed full of outstanding natural beauty that’s yet to be discovered by mass tourism.
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Oman: A Spectacular Travel Destination
Poised on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the country shares borders with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen — but it’s distinctively a world of its own. The country has an embracing society that warmly welcomes visitors; the people are incredibly friendly. Its robust infrastructure also makes exploring its treasure trove of desert, lush green oases and long coastlines very easy and pleasant.
Oman’s economy has developed at lightning speed thanks to its oil wealth — but unlike neighboring UAE, it has successfully retained its rich heritage, Bedouin traditions, strong sense of identity and pride. Since taking to the throne in 1970, Sultan Qaboos has placed an emphasis on preserving their culture while moving forward with modern times.
As such, traveling Oman gave us a rare chance to experience the Arab kingdom without the distorting lens of excessive wealth and modernization. In the face of modernity, Oman’s sleepy fishing towns, spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts remain at the heart of the Omani spirit.
This is a vast desert sprawling across the northern part of Oman, just a two-hour drive from Muscat. Also known as Sharqiya Sands, the desert covers a massive area of 12,500 square kilometers (4,800 sq miles). The desert has been of scientific interest since a 1986 expedition by the Royal Geographical Society for the diversity of the terrain, the flora and fauna.
Expect to find sand dunes as high as 100 meters and (overly) luxurious desert camps in the heart of the desert. There’s even a well-paved road that brings you right next to the massive dunes, which makes them very accessible even for those without a 4×4. All of the desert camps here offer 4 x 4 tours that bring you on a thrilling ride up and down the dunes.
Where to Stay: Bidiya Desert Camp is one of the best places to stay in Wahiba Sands. We’ve stayed in desert camps in Jordan and Egypt before and absolutely loved sleeping in deserts, but this place was different to other desert camps we’ve been. The rooms were actually made of concrete, with proper beds and air-conditioning — which we thought were too much for a desert camp. Book here.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Oman is dotted with deeply entrenched valleys filled with fresh spearmint waters from the mountains, with the most famous one being Wadi Bani Khalid. It’s made up of several natural pools, a narrow ridge in which you can swim, and a cave. Because of the developed infrastructure in Oman, the wadi is easily reached by road and there are plenty of lounging spots all around the canyon. There’s even a restaurant and bar within the reserve.
Home to some of the highest peaks in Oman, Jebel Shams is a mountainous region just two hours from Muscat. Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Oman’, Jebel Shams is an excellent spot for trekking. The drive up there is spectacular, but it’s quite a challenging drive and best to do on a 4×4.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was our favourite spot in Oman; Built in pre-Islamic times, this ancient fort was only restored in 1987 but now boasts beautiful adobe walls and sandstone towers that rise up to 165 feet in height. Unless the Nizwa Fort, Bahla Fort is more authentic and less touristy. If you only have time to visit one fort in Oman, make it this one.
Nizwa Fort & Old Town
Built in the 1650s, this national monument has an impressive architecture and an informative museum. It’s located in the Nizwa’s old town, which itself is also worth a visit. We loved the souk and its maze of spice stalls, antique shops and Omani teahouses.
Fishing Town of Sur
Muscat, the Capital of Oman
The country’s capital is actually made up of several small towns merging together to form one city, with Muttrah being the old town. Muttrah Souk is a colorful mishmash of textile shops and spice stands, with lots of interesting traditional items on sale. The port is also a beautiful place to watch people watch and observe the maritime lifestyle of the city.
READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Oman
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