Oman may be located close to the United Arab Emirates, but it’s a completely different world. It is a country where Arab traditions and modern technology go hand in hand. Unlike the Emirates, you can feel the authentic Arab culture here.
Where to stay in Oman?
The hotels available are less extensive than in Dubai, but the quality is more than excellent. The price is accordingly.
The most famous hotels are Al Bustan Palace,The Chedi, Six Sences Zighy Bay and Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort. We stayed in the last. Shangri-la consists of three separate hotels. Al Waha is best suited for families with children, Al Bandar seems a small village and Al Husn is for adults only.
During your stay you can choose from more than 20 restaurants spread between the three hotels. They all serve exquisite food from Asian to Italian and everything in between.
Near Al Waha and Al Bandar runs 'The Lazy River'. Children in particular love to float on this river, that runs from one part of the hotel to the other.
Muscat is the capital of Oman and is definitely worth a visit. There are still some forts that date from the time the Portuguese ruled over the region. The Sultan Qaboes Mosque is the largest in the country and has a capacity of 20,000 people. The beautiful dome and minarets can be seen from a large distance. Especially in the evening they are a real lust for the eye. The Al Alam Palace is the official Sultan Palace. Stroll around the Mutrah Souq and score a souvenir. Take a walk across the Muttrah Corniche, which is the seafront promenade. With a little luck you will see the Al Said Yacht, owned by the Sultan.
Here's a great guide to top things to do in Muscat.
Finish the evening with a romantic sundown cruise. You can book these at the hotel. The captain will take you for a cruise along the coast. You will see abandoned beaches, ancient forts, beautiful rocks and maybe some dolphins.
Explore the interior
Huur een dag een chauffeur om je door het binnenland van Oman te loodsen. Wij hadden een super leuke dag met Sif.
- Rent a driver for a day to drive you through the country. We had a nice day with Sif. First, he brought us to the Nizwa Fortress. Nizwa is about 1.5 hours drive from Muskat and is famous for its well-preserved 17th century fortress. The museum in the old prison gives a good picture of the past life in and around the fortress. After a while you will find a village where you will find plenty of nice shops with local pottery, jewelry, and other trinkets. In the market hall they sell the most delicious nuts and dates. Take a bag for 'on the road'.
- On your way to Wadi Ghul, Oman's largest canyon, you can enjoy amazing scenery: desolated landscapes, a palm tree forest, and every once in a while a tiny village. From the plateau Jebel Shams (sunrise) you have a beautiful view of the canyon. At 3009 meters this is the highest mountain in Oman. It is only accessible via a 32 km long road with hairpin curves. Suffering carsickness? Be sure to take precautions.
- The next stop brings us to Misfat Al Abriyeen, the oldest village in Oman. The charming town gives a good picture of the past life in Oman. Be sure to take a walk along the old water system. This trip will take you to the Wadi. With a little luck, you will find a little lake (during our visit unfortunately there was no water).
At the local mosque we were shocked by the sign entitled 'Not allowed to non-Muslim'. We should try that with our churches.
We have visited all these sights in one day. It was a tough trip. but it saved us an extra ride up and down the mountain. Our son, who suffers of motionsickness, was grateful to us for that.
As it was extremely hot for the time of year (over 36 ° C in February), we decided to restrict ourselves to eating and relaxing.
If you want to read more, here's another Oman Itinerary that might interest you.
Oman is an absolute must if you want to get some vitamin D in winter and want to see some nice things next to the beach. If you are only looking for some fun on the beach or beside the pool, then you're better off in Dubai, because the hotels are just a little cheaper over there. Follow this link to find more information for your week in Dubai.