Why Travel to the Sultanate of Oman? According to their tourism organization this is where ‘beauty has an address’. Well they are not lying. And here is a list of 9 reasons for you to add Oman to your travel bucket list.
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Although I had to cancel the first part of my trip to the Musandam peninsula and to the South region of Salalah because of the death of my brother, I still had the chance to spend 10 days touring the northern part of the country around its capital city Muscat. And during this trip which helped me heal, I discovered friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and a culture full of tradition and history. Let me show you...
The video: 9 reasons to travel to Oman
Let's start with a short video to discover visually those reasons before reading about the. This is only a brief snapshot of all the things to discover in Oman.
Want more videos? Check out the article: Oman in Videos
Before sharing in details the 9 reasons to visit Oman, you can listen to the podcast I recorded with Chris from Amateur Traveler and imagine yourself there!
REASON #1 - The variety
In the first few days of my trip I was struck by the variety of scenes and landscapes I was able to admire:
- the white houses and buildings of the city,
- the bare mountains surrounding them,
- the busy and smelly fish market,
- the long beach where locals enjoyed their long weekend,
- the almost empty plateau where I crossed path with camels,
- the forts appearing everywhere,
- the many wadis you can hike or drive with pockets of water reflecting the high walls of the canyon,
- and the sand dunes!
You won’t get bored in Oman!
REASON #2 - The people
The Omani people are just adorable. They are smiling and friendly. I was amazing how when we stopped on the side of the road, there was always someone stopping and asking if we needed help.
As we were taking some air out of the tires before driving on the sand, one man even took out his equipment and checked the pressure in all of them!
My only bad experiences were with taxi drivers in Muscat. Mostly because they don’t know where the streets are and were expecting me to guide them!!!! (I was not staying at a hotel…)
REASON #3 - The simplicity
Except for few crazy decorated houses and fancy cars, the Omani people seem to like simplicity.
The forts are not covered with decorations, the houses are simple, the dress without too much embroidery…
I really enjoyed this simplicity and elegance in everything, for example the corridors of the Sultan Taboos Grand Mosque.
It was quite a contrast with my 3 days visiting the United Arab Emirates after, where everything needs to be the biggest, the brightest, the flashiest…. Oman was a lot more my style of place
REASON #4 - The wadis
A wadi is a valley, ravine, or channel that is dry except in the rainy season. And Oman has so many of them! The Oman tourism website has a list of the main ones.
They all look different depending on their width, how much water flood through them after rains and the work of erosion. Some have roads, others are only accessible via hiking.
REASON #5 - The space
All my travel destinations have that in common: I like the feeling of space: not too many tourists, big areas and desert. I love the peaceful feeling it gives me.
I know I was not there during the busiest touristic month but I think you can still enjoy those big spaces.
On the vast Salmah plateau, we drove off road and only crossed path with camels, few locals and one other tourist car.
In the desert of Wahiba Sands, I went wild camping with no one around.
I strolled on beaches and hiked paths almost by myself.
It was total bliss.
REASON #6 - The animals
There are more than what I have seen, but I am already satisfied with the animal encounters I had:
- Some camels surprised me as I turned around and poking their head above a wall
- I also spotted Zorro’s donkey 🙂 - the white colors around its eyes was creating a mask
- I observed the big turtle making a hole and sliding back with difficulty to the ocean
- I snorkeled many times with fishes and one turtle
- I had goats coming to kiss me (well I am exaggerating, one goat did that, the other ones were scared and ran away)
REASON #7 - The traditional fishing
had different opportunities to see the traditional fishing taking place in Oman. I am fascinated that fishing is still carried out in those small boats.
- At the Muscat fish market, I first went to the pier checking what the boats were bringing back
- During breakfast on a beach (you can enjoy wild camping anywhere), I saw finishing boats approaching and spent half an hour observing them collecting and throwing their nets, time after time
- South of Sur, I went to a public beach in hope of spotting turtles. I did not but cross path very early (4:30am) with the fishermen starting their day
REASON #8 - The history
REASON #9 - The colors
Before my flight to Oman, I was worried about my capacity to capture its beauty via photography. I had looked at many pictures on the Internet and had noticed that the bare mountains, the white houses, the clear sky and harsh sun where not really helping with contrasts and light.
But at the end, I found Oman much more colorful than what I had seen in photographs and I am looking forward to sharing with you my best shots (once I finish working through the 6000 I have taken…)
Discover things to do and places to see in Oman in my online Oman Destination Guide.
So, does Oman make it on your travel bucket list?