Whether you’re visiting Oman for the first time or the fiftieth, there are a number of key essentials you mustn’t miss out on! Follow our guide to essential Oman and you may be a tourist, but you’ll move around the country like a local!
The most cultured, beautiful, varied, and friendly of Arab countries, Oman remains a relatively quiet outpost at the southern-most end of the Arabian Gulf. There’s much to explore – ancient delights as well as modern luxury!
Perhaps there’s no better place to start a tour of one of Muscat’s most remarkable of gems – the Grand Mosque. Completed in 2001, it was a gift to the nation to from the late Sultan Qaboos to mark the 30th year of his reign. Open to visitors from 8am to 11am, it provides an oasis of spiritual calm, plus a breath-taking display of contemporary Islamic architecture.
From one design marvel to another… this time it’s the Royal Opera House. Another relatively recent addition to the city’s urban landscape, you can take a tour any day (except Friday) and, pick the right moment to visit Muscat, catch a world-class show!
Muttrah Souk is your destination for a spot of shopping… and it’s the ideal venue to pick up local specialities including frankincense, silverware, and other Omani handicrafts.
To walk the corniche at Muttrah is a real step back in time. Lined by 19th century merchant’s houses, the low-rise skyline is sprinkled with multicolored minarets. It is the Arabia of Disney movies… but for real here in Oman’s capital city.
Top spot for afternoon tea in Muscat? Al Bustan Palace – a Ritz-Carlton hotel – the venue was built in 1985 to host the GCC Summit and is fondly referred to by locals as ‘The Palace’.
For those looking to turn back the hands of time, add Bait Al Alam Palace, the National Museum, and Old Muscat to your list of ‘must do’!
Bait Al Alam is one of the royal palaces, and was used by Oman’s beloved ruler Sultan Qaboos for ceremonial occasions during his reign. It offers a glimpse into the genteel, refined, and intellectual world of His Majesty and the finest of his subjects.
Oman has some of the best beaches in the Gulf! Shatti, also known as Athaiba Beach, is a must visit.
The nation is home to some of the finest resorts and retreats in the Middle East. Heading the list is Barr Al Jissah – a unique luxury destination situated in a secluded bay where the Gulf of Oman meets the dramatic mountainous coastline. The four pillars of Barr Al Jissah are; four luxury residential developments; three luxury hotels are operated by Shangri-La Hospitality Group, the Al Mina Marina & Al Mina Private Yacht Club, and the Al Mazaar Entertainment Center for kids and family activities.
Stay out of the city longer, and enjoy a different view of the city… take a ferry ride and you’ll be very unlucky if you’re not accompanied by dolphins along the way.
Time to eat like a local? Try shuwa (meat cooked in Omani style) at one of the local restaurants – Bin Ateeq, Ubhar, Kargeen or Bait Al Luban. Or treat your taste buds with a quick must-try snack combo – Rakhaal (or ragaag) – an Omani style crispy crepe with karak chai. It’s a popular to-go item and available at almost all tea shops that dot the city
When the time comes head home, don’t forget to buy some Omani halwa to take back as gifts for family and friends.
One thing’s for sure… you’ll soon be back for another bite at Oman!
Oman weather. When to go! Along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, the climate is desert, sunny all year-round, with a few winter rains, more likely in the far north around the Musandam Peninsula, an exclave of Oman in the United Arab Emirates, from December to March. Hot in summer, with highs around 37/38 °C on average, and humidity from the sea that makes the heat oppressive. When the wind blows from inland, the humidity drops, but the temperature can get close to as high as 50 °C. The winter temperature is pleasant: the daily average is around 20 °C in the far north and 21 °C in Muscat, the capital.