What a wonderful place! Discover and explore the attractions of Oman with Rym Aoudia, a native of Oman.
Oman’s capital city Muscat is recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the world. Another city in Oman, called Salalah, is popular for its cold and rainy weather during the summer and for its luscious greenery. During that period, people might even forget that they are in a Middle Eastern country and confuse it for Europe. But our fascination does not end there.
Located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman enjoys a variety of landscapes. Mountains, deserts, and beaches are a few examples of this great diversity. While Oman strives for modernity and development, traditions and culture remain an important part of its identity. Because of this, Oman is frequently called “The Essence of Arabia.” The country is certainly full of surprises, and together we will discover some of its hidden treasures. So, welcome to Oman!
The restaurants in Oman are many, ranging from European cuisines to Arabian and Asian. Let us then whet our appetite with some examples.
What is unique about this restaurant is that you can dine in a room of your own with a TV in it. Its specialty is Omani food, and favorites include Biryani, Kabsa, Thareed and Arsiya.
This is an Indian restaurant with magnificent views that look out over the city of Muscat. A variety of Indian food is served and particularly that of the Moghul Empire.
In a friendly atmosphere, this restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine and provides both the traditional and popular Italian food, varying from heavy dishes to the lighter ones.
Whoever is in the mood for Chinese food should visit this restaurant. Many of the ingredients also come directly from China to ensure high quality.
Tours and Activities
Oman offers its visitors a variety of tours and activities. Many people enjoy boat rides, dolphin watching, rock climbing, hiking, horse-back riding, diving and snorkeling, sand skiing, and even camping out.
All the parks in Oman are free to enter. You will notice a number of families enjoying a picnic, as their children play in the playground. The largest park is the Qurum Natural Park, which can be seen from distance with its dazzling ‘waterfall hill’.
Forts and Castles
There are over 500 forts, castles, and towers in Oman, which are regarded as the most remarkable cultural attractions. Historically, they have been used to guard and defend the people. Their architectural styles differ depending on their architects and the periods they were built in. Some of the forts are Al-Jalali fort, Al-Mirani fort, Rustaq fort, Nizwa fort, Jibreen fort, and Bahla fort.
Bahla fort is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Some of the castles are Al-Hazm castle, Mirbat castle, and Al-Khandaq castle. These historical places must surely have many stories to tell.
Bait al Zubair
Even though this is Oman’s newest museum, it has quickly gained repute. The museum has a vast collection of ancient Omani weaponry, jewellery, costumes, and household equipment. Visitors will also enjoy a traditional Omani village and Souq.
The National Museum
It exhibits collections of ancient Omani art, including Omani silverwork, jewellery, costume, and pottery. It also outlines the Al-Said dynasty with pictures of the five Al-Said Sultans.
The Natural History Museum
Here you will find an interesting display of Oman’s wildlife and marine life. For example, showcased are the country’s indigenous species. There is also a botanical garden, which is especially great to visit during the cooler days.
The Omani Museum
Founded in 1974, it exhibits the history of Oman through pictures, jewellery, costumes, and pottery. Included is also a wealth of archaeological information along with data about Oman’s minerals, agricultural methods, and unique architecture.
The Children’s Museum
Children also like to have their share of fun. In this blue and white domed museum, they are introduced to the world of science in an interactive and exciting way.
The Grand Mosque
The building of this mosque lasted for six years from 1995 to 2001. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of the main prayer hall, the ladies prayer hall, a meeting hall, and a library. The mosque is also surrounded by many trees and has a picturesque garden. Besides the artistic interior designing, one of the major features of the mosque is the hand-made Persian carpet in the main prayer hall. It took four years to complete the carpet with 600 female weavers working on it. In addition, the mosque has an Islamic Studies institute and holds many Islamic events.
Salalah Khareef Festival
Khareef is the Arabic word for autumn. Each summer, the city of Salalah holds a Khareef festival (usually during July and August). This is a must-see attraction, and it has become greatly popular among the Gulf nationals, expatriates, and foreign tourists. Visitors are dazzled with its autumn-like climate during the summer along with its breathtaking natural scenes of soaring mountains, plentiful greenery, and spectacular flowers.
Modern shops and traditional shops (or Souqs) are within easy reach. Most of the malls are located in the capital, Muscat. However, many of the visitors are interested in the Souqs, where they will find Omani traditional goods, ranging from clothing to frankincense. A well-known Souq is Souq Matrah, which attracts many tourists. Make sure you learn the skill of bargaining before heading to the Souq. It will certainly save you some money!
Many tourists keep coming back to visit Oman and to discover more of its treasures. What inspires them is the country’s safety and tranquility along with its balance between modernity and traditions. Yet, most importantly, many people keep coming back because of the great hospitality and the friendly Omanis.