Tourism

The best kept secret in Oman

Whether it’s culture, adventure or luxury you seek, you’ll find it in Oman, the Middle East’s best-kept secret.

The jewel of Arabia has got local treasures, wild and grand adventures, blissful indulgence and historical significance. And you can discover it all in one brilliant destination.

So what’s the secret then?

Well, thanks to Adventure World, you could win flights and accommodation for two, plus a $2000 MasterCard Cash Passport, snazzy Jack Wolfskin gear and a one year subscription to get lost magazine.

And of course, with thanks to the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, who are here to share a thing or two about the divine location and help you get there faster (or sell it and make commission)! Enter here!

Now the secret’s out, let’s dive into the true beauty of Oman: its Local Treasures, it’s people.

Generosity and openness are fundamental characteristics of Omani people.

They have a deep and genuine passion for their culture and country and from the minute you land, you’ll be enthralled by them and the other local treasures you’ll stumble across.

Here are some treasures you’re likely to unearth:

  • Local delicacies

The smell the burning frankincense and rosewater as you’re offered sweet smooth Kahwa; this coffee infused with cardamom is served in a metal coffee pot, poured into tiny cups and served with juicy fresh dates.

  • Souks

Labyrinths of exotic aromas at one of Oman’s souks, such as the beautiful old town of Mutrah with its white washed buildings and intricate colourful doorways.

You’ll find more souks in the alleyways of Mutrah, with its colourful stalls bursting with frankincense, spices, handmade garments, gold and silver.

This is where the patient shopper will be rewarded with hidden treasures from beautiful antique coffee pots, perfume bottles, silver platters and armoury, cashmere scarves, and khanjars, decorative daggers hand-crafted from brass, copper, silver or gold.

Local Treasures - Mutrah Souk

Before you wind your way up the road to Jabel Akhdar, slip in to the souk at Nizwa where artisans handcraft intricately patterned silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

If your timing is right and you land here on a Friday – you will be rewarded with the sights and sounds of the local produce and livestock markets which take place every week like they have done for hundreds of years, and if not you must visit one of Oman’s most famous restored forts.

  • Ancient towns

From Nizwa, head to the ancient oasis town of Bahla-  just 15 minutes away. Bahla is renowned the world over for its unique pieces of intricate pottery. Take the time explore or pick up a piece for yourself.

Continue your journey to the Shaqiya Sands for an encounter with the Bedouin people who have sustained themselves in the harsh desert plains of Rub’ al Khali for centuries. Some still live a traditional way of life and visitors can meet these families for a coffee or a meal.

Stay overnight in one of the many desert camps and take a camel trek to the top of a dune for a spectacular sunset.

  • Mosques

Back in the capital, Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a magical sight to behold and equally beguiling to explore.

This magnificent edifice was completed in 2001 and openly welcomes both Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. It boasts one of the largest hand-woven carpets in the world and an enormous 14-metre-tall central chandelier that weighs eight tonnes.

A visit to the mosque isn’t complete without a visit to the Islamic information centre where local women will chat to you about their life and religion and you are free to ask questions without judgement.

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Ibadi is a particular type of Islam that preaches tolerance of all people and practiced with reverence, respect and acceptance of all countries, cultures, creeds and religions.

  • Museums

Located near the al-‘Alam Palace is the National Museum of Oman.  Housed in an impressive purpose built building covering 25,000 square metres the museum has 14 permanent display halls and is dedicated to preserving and showcasing Oman’s cultural heritage.

This striking building is dedicated to showcasing two million years of Oman’s history from earliest human settlement to present day.

The state-of the art facility is a must-do on any Muscat itinerary, also offers digital immersive experiences, a learning centre, a UHD cinema and discovery areas for children. Allow plenty of time to wander through and make the most of this national treasure.

Oman will change you, especially if you are a local treasure-hunter, because this place is teeming with them.

This may be your first visit but you won’t want it to be your last.

Lead image credit: Lauren Bath


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