Things to do in Oman + CH Specials
Oman benefits from its location on the south eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Much of the countries interior is sand treeless desert but the region that lies between the coast and inland mountains is lush and fertile. This means visitors get to see diverse landscapes when they visit Oman and in turn because of the geographical difference they get to enjoy different experience.
Below are the things you can do in Oman and we have added some unique and offbeat suggestions for you as a CH Special.
Explore the Coast
Unfortunately not many people associate Oman with beautiful beaches and it is only now that travelers are beginning to realize what a beautiful coastline Oman has. Infact Oman even has fjords which very few countries in the world do like Norway and New Zealand.
So one thing you must do is enjoy the soft sand beaches with the clean blue waters. Muscat itself has nice beaches and since everyone who visits Oman stay a few nights in Muscat, you will not miss the beaches.
Activities on the coast of Oman:
Dolphin watching- A very popular activity from Muscat, come watch playful dolphins by dozens!
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving- Not many know this but Oman is actually home to some of the top and least explored dive sites in the Middle east. The diving here is fabulous but there aren’t many dive schools and dive shops to offer their services. Damaniyat islands are a popular place for these activities from Muscat. Even Salalah and the Mussadam Peninsula of Oman, which is more towards Dubai offer some really good diving and snorkeling spots.
Water sports- Most resorts offer water sports like kayaking, stand up paddle and jet skiing. Windsurfing can also be undertaken in some places.
Sailing – The Northern coast of Oman is dramatic and is a patchwork of coves, cliffs and clear blue waters. Spend a day or an evening on a boat enjoying the romance of sailing on a traditional dhow or an ultramodern yacht. There is nothing quite like the sea breeze in your hair, azure blue seas and a distant glimmering coastline with a chilled drink. Add to that a beautiful sunset and you have an unforgettable evening you will never forget.
Turtle Nesting and Hatcheries- The coast of Oman has many spots and some remote islands where turtles nest and lay eggs. It’s a magical sight to see baby turtle run towards the sea for the first time after hatching.
CustomHolidays Special: Go to the south of Oman, a region called Salalah for some more un-spoilt beaches, lush green landscapes, white fog and amazing resorts like the Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. Salalah is another flight or a long drive with one night stop enroute and hence not many tourists reach here, making it a hidden gem of Oman. Another great escape is to the islands of Oman few know about. These are home to nesting turtles and diverse flora and fauna.
Cities, villages and Architecture of Oman
Muscat is the most popular city of Oman and a must visit. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque here with its huge chandelier is a must visit in Oman and also one of the most instagrammable places in Oman. Also visit the Al Alam Palace, which is the Kings residence, though you can only visit it from outside. A walk on the promenade is refreshing in the evenings and do haggle in the souks of Muscat and buy honey & dates, handmade Bedouin jewellery, pottery, lamps, khanjar or daggers, perfumes and frankincense and wooden handicrafts as well as mats and carpets.
The mountain villages of the Jabal Akhdar range also make for an interesting visit with their rock and mud houses from an ancient era and so do ancient forts of Nizwa, Bhala and Jabrin straight out of fairytales and books.
Even the luxury hotels in Oman show a heavy use of the local architecture as its so beautiful and we believe you will love visiting the cities, villages and other architectural monuments of Oman, afterall they all make for great pictures.
Activities in the Villages of Oman
Mountain Village walks: Visit these the tiny quaint villages of Oman and you will be rewarded. Always take permission before clicking pictures, especially of people. Explore with a guide to understand the culture and customs better. We even arrange meals and stays in local households for the ultimate Omani experience. Do try the peaches apricots and pomegranate that grow here locally. On village walks local women demonstrate old practices such as milling, colouring, cooking and more. In Nizwa you can even see the herders bargain at the cattle market.
Rose Distilleries: The mountain villages of the Jabal Akhdaer, the green range are known for their beautiful roses. The traditional craft of the rose water distillery still lives on today and rose water
produced is one of the best quality known for its value in cooking, perfumes and for headaches. Come watch this fascinating and age old process in Oman.
Mountains, deserts and wadis of Oman
Oman is blessed with beautiful natural wonders. Explore one or all on your trip to Oman.
Things to do in the Mountains of Oman
Stay in the Mountains of Oman: Close to Muscat is the beautiful Al Hajar Mountain range. You can opt to visit here on a daytrip or choose to spend a few nights here. There are luxury resorts like the Alila Jabal Akhdar and the Anantara al Jabal Akhdar offering amazing views and creature comforts in these rustic mountains. There are also village stays you can opt for.
Go Hiking, Biking or Off-roading : The Jabal Akhdar range is known for its scenic beauty and the drive from Muscat to here is beautiful. Infact you can even drive through the remove and very beautiful Snake Canyon to reach Jabal Akhdar. Jabal Akhdar means Green Mountain so hikes here are pretty good. Biking is another way to explore the terrain and we offer guided bicycle tours. Neighboring Jebel Shams is the highest and known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia. Due to the altitude the temperatures here are very pleasant and we have many treks and hikes to offer here. Infact we also offer our clients some overnight trekking options in the mountains.
Abseil, Rock Climbing and Via Ferrata: Rock climbing and abseiling are obvious choices in such beautiful mountains. We have experienced instructors who can teach beginners and also the more adventurous sorts on amazing excursions. Via Ferrata means iron way in Italian, where this method of climbing was first introduced. Via Ferrata is a great way to see views which otherwise only professional mountain climbers would have access to. It is easy and safe, but basic fitness levels are a must.
Caving : Oman has a fantastic cave network, infact the world’s second largest cave chamber is located in Oman, unfortunately it’s not open to public yet. However there are other caves to explore and our professional guides come with all the equipment needed to explore these wonders below the ground. One important thing to keep in mind if you opt for caving is that you should not be claustrophobic. Again caving requires goo fitness level, but its not too difficult, infact it is one of our favorite adventure activities.
Canyoning: Canyoning (or canyoneering) is traversing a canyon or gorge by combining hiking, climbing, swimming, and/or abseiling. A sport by many names, it explores the hard-to-reach areas of a natural landscape by following a water route carved through rock formations. Canyoning is a super fun activity that the entire family can enjoy. The wadis of Oman offer a easier and less thrilling version of this activity but here in the mountains it is exciting and beautiful.
Star Gazing: The Omanis skies are one of the best places in the world to see stars and other celestial bodies. Most hotels in the mountains have telescopes and even knowledgeable guides who offer star gazing.
Wadis of Oman
Omanis also known for its Wadis. Wadis — like lagoons — have pools of cool water surrounded by palm, trees, banana farms and mango orchards. Some of these picturesque valleys have streams of fresh flowing water, springs and waterfalls. Visiting a wadi is one of the top things to do in Oman. They are nature’s playgrounds.
Best Wadis in Oman:
Wadi Bani Khalid is the biggest in the region and has water throughout the year. The water remains cool through the year making it a hit in the scorching summer heat. Head for the upper pools of the wadi which are relatively less crowded.
Wadi Shab know for the Bimmah Sinkhole, Wadi Tiwi and the Wadi Shab hike. Wadi Shab requires a boat ride with a local boats man and a 40min hike to reach but the cave and the waterfall inside it make it a huge hit with locals and tourists.
Wadi Al Abriyeen or Arabeen is lesser known and there are no signs leading to it but the wadi is surrounded by local villages and mango, banana and lemon trees making it a lovely sight.
There are many other Wadis in Oman but these are the best ones to explore.
Desert of Oman
With dunes about 100 meters high, multi coloured sands with most of it a beautiful golden, Bedouin settlements and camels the Omani desert is the perfect movie set depiction of Arabia. Spending a night in the desert at one of the mant camps of Wahiba Sands is almost on all Omani itineraries.
You get to experience a camel ride, local music and entertainment, omani food and tent accommodation in these camps.
Activities in the Desert:
Dune bashing, ATW rides, sand boarding camel safaris and treks with Bedouin guides are the top Activities in the desert. Star gazing is another popular activity here.
CustomHolidays Ultra Luxury escape: If you want the desert all to yourself opt for a private mobile luxury camp in the desert. This camp is exclusively set up for you away from the usual camp hotels of Wahiba Sands. Expect a luxury tent with bed and fine linens, a private bathroom, fabulous private dinner on the top of the dunes and miles and miles of empty desert around you. It does not get more exclusive than this.
CustomHolidays Adventure escape: Another experience we offer is a self-drive through the desert from the north of Oman to Salalah. You will traverse remote desert and see few, if any other humans. You will spend the night in a local homestay and continue further south the next morning. This rustic drive is for adventurers and those who want an extremely immersive experience of the real Oman or for those who love extreme roadtrips.