Having invested in excess of $4.4 billion in its newly opened Airport in Muscat to build on what is already a world class destination we look at the experience and what Oman has to offer for the visitor.
Well for most travellers the holiday experience starts from the moment you arrive at the departure lounge and are ready to board the aircraft.
I was flying on the country’s flagship airline Oman Airways - currently going through a massive growth as Oman seeks to diversify and further increase its global presence and reputation as a world class carrier to a world class tourist destination.
We were on an Airbus 330-300 and it was not an understatement in being named the ultimate in luxury air travel! Add to that the luxurious surrounding and the most attentive, helpful and perfectly attired air crew and I knew this flight was going to be something special. I can say it was the most pleasurable journey from Manchester to Muscat International I could have wished for.
A journey of inspiration.
‘Beautiful, captivating, ensuring breathtaking landscapes, rich history a diverse cultural tapestry. A cultural mosaic of European, Arab Asian and African influences, a feast for the senses.'
Oman’s capital Muscatel is set behind the stunning coastline with a backdrop of windswept mountains opening up into the country’s lush flourishing interior regions, home to a number of UNESCO heritage sites among the diverse geological regions.
The beaches in the Sultanate are stunning and to be honest, I would need to be a poet to do a description justice; just visit and you will see what I mean. But what else is there for the visitor to do?
In and around Muscat
The Capital region of Muscat and the nearby towns of Sur and Sohar, as well as the southern region of Dhofar, offer a myriad of attractions that would appeal to visitors in the safest destination in world.
OYouman’s most loved markets - a must visit selling both Omani and Indian artefacts, antiques, textiles, jewellery and hardware - a taste of traditional workmanship and hand crafted keep sakes.
Muttrah corniche - a beautiful waterfront district offering unrivalled views of the waterway and surrounding mountains is the city’s oldest commercial centre.
Muttrah Souk is also home to Muttrah fish market, and a collection of traditional coffee shops and restaurants.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
A visit to Oman would not be complete without seeing the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a magnificent and imposing land mark which show cases the very best of modern Islamic architecture. Gifted to the nation by Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign. You will be overawed by the Mosque’s chandelier at the centre of the mens pray halls measuring a full 14 meters and weighing 8.5 tonnes. It features 600,000 Swarovski crystals, and is 24 caret gold plating, taking over 4 years to complete. The Mosque also houses the second largest carpet in the world, the largest being in Abu Dhabi Mosque.
Women need to remember when visiting the Mosque to have their head covered sleeves long and trousers or skirt to the ground, no large bags can be taken but a small bag is allowed. The Mosque is open from 8am to 11am everyday (except Fridays for non-Muslims).
Royal Opera House
For the arts lover arrange a visit to the Royal Opera house Muscat, undoubtedly one the most stunning architectural masterpieces in the sultanate of Oman, playing host to some of the largest cultural events in Oman.
Travel 1.5 hours from Muscat you arrive in Nizwa, the largest city in Oman’s Ad Dakhiliya region this is one of the oldest cities in Oman and a former hub for trade, religion, education, and art.
It also the site of Nizwa fort built in 1668 AD by Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya, Rubi Taki, the fort is a reminder of the towns significant through Oman’s long history and a strong hold against raiding forces that sort to capture Nizwa’s natural wealth and strategic location at the cross roads of vital routes. A visit is packed with cultural detail.
Nizwa famous for its crafts has an expansive Souk, famous for its silver jewellery considered the best in the country. Its craftsmen are masters in making the Khanjar traditional curved dagger, recognisable by its distinctive style and patterns. Also available is locally produced copperware, coffee pots swords, leather goods and pottery
World heritage site Falaj Daris, the largest falaj in Oman and is the life source of Nizwa it provides the surround country side with much needed water for its plantation
The main southern city with its lush terrain, visit Marneef caves with three blow holes or head into the desert of Dhofar with mars like conditions and then there is the “anti-gravity hill”. Visit the ‘Land of Frankincense Museum and find out about the scent that is everywhere in Oman.
This is a beautiful safe and secure country shrouded in myth and legend. Blessed with outstanding rare natural beauty, with pristine and extensive coastline, bounded by some of the world’s most expensive hotels, charming Souks, and coffee bars. Take in the majestic Hajar Mountains that lead to large desert areas that are interspersed with oasis’ lush with vegetation, a luxurious destination just waiting to be explored by the visitor.
A five star experience and a must visit destination on everyones 'bucket list'