A world apart from neighbouring Dubai, Oman is a reminder of a seemingly bygone age. Still mercifully untouched by overdevelopment, it is a potent mix of spectacular natural landscapes and cultural traditions born out of its rich heritage as a key trading post. All of which makes this wealthy sultanate one of the best places in the Gulf to enjoy traditional Arabia.
Oman has only opened itself up to tourism since the 1980s but nevertheless offers those in search of something more than a beach holiday a myriad of activities, among them scuba diving, turtle hatching, fossil hunting, dune-bashing, camel trekking, camping and, of course, sightseeing.
And what sights these travellers will witness! Coastlines dotted with dhow sailing boats. Goats wandering slowly through mudbrick villages which in turn cling to the hillside. Crumbling watchtowers that still stand guard over long-abandoned villages. And the towering wind-blown dunes of the Wahiba Sands where a night camped out under the stars in a traditional Bedouin tent makes for an unforgettable experience.
This more laidback feel doesn’t mean Oman hasn’t embraced the modern world. In parts of the country the contemporary is very much in evidence, particularly in the hustle and bustle of its sleek, understated capital Muscat (on no account miss the Muttrah Souq, with its maze of colourful stalls, and the Grand Mosque where you will find the world’s second-largest carpet) and its southernmost city Salalah. The lush landscape of the latter is unlike anywhere else in Oman, offering a stark contract to the great inland deserts.
Although Oman is a tolerant Muslim country, visitors should still dress conservatively. Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited, but it is served and sold at the airport, in hotels and in licensed shops.
For all your high-end, bespoke leisure and corporate travel needs to Oman, please contact our Travel Managers on 0203 535 9290 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.