Viaggio in Oman: i luoghi da non perdere e come organizzare l’itinerario migliore.
Travel in Oman: the things to do and how to plan the best route
Regardless of how long you want to spend in Oman and if you are looking for more adventure or relaxation, you should know that the best way to get around is undoubtedly the car . There are very few buses, there are often no runs between one city and another, and we haven't seen any trains. If you rent a car instead you will have well-maintained roads and super cheap petrol (especially compared to Italian prices).
Another factor to consider when visiting Oman is its size: It is a country large but most cities with points of interest and "attractions" are found North. For this reason, when we organized our road trip we focused on the northern area, leaving out the southern part (which also borders with Yemen, still today, March 2019, in the middle of the civil war).
What are the places that stood out the most and that you should not miss? Let's see!
The capital, if you arrive by plane you will probably land here. Modern and at the same time rich in traditions, it's a must! Dedicate at least a couple of days to her exploration. One of the most characteristic sites is the famous Sultan Qaboos Mosque , immense, with the largest chandelier in the world hanging just below the imposing central dome. It also housed the world's largest carpet, now outclassed by that of a Dubai mosque. Just to give you an idea: it is 14 meters long, weighs 8 tons and is entirely composed of Swarovski crystals. Alternatively they will have to rent a traditional dress for about 5 euros at the entrance to the mosque.
Whether you want to go shopping or want to take a walk through typical shops and local restaurants in an atmosphere that is all in all orderly and clean, you can't miss the Souq di Mutrah . In this maze of narrow streets we bought many typical products at affordable prices (remember, always bargain! The right price is less than a third of what the seller proposes) and tasted the best juices squeezed at the time of the whole Oman (the Marco's addiction to pomegranate juice started right here).
If you want to see the video of our exploration of Muscat, click HERE .
Easily reachable from Muscat and close to the fantastic mountains full of breathtaking views and frightful canyons. Attention: if you want to visit the mountains safely make sure you have a suitable 4 × 4 car or rely on an organized tour.
Besides having a good location for later reaching the desert, Nizwa is famous for its fortress. To visit it you will have to shell out the equivalent of about 10 euros each, but it must be said that it is very well maintained and from the top of its main tower you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. Considering that in a couple of hours you will be able to visit all the fort, the price seemed to be slightly higher, compared to the cost of living in Oman.
You cannot visit Oman without sleeping at least one night in the desert. There are many tented camps and staying here is not cheap, but the spectacle of dunes stretching as far as the eye can see is priceless. All fields offer different types of activities (camel ride, ski on the beam, etc.), which is why we advise you to inform yourself well about prices : they can increase the cost of your travel.
If you want to see the video we shot in Nizwa and in the desert, click HERE .
in Oman there are several Wadi. literally wadi means "valley", in reality it is a term that is locally used to identify species of oasis in which you can find refreshment by bathing in the huge pools of water and or do exciting trekking among the rocks, often obligatory to reach natural pools (depending on Wadi to Wadi). Those we have personally visited and are about to talk about are the easiest to reach, but for the most trained you can visit many others, even if they tend to be more difficult to reach.
One of the easiest to reach because the paved road reaches up to five minutes walk from the first puddle is the Wadi Bani Khalid. You will also find a refreshment point with lots of bars. If you are looking for an adventure, we recommend following the 1 km long trekking route to reach the next pools, which are usually less crowded. To reach the very last puddle it is advisable to move inside the water, going up the stream. The rocks are smooth and very slippery.
The only negative aspect of this Wadi: being easily accessible from the road you may find it quite crowded, especially in high season.
the Bimmah Sinkhole is not a real wadi, but it remains a place that we advise you not to miss. It is a huge crater in which an aquifer has emerged. It is swimmable and to reach the bottom it is enough to go down a ladder, after having parked in the parking lot in front of it.
Negative aspect: it is mostly visited by Indians and Pakistani not very clean, who use the pool as if it were their own bathroom / aquapark ... and fix the few women as they had never seen one in their life; Although Giulia did the obviously dressed bath she was followed, surrounded and photographed by dozens of men (no racism, of course, is an observation. They are very recognizable compared to the native Omani). Perhaps we have only been unlucky and arrived at the wrong time, in any case we advise you to pay attention.
If you want to watch our video shot in Wadi Bani Khalid and Bimmah Sinkhole click HERE .
In the north-eastern part of Oman it is possible to spot turtles, which nest on some beaches to lay their eggs. It is possible, at the right times, to witness their hatching and the extraordinary spectacle of the first cubs dive.
Located about 60 km from the city of Sur, Ras Al Jinz & nbsp; - a few kilometers from & nbsp; Ras Al Hadd - is an extreme promontory of the Arabian peninsula where finds the protected area for the reproduction of the huge green turtles, declared a Natural Reserve in 1996 with the Royal Decree.
The Turtle Scientific Center was established in Ras Al Jinz, where it is possible to visit a museum dedicated to turtles. It is possible to dine and stay in the few rooms available within the museum itself, or in the adjacent and comfortable chalets.
To save money we stayed in the nearby Sur, as turtles can also be seen on the nearby beach of Ras Al Hadd, easily accessible by car and without having to pay the reserve rangers to take advantage of the guided tour. Warning: seeing them this way is a little more difficult. Remember that the best moments are at dawn and dusk, and don't get too close to avoid disturbing them or damaging your nest.
If, like us, you travel in this country during Ramadan, remember absolutely don't drink in public during the day. Shortly after our arrival, hot and dehydrated, we sat on a bench in a gazebo drinking a small bottle of water in the square and we saw several people moving away indignantly. By informing ourselves online we understand that drinking in public during the day during Ramadan is illegal and punishable, in the most extreme cases, with prison . Not having read the entire legislative code of Oman, we do not know how effectively it is likely to be arrested, but we are certain that the law is also applied to tourists, so in doubt avoid drinking (and even eating and smoking) in public during the day.
During the day you may find closed restaurants and bars, well over half of those present. When in doubt, we advise you to keep some stock purchased at the supermarket to avoid fasting at lunch.
Attention: if you are women take a look at the article written by Giulia in which to find several useful tips for women traveling to Islamic countries ( HERE the link).
During Ramadan the evening atmosphere was at times surreal: an explosion of life, shops of any kind and restaurants open, people everywhere, people eating and drinking in any corner, often sharing tables improvised outdoors and exchanging dishes of the party. Very beautiful.
We hope our advice can help you organize your trip, if you want to see all articles dedicated to Oman, click HERE.