9 Offbeat Places to Visit in Oman 2023
Last Updated on by Admin
You must have heard about and visited the popular places in the Middle Eastern countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia. Have you been to Oman yet? In this article, we will introduce you to 9 offbeat places to visit in Oman.
Oman is a Middle Eastern country in Asia. It shares its borders with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and UAE. Its southeast region is surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
With Desert Plains, high mountain ranges, humongous caves, waterfalls and serene beaches, Oman has it all. The Sultanate of Oman provides you with a wholesome experience of adventure, cultural exploration and nature’s diversity.
Here are 9 Offbeat Places to Visit in Oman
1. Wadi Shab
Wadi Shab is in Tiwi, a region within Sur in the Al Sharqiyah South Governorate of Oman. It’s conveniently reachable from Muscat, just 140 kilometers away, on the Qurayyat to Sur Coastal Road.
The word Wadi is an Arabic word meaning river valley and sometimes to river streams that flow only during the rainy season. The water from the Bani Jaber mountains falls down to the valley forming crystal clear natural pools and waterfalls.
At Wadi Shab, activities such as hiking and swimming in the three freshwater pools can be done both in summer and winter.
2. Musandam Fjord – The Norway of Arabia
Musandam Fjord is located near a small isolated village called Kumzar. The village can be reached from the nearest city Khasab through a speed boat or by sailing the Dhow (a traditional wooden boat).
Kumzar’s Fjord is referred to as “The Norway of Arabia” because of its distinctive Musandam Peninsula coastline. The place resembles Norway Fjords, as it is situated amidst high mountain walls on one side and the ocean on the other. The Musandam Fjords are also called the Kumar’s Fjord locally.
Apart from boating, scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming in the ocean, learning about the distinctive Kumzari culture is an experience you must have in the Musandam Peninsula.
3. Jabal Shams & Jabal Akhdar
Jabal Shams is a leading hiking destination in Oman’s Al Hajar mountain range. The temperature during summer comes down to 20º C, thus making it pleasant for hiking activities.
Jabal Shams is the highest peak in Oman. It has an altitude ranging from 2,997m to 3,009 m above sea level. The renowned W6 Balcony Walk Hike offers thrilling views and leads to Sab Bani Khamis (As Sab), one of the abandoned villages in the Hajar Range.
A 4×4 vehicle is needed to reach the starting point of the hike. There are other easier paths that take you to hidden lakes and mud villages in Wadi Ghul, with accommodations available in Al Hayl village.
Al Nakhur Canyon – the “ Grand Canyon of Oman and the Middle East”, is the highlight of visiting the Jabal Shams. The canyon is oval-shaped and stretches for about 8 kilometers, diving down to a depth of around 1000 meters at certain points.
Jabal Akhdar is another mountain peak near Jabal Shams. A full moon hike to the Jabal Akhdar is an adventurous and beautiful experience. You can also visit the Wadi Bani Habib also known as a Ghost Village. The abandoned village will introduce you to both the historical and cultural significance of the place.
4. Bimmah Sinkhole
Bimmah Sinkhole is also called Hawiyat Najm Park in Arabic language. It is a stunning natural pool on Oman’s northeastern coast. It was likely formed through natural limestone erosion, with local belief suggesting a meteorite impact, hence the name “Hawiyat Najm” or “falling star.”
The park near the sinkhole offers amenities like pavilions, picnic areas, and a playground. The sinkhole, about 600 meters from the sea, has a greenish-blue mix of fresh and salty water connected to the ocean through an underground tunnel.
Diving enthusiasts can explore its 20-meter depth, while others can enjoy swimming in shallow areas. Plus, it’s conveniently located near attractions like Wadi Shab, Tiwi, and Wadi Al Arbeieen.
Hawiyat Najm Park is easily accessible. The journey to the park from Muscat, the capital of Oman, takes around 1.5 hours by a car. Bimmah Sinkhole remains open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For a peaceful experience, visit it early in the morning before a larger number of tourists visit the place.
5. Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is in the Northern Governorate of Eastern Oman between Muscat and Sur City. It is a well-known wadi in Oman that has a constant flow of water throughout the year. You can spend your time at the wadi with the view of the large pools of water and boulders along its course, covering both lowland and the Hajar Mountains
Besides that, there are noteworthy features like caves (Kuhuf) and underground canals (Aflaj) in the area that provide you with an extra opportunity for exploration.
Considering its convenient accessibility and plentiful adventure and leisure activities, Wadi Bani Khalid is a perfect getaway destination.
6. Bahla Fort
Bahla Fort, an esteemed UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oman, consists of historic fortifications made predominantly from mud bricks atop stone foundations. It served as a prominent hub for the Banu Nebhan tribe from the 12th to the 15th century, fostering connections with other tribal groups in the region.
The fort boasts impressive pre-gunpowder architecture, featuring round towers and walls made from a mix of stone and mud bricks. Its strategic placement allowed for easy monitoring of the nearby market (souq). Furthermore, the fort’s sophisticated water engineering system, employing wells and underground channels, showcases the advanced skills of its inhabitants in meeting agricultural and domestic water needs.
Traveling to Bahla Fort is convenient, as it is a short drive from Nizwa, a major city in Oman. This site stands as a vital part of Oman’s cultural heritage and a prominent tourist attraction.
Efforts to conserve Bahla Fort have been ongoing since its UNESCO recognition in 1987, with the Omani government dedicating $9 million to restoration projects. Initially placed on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 1988 due to its deteriorating state, the fort was successfully removed from this list by 2004, following extensive restoration work.
Salalah, the capital of Dhofar, a southern governorate is the largest city of the region. It is also the third largest city in the country.
Salalah is famous for its Khareef season which turns the arid land into a lush paradise from June to September. This attracts global tourists to visit nature’s masterpiece full of greenery and clouds. Thanks to its unique climate, Salalah can grow crops like coconut and bananas, and you’ll find many gardens in the city where these fruits and vegetables are grown during this time.
In Salalah, include these locations to your travel list – Al Mughsayl Beach with stunning coastal views, Wadi Darbat’s lush valley, Dhofar Mountains’ fog-covered slopes and waterfalls, Ayn Razat as a tranquil oasis, and Al Husn Souq for an authentic local shopping experience.
8. Bilad Sayt
Bilad Sayt is an exclusive scenic village in the Sultanate of Oman. Also known as Bald Sayt, the village is situated on the northeastern slope beside the Jebel Shams in the Al Hazar mountain range.
The view of the village with terrace fields, the palm trees of dates and with the backdrop of the mountains is mesmerizing. The houses of the villagers are mostly made of rock and mud. Due to its location and altitude, the temperature is favorable and moderate throughout the year.
Visiting this ancient village of Bald Sayt is an adventure in itself. You can get there with a 4×4 vehicle. While doing a village tour, climb to the tower where you can see the beautiful view of the entire village and the mountains.
9. Wahiba Sands
Wahiba Sands, covering 10,000 square kilometers, is a famous desert region with red-brown sands. It is currently known as Sharqiyah Sands. The sand dunes towering up to 100 meters, are a prime spot for desert adventure in Wahiba Sands.
Wilayat Badiyah, at the entrance of A’Sharqiyah Sands, is a gateway to the desert. Visitors can find oases like Al Raka, Shahik, and the lush Al Hawiyah. Sand skiing is popular in the southern part of Al Hawiyah Oasis.
Exploring further leads to Al Aidan Oasis, known for trees and a water well. At A’Sharqiyah Sands, try sand bashing in the dunes, camel safari and witness camel racing. Having done that, don’t forget to taste the cuisines of the native Bedouin ethnic group and learn about their way of life.
Considering Oman’s geographical diversity, traveling to each of the places like Wadi Shab, Musandam Fjord, Jebel Shams, Bimmah Sinkhole, Wadi Bani Khalid, Bahla Fort, Salalah, Bilad Sayt and Sharqiyah Sands will give you an extraordinary experience of adventure, nature and culture.
Apart from these offbeat destinations, you can go for wildlife and helicopter tours, heritage tours and village walk tours in Oman as well. The people and the exotic destinations of Oman await your presence.
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