At the beginning of this month I left for an adventurous road trip through Oman, Middle East. My very first road trip and at the same time my first visit to the beautiful and famous Middle East. Two of my best friends joined in the fun and together we had a pretty great time. I listed my personal highlights of our 10-day journey below, as well as some tips and places to stay for a fair price. I hope that with this article I can excite you to plan your own trip through Oman, since I can assure you it’ll be definitely worthwhile.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO OMAN
❤ People of Oman are super friendly and hospitable. Everybody speaks English. Always helping you out when you need directions, advice or anything else.
❤ The weather is always good. If you go there in February like we did, you’ll have 100% sunny times guaranteed. Temperatures of 26°C make that around this time of the year it’s not too hot, just the right amount to load your batteries.
❤ Roads are very neat and clean, and since the country isn’t that big you won’t be longer than a max. 3 hour drive away from your next pit-stop.
❤ Culture-bound Oman of course is totally different from what we’re used to in Europe, and mutual respect towards each other therefore is a must. On the other hand, I would be surprised if you’d get a cultural shock (unless you’re really living underneath a stone since 1986) because people are tolerant and broadminded.
❤ On the contrary with what you would expect, life in Oman is rather cheap! You don’t pay more than 10 euros per person in restaurants, for example.
THE THINGS I DID IN OMAN
➤ We arrived at 2am after a 9h flight and immediately went to pick up our rental car at the airport. Afterwards we drove to our villa in Muscat (link at the bottom of this post), where we had a good night’s sleep before discovering the city the next day. The old town is called Muttrah and has its own souk (but this one is far from spectacular, I must say). Things to see in Muscat are the Royal Opera House, the palace of the Sultan and the Grand Mosque. For arabic perfumes I advise you to go to the Mall.
➤ A good restaurant and shisha bar nearby the sea is Al Makan Café. For cocktails at sunset the best place to be is the pool bar of Crowne Plaza.
➤ Between Muscat and Sur, you can always make a quick stop to see the sinkhole. A massive hole in the ground with deep blue water coming from the sea. Don’t expect too much, it’s situated (what I thought was rather weird) next to a children’s playground, nevertheless I recommend you this place as a pitstop to stretch your legs and enjoy the peaceful environment.
➤ Turtle spotting in Ras al Jinz, near Sur. With a guide you walk down to the beach around 9pm, in small groups. In February unfortunately the season for the turtles to lay their eggs on the beach at night is rather over, so we only saw one. Anyway, still a super cool experience! I don’t have any pictures of this event since it would’ve scared away the turtle, as you can imagine.
➤ I booked us 2 nights in the desert at Safari Desert Camp (all links at the bottom of this article). Big dinner and breakfast are included. For a small fee you can smoke shisha underneath the starry sky. We also had a camel ride during the day. You can imagine the warmth in the middle of the desert, that’s why I wore my Hunkemöller bikini underneath in case it became too hot. Afterwards we watched the sunset from uphill near the camp; one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life, for sure. Oh and we didn’t have a four wheel drive so we needed someone from the camp to pick us up at the city-desert border, which was a whole experience since the guy did several tricks and raced his way through the desert with us, so cool!
➤ Wadi Bani Khalid: approximately 40 minutes away from the desert. A wadi is a grand oasis where you can swim, hike and relax. Especially very popular with the locals!
➤ Misfat al Abryyin: go for a hike between the palmtrees and enjoy fresh mint tea with dates afterwards. It’s situated close to Nizwa and Birkat al Mouz. This place is magical!
➤ Nizwa: here we visited the famous goat market (only on Wednesday morning) and food souk. Also Nizwa fort is a must-see although it’s a bit more touristic.
➤ We went hiking in the mountains and more specific the part of Jebel Akhdar. We initially intended to go explore Oman’s own ‘Grand Canyon‘ which proves to be no less stretched out than America’s Grand Canyon. Though our AirBNB host Mamdouh advised us to go to Jebel Akhdar instead. If you spend enough time in Oman you’ll easily be able to do both!
THE PRACTICAL SIGHT & PLACES TO STAY
❤ We rented our Toyota car via Thrifty car rental. They offer two as well as four wheel drives.
❤ We booked two stays in advance, the rest you can do via Booking or AirBNB a day in advance. It sure wasn’t the most luxurious vacation I’ve ever experienced, but that’s part of the deal and honestly if I look back I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Below there are the accomodations listed that I really recommend you:
Our stay in Muscat: Behlys Guest House hosted by two German people!
Our stay in the desert: Safari Desert Camp
Our stay in Nizwa: Mamdouh’s cosy airBNB
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I can’t wait for my next destination, so I can share my hotspots and tips with you again!