Oman, a Country in the Middle East, is the world’s oldest independent Arab state, with a history that dates all the way back to 1651. The trajectory of Oman reads like that of many of the other Middle Eastern countries, such as neighboring UAE and Saudi Arabia. Historically a small economy, the country was transformed by the discovery of oil in the early 1960’s. Up until that point, there were only a couple of schools, one hospital, and just a few miles of roads in Oman. What happened next is known by Omanis as the ‘Renaissance’. The vast wealth that followed the development of its oil industry allowed the country to develop at unprecedented levels, to the point where is now boasts world-class schools, hospitals, and infrastructure, and offers its citizens a high standard of life.
The influx of wealth is close to where the similarity with other oil-rich countries, especially UAE, ends. Though you can expect to see supercars and other signals of an affluent nation, it is simply not in the same league as other countries in the area when it comes to extravagance. In Oman, it is tradition and heritage that is important.
The development of the country’s infrastructure saw a large population spike. Today, Oman is home to some four million people, of whom around 45% are expatriates lured to Oman for work opportunities.
Oman has historically been a traditionally conservative nation, and this is still true today. This is in part because of its comparative isolation from the rest of the world. Under the rule of Said bin Taimur, who feared the effect modernisation would have on the country’s traditions, there was limited economic contact with other countries. This changed in 1970 when Said was overthrown by his son and current Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who oversaw great development in Oman.
Still, Oman’s relatively recent modernity means it is still a deeply traditional country and while western ideas are mostly tolerated, remember that this is a Muslim country that largely abides by Islamic principles. As such, there are a few things visitors should be aware of.
Clothing and Appearance
Clothing is conservative in Oman. Women should ensure most of their skin (except head) is covered and avoid wearing tight clothing. Both genders should avoid wearing any clothing that is any way “edgy”, especially when visiting the more remote parts of Oman.
Omani people enjoy seeing visitors to their country and will make you feel welcome. Don’t be surprised if you’re stared at or receive excessive attention, especially if you’re not in capital city Muscat – you’re just something of a novelty. Be friendly and patient: a simple smile will go a long way.
Not following the etiquette of the country won’t result in much more than disapproving looks from the locals, but as you’re a guest in their country it’s heavily advised that you show respect. While Oman is becoming increasingly westernized, this is only in some aspects, and it’s likely that their traditions will be rigorously upheld for many years to come.
Oman is a varied country, home to fascinating cities, stunning beaches, charming towns, and a staggeringly rich culture, making it an excellent destination for visitors. Despite the obvious appeals of visiting Oman, the country remains surprisingly low key on the international tourist front – though that could all be about to change. Though Oman has been something of a secret gem for several years, the numbers are starting to catch up with its potential, growing steadily year on year. The world’s leading travel experts have also been publically promoting Oman; Lonely Planet recently awarded capital city Muscat one of the top ten cities to visit in the world, while travel website Skift voted it the best travel destination of 2015.
But with so much on offer in the Middle Eastern country, where do you start? Here’s a guide to just some of Oman’s best attractions and most popular destinations.
Oman’s capital and largest city is where you’ll find the most western and decadent aspects of the country, but also some of its most storied history. If you’re new to Oman, Muscat will probably be your introduction to the country.
The Old Forts
Al Jalali and Al Mirani are two forts that were built in the 1580’s, and have played crucial roles in the city’s history. They’re both closed to the public, so you won’t be able to go inside, but you don’t need to – they’re best enjoyed from the outside. Take a camera and visit at sunset, if possible.
Hit the Beach
Cities aren’t usually known for their beaches, but that’s not the case in Muscat. Qantab and Qurum beach comes with soft sand, clear water, great views, and a brilliant atmosphere.
The Muttrah Souq is considered to be one of the best markets in the Middle East. A colourful maze of sights, sounds, and smells, the market sells homemade Omani products, food, jewelry, clothing, and just about everything else. It’s open everyday, so go in and have fun – just don’t get lost (really)!
Nizwa and Bahla
These two cities are separated by just forty kilometres and can be explored together. As this region of Oman is surrounded by mountains, it has historically been cut off not just from the rest of the world, but the rest of Oman. As such, there’s a strong local identity and culture here.
Nizwa is a vibrant, colorful city with exquisite architecture, making it a delight to explore on foot. The food, mosques, and character of the people makes this a unique part of Oman. If you rush your time in this city, you’re doing it wrong – take your time and let everything sink in.
If the Muttrah Souq is a vibrant experience, then this is as an authentic experience. Relatively untouched by modern life, the Nizwa Souq has managed to preserve all that was special about the old Oman way of life. You’ll find muskets and khanjar knives for sale, as well as an old fashioned livestock sale each week, all under a backdrop of traditional architecture.
Bahla Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, the Fort underwent extensive restoration during the 1990’s, and today showcases one of the finest examples of the capabilities of the Banu Nebhan, the tribe leaders of the area from the 12th to 16th century.
There’s a whole world away from Oman’s charming towns and cities. The country’s deserts, mountains, and peninsula’s offer a refreshing new perspective on a region that is often only noted for its man made structures.
The breathtaking Wahiba Sands is a desert that covers 110 miles by 50 miles of land. A sublime and magical natural wonder, it is best experienced by taking a 4×4 tour and spending in the night in a traditional desert camp. You will not regret it.
The Hajar Mountains stretch right across Oman’s northern coast, and offer an adventurer plenty of opportunities for fun. And if you’re not hiking, off-road driving, or rock climbing, then you can also discover the cultural gems that are spread across the mountain range, including centuries old mud huts and petroglyphs that date back more than 3000 years.
The post Top Things To Do In Oman appeared first on Seawings Lifestyle.
This post first appeared on Luxury Dubai Holiday Packages | Dubai Tours And Sa, please read the originial post: here