Oman is one of the best places in the Gulf to experience traditional Arabia. Development has been sympathetic to its most spectacular landscapes, and cultural traditions remain remarkably intact. See quiet stretches of pristine coastline dotted with palm trees, towering mountains, giant dunes and rocky wadis. Explore cities like Muscat, a beguiling mix of the old and the contemporary and the oasis city of Nizwa, the ancient former capital of Oman with its historical monuments. Take a 4×4 desert and wadi safari. Enjoy a variety of watersports including snorkelling and diving. Choose from a number of tours including the Frankincense Trail or castle and city tours. And shop for gifts.
Things to see and do
Go turtle watching at Ras al Jinz. Be awed as hundreds of green turtles drag themselves out of the ocean to lay their eggs on the remote beach. Take a dhow cruise through one of Musandhan's most spectacular fjords keeping an eye out for dolphins. Go hiking in the spectacular mountain range of the Western Hajar. Tour Jabrin Fort, one of hundreds around the country. Spend a night in the desert and marvel as the stars come out. Dive in crystal clear waters and see a wealth of marine life.
Head to ancient Nizwa, the second-biggest tourist destination in Oman, which contains one of the country's largest forts. Explore the city's souk and shop for silver jewellery. And from Nizwa go to nearby destinations such as the ruins at Birkat al Mouz, an abandoned village, Bahla Fort and Jebel Akdhar (Green Mountain) which takes in the great and verdant Siaq Plateau 2,000m above sea level.
Tour Muscat, capital of Oman, including the Old Town with its Portuguese forts. Visit the Bait Al Zubair museum to learn more of the country's history, traditions and heritage. Wander the quarter of Mutrah with its attractive merchants' houses and shop in the busy souk known for its perfumes, silver craft and other souvenirs. Join a birdwatching tour and dine in style at Al-Khiran Terrace.
Eating and drinking
Oman cuisine is a mixture of Arabian and Indian food and standard fare consists of dishes such as biryanis and shwarmas. Good places to eat outside the capital are few and far between. The basic eaterie is the café which may only offer a limited range of fare. Restaurants which may offer a range of Chinese, Indian or European cuisine are located mainly in hotels where you can also get a Western-style breakfast. Alcohol is difficult to come by outside Oman and is often very expensive.
Nightlife and culture
Most nightlife is in Muscat and Salalah with most of it centred on the hotels. Try Club Safari or Pavo Real. The Royal Oman Opera House opened in 2011 and the Al Flayj Castle Theatre, also in Muscat, offers cultural performances. There are several cinemas showing international films.
Traditional souvenirs include silver and gold jewellery, daggers, coffee pots, frankincense, hand-woven textiles and goat hair carpets. Muscat also has several large shopping malls.
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