Like a lot of the Middle-Eastern countries, Oman is a wealthy nation exhibiting avant-grade infrastructure,luxurious hotels chains, classy and expensive fine dining, exclusive boutiques and sprawling shopping complexes but at the same time is fiercely protective of it's roots and traditions and retains it's cultural legacy which it incorporates in it's architecture. Omanis are very proud of it's glorious heritage and illustrious history despite the country climbing the ladder of success quickly. Inspite of possessing modest oil reserves as compared to it's other Gulf counterparts, this sea-faring nation is still categorized as a high-income economy.
When in Oman, the first stop would be it's capital Muscat. Unlike the other Arab cities, this metropolis has less piercing skyscrapers as it is determined to preserve it's traditional look. Notable attractions in the city includes the grand Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque that can accommodate over 20,000 worshippers in one sitting. History aficionados will love catching a glimpse of Sultan Qaboos's Al Alam Royal Palace. Affectionately known as the 'Walled City', the metropolis and it's outskirts are packed in with several ancient forts like Al Jalali Fort, Al Mirani Fort, Nakhal Fort and Muttrah Fort. Folks who have a musical ear can enjoy visiting the Royal Opera House Muscat.
Classified under the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bahla Fort residing at the base of the Djebel Akhdar highlands, possesses 7 miles of walls and was erected during the 13th-14th centuries. Head over to Wahiba Sands to marvel at the spectacular and massive desert dunes that are limitless and boundless. Those with adventurous spirit can jump on a sand board and/or go on a desert safari by camel-back or four-wheeled cars. Oman's beaches are excellent for not only lounging around and relaxing but also a great locality for breeding of a variety of sea turtle species. Masriah Island is particularly famous for the breeding of 4 species, especially the largest amount of leatherbacks from anywhere in the planet.
Ancient frankincense trees can be found in the Dhofar district of southern Oman at Wadi Dawkah, the remnants of the caravan settlement of Shisr and Wubat and the trade ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed, fringing the Arabian Sea. Muscat is not the only city known for forts as Oman is brimming with several fort cities and one of them is the grand metropolis of Nizwa. The city is comfortably perched on a plain in the Hajar Mountains. The imposing and majestic Nizwa fort dates as far back as 1668 with it's array of high-walled chambers that are dominated by a massive central tower.
Experience the bygone Arab-era by strolling around the winding and crooked stone streets and rows of conventional mud-brick houses at Al Hamra which is proud to be one of the most ancient and well-maintained towns of Oman. To get a fantastic panoramic vista of the surrounding Western Hajar mountain range and the city, climb aboard the Al Hamra watchtower. The ancient town of Al Mudayrib is well-worth the visit with it's 18th-century watchtowers scattered around the hills as well it's stunning mosques and an almost-in-ruins fort, originally built during the 18th-century.
When in Oman, try looking for quintessential merchandise such as the country's national symbol, a silver-sheathed dagger called Khajar, walking stick known as arsaa which is a cane with a hidden sword in it, Omani silver turned into small 'Nizwa boxes', silver jewellery, frankincense in the Dhofar district, a wide variety of perfumes including an excellent assortment of traditional ingredients and so forth. For urban shopping, Oman is brimming with a number of luxurious shopping complexes with designer labels and international brands, particularly in Muscat.
Epicureans would be interested in learning that there is a difference between Arabic cuisine from Omani fare. It is mainly a combination of Arabic, East African, Lebanese, Turkish and Indian. Their delicacies usually include chicken, fish, lamb and rice. They tend to be less spicy and are usually served in huge portions. Be sure to munch on the world-famous Omani dates. Oman is home to a variety of stay options including the best luxury hotels and private apartments the country can boast of as well as caters to budget travellers by offering them modest and cheap accommodations.
Oman experiences one of the hottest climates in the planet and receives less rainfall. The best time to visit the country would be during the winter season from October to March as the weather is slightly more comfortable and conducive for a holiday.