The Atypical Travel To A Nature Paradise in Oman
For travelers wishing to visit the Middle East, I am certain the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia comes to mind more often than Oman. Despite the fact that Oman shares its borders with skyscraper countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, Oman is distinctively different with a laid back vibe.
Regardless of the cultural similarities to its Arab neighbors, Oman shows its rich heritage with its Portuguese influence, ancient geography, and unique cultural history. This puts Oman at a distinguished position among the Middle East countries. In conjunction with the oil wealth, the increasing trades in agriculture, and fishery, Oman has captured the attention of many foreign investors. This subsequently has expanded the country's economy.
Omani's generosity and willingness to embrace visitors from all across the world is truly inimitable. As a traveler, you'll definitely feel safe and welcomed with open arms. To top things off, the urbanized infrastructure will definitely ease your way to exploring the rocky mountains, desert shrub or traverse through the oasis; desert fossils away from the modern coastline.
With all that said, traveling to Oman is definitely a life-changing adventure for any traveler who seeks a distinctive experience without the lavish lifestyle and skyscrapers of the Arab Nation. Immerse yourself in the unspoiled nature and perennial deserts that the Omani still seek to protect from destruction.
These are some of the highlights that you would hate to miss in Oman:
Camping in the Wild
The landscapes of the Sultanate of Oman are varied; surrounded by spectacular mountains, vast dunes and deserts, oasis and pristine beaches. Despite the modern capital Muscat, deep down the beautiful terrains remain at the heart of the Omani spirit.
This explains why Omani's enjoy camping whether on the mountain, by the beach or even at a countryside open space.
Being a traveler, there's nothing that beats the experience of having a road trip in Oman. The scenic environment is perfect for anyone wishing to ditch the typical sightseeing tours for a unique change.
Luckily for everybody, Oman is blessed with riverbed oases and long coastlines on the Persian Gulf with crystal-clear water. Beaches like Al Mughsayl, Bandar Jissah, and Tiwi show distinctive characteristics that make Oman stand out for its natural beauty. For all nature lovers or anyone seeking a relaxing beach vacation, this is definitely the key to unlocking your perfect getaway.
Regardless of where you're camping, you'll be amazed by the serene surroundings. Take Tiwi beach for example, this beach is located not too far from a small fishing village on the eastern coast. Besides its white sands, it is surrounded by the most majestic mountains. If you are seeking a relaxing spot to spend your night after a hike up the mountains, this spot is a perfect escape. If you're lucky, you might even find some freshly caught fish from fishermen along the coastline.
Visit The Traditional Mud Village
Explore the authentic Omani mud village that is built on the mountainside. The village Misfat Al Abriyeen is truly a great start for adventurers to explore the ancient Omani’s architecture and their humble lifestyle.
Here at Misfat, roads are narrow, mud-houses are built in a maze-like passageway and all of the houses are beautifully shaded by lush greens. The unique architecture of these houses is mostly composed of huge rock slabs as a foundation and patched up slowly with mud and smaller stones from the mountainside to form a house.
The narrow cobblestone lanes, the decaying houses, and painted houses portray the humble and simple life of an Omani. Life on the mountain is easy
Most of the residents in the village farm for a living. Using a Wadi to channel fresh water through a labyrinth irrigation network, the garden terraces are well nourished. It is no surprise to see lush greenery surrounding the entire village. Palm trees, banana trees and local herb plantations are everywhere within the village.
Although the local Omani welcome all visitors from around the globe, please do remember the boundaries. Respect the locals, be modest and do not take any photographs of the Omani without asking for permission. Especially avoid taking photos of the local Omani women.
With all that said, Misfat is definitely a treasure that is yet to be discovered by the masses.
Explore The Riverbed Valleys
No trip to Oman is complete without visiting the Wadis (valleys). Besides the spectacular mountains, swaying date trees and the beautiful beaches, wadis are a natural attraction that have captivated the attention of many visitors from all over the globe. This natural formation of Wadis at the gently sloping and flat parts of deserts is pure nature at its best. It is definitely an unforgettable and relaxing weekend escape for Omanis and also adventurers who wish to experience something different from a swim at the beach.
Oman is famous for their wadis like Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Al Abriyeen, Wadi Tiwi, Wadi Shab etc. There are endless amounts of wadis to be explored throughout Oman. However, I would like to highlight my trip to "Wadi Shab" which I personally think is the best Wadi I have visited throughout my days in this beautiful country.
Unlike any other wadis, in order for us to start hiking to our destination, we were required to take a short boat ride operated by a local Omani. Even though it's not a long ride, it is definitely fun and exciting at the same time, knowing that after the ride we are about to embark on our journey for the crystal clear water surrounded by the Grand Canyon-like rocky mountains.
Honestly, I didn't have high expectations for the hike as I'd already been to a few other Wadi and found them more or less similar. But this wadi definitely had me stunned silent. The challenging pathways where you have to dodge and grip onto a bigger and stable rock around you is truly thrilling. Each step and every move you make gives you jitters down your spine.
Despite all of the difficulties, the best part of this wadi is its submerged cave with turquoise waterfalls and rocky cliffs. The breathtaking view of this wadi is the best achievement that I can ever get in Oman.
Visit The Ancient Forts in Oman
Visiting historical fortresses in Oman is a must do. Among the four famous fortresses in Oman, Bahla Fort is one of the most well-known fortresses in the Middle East. It also earned the title of the only UNESCO-listed fort in the country.
Due to the ruins and erosion, the fort underwent a massive restoration and reopened in 2012. This massive sand-castle-like fort is the ideal example of Islamic settlements in days gone by. The sand colored
building blends into the parched landscape while the impressive architecture of the fort is a brilliant creation.
However, if you're keen on visiting different forts in Oman, Nizwa Fort is a great option. Nizwa fort shows similarities to Bahla Fort with the complex settlements with different displays of defensive tools like guns, armor, and ancient uniforms. A spoiler alert, I've picked up the knowledge that Omani used boiling hot dates syrup as a defense weapon against their enemy. This ingenious technique is definitely hard to believe but, it works.
Oman is definitely a life-changing country that you need to include on your bucket list. Skip the touristy destinations and I can guarantee you that it is going to be a blast and you'll love it!
Authored & Photographed : @explorernations
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