Occupying the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman, which is its official name lies between the Arabian Sea on one side and the Gulf of Oman on the other. Being surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, Oman is probably one of the hidden gems for a tourist – it’s perfect for those looking for a relaxing holiday mixed with culture, Oman is the place. It’s great to combine with either Dubai or Abu Dhabi for a holiday –because they are all so different.
You can easily drive down to the UAE, assuming you have a visa which is issued on entry by the Royal Oman Police. Getting there is simple and you can go via a host of cities including Buraimi which is in Al Ain, Bukha, Waddi Hatta and Khamat Mulahah For the seasoned traveller one can get to Oman via Saudi Arabia crossing the desert of Al Mashash. Again, from Yemen, there is a choice of two roads namely the Route 47 and the road from Thumrait to Al Mazyonah on the border.
However, most people fly in to the Muscat International Airport, Salalah Airport or Khasab airport all of which are well connected with most of the major airports with many of the prominent airlines. Our advice would be to fly in or fly out and combine a drive to or from the UAE, depending on where you intend to stay. Once you are there, taxis and buses are easy to get.
Oman is believed to be the cradle of civilization making this is a must-visit destination for travellers who are inquisitive about their pre-historic origins. Some say that Oman is the Arabian antithesis of Dubai. While Dubai is the gogetting future city, Oman is the historical, cultural hub of Arabia. While on a trip here, you can see a number of successive phases of history beginning from the Stone Age and continuing along to include the arrival of Islam, European colonization, sovereignty and relations with Africa. It really is all around.
Characterized by a hot climate with very little rainfall, there is no particular tourist season for planning a trip here although, as with the UAE, you should try and avoid the summer months between May and September. Having landed, there is a lot to see unlike the usual reputation of Gulf countries being associated with shopping, Oman offers a rare glimpse into its traditional villages as well. The people are friendly and helpful – and have a contentment with life that befits to relaxing nature of the place.
The culture here is not just limited to the big cities with sky scrapers but can be found reflected as much in archaeological sites, religious places, ancient forts and of all things the Frankincense Tree. Unique as it is, Frankincense has been associated with human civilization since time immemorial and it is courtesy of this age-old relationship that the Dhofari people regard this tree as an embodiment of life, culture, history and traditions.