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12 Day Culture Itinerary

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A longer trip to Oman allows you to go further, see more and do more. With 12 days, you can fully appreciate the wonders Oman has to offer from boat trips to mountain hikes, immersing yourself in the culture and creating an unforgettable experience.

Day 1

Muscat

Oman’s capital has a lot to offer for those seeking to learn more about Omani culture and heritage. First, visit the Royal Opera House Muscat which is open for guided tours in the morning – or visit in the evening when the venue hosts shows and its stunning beauty and musical ambitions of this architectural marvel truly shine. Muscat has many interesting museums and galleries worth exploring. The National Museum in Old Muscat recently opened to the public and with magnificent exhibits and stunning location is a must when in the city. Bait Al Zubair not far away is a former residence-turned-museum, filled with artefacts from Oman’s history. Other museums include the Children’s Museum, the Natural History Museum, Omani French Museum and more.

Quriyat

a favourite with bird watchers

The fishing village of Quriyat, en route to Sur, is a favourite with bird watchers. Species such as Kingfishers and Grey Herons are known to frequent the surrounding lagoons.

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Dolphin Watching

teeming with marine life

Muscat’s coastline is teeming with marine life, including numerous dolphin pods. Dolphin watching trips can be organized by local tour operators.

Alongwith exploring dophins you have the chance to view the scenic beauty of Oman's coastline over the prestine waters of Oman's capital area and experiance the breaktaking views of some of it's landmarks. The most commonly encountered species off Muscat are spinner dolphins, which delight the viewer with their spinning leaps. The Spinners are often joined by long-nosed common dolphins, in mixed groups. Also encountered off Muscat, but on a less regular basis are Bryde's Whales, Humpback Whales, Risso's Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, False Killer Whale and the occasional Killer Whale group amongst others.
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Daymaniyat Islands

Snorkelling and Diving

Located off the coast between Barka and Al Seeb, the Daymaniyat Islands are surrounded by turquoise waters that are perfect for snorkelling and diving. The islands are a protected area, home to endangered sea turtles, untouched coral reefs, and exotic fish.

The main tourist draw between Barka and Sohar is the Sawadi and Daymaniyat islands (and the adjacent Al Sawadi Beach Resort), one of the country’s leading dive spots, but equally rewarding to visit for a snorkel or swim. The rocky and windswept Sawadi Islands lie just offshore. The largest of the seven islands lies almost within spitting distance of the beach, a large rocky hump topped by a string of watchtowers, while the other smaller islands lie further out to sea. It’s possible to walk across the sand to the main island at low tide, though take care you don’t get stranded when the tide comes back in; at other times boat trips can be arranged by bargaining with the local fishermen on the beach for around 5 OR, while snorkelling trips can be set up through Extra Divers at the Al Sawadi Beach Resort. The beach here is littered with exotic-looking seashells, perfect for a stroll and a spot of beachcombing.
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Bait Al Zubair

A prominent landmark of Old Muscat

Once a private residence, the owner’s family have since turned Bait Al Zubair into a prominent landmark of Old Muscat. From art to photography and traditional artefacts from daily life, the museum is a must for everyone interested in learning more about the Sultanate’s heritage.

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muscat

Day 2

Old Muscat

The old part of Muscat, with its traditional architecture and rich history, is the perfect place to continue a cultural holiday. Al Alam – the ceremonial palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos – is nestled in the heart of Old Muscat, flanked by the Al Mirani and Al Jalali Forts on either side and facing a secluded bay. Re-built in the 1970s, the palace is the Sultan’s official representative palace, where he welcomes dignitaries and world leaders. Parts of the first tarmac road to ever be built in Oman still exists today and can be viewed along the old Riyam to Muscat Road. Expect some stunning views of Old Muscat, including a great view of the Sultan’s Palace. Muttrah’s corniche is a great place to visit, especially at night. Muttrah Souq is one of the oldest in Arabia and is the perfect place to barter for souvenirs.

Wadi Dayqah Dam

An amazing picnic area

Wadi Dayqah Dam is one of the largest on the Arabian Peninsula and a source of irrigation and protection for the surrounding villages, as it reduces the number of flash floods in the area. A picnic area has been built atop the dam with great views for all to enjoy.

Wadi Dayqah Dam is quite a spectacular sight! Set in the rugged limestone Wadi (valley) this huge construction is a real contrast of natural Omani beauty and impressive human engineering. Opened in 2012 the dam was built to collect the periodic rain fall from the high peaks above and control the volume of water flowing through the narrow torrent, ‘dayqah’, to the villages below. This still maintains the ancient “Falaj” irrigation system whilst controlling the surges of water rolling off the hillside. The dam is quite a spectacle for Oman and is by far the highest in the country. The water lake is 8 kilometres (5 miles) long and can hold 100 million cubic meters of rain water.
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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

An architectural masterpiece

This architectural masterpiece is Oman's pride and joy. Located in Bawshar, the mosque is home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet as well as a one of the largest chandeliers in the world which is decorated with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. The mosque is open to the public from Saturday to Thursday between 8am and 11am and a dress code applies.

Quietly imposing from the outside, this glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign. The main prayer hall is breathtakingly beautiful. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. Mwasalat buses stop outside the mosque. The mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall), is an active place of worship, particularly for Friday prayers. Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering arms and legs and avoiding tight clothing. Women and girls (aged seven and above) must cover their hair. An abaya (full-length dress) and scarf can be hired from the mosque cafe and gift shop for OR2.5; some form of ID is required as a deposit. Tours are available.
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Dolphin Watching

teeming with marine life

Muscat’s coastline is teeming with marine life, including numerous dolphin pods. Dolphin watching trips can be organized by local tour operators.

Alongwith exploring dophins you have the chance to view the scenic beauty of Oman's coastline over the prestine waters of Oman's capital area and experiance the breaktaking views of some of it's landmarks. The most commonly encountered species off Muscat are spinner dolphins, which delight the viewer with their spinning leaps. The Spinners are often joined by long-nosed common dolphins, in mixed groups. Also encountered off Muscat, but on a less regular basis are Bryde's Whales, Humpback Whales, Risso's Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, False Killer Whale and the occasional Killer Whale group amongst others.
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Amouage Factory

Amouage is a world-renowned luxury fragrance brand

Founded over a quarter of a century ago, Amouage is a world-renowned luxury fragrance brand with origins in the Sultanate. In the Amouage Factory, visitors can get behind the scenes and garner an insight into the creation of some of the world’s most exclusive scents.

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SUR RAS JINZ

Day 3

Sur

Located about two hours from Muscat along a scenic coastal road, the city of Sur still upholds the age-old tradition of Dhow building and maritime culture. The last remaining Dhow factory gives tourists the unique chance to see Dhows being built without plan – according to ancient traditions. Close to the Dhow factory is the Sur Maritime Museum, where this ancient art of Dhow building and Oman’s maritime culture are further explained. Built by the Portuguese to assist boats to come into the lagoon, the neighbourhood of Al Ayjah is rich in history and home to the Al Ayjah lighthouse. In the past, residents had to take boats to reach the other side, today a bridge spans across the water. Spot the beautiful old merchant houses during a walk around.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

An architectural masterpiece

This architectural masterpiece is Oman's pride and joy. Located in Bawshar, the mosque is home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet as well as a one of the largest chandeliers in the world which is decorated with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. The mosque is open to the public from Saturday to Thursday between 8am and 11am and a dress code applies.

Quietly imposing from the outside, this glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign. The main prayer hall is breathtakingly beautiful. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. Mwasalat buses stop outside the mosque. The mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall), is an active place of worship, particularly for Friday prayers. Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering arms and legs and avoiding tight clothing. Women and girls (aged seven and above) must cover their hair. An abaya (full-length dress) and scarf can be hired from the mosque cafe and gift shop for OR2.5; some form of ID is required as a deposit. Tours are available.
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Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre

Learn about the oil and gas industry

The Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre highlights the journey of the discovery, extraction, and use of fossil fuels in Oman through interactive displays.

Established in 1995 under Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the centre particularly appeals to visitors interested in learning about the oil and gas industry and how it has contributed to the growth of infrastructure throughout Oman.

The PDO planetarium lies adjacent to the centre and boasts a “full dome” digital system to teach kids and adults about astronomy in an engaging way.

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Salmah Plateau

Camping Hot Spot

For a real off-road adventure, a trip to Salmah Plateau offers a great mix of panoramic views, traditional villages and sights such as the Beehive Tombs of Al Jaylah/Shir or the entrance to Majlis Al Jinz, one of the largest cave chambers in the world.

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Wadi Al Khoud

great for off-roading

Located close to the old village of Al Khoud, Wadi Al Khoud is great for off-roading, with its stony bed and small water pools. It leads to the village of Fanja.

“Wadi Al Khoudh” is located  in Wilayat Al Seeb, and is considered one of the largest wadi basins in the Sultanate. Pools are formed in the wadi following heavy rain. It is well worth a visit, to enjoy the green salience, the beautiful rock formations surrounding and its clear water pools and springs of water of the valley
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SHARQIYAH

Day 4

A’Sharqiyah Sands

About 115km west of Sur lies the edge of the Sharqiyah Sands. The desert awaits! A favourite with locals and visitors alike, Wadi Bani Khalid is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing swim in its natural pools. Since many villages are nestled around the wadi, visitors are asked to dress modestly at all times. The A’Sharqiyah Sands has a number of desert camps, from traditional to luxurious, that welcome visitors for an overnight stay. Often this is combined with a camel ride, dune driving or meeting a Bedouin family.

Bidiyah

At the edge of the Sharqiyah Sands

Located 233km from Muscat, Bidiyah is a collection of villages at the edge of the Sharqiyah Sands. Home to Bedouin people from the desert, it is the perfect place to experience traditional camel or horse races or visit its famous Eid market.

A three- to four-hour drive from Muscat, Bidiyah is in the Sharqiyah Sands, the most popular destination in Oman for dune-bashing, desert-crossings, and camping. No visit to Oman would be complete without seeing these spectacular seas of sand.
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Jalan Bani Bu Hassan

A must-visit when in Ash Sharqiyah

In the past Jalan Bani Bu Ali and Bani Bu Hassan were neighbouring rivals, today both settlements flow into each other amongst the date palm plantations. Jalan Bani Bu Hassan Fort is one of the oldest in the region and a must-visit when in Ash Sharqiyah.

Jalan Bani Bu Hassan, a wilayat in the Sharqiyah South Governorate, is located 300 kilometres away from Muscat. It borders Al Kamil W’al Wafi in the north, Sur in the northeast, Bidiya in the west, Mahout in the southwest and Jaalan Bani Bu Ali in the south. The wilayat comprises 197 villages that are reputed for geographical diversification and several of archaeological, historical, tourist and economic landmarks.
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Ras Al Jinz

A famous nature reserve

Thousands of sea turtles migrate yearly to the shores of Oman to lay their eggs. Ras Al Jinz is a nature reserve famous for the opportunity to witness the endangered green sea turtle in its natural habitat during nesting and hatching season.

Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, a unique natural landscape, unspoiled shorelines, golden deserts, luxuriant green oases and rugged mountains. Ras Al Jinz is world renown for the nesting of the endangered green turtle (Cheloniamydas), probably the most important nesting concentration on the Indian Ocean. This is the only place where public can watch the nesting process of these amazing sea-giants. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
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Sur Dhow Yard

The only surviving dhow-building yard in Oman.

Close to the Sur Maritime Museum, Sur’s dhow yard is the perfect place to witness craftsman build dhows the traditional way, without plans. This is the only surviving dhow-building yard in Oman.

If there is one industrial town in Oman that has not lost its importance from the days of yore, it’s Sur. You know you’ve entered a town that prides on its traditional heritage when the maze of streets showcase ancient residential dwellings each of which still carry a mark of the past on its majestic carved doors and Arabesque windows. Long considered as Oman’s prime trading ports, the calm and serene coastal town is the capital of A’Sharqiyah on the coast of the of Oman Sea. Sur has always been the epicentre of travel and trade in this region. Its vessels have ruled the waters since many centuries! Its strategic location has always helped in maintaining and monitoring peace in the of Oman Sea and the Indian Ocean. Although it no longer retains its prominence in the trade industry, Sur continues to be the best in building wooden ships, at least in the Gulf region. A couple of centuries back this town built ships for clients in China, India, Iraq and other prominent trade destinations in the region. And although the dhow yards in Sur have reduced considerably given the fast decline in the demand for dhows since almost a century now, the charm and character of the laid-back town remains unfazed.
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nizwa

Day 5

Jabreen Castle, Bahla Fort & Nizwa

Today’s destination is the city of Nizwa, but first a stop at one of Oman’s most beautiful castles plus the Sultanate’s largest fort. Jabreen Castle was built in the 17th century and commands panoramic views of the surroundings date plantations. Over three stories tall, the castle was once a private residence, not a fortification, and its intricate ceilings and clever layout are still a sight to behold. Bahla Fort is Oman’s largest fort and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having been restored in accordance with the ancient methods since 1987. Next is Nizwa, and like Muscat the city holds a sprawling souq. Nearby is one of Oman’s most famous forts, Nizwa Fort.

Village of Lima

famous for its local handicrafts

Surrounded by mountains and accessible by boat, the village of Lima is famous for its local handicrafts - especially the Al Jarz, a small traditional axe. The boat trip itself will take you through stunning marine vistas where you can see unique rock formations.

This is a small village separated from Wilayt Khasab in Musandam Governorate by rugged mountainous peaks. That’s why the best way to reach this village is by boats that will take you through marine vistas that will be engraved in your memory for ever. There visitors will enjoy the fantastic rock formations of the mountain range directly overlooking the sea, and birds hovering over the sapphire waters through the distance that separates Khasab from Lima. The village is known for its local crafts specially the unique AlJarz.
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Omani French Museum

Established by His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said

Honouring the close relationship Oman and France have enjoyed for centuries, the Omani French Museum was established by His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said and former French President, the late François Mitterrand in 1992. It is housed in Bait Faransa, the former residence of a French consul in Old Muscat.

With galleries detailing relations between the two countries, this museum provides an interesting snapshot of mostly 19th-century colonial life in Muscat. Of particular interest are a series of old photographs and maps documenting the capital in the last century. There's also a Paris map showing the itinerary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos during his state visit in 1989.
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Hasat Bin Sult

spot 3,000-year-old carvings

Hasat Bin Sult are a series of petroglyphs carved onto a giant rock, located on the way between Al Hamra and Jebel Shams. The rock can be a little tricky to find, but if it is the right time of day, visitors can spot 3,000-year-old carvings of four life-size human figures on its main face.

Facts about Hasat Bani Salt or (Hasat Bin Sult):

  • A  block of limestone near Al Hamra; which has four near life-size human figures depicted in relief on its main face, these having been hammered out of the rock.
  • Age is not certain, but pre-Islamic and probably in excess of 3000 years old.
  • It is one of the most important archaeological finds in this part of the Middle East.
  • The carvings were “found” in the 1970’s by Coleman, a geologist who made contributions to the understanding of local ophiolites.
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Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve

Home to the Arabian Oryx

Since the global extinction of the species in the wild in 1972, the Arabian Oryx has been reintroduced within a specially designated area in Oman’s Al Wusta region.

In the middle of a spectacular desert escarpment, this reserve is home to a small herd of reintroduced oryx. It offers a rare chance to see this magnificent desert antelope up close as there is a large herd of over 600 animals in the reserve's breeding centre. The reserve, access to which is by 4WD with prior permit only, is 50km off the Haima–Duqm road (Hwy 37) on a poorly graded track marked 'Habab', 110km from Haima. After 23km along the track.
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Al Jebel Al Akhdar

Day 6

Al Jebel Al Akhdar

Amongst the highest peaks in the Hajar Mountain range, Jebel Al Akhdar boasts spectacular views and cooler temperatures. Jebel Al Akhdar’s green terrace fields include rose bushes that bloom in March every year. It is then that local entrepreneurs distil rose water from the blossoms, an ancient tradition that visitors are welcome to observe. There are several hiking and off-roading trails across the mountain top that that can be explored. Wadi Bani Habib, with its abandoned villages, is especially interesting for visitors.

Village of Al Roos
It is an old village located on a slope of Al Jebel Al Akhdar and includes a meeting room "Majlis" and a number of mud houses.
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Wadi Bani Habib
One of the famous wadis in Al Jebel Al Akhdar, this Wadi can be explored on foot. It is surrounded on all sides with green walnut groves and some local bushes widely scattered. It also the home to the abandoned village of Bani Habib, which welcomes visitors who are trekking and exploration lovers.
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Village of Sayq
Although it was formerly one of the difficult places that has access problems in Oman, the village of Sayq is one of the agricultural wonders in the Sultanate of Oman, which contains orchards full of fruits, it also provides its visitors an interesting view of the nearby wadis, and is the perfect place for camping or accommodation in one of the fancy hotels.
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Sohar Souq
Overlooking the Sea of Oman, the new historic Sohar Souq is less than 300 meters north of Sohar Fort. Arabic decorations and exquisite interiors give a shine to the Souq that you can visit whenever you come to Sohar. Various cafes are located in both the ground floor and upstairs.
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AL HAMRA TOMBS OF AL AYN

Day 7

Al Hamra & Tombs of Al Ayn

Moving down the mountain and further inland, this day features a visit to one of Oman’s most scenic old towns plus another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled at the foot of the Al Hajar Mountains, Al Hamra has numerous mudbrick buildings making up its old centre. Best explored on foot, the settlement includes Bait Al Safah – a museum where locals show visitors first-hand the daily household routine of a traditional Omani house. A short drive up the mountain from Ibri are the beehive tombs of Al Ayn and Bat, both of which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are the most complete collection of settlements and necropolises from the 3rd Millennium BC in the world, so are definitely worth the two-hour drive from Al Hamra.

Al Ayn and Bat Beehive Tombs

A must-see attraction

A must-see attraction in the A'Dhahirah region, the Al Ayn and Bat Beehive Tombs are not only recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but also boast the title of the most complete collection of necropolises and settlements in the world, dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC.

More than 100 tombs stand defiantly on the hilltops of Northern Oman, all shaped like beehives. Little is known about the tombs, or the culture that constructed them, but they are thought to date from 3000 to 2000 B.C.E. All together they form one of the largest protohistoric necropoleis in the world. It is a bit difficult to spot the tombs at first, since they merge harmoniously with the hills they were built on, but upon closer inspection they are easily spotted. The tombs are arranged in three main clusters, the one in Bat, which is arguably the most famous, as well as the sites of al-Ayn and al-Khutm. The best preserved tombs of the site are the ones of the al-Ayn grouping.
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Wadi Snaiq & Dahnat

Explore ancient stone ruins

Wadi Dahnat boasts ancient stone ruins, indicating that this was once part of a prosperous settlement. Nearby Wadi Seenaq has its own khawr (lagoon).

Wadi Dahnat boasts ancient stone ruins, indicating that this was once part of a prosperous settlement. Nearby Wadi Seenaq has its own khawr (lagoon).
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Falaj Daris and Al Khataman

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, these aflaj - irrigations systems – were constructed as far back as 500 AD and are still in use today. Both falaj use gravity to irrigate the surrounding fields with water from underground springs.

The Falaj Daris is the biggest falaj in Oman, and one of the five collectively listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006. Nizwa’s former prosperity was due to its plethora of water supplies, with over 134 aflaj (plural for falaj) in the Nizwa wilayat (village). One hundred of these are still in use today.
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Wadi Tiwi

best explored on foot

Not far from Wadi Shab is Wadi Tiwi, which is lined by small villages and date and banana plantations. Although the wadi can be accessed by car, it is best explored on foot, with a two-day hike possible across the mountains to Wadi Bani Khalid.

A couple of kilometres south of Wadi Shab lies the almost identical Wadi Tiwi, another spectacularly deep and narrow gorge carved out of the mountains, running between towering cliffs right down to the sea. It’s less unspoiled than Wadi Shab surrounded by lush plantations of date and banana, and criss-crossed with a network of gurgling aflaj.
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muscat alternative

Day 8

Muscat

Back in Muscat, this is the perfect opportunity to visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque before catching a flight to Salalah, in Oman’s southernmost governorate of Dhofar. Built as a present from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to the people of Oman, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece. Non-Muslims are welcome from Saturday to Thursday from 8am until 11am.

Yiti Beach

Frequented by locals as well as tourists

The Yiti Beach, located beyond the village of Yiti, is a small beach - about one kilometre long - that can be easily reached by car. Frequented by locals as well as tourists, it is a great spot to enjoy barbecues, camping, and fishing.

Jagged rocks formed by sea salt winds and waves stick out of the Sea of Oman creating the sheltered bay of Yiti Beach. Just 28-kilometres from the centre of Muscat, the beach is known as a place of solitude and relaxation – an escape from the hectic city. The sand takes on an orange hue and the water changes to a deeper blue as the sun sets and the light changes. Lay on the rocks overlooking the beach at twilight or find an area along the strip of soft sand.
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Majlis Al Jinn Cave

requires special permission to visit

One of the largest underground caves in the world, Majlis Al Jinn is a natural wonder located on the Salmah Plateau. In 2007, Austrian sky diver Felix Baumgartner based jumped into the cave, a distance of about 120 metres. Exploring this cave requires a special permission from the Ministry of Tourism Oman.

Majlis al Jinn is one of the largest cave chamber in the world by surface area. The base of the cave is58,000 square meter. The only way to get in is through one of three tiny openings at the top, all of which have been formed over time as the accumulation of rainwater dissolved the limestone covering. This cave chamber, located 60 miles from Muscat, was discovered by Americans Don Davidson Jr. and his wife Cheryl Jones in 1983. They noticed the strange holes in the ground on aerial photographs, and eventually made the journey out via helicopter. When they looked down into the small openings, they saw the sandy floor below - over 500 feet down. Just days later, they rappelled down for the first time. In an attempt to find an appropriate name for the chamber, they asked the Omanis in the surrounding area if they had a local name for it, to which the response was no. They did, however, mention that they believed that the cave was filled with genies, which are prevalent in Omani mythology. In Arabic, the word for “genie” is “al-Jinn”, so hence, the American explorers named the cave is “Majlis al Jinn. “Majlis” means “meeting place,” making the cave name, “the meeting place of the genies.”
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Quriyat

a favourite with bird watchers

The fishing village of Quriyat, en route to Sur, is a favourite with bird watchers. Species such as Kingfishers and Grey Herons are known to frequent the surrounding lagoons.

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Wadi Al Khoud

great for off-roading

Located close to the old village of Al Khoud, Wadi Al Khoud is great for off-roading, with its stony bed and small water pools. It leads to the village of Fanja.

“Wadi Al Khoudh” is located  in Wilayat Al Seeb, and is considered one of the largest wadi basins in the Sultanate. Pools are formed in the wadi following heavy rain. It is well worth a visit, to enjoy the green salience, the beautiful rock formations surrounding and its clear water pools and springs of water of the valley
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SALALAH

Day 9 – 12

Salalah and Surroundings

Best visited during the Khareef (Monsoon) season, Salalah’s rich cultural heritage dates back centuries – when the region was one of the most important trading points for Frankincense and other goods. Held to celebrate the monsoon season, Salalah’s Khareef Festival (also known as the Salalah Tourism Festival) is held annually from around mid-July until the end of August. The festival offers cultural, arts, sports and shopping activities for all. A day trip east of Salalah can include attractions such as the coastal village of Mirbat, the nearby Anti-Gravity Point and a photostop at the Jebel Samhan Plateau. The drive up the mountain can be combined with a visit of Wadi Darbat and Tawi Ateer Sinkhole. The traditional round huts of the Jeballi people are of special interest. Worth another day trip, the attractions west of Salalah include Mughsayl Beach and its blowholes plus Wadi Dawkah Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans over five square kilometres area, densely populated with Boswellia sacra – or Frankincense trees.

Diving in Salalah

Spectacular Diving Experience

Salalah is a good starting point for diving and snorkelling excursions offered by local tour operators.

Shallow dive sites accessed by 4 wheel drive and fast boat extend from Salalah to Mirbat along a 40 km stretch of the coast. Marine life is typically Indo-Pacific offering a variety of macro life, brain and table corals and schooling fish, having more in common with its far southern neighbours than the Arabian Sea. The water’s colour is more blue and visibility generally higher than the dive sites located around the Muscat and Musandam regions, offering a great contrast in marine conditions if twinned with a stay in Muscat or Musandam. Due to local prevailing conditions, these dive sites are only open to divers seasonally from October to May. It remains a beautiful area to visit outside of this time, but you are not guaranteed to be able to dive every day though the dive centres remain operational. From May, the seasonal monsoon creates a phenomenon called the ‘khareef’, bringing in moisture rich winds turning the beautifully barren desert plateaux and gullies verdant green.
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Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve

Home to the Arabian Oryx

Since the global extinction of the species in the wild in 1972, the Arabian Oryx has been reintroduced within a specially designated area in Oman’s Al Wusta region.

In the middle of a spectacular desert escarpment, this reserve is home to a small herd of reintroduced oryx. It offers a rare chance to see this magnificent desert antelope up close as there is a large herd of over 600 animals in the reserve's breeding centre. The reserve, access to which is by 4WD with prior permit only, is 50km off the Haima–Duqm road (Hwy 37) on a poorly graded track marked 'Habab', 110km from Haima. After 23km along the track.
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Sohar Souq
Overlooking the Sea of Oman, the new historic Sohar Souq is less than 300 meters north of Sohar Fort. Arabic decorations and exquisite interiors give a shine to the Souq that you can visit whenever you come to Sohar. Various cafes are located in both the ground floor and upstairs.
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Bait Na’aman Castle

perfect for visitors to catch a glimpse at past times

Constructed in the 16th century as private residence for visiting imans, Bait Na’aman Castle is perfect for visitors to catch a glimpse at past times. This is thanks to the many traditional furniture and fittings on display, as well as other features such as the underground falaj system.

Rather more interesting than Barka’s fort is the beautiful old fortified house of Bait Na’aman. The unusually tall and narrow house, with alternating square and round towers, is thought to have been constructed around 1691–92 by imam Bil’arab bin Sultan (or possibly his brother, and successor as imam, Saif bin Sultan), and was used by both imams during their visits to the area. According to one tradition, this is also where Sultan Said bin Sultan murdered his unpopular predecessor Badr bin Saif in 1806 with a single blow from his khanjar. The entire building was beautifully restored in 1991. Unlike most of Oman’s forts, the house has been fitted out with a lavish selection of traditional furnishings and fittings, giving the place an engagingly domestic atmosphere and making it much easier to imagine what life was like for its former inhabitants than in most other Omani heritage buildings. Downstairs you’ll find the original bathroom and stone toilet, both connected to an underground falaj which formerly brought water all the way from Nakhal. There’s also a storage room, in which dates were pressed (the holes in the floor were used to siphon off the juice), as well as a pitch-black ladies’ jail. The main living areas are situated upstairs, with a sequence of rooms attractively furnished with traditional rugs, cushions, crockery and jewellery. These include the men’s and ladies’ majlis, plus a quaint bedroom with four-poster bed and a wooden hatch in the floor through which water could be drawn up from below. Nearby is the private majlis of the imam, equipped with a secret escape passage, and a watchtower with pit-like jails for miscreants. Further stairs lead up to the roof. The main tower is supported by beautiful teak beams, with old pictures of ships scratched onto the walls. The tower originally housed six cannon, backed up by three more cannon in the house’s second tower – an impressive array of firepower for what was essentially a private residence rather than a proper fort. To reach the house, drive around 5km north of the roundabout by the Lulu hypermarket along the main coastal highway then turn right off the highway, following the signs to A’Naaman and (just afterwards) the Barka Health Center, following the road as it twists back towards the coast. The house is about 3km down the road on your left – it’s not signposted, but is instantly recognizable.
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