Yes. Even our reaction was the same when our travel planning head (Abhishek) went to Oman for a long weekend. He was bombarded with many questions about Oman and instead of answering all of them multiple times to different people, he just decided to hand over his detailed itinerary.
He planned Oman around 2 months back. He had not traveled in a while and wanted to visit a quiet yet safe place. Oman fits into the description perfectly. Oman is in the middle east and til now not been tampered with many tourists. So, it just makes a perfect destination if you want some peace of mind, alone time and beautiful scenery. And now for the skeptical souls, the country is voted as one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world. So chill out…
Gone are the days when we used to think that ‘every international trip costs more than any trip in India.’ If booked in advance there are many countries and destinations that actually might be cheaper.
So how about Oman? We know, Oman is not as popular or well known as Singapore or even UAE, it’s neighbor. But that’s the best part of it, don’t you think? Oman is just opening its doors for travelers. To begin with, we recommend you to spend 4 days in Oman. There are plenty of unexplored, unheard places that you can experience. If you just want some peace, alone time where you can just relax, Oman is the place for you. With some water sports activities and sightseeing, you will come back with countless memories from your short vacation.
So, shall we start planning your perfect mini-vacation to Oman?
Let’s talk money first
Currency exchange rate –
Yes, we understand that the currency difference is as high as 1 Omani Rial = 182Rs. But the country is cheaper than you think. Because they just started promoting tourism in their country the rates are still good. A 4 day trip to Oman including flights and all expenses will not cross 40-45K per person.
If booked in advance the flight rates are as cheap as a 15K return. From Mumbai, the flight time is just 2.5-3 hours. A little less from Delhi and little more from Bangalore, but not bad ha?
If you have a USA visa then, the visa arrives in a day at the cost of Rs.1000. If you don’t possess the USA visa, then also, the visa cost will not cross Rs.1000.
There are many lavish, luxurious hotels available that are not that expensive. The accommodation isn’t a problem. All the hotels are in very good condition and good with hospitality.
There are not many homestays. The concept of a homestay is still emerging in Oman, so instead of a homestay, you might get a room or a house that will be cheaper than a hotel room. Airbnb also has a growing network of homestays now. Check the Airbnb link here
Things to see
If you divide Oman according to the itinerary, there is a seaside, city life, mountains and wadis and Registhan (dessert). No, you can’t cover entire Oman in 4 days It’s not possible. But a few parts, definitely.
We recommend –
- Muscat city tour
- Water sports activities
Jabal Akhdar is part of Al Hajar Mountains range in Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman. It’s called as a grand canyon of Oman. Great road infrastructure above par to any European or American countries, a very scenic view of naked mountains along with great weather along the way.
As you start to enter the mountain range weather gets even cooler and heavenly escape from the hot temperature. From Muscat city, the distance is around 2.5 hours.
Tip – When you are on the way, do take the pathway created by locals just to go around their pomegranate farms. It will also give a chance to get the feel of the local farming culture.
Experience some heritage of Oman to Nizwa Fort. On the way to the fort, we stopped for our lunch, food being mainly Indian with fewer spices. It’s a nice and photogenic fort to experience old heritage, local food preparation and experience the whole city view from the top of the fort.
Tip – While reaching the fort, do try some local food – bread dish Fatayer (heaven for cheese lovers)
Wadi Bin Khalid
For all you adventure seekers, this place is great to swim in a natural pool with an amazing view. Oman wadis are extremely breathtaking and swimming in its water is something that you should not miss.
Sinkhole is a place where the actual asteroid had fallen from the sky a few thousand years back. The asteroid formed a hole and now is a major tourist attraction.
Muscat city tour
Muscat is one of the most developed cities with all the new, advanced amenities. Having said that the country has also saved their old heritage sites which you can witness while roaming around the city.
Things you can see in Muscat –
- Qurm beach – a peaceful beach within the city. It’s perfect for all water sports and to enjoy the beachside.
- MutrahSouq – A shopping street only for the women (women, go crazy!)
- Sultan palace – Having lived in a democratic country, the concept of a king is still fascinating for us isn’t it? While visiting, Sultan’s (king) palace ‘Al Aman, you can see the excitement amongst the citizens and it reaches another level when the Sultan himself peeps out of the window waving his hand. It’s quite an experience.
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – Built in 1993, this mosque was a result of a design competition. It was constructed under the Sultanate of Sultan Qaboos.
- Opera House – An artistic theatre and a great architectural view can be the highlights of the Opera house.
Important reasons why you should consider Oman:
Scuba diving –
Did you know you can swim with turtles and watch dolphins swim in Oman? Yes. Oman sea water is really clear. That is a blessing for people who interested in a scuba dive, snorkeling and other water sports. You can actually spend a day near the beach doing all these activities.
Night life –
Oman nightlife scene is just developing and you should definitely be a part of it. Starting from Swanky pubs to upmarket restaurants to live music bars, Oman has a buzzing nightlife. Even though it can be a little exorbitant, we think it’s worth it. Also, you CAN get alcohol in the pubs.
Surprisingly, Oman has some lip-smacking, mouth-watering dishes and recipes. Their cuisine is mainly inspired by Arab, Persian, Indian, Asian, Eastern Mediterranean and even African delicacies. Interesting isn’t it? While Abhishek loved the bread varieties there, he mentioned even Indian food was really yummy there!
Empty roads and warm people –
The people there are really good, sophisticated and well mannered. They are welcoming and helpful. The population of Oman is merely 50 lacs. That means, no traffic, no delays, and no crowded places. Dream come true situation for us Indians, isn’t it? That makes it a perfect peaceful vacation spot.
Oman will be dominating the middle east countries in terms of travel soon. With its picturesque locations, good infrastructure and many unique experiences your Oman trip will be a memorable one, for sure.
Click here to see the detailed day by day itinerary.