Information and travel guide to Oman
Oman is a country of outward-looking people, eager to meet those from elsewhere and proud to welcome visitors to their country.
Tony Walsh and Diana Darke, authors of Oman: The Bradt Guide
Oman is not a country that offers overwhelming modern architecture or a cacophonous urban buzz. It is a land of shades which when combined create one of those places you wish you had visited before and will want to visit again.
Often described as a “new” tourist destination, tour groups have actually been visiting Oman for over 35 years and cruise ships for 25. Step back in time and Oman has been a hub of trade with the United States since 1790, during the time of George Washington.
Oman is a country of outward-looking people, eager to meet those from elsewhere and proud to welcome visitors to their country. Since 1970, the country has experienced growing stability and prosperity. Oman’s GDP fluctuates with changes in the price of oil. The lows of 2016 have been replaced by highs in 2022, and this increase directly benefits government finances as well as Oman’s internal economy. This means that Omanis enjoy an excellent standard of living, comparable to much of Eastern Europe.
This influx of wealth means Muscat isn’t alone in having well-maintained roads with street lighting: if you fly into Oman at night, you’ll see ribbons of light stretching across the country. In the north of Oman, an impressive 26 km fully lit asphalt road will take you from the plains to the mountains at 2,000 m. Here you can relax and gaze from the edge of a cliff into an abyss 1,000 meters below or meander through fields of fragrant pink Damask roses. Still to the north, large lake-like “fjords” await you with their calm waters like a mirror, ideal scuba diving spots and uncrowded beaches. The South Dhofar Governorate is an extraordinary region with seasonal cloud forests and the nearby vast dunes of the Rub Al Khali. The white sandy beaches lapped by the Arabian Sea add to this region’s appeal as a relaxing vacation destination.
One of Oman’s most remarkable achievements has been to emerge from many years of conflict, poverty and national fragmentation to become the stable and prosperous country it is today. Traveling from Muscat to Salalah illustrates just how remarkable the change the late Sultan Qaboos enabled is truly. Books by Bertram Thomas, Wilfred Thesiger and Jan Morris, who each used Salalah as a springboard for their journey, depict poverty and anxiety as part of the tapestry of Oman. Today, the picture is very different, with opulent mansions radiating from downtown Salalah and carefree children enjoying life in their neighborhoods.
Whether you travel alone with this Bradt guide as your companion or, as Thomas, Thesiger and Morris did, with a local guide, you will find that what makes Oman truly special is the journey and the discoveries you made along the way.
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