9 reasons to choose Oman as your next holiday destination
This blog post is in collaboration with Kenwood Travel. To find out more about booking your trip to Oman with them, head to https://www.kenwoodtravel.co.uk/middle-east/oman/holidays/.
I’ve really enjoyed every trip I’ve taken to the Middle East so far and I’d love to go back and explore some more of this wonderful region. I’ve previously only travelled there for work, and although I had a great time, it was a shame that I didn’t get to spend longer in each destination. Oman is right up there at the top of my list for places I’d love to go back to (but on holiday this time!). It’s a fabulous mix of gorgeous weather, stunning scenery and some of the friendliest people you’ll meet; so here are 9 reasons you should choose Oman as your next holiday destination:
Oman is conveniently located just one medium-haul flight away from the UK. If you’re travelling from London, you can fly direct to Muscat with either British Airways or Oman Air, and Oman Air also operate direct flights from Manchester. The flight takes just over 7 hours and if you’re a British or US passport holder, you can now buy an e-visa online, with two options, a 30 day visa for 20 Omani Rials (around £40 or $52) or a 10 day visa for 5 Omani Rials (around £10 or $13) – perfect for a week-long trip! (https://evisa.rop.gov.om/en/home)
If you want a great taste of authentic Middle Eastern culture, then look no further! Oman is the kind of place where the best way to really get a feel for the culture is to spend your days strolling through the souk and soaking up the sun. One thing I love about the Middle East is the more relaxed pace of life, which makes it ideal for unwinding on holiday. I’d recommend spending at least a few days in Muscat to get to know the city at the heart of Oman and familiarise yourself with the bustling souks, breath-taking architecture and delicious food.
I love learning more about the history of any place I visit as I think it’s really important for making sure you can truly appreciate another culture. As Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world, it’s a great place to get an understanding of the Middle East. Omani history includes periods of Portuguese and British rule, as well as an empire that once expanded all the way down the east coast of Africa. And the historical sights certainly don’t disappoint if you’re a history geek: make sure you don’t miss the Muttrah Souk, one of the oldest markets in the Arab world; the picturesque Jabrin Castle which was built in 1675; or the Bahla Fort, which was originally constructed around 3000 BC and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In my experience, the people you meet when you travel can make or break your holiday! One of the reasons I’d love to head back to Oman for a holiday soon is that I can honestly say that Omanis are some of the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels. Everyone I spoke to was so interested in why we’d come to visit Oman and were happy to chat more about their culture and things to do in Muscat and elsewhere in Oman. In my hotel they were also happy to advise on things like how much my taxi should cost and the best places to eat, which really made my trip so much easier.
OK, let’s talk about an essential when you’re choosing a holiday destination: the food. In the Middle East, each country has very distinct specialties, and Oman is no exception. Of course, there are dates available in abundance and you’ll never run out of Arabic coffee (which is more like a cardamom tea). But remember that Oman is a coastal country so the real treat is that it has delicious seafood. And one of the most famous dishes is Omani lobster. I really had no idea that this was Oman’s signature dish until I arrived and I can’t recommend it enough! Always. Order. Lobster. Or if you fancy something else, make sure you don’t miss out on the Indian food you can get in Oman; it’s very different to Indian food we eat in the UK and has a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour (hint: try the lamb).
Of all the regions in the world I’ve travelled to, the Middle East is definitely one where you can shop ‘til you drop! There’s something for everyone; from super swish shopping malls where you can escape from the midday sun, to the bustling souks in the heart of Muscat. If you haven’t been to one before, I’d like to let you know that there’s something very special about a souk; you’ll be able to browse all sorts of weird and wonderful trinkets at every price point. I think there’s something magical about exploring the myriad of alleyways, perusing pashminas and gold with the scent of oud heavy in the air. And of course, don’t forget that the souk is the perfect place for you to brush up on your haggling skills! Trust me, you’ll be practising with the best of the best.
Oman is located in the Gulf, right next to the UAE. I’ve often heard of people travelling to Dubai or Abu Dhabi in the UAE for some winter sun, but not many people would automatically think of Muscat. Temperatures are typically cooler and below 30°C from October-March before rising to consistently stay above 30°C for the rest of the year. It’s worth bearing in mind that in the summer, temperatures do sometimes climb to above 40°C. If you travel further afield than Muscat, the weather can get much cooler in the south of the country (such as around Salalah), which is also where you’ll find less desert and more greenery. Similarly, when you climb into the stunning mountain landscapes, temperatures can be up to 15°C cooler than Muscat in summer!
Following on from the point about the glorious weather, it’s also worth mentioning that if you’re a beach person then you should definitely head to Oman for your next holiday. Muscat and the surrounding areas have some of the best beaches in the Middle East, particularly in resorts such as the Al Bustan Palace Hotel: https://www.kenwoodtravel.co.uk/middle-east/oman/al-bustan-palace-hotel/. Grab a book and your flip flops and bask in the wonderful Omani sun for the ultimate beach holiday – make sure you pack your sun cream!
I couldn’t possibly write this guide to choosing Oman as your next holiday destination without mentioning the scenery. As you fly into Muscat, you can tell that you’re somewhere hot and sandy, but unlike many other destinations in the Gulf, you get a fabulous view of the sea on one side and mountains on the other. Once you’ve explored the wonders of Muscat, I’d recommend hiring a car and getting out of the city to explore the beautiful nature Oman has to offer. You can drive up into the mountains and see the beautiful lakes they have there before making your way down to Salalah in the south to spend a few days amongst lush greenery.
Don’t forget that Kenwood Travel have some amazing Oman holidays available for your next trip: check them out at https://www.kenwoodtravel.co.uk/.
For more information on Oman as a destination, visit www.experienceoman.om