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What is there to do in Oman?

Oman has vast areas of desert and a long coastline, which means the activities you can try during a holiday here are exciting and varied. From wildlife watching, scuba diving and kite surfing on the coast to trekking, off-roading and camping in the desert, there really is something for everyone here.

In the cities, meanwhile, you can go sightseeing and indulge in some retail therapy - although Oman isn't as well known for its shopping opportunities as some of the other Gulf states, it still has plenty to offer anyone who wants to splash some cash. There are also some great traditional markets where you can pick up local handicrafts - the perfect souvenirs.

Seaside activities in Oman

Spending time in one of Oman's coastal destinations - like Muscat or Salalah - is a must, as there's so much to see and do on and around the country's shores. For adventurous travellers, two of the best options are scuba diving and kite surfing.

Among the best places to try kite surfing are Masirah Island (off the central coast of Oman), the Al Wusta region and around Dhofar's beaches. What's great about the weather conditions here is that there are consistent winds and sites suitable for all abilities - from shallow lagoons that are perfect for beginners to areas with waves where experienced boarders can practice their tricks.

Scuba diving in Oman offers a glimpse of the glorious underwater world of the Arabian Sea. There are some excellent diving destinations all along the country's shores, but particularly around the capital Muscat, which makes it a very accessible sport. There are numerous dive sites around the Dimaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay and Al Fahil Island where you can see colourful coral reefs and a wide variety of fish.

If you're looking for something a little more sedate, go on a whale-watching trip to spot the likes of humpback, blue, sperm and killer whales. Dolphins also frolic in the waters off the shores of Oman, so you may spot some of these playful creatures from the boat too.

The best places for these kinds of excursions are around the Dhofar, Al Wasta and A'Sharqiyah governates.

Things to do in the desert

There are lots of opportunities to get active in Oman's desert and mountainous areas too, with trekking being one of the most popular options. The hiking season here runs from September to May and there are a variety of trails you can tackle.

You can climb Jabal Shams - Oman's highest mountain - walk along canyons and explore some of the country's nature reserves on foot. The Bandar Khayran Reserve is particularly well-suited for trekking. If that sounds too energetic, consider an off-road safari instead.

This is one of the best ways to experience the desert wilderness at its best, with 4x4 vehicles giving you access to the remote dunes and canyons found all over Oman's inland regions. Make sure you go with a guide though, as driving off-road alone is not recommended and can be very dangerous.

For the complete desert experience, spend a night sleeping beneath the stars. The Empty Quarter in Dhofar is a great place for this - you really will feel a million miles from civilisation when you settle down at your camp and gaze up at the twinkling lights in the night sky.

Shopping in Oman

The shopping here doesn't compare to the UAE in terms of its opulence and extravagance, but visiting some of the traditional souks is a wonderful way to get a glimpse of Omani life and to pick up some souvenirs from your holiday in Oman.

The Nizwa Souq, for example, is home to a collection of traders who specialise in traditional crafts, including copper work, spinning and dagger-making, as well as other local handicrafts. You'll find this maze of alleys and colourful stalls close to the Nizwa Fort - even if you don't want to make a purchase, it's worth having a look around at the various goods on display.

Another place you may want to travel to is the Sohar Souq, which is located in the city of the same name to the northwest of Muscat. Here, you can buy items like ceramics, textiles, gold and silver jewellery, perfumes and leather products, as well as a host of typical Omani sweets.

Excursions and Attractions

amazing dolphins

Amazing Dolphins

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a special day out at sea

A Special Day Out at Sea

The Sultanate of Oman has been a major seafaring nation in the Middle East as early as the 8th century. Since ancient times, sailors have crossed the Arabian Sea by dhow, a traditional Arabian wooden vessel, on ancient trade routes to Africa, India and...

a wadi bash - full day safari

A Wadi Bash - Full Day Safari

When you think of taking a holiday in Oman, the first image that comes to mind is desert. Located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it’s understandable why. This Middle...

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Backpackers Overnight - 2 Nights Trip

Day 1 The tour of Oman starts in the picturesque fishing village of Quriyat. Stroll around the beautiful harbour and take photos before we drive along the off-road dirt track to see the beautiful Bimah Sinkhole. This spectacular limestone crater is a...

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