Sitting on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian peninsula, at the bottom of the Persian Gulf, is Oman. Known most famously as a site of prehistoric human settlement, Oman’s history spans over 100,000 years and is steeped in tradition and cultural heritage. Within that course of history, invaders took over the country multiple times and brought in their own influences and traditions, making it a melting pot of different civilisations and customs.
Oman was once an insular country but now it actively pushes for tourism and holidaymakers from all over the world come to explore the country’s rich history and learn about its cultural roots. From navigating around UNESCO World Heritage sites and museums to exploring archaeological sites and the different cities, there is so much to do in Oman – you definitely won’t run out of ways to spend the day.
Check out these exciting things to do in Oman…
Go Shopping in Muscat
While for the culture buffs out there, this might not seem like it should be the first point on the to-do list but for those who know Oman and the city of Muscat, it’s an unmissable experience.
The Muscat Souq is one of the oldest and most famous shopping districts in the Arab world, selling goods from food to clothing. Open late into the night to let weary travellers and refined locals explore the produce on offer to their heart’s content, it’s one of the places in Oman where you will run into people from all walks of life.
Delve into the History of Oman at the Ancient City of Qalhat
In the east of Oman lies the region of Al Sharqiyah, an area of the country particularly loved by tourists for the almost 50km’s worth of uninterrupted beach and the thousands of turtles who lay their eggs there every year.
But there’s more to this region than first meets the eye as it’s also the home of the ancient city of Qalhat, and within the boundaries of the site is the Bibi Maryam Mausoleum. While there are conflicting stories about the history mausoleum, we know that it dates back as far as the 11th century and was erected by either Lady Maryam herself or her husband.
The once undoubtedly impressive building now stands in ruins on the desert landscape. However, you can still make out its rotund structure and grandiose foundations. For history lovers and those who adore architecture, it’s certainly not one to be missed as you can still make out the decorative carvings on the outside of the mausoleum.
Explore the Land of Frankincense and Wadi Dawkah
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oman 20 years ago, the Land of Frankincense – otherwise known as the Frankincense Trail – is close to the ports of Al-Baleed and Khor Rori. The site itself features (you guessed it!) frankincense trees which produce that musty citrus, aromatic pine smell we all know and love. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be able to breathe in the rich fragrance of the trees as the coastal breeze rolls in from the port. Can you think of anything better?
Wadi Dawkah is also seen to be the best place to spot Boswellia Sacra Trees, so if you’re a plant fanatic or passionate about botanicals, then this surely isn’t one of the things to miss off your “to-do” list when visiting Oman.
Take a tour around the Bahla Fort
This immense structural defence site was built by the tribe of Banu Nebhan during the peak of the 12th century. Although it is still mostly intact, wowing archaeologists and architects around the world, today it is considered to be one of the historical sites of Oman that’s a little off the beaten track.
Perhaps this because the site isn’t necessarily built to be frequented by tourists. Visitors are quick to notice that without a tour guide, you’d struggle to make your way around this complex and you’d certainly not be able to figure out the history of this incredible structure. So be sure to take one of the tours on offer and explore one of the lesser-known things to do in Oman.
If you’re someone who likes to do something a little different every year, perhaps visiting a new country or crossing off a new experience from your bucket list, then Oman will not disappoint. Wrapped up in history, architecture and culture, it’s a country whose coin has many more than two sides.