Oman is a diverse country on the Arabian Peninsula very welcoming of tourists and with endless unique sights waiting for you to see and explore them. Oman has a breathtaking nature, unique old villages, beautiful mountains, and majestic buildings.
I visited Oman in October once but I look forward to traveling there again!
Besides the most popular Omani sights, I thought you should read about what there is to do and experience in this excellent country so I made a list of the best 10 things to do.
1. Watch turtles nesting
Turtle viewing is one of the most popular eco-tourism activities in Oman as it is home to important nesting sites of turtles. There are four different species of turtles nesting in Oman.
The best time to see the turtle hatching is between May and September. Nightly and early morning guided turtle nesting excursions are offered at most turtle reserves.
We visited Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve and did a nightly tour of turtle viewing. It was once in a lifetime experience, seeing and quietly observing turtles in their natural environment.
Night tours start at 9 PM but dawn turtle viewing is from 5 AM. To make turtle viewing more comfortable, you can also check out the room rates at Raz al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
2. Drive through the desert
Yes, you read it correctly! It is possible to drive through the Wahiba Desert with your own rented car. However, it is vital that you check the tires before you go in. You can do this at any entry point to the desert and locals will be happy to do it for you.
Don’t forget to bring enough water so you do not dehydrate in the hot and humid conditions. Obviously, there are no shops in the desert so you should also bring something to eat, like a fruit or a yogurt.
3. Meet some locals
This is one of my favorite parts of traveling to a foreign country! I love talking to locals to learn about their culture, values, and daily routine.
However, be careful about approaching them, as some might not want to talk to you. Be especially careful when approaching girls and women as some are instructed not to talk to anyone outside the family.
Maybe you can start with a smile or a compliment, for example, I really like your hijab, it’s beautiful. Then you will see if the person is willing to chat a bit.
I met a cute girl in one of the Wadis and her family invited me to join them on a picnic. We had some delicious dates and some grilled meat. She gave us some insight into the life of a teenager in Oman. I remember she wanted to study Psychology, which was cool because I was also a Psychology major!
I also met Abdul, such a wonderful person who I am still in contact with! I learned from him that houses in Oman are so huge because many families are very big. Abdul has 12 brothers and sisters, which is like WOW in Slovenia and in most of the Western world.
4. Visit a mosque
Visiting a mosque is a must-do if you really want to know the Omani culture. You can visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque every morning except Friday. It is situated in Muscat, the capital of Oman, and is the only mosque in Oman that allows non-Muslim visitors.
The Grand Mosque used to have the world’s largest chandelier and carpet until they built new mosques in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to steal the title. The chandelier holds 600,000 Swarovski crystals and took more than four years to complete.
Admire the beautiful and colorful mosaic patterns that are an astounding sight in halls of the Grand Mosque.
Note that men and women must dress modestly, wear long trousers and cover shoulders. Women must also cover their hair but any scarf will do.
5. Try a smoothie or an ice cream at AlMango
My Omani friend Abdul that studies airplane management also opened a smoothie shop with his brother.
You can taste only the best fruit in AlMango and a great selection of tropical fruits, too! They make homemade ice creams in the shop, directly from the fruit with an authentic taste. Try a delicious mango smoothie with some fruit on top to taste Oman on your lips.
Besides smoothies and ice cream, AlMango offers delicious pancakes, crepes, waffles, and sweet coffee creations. Find what you like best, there is so much to choose from!
You can find AlMango in Sur, Alhamra, Jalan Bani Buhassan, and Alkamil Alwafi. Check out their tasty and colorful creations on Instagram account @almango.om.
6. Stroll through souq
Souq is an important part of Omani culture as most locals shop for clothes, food, spices, shoes, and everything else on souq. Souq is similar to a market, always full of life and offering anything you would ever want to buy!
I visited souq in the old part of Muscat, called Mutrah and it was such an interesting experience! The souq is also a great place to buy some cool bohemian style clothes that make great outfits for exploring Oman.
7. See a fish market
There’s nothing like a fish market in Oman. It opens early in the morning as locals are offering fresh fish, of which some are still alive. Fish market comes with a fish smell but is a truly unique experience in coastal towns of Oman.
8. Sleep in the desert
Sleep in the middle of the desert with nothing but the stars above you. There are two ways to spend a night in an Omani desert – you book a tent in a camp or you can put out your own tent.
We drove through the Wahiba Desert with our rented car and found a place for our tents. However, beware that it is best if you drive up the dune and check the sand around you – there should be no small animal droppings and poo as this could indicate a presence of scorpions.
Besides that, sleeping in a desert is completely carefree and a real adventure. Note that it is legal to camp in a desert so you will not be breaking any laws by finding your own place to sleep.
The heat throughout the day will soon change to chilling cold in the night so I suggest you take some extra sweaters and blankets to keep you warm. Watch the stars before you fall asleep as they might not be as bright anywhere else in the world.
9. Swim in a wadi
Wadis are beautiful valleys that are dry except in the rainy season. Oman offers several gorgeous wadis to explore, including my two favorites: Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Shab.
Before you can swim in the beautiful canyons, you usually have to walk a certain path of the way but you will be rewarded with beautiful views and clear blue water.
I promise you have never seen something like an Omani wadi as the beauty of it will absolutely astound you. If you have a water camera, absolutely take it with you, because you can take some amazing photos with it.
Jump of the cliffs, dive in the lakes and canyons, and climb by the rivers. Wadis promise an adventure of your lifetime and give you some time to relax and chill surrounded by the charming nature.
10. Sleep in a tent by the sea
Sleeping in a tent in the wild is allowed in Oman and actually, locals like to spend time camping with friends. You can camp wherever you want but in my opinion, it is best to camp by the sea with nobody else miles around.
Before you go to bed, you can take the last swim in the sea or make a small fire to prepare dinner. It is a fun experience and definitely one that is not legal in most parts of the world (but is in Oman).
Let me know what would you love to do in Oman or tell me about your Omani adventure. I would love to hear it!