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Oman Travel Planning

26 Aug

Oman Travel Planning is the summary of my one-month trip through Oman during the autumn of 2023 (September – October). The pace of traveling was slow and flexible. I could go and stay wherever I wanted with a rented car, but I had to stick with the limited time frame of the visa (30 days).

Oman Travel Planning – General Planning

The travel planning for Oman started almost three months before the trip. I used only the Lonely Planet Guide and read a couple of other articles about Oman wadis hiking on the internet. I considered that the guide book offered me enough, well-synthesized information to plan the trip. Also, I could choose the places in the guide book where I wanted to go for one month – tourist places, UNESCO heritage sites, as well as off-the-beaten-track places and hiking trails in some of the most famous mountains and valleys in Oman.

Oman Travel Planning – Fixed Plans

Before leaving to Oman, I had booked/ contacted/ written / messaged:

– a car, which I booked a few days after buying the flight tickets (I haven’t paid the whole amount for it though, it was only partially paid, so I was a bit nervous they wouldn’t have a car for me – it would have been impossible for me to travel through Oman without a car, so the car was a big must for me)

– a flight ticket, which I bought almost three months in advance

– several Couchsurfing contacts who could have helped me with information, accommodation, and phone calls if anything happened to me in Oman during my stay

– additionally, I was part of a Whatsapp Couchsurfing Oman group where more than 100 people (locals and former travelers to Oman) could answer any questions I may have had

– a collaboration with several authentic guesthouses/ camps: here I wrote about …. in exchange for free accommodation

– several Couchsurfing requests accepted in Muscat, Salalah, Nizwa, and Sharqyia Sands (I messaged the hosts before the departure to Oman as I knew I wouldn’t have time for messages during my stay in Oman)

Oman Travel Planning – Intentions, but nothing fixed

When I traveled to Oman, I wanted to do/ go to the following places (but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do all of them):

– drive the long 1000-km road from Muscat to Salalah on the rim of the desert, with an overnight stop in the desert town of Haima

– explore Salalah and its surroundings until the end of September when there’s still greenery / waterfalls after the summer monsoon (khareef)

– drive all the coastline along the Arabian Sea from Salalah to Al Wahiba (Sharqyia) Sands

– stay with a Bedouin family in a traditional camp in Sharqyia Sands (also known as Al Wahiba Sands)

– stay with a local family and join them for dinner in the evening (maybe eating with hands and/ or sitting on the floor around a low table)

– explore as many forts as possible throughout the country

– explore as many souqs as possible throughout the country (such as Salalah, Muscat – Mutrah, Sur, Ibra Wednesday market, Sinaw Thursday camel market, Nizwa Friday animal market)

– hike and swim in Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Tiwi, and Wadi Sham (maybe also Wadi Hoqaim)

– camp on the beach and in the wadis where the accommodation was not existent, scarce, or too expensive

– drive by 2WD to the top of Jebel Shams in the Western Hajar Mountains and hike the Balcony Walk

– travel by 4×4 from Nizwa to Rustaq over the mountains, via the Snake Gorges and Wadi Bani Awf

– smoke shisa – ok, maybe just for the sake of a photo

Oman Travel Planning – Final Result

This is the final result of my trip to Oman, where I stayed for one month. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about Oman. Which is your favorite place in Oman? Why?

Muscat (5 days in total)

  • flight from Bucharest (Romania) to Muscat (Oman) with a short layover in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Turkey), approximately 12h in total
  • explored Madinat Qaboos neighborhood, the Grand Mosque and Opera
  • explored Old Muscat Town and Mutrah neighborhood
  • explored Al Seeb souq on the outskirts of Muscat

Salalah (5 days)

  • road trip from Muscat to Salalah, with an overnight stop in Haima in the middle of the desert
  • round-trip in Salalah surroundings (camel farms, springs, waterfalls)
  • round-trip from Salalah to Jebel Samhan (wild camels, springs, waterfalls)
  • explored Salalah for a full day

The Arabian Sea Coastline – Salalah to Sur (6 days)

  • road trip from Salalah to Khalil, via Mirbat – Sadah – Hasik – Wadi Suneik – Ash Shuwaimiyah – Shaleem – Lakbi
  • road trip from Khalil to Masirah Island, via Duqm and Shannah
  • round trip on Masirah Island for a half day
  • road trip from Masirah Island to Al Kamil, via Shannah – Al Ashkharah – Jalan Bani Buali – Jalan Bani Buhassan
  • road trip from Al Kamil to Al Wasil (Sharqiya Sands), via Jalan Bani Buhassan and Wadi Bani Khalid
  • road trip from Sharqiya Sands to Sur

The Gulf of Oman – from Sur to Muscat (4 days)

  • explored Sur for two full days
  • explored the surroundings of Sur – Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi
  • road trip from Sur to Muscat, with stops in Qalhat ancient city – Hawiyat Najm Park with Bimmah Sinkhole – Quriyat Fort and Souq

Muscat again (see Muscat)

Crossing the Hajar Mountains from Muscat to Nizwa (4 days)

  • road trip from Muscat to Ibri, with stops at the forts in Barka – Nakhal – Rustaq
  • road trip from Ibri to Misfat al Abriyeen, with stops at the beehive tombs in Bat and Al Ayn, and Al Hamra
  • road trip from Misfat Al-Abriyeen to Nizwa, with stops in Bahla and Jabrin
  • road trip from Nizwa to Ibra, with stops in Birkat Al Mauz and Zukait beehive tombs

Traditional souqs in Oman (3 days)

  • explored Ibra souqs for a whole day (Wednesday mornings)
  • explored the camel and livestock souq in Sinaw (Thursday mornings)
  • explored the livestock souq in Nizwa (Friday mornings)

The Hajar Mountains (6 days)

  • road trip from Nizwa to the top of Jebel Shams (the highest in Oman – 3028m)
  • partially hiked the Balcony Walk (2/3 of it)
  • explored Nizwa souqs and fort for a whole day
  • round trip from Birkat al Mauz to Jebel Akhdar, with hiking between Ash Sheraiqah – Al Ayn – Al Qashar villages
  • road trip from Nizwa to Muscat, with an afternoon stop in Al Seeb
  • very-early morning flight from Muscat (Oman) to Bucharest (Romania), with a long layover in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Turkey)

This is the summary of the one-month trip to Oman. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about traveling to Oman. Which is your favorite place in Oman? Why? Where would you go?

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