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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 Misfah Old House and Nomadic Desert Camp 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 Shab (maybe also Wadi Hoqaim)

– camp on the beach and in the wadis where accommodation was non-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?

Oman Travel Planning 2023

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)

Day trips in Salalah Region (below the Dhofar Mountains), Oman
  • 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 city for an entire 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 small port
  • round trip on Masirah Island for a half day
  • road trip from Masirah Island to Al Kamil, via Shannah port – Al Ashkharah – Jalan Bani Buali – Jalan Bani Buhassan
  • road trip from Al Kamil to Al Wasil (Sharqiya Sands), with a detour to Wadi Bani Khalid
  • road trip from Sharqiya Sands to Sur

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

  • explored Sur for two 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, and Rustaq
  • road trip from Ibri to Misfat al Abriyeen, with stops at the beehive tombs in Bat and Al Ayn, and Bait al Safah in Al Hamra
  • road trip from Misfat Al-Abriyeen to Nizwa, with stops at the forts 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 – sorry, too exposed and dangerous from my p.o.v.)
  • 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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