The middle east is a popular travel destination currently, due to the warm climate and stunning beaches. At the heart of this travel destination is Dubai and the UEA, boasting the most stunning skylines and architecture thanks to substantial development. However, there is a hidden gem in that area of the world which people usually overlook. That country is Oman.
It is becoming an increasingly popular destination for thanks to the more low key experience when compared to Dubai and the UAE. Not many caught on to how incredible this part of the world can be, and how friendly and welcoming these cultures really are, that makes it a place that you should visit right now before this changes.
One of the fears when travelling to a new country is often visas. Fear not as there is now an online Oman visa which makes the visa process incredibly easy. Now all you need to do is sign up online and arrive hassle-free.
Now you know how easy and great Oman is, let’s look at exactly why the country has so much to offer to travellers.
Due to conflicts and terrorist activity in the past, the middle east has a reputation of being unsafe. Combine this with sometimes hostile attitudes towards woman, the area’s tourism has struggled in recent times. However, none of these things applies to Oman. Oman is a very safe place and you can freely wander the streets at night without having to worry.
When looking at basic crime rates, which include typical holiday worries which are being mugged or robbed, there are virtually no instances, especially towards tourists. All the people who live there are incredibly friendly and welcoming, who will offer you assistance even if they don’t know you.
Getting around Oman is also a safe and hassle-free process, with great transport links. To get around, you can either take buses, private cars or even hitchhike, which is a popular option amongst travellers.
According to women that have travelled to Oman, it is one of the safest countries to travel to in the Middle East. Oman is safe compared to other Islamic countries and popular tourist destinations in the Arabian Peninsula like Jordan and Egypt.
As western countries have welcomed more immigrants over time, their food has diversified. This makes it easy for us to access new food even from home, especially in England where they have embraced Indian and Pakistani dishes into their standard meal sets.
However, this can make travelling often a little less exciting as we are already familiar with many of the foods they have to offer. This is not the case with Oman, who’s food hasn’t been overly exploited by western markets.
Thanks to a rich history as a trading port and Persian influence, Oman has a truly unique fusion cuisine. It is a rich mixture of Iranian, Indian, Mediterranean and African cuisines, but also offers several unique dishes to the land.
You can try the national dish called “shuwa” which is goat meat roasted in a special over that’s a pit underground. The meat is flavoured with a variety of spices and then wrapped in sacks made of dry leaves, which are in turn placed into the oven. This new fusion cuisine will be a fun and exciting aspect of your trip.
Epic Deserts and Sand Dunes
One of the most famous sites in tourism is that of the desert. With many tourists flocking from countries with mild climates, such as the UK, it a truly impressive sight they won’t ever see at home. People, therefore, travel from all over the world to see famous deserts such as the Sahara Desert. Oman has some truly beautiful deserts which are lesser-known.
Oman’s deserts may even be the most beautiful aspect of the country, specifically the Wahaiba sand dunes. These are a convenient three-hour drive from muscat and are a must-see for any tourist in the area. If you are with a guide or careful they make the ideal camping spot. Waking up to the sunrise across the sea of sand is one of the most breathtaking sights you can witness.
There are a number of locals who will live out in the desert who may not come across tourists very often. Keep an eye open and say hello, there’s a good chance they will offer you some hospitality.
Speaking of hospitality, Oman is famous for hospitality from the locals. This contrasts some of the countries that surround it so it makes a refreshing change. Omanis are one of the most kind-hearted peoples on Earth. Not just that, but Omanis love to invite visitors to their homes to honour them with generosity and friendliness.
Oman is part of the Arab population, well known for great hospitality. Nevertheless, Omanis seem to take this excellent virtue a step further. Omani locals will look out for you and make sure that you are okay. They take great pride in their tourism and reputation and want to ensure you leave with a great impression of Oman and Omani people.
See a Different Side to Muslim Culture
Again, some countries that are primarily Muslim have a bad reputation due to some preconceived notions. Oman is a Muslim country and allows you to see a different strand to the religion. As Islam is such a huge religion spanning multiple nations, there are bound to be a few different strands of the religion.
In Oman, they practice Ibadhism, where they dress and pray slightly differently than other Middle Eastern Countries. The men dress in ankle-length, collarless rown (robe) with long sleeves and a white hat with different patterns on it. The national dress for women includes a dress worn over trousers (sirwal) and a headdress. Their attire is notably colourful flashy.