Explore Oman: The Ultimate Oman Travel Guide

I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty.

Joy Harjo

The Land of Frankincense

A complete contrast to some of its more ostentatious neighbours, Oman is a lesson in understated beauty. This is a nation that’s held onto its cultural identity and Bedouin heritage with a firm grip. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly – and accessible – countries on the Arabian Peninsular.

Add to that natural beauty of otherworldly proportions, unrestricted wild camping and highways that are made for road tripping, and you have the perfect recipe for your first encounter with the Middle East.

I spent 10 blissful days driving myself around Oman. Even if you’re limited to a layover or short stay, you can still see a lot by taking day trips from the capital.

Oman Travel Guide: Desert dunes at dusk in Oman's Wahiba Sands desert.

Oman travel essentials

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Best things to do in Oman

From Muscat’s elegant Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Royal Opera House to the humble mud village of Misfat Al Abriyeen, from 3,000-plus kilometres of coastline dotted with wooden dhow boats to the rocky peaks of the Jebel Shams mountains, Oman literally has it all.

Spend your days wandering around Oman’s desert sandcastles, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bahla Fort, and the imposing Nizwa Fort. When the heat gets too much, find your salvation in the shade of a dancing date palm. As you emerge from the shadowy, labyrinthine Muttrah Souq into the blistering sun on the Corniche, the smell of frankincense and cardamom coffee will follow you.

The charm of Omani culture and hospitality is matched by the country’s extreme landscape. Highlights of a trip to Oman include searching the sand dunes for Wadi Shab, a real-life oasis cut from the desert, plunging feet-first into the Bimmah Sinkhole on a steaming day, and watching the hatchlings make a break for it at Raz Al Jinz Turtle Reserve on a cool night.

Dune bashing in the Sharqiya Sands (Wahiba Sands) at the edge of the Empty Quarter that bridges Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is another Oman must-do – not to mention spending a night under the stars at a luxury desert camp.

Explore Oman

My Oman favourites