Oman is often referred to as the hidden gem of the Arabian Peninsula. While the rest of the Peninsula is known for its vast deserts, Oman offers so much more – with pristine beaches, towering mountains, flowing rivers, and lush greenery.
Oman offers unparalleled hospitality. Omanis are known for their friendliness and down-to-earth nature. Unlike some other parts of the Gulf, Omanis are generally very open to meeting foreigners and sharing their culture with others.
In addition, Oman’s unique Portuguese history and ancient empires have resulted in distinct architecture, culture, and traditions. It is truly a must-see destination!
Group Oman Tours
YPT are currently working on a GCC tour for January of 2025 – in the meantime we can arrange bespoke trips to Oman.
Best Things to See in Oman Wahiba Sands
The deserted portion of Oman is known as the Wahiba Sands. Known for its pristine, reddish-hued sands, a desert dunning experience and overnight glamping experience in the Wahiba sands is a must-do while in Oman.
Previously, Oman was split into two kingdoms, with one of the kingdom’s capitals being the ancient city of Nizwa. Located only 1.5 hours from Muscat, this ancient city is nested in the foothills of the Omani Mountains. While in Nizwa, a stop at the massive Nizwa fort to learn about Omani culture and a stroll through the surrounding Nizwa souq, which is one of the best traditional markets in the Gulf, is a must-do!
Most people avoid traveling to the Gulf countries in the summer at all cost, as temperatures reach up to 60 degrees Celsius. However, the region of Salalah has an entirely unique weather system that is determined by the monsoon season. While the rest of the Gulf is melting in August and September, Salalah experiences a weather pattern known as Khareef season. During this time, the entire area becomes abundantly green and the temperature becomes cool, earning its nickname “The Caribbean of the Orient”.
Salalah is the perfect summer destination for trekking, camping, and river canyoneering, and it is truly one of the most breathtaking destinations during the Khareef season.
Oman is famous for its wadis, or river-filled valleys. Its most famous wadi, called Wadi Shaab, is a popular tourist site, where you can complete river canyoneering. Through a combination of walking and floating down its crystal-clear river, you’ll experience all of the beauty that Oman has to offer.
Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve
Did you know that the Arabian gulf is full of native sea turtles? At the Ras al Jinz turtle reserve, you can take part in a bucket-list item and watch massive Arabian sea turtles lay their eggs as well as watching the baby sea turtles run into the sea.
Every night, sea turtles beach at Ras al Jinz, and the public can help in keeping these turtles and their hatchlings safe from predators.
Jebel Shams, Jebel Akdhar, and the surrounding canyons
Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar, or Sun Mountain and Green Mountain, respectively, are two of the most famous mountains in Oman’s mountain region.
No trip to Oman is complete without a drive up these massive mountains, whose breathtaking canyons are truly a sight to behold.
Ancient Mud Villages
Traditionally, many Omanis lived in mud-brick villages perched high above the mountains. Today, many of these mud villages are still in existence and have been restored. Many are even hotels, and you can get the chance to experience Omani hospitality through a stay in one of these ancient mud-brick villages.
Swim with whale sharks!
Every autumn, dozens of whale sharks reside off the coast of Muscat, Oman’s capital. While in Oman, you can get the chance to see these magnificent creatures by swimming with them on a boat trip from the capital!
We can arrange a custom itinerary for your Oman trip that includes all of the activities mentioned above and more!
Sample Private Oman Tour Itinerary
Day One- Muscat
- Arrive in Muscat, Oman at your convenience. An important international trading route since the first century, Muscat has been home to numerous civilizations and empires, from the Portuguese to African and Arab influences.
- Transfer to hotel
- Explore Muscat’s ancient forts and qasrs or palaces
- Dinner at a traditional restaurant in Muscat’s ancient quarter.
Day Two – Muscat – Wadi Shab – Ras al Jinz
- Breakfast at the hotel and depart to visit Sultan Qaboos Mosque – one of the most impressive mosques in the world, and the grand mosque of Oman.
- You’ll then have the chance to meet with the women of the mosque’s Islamic Center. They’re famous for their tea and cookies, and we’ll have a tea break while getting to know them.
- Depart for the famous wadis of Oman. Unlike the rest of the Gulf’s desert landscape, Oman has a plethora of breathtaking ravines and wadis, and water-filled valleys.
- We’ll head to Wadi Shab. This massive natural area includes a trek through the wadi’s winding ravines and swimming areas. We’ll trek for about a kilometre before swimming in the Wadi’s famous waters.
- Along the way, we’ll have a fresh-cooked Omani lunch in the beautiful Wadi.
- In the evening, we’ll transfer to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. During a late night turtle spotting tour, we’ll have the chance to spot hundreds of Arabian sea turtles laying their eggs as well as watching hundreds of hatchlings enter the ocean for teh first time.
- Dinner and overnight at the Turtle Reserve
Day Three- Bimmah, Wahiba Sands
- After breakfast, We’ll start our adventure at the Bimmah Sinkhole, a crystal-clear natural swimming pool. We’ll swim with locals at the sinkhole before delving into an Omani picnic feast.
- Begin making our way to the Wahiba Sands – capturing the imagination of travellers to Oman for centuries, this gorgeous orange-hued sands will be our home for the evening.
- We’ll transfer to our luxury glamping accommodation at the Wahiba Sands via 4×4 – the desert camp consists of full-service beds and showers in traditional Omani tents. For those who aren’t faint hearted, we can take part in the Gulf Sport of Sand duning, in which 4×4 Vehicles are driven up and down sand dunes in a roller-coaster like amusement.
- After freshening up, we’ll join the desert camp for a communal dinner of Omani delicacies cooked by the camp’s chef using traditional Bedouin cooking techniques.
- Join our hosts for a night of stargazing and drinks around the campfire.
- Overnight at Wahiba Sands
Day Four – Nizwa – Misfat Al Abriyeen
- Breakfast at camp and start your day by heading to the ancient city of Nizwa. Previously the capital of Oman, the city’s majestic architecture is nestled at the foothills of the Oman mountains. It is also the centre of Ibadi Islam, the unique form of Islam practiced by Omanis that is neither Sunni nor Shia.
- We’ll have a tour of the Nizwa fort before having lunch at a local restaurant in the winding streets of Nizwa’s market.
- After lunch, we’ll head into the mountains for a walking tour of the ancient villages of Birkat al Mouz and Misfat Al Abriyeen. These ancient villages of mud houses located in Mountain-side oases showcase how Omanis lived before modernization.
- We’ll then settle in for the night. Many of these mud houses have been renovated to be luxurious guest house hotels. We’ll stay in a traditional mud house hotel, and we’ll enjoy an Omani feast prepared by our hosts.
Day Five- Jebel Akdar, Tombs of Baat, Muscat
- After breakfast at our guesthouse, we’ll start the day early, as we begin our journey back to Muscat
- We’ll drive through the winding mountains of Jebel Akhdar (also known as the green mountain). This mountain is said to be one of the favourite places of the late Princess Diana, who admired it for its breathtaking beauty.
- On the way, we’ll stop at the prehistoric beehive tombs of Bat – this UNESCO world heritage site contains dozens of beehive shaped tombs that are more than 5000 years old.
- Return to Muscat
- Dinner on the coastline
- Overnight in Muscat
Day Six- Muscat
- Tour concludes, additional excursions or tour extensions can be arranged. This tour also combines well with a tour to other Gulf destinations, such as Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait.
Oman Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Oman different from the rest of the Gulf?
Oman is different than other Gulf Cooperation countries for a number of reasons. Firstly, many Omanis are a different sect of Islam. Oman is home to a sect of Islam known as Ibaidi Islam, which is different than Sunni or Shia. It is a fairly tolerant branch of Islam that is based on core principles of the Quran and is not concerned with politics in the way other more political forms of Islam may be.
In addition, Oman has fewer oil resources than its neighbors. This means that the government is less wealthy, and the economic system functions more similarly to that of other western countries. You will find Omanis working in all positions, and you can meet Omani taxi drivers, tour guides, store workers and more.
How do I get a visa for Oman?
103 countries, including all EU and North American countries can enter the Sultanate of Oman visa free for up to 14 days.
Most other nationalities can apply for an e-visa. You can use this visa eligibility checker to determine if you need a visa.
Are their ATMs in Oman?
Yes, ATMs are widely available in Oman and work with foreign cards.
What currency do they use in Oman?
Oman uses the Omani Rial, which is one of the strongest currencies in the world. One Omani rial is equal to 2.6 US dollars.
Is Oman a religious country?
Most Omanis are practicing Muslims. However, its political system is not as influenced by religion as other Arab nations. Many non-Muslim expats work and live in Oman and it is overall a very tolerant place.
Is Oman safe for tourists?
Yes, Oman is very safe for tourists.
What should I wear in Oman?
It is best to dress respectfully in Oman. Men should cover their shoulders. Shorts are acceptable in many places, but pants should be worn in more conservative areas and during visits to mosques. Women should cover their knees and shoulders. During visits to mosques, women must cover to their wrists and ankles with loose clothing, and should bring a headscarf in their bag.
During trips to the desert, beaches, or swimming areas, shorts and western swimwear are acceptable for both genders. Bikinis are perfectly okay to wear for women.
Is Oman safe for LGBTQ tourists?
While homosexuality is illegal in Oman, there are many LGBTQ people in Oman, as there are in all other places in the world. LGBTQ travellers can travel safely to Oman, and there is little risk of detention or harassment.
In general, as a Muslim country, public displays of affection, whether between heterosexual or homosexual couples, are criminalized and deeply frowned upon. Avoid public displays of affection, and be sure to ask your guide for any advice if you have questions.
Can I drink alcohol in Oman?
Yes, alcohol is legal in Oman. However, alcohol licenses are fairly restricted, and only larger bars and hotels are typically given a license to sell and consume alcohol on their premises.
Non-Muslim travellers can purchase or bring in up to 2 bottles of duty-free alcohol. However, it is illegal to drink or be intoxicated in public, so all alcohol should be drunk within the privacy of the hotel or desert camp.
Can I interact with locals in Oman?
Yes, Omanis are known for their hospitality and friendliness! Many Omanis speak English, and they are often more than happy to meet and get to know foreigners. As a Muslim country, sometimes Omani women are not comfortable speaking with unknown men, so it is always important to ensure that they are comfortable before striking up a conversation.