Not so long ago, Oman was known only as a distant land; a country located somewhere in the Middle East that even the grade-A geography students would have trouble pointing out on an Atlas. In recent years, however, this jewel of a country has grown into an emerging travel destination in Asia. Vastly unexplored and relatively undeveloped, this is a land rich in both natural and manmade attractions; from the gleaming mosques and boisterous souqs of the capital, Muscat, to the ancient fort ruins running along the palm tree-fringed coastlines – not forgetting the country’s barren desert dunes at Wahiba Sands in the east and throughout the Empty Quarter in the south.
Heralded as one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East, Oman’s untouched scenery paints a picture of stark contrasts. Impressive Wadis (valleys) formed by ancient rivers cut through the mountainous landscape, with the site at Ghul in the north often drawing similarities to the Grand Canyon, just on a smaller scale. Jump on a plane from Muscat to the southern city of Salalah and you could be fooled into thinking you have switched continents, with the dry, rocky landscape of the capital transforming into luscious green countryside that enjoys the monsoon rains and cooler air spilling over from the Indian Ocean.