Oman’s rise as one of the most exciting travel destinations of the Middle East is not surprising. This is a land of stark contrasts: 21st-century malls stand beside traditional ‘souqs’ in the capital, new condominiums rise above crumbling housing in pretty coastal towns, and deserts spread across vast nine days. In capital Muscat, see the regal ministry and royal buildings as well as traditional souk and a private museum preserving heritage. Pass breathtaking mountain gorges - or ‘wadis’ - along the way to Wahiba Sands, where you’ll be bedding down in Bedouin tents. Head for the mountains for dramatic canyon views, stargazing, and rustic adventure. Finally, in southern Salalah, discover its wonderful green scenery and plethora of cultural sights, including the historical Frankincense trail. This classic journey takes you across this underrated country's cities, mountains, desert, and much more.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Your classic Oman journey begins in the capital, Muscat. Upon arrival, you will be met off the plane and escorted through the airport with expedited service at immigration. A private car will transfer you to your luxury hotel. Check in, unwind, and relax for the rest of the day. Do as the locals do and avoid the midday heat by staying indoor. If your hotel is situated seaside, enjoy a swim in the cool waters. Wrap up your first day in this laidback country by trying its under-appreciated cuisine, a cultural transfusion of Persian, north African, India, and Arab influences.
Today is all about Muscat, a picturesque port city spread along the Gulf of Oman. Lacking the futuristic skyscrapers and mega malls of its flashier neighbors, Muscat is a slice of rustic peace, boasting scenes of palm trees, mountains, and sea and modestly dressed locals in traditional clothing. Pay attention to the array of architecture styles you will see today, including Arab, Portuguese, Persian, Indian, African, and modern Western influences. Admire the Grand Mosque, built with sandstone and marble. Drive through the Ministry quarter, with stops at the Opera House and the Sultan's palace, before heading out to the city to see the old Portuguese forts. At Bait Al Zubair Museum, see a fine collection of traditional costumes, antique jewelry, and weapons. Finally, in the late afternoon, stroll Muttra Souq, an old market of narrow, perfume-laden alleyways packed with shops selling frankincense, stained-glass lamps, Bedu jewelry, and other exotic paraphanelia.
After breakfast, leave the city - and roads - behind as you traverse the rugged landscape off-track in a 4x4. First, head to Wadi Al Arbeieen, one of Oman's most beautiful wadis. Make your way between the deep canyon walls to an oasis of clear blue-green pools and running river. Here, enjoy a picnic lunch. Visit the nearby Wadi Tiwi which is famed for its old traditional villages surrounded by lush plantations of dates and bananas. Then, make your way to the coastal city of Sur where you will visit a dhow factory to see the construction of these Omani wooden boats, as well as the lighthouse. The final stretch for today takes you to Wahiba Sands, a desert landscape of dunes that stretch over 125 miles and has been home to the Bedouin nomads for thousands of years. Watch a desert sunset from the top of a high dune before arriving at your desert camp resort.
Early risers can enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the deep red sands of Wahiba. Fill up with a campside breakfast before heading out to Wadi Bani Khalid, a site comprising a tiny collection of small houses embedded in the mountains and overlooking a deep valley with azure waters nested below. Take a refreshing dip in the cool, clear waters. Return to your desert camp and enjoy the rest of the day as you wish. Activities arranged by the hotel may include camel riding, ATVs, village visits, and more.
After breakfast at the camp, check out. First, visit the ruins of Al Manzifat village where you can stroll through the narrow alleys ingeniously designed to protect it against raids and tribal wars. Make a stop at the ancient city ruins of Birkat Al Maouz where you can take a walk back in time. Observe the active falaj, an ancient irrigation channel, and enjoy the quiet of the date palms and banana plantations. Drive onward to your destination, Jabal Akhdar, a massive mountain range with dramatic peaks and canyons. There are several Omani villages on and around the mountain range. The most famous production in this area is distilled rosewater, made from a prized variety that grows on the mountain. Arrive at your mountaintop retreat and spend the rest of the day at leisure. In the evening, do not miss the opportunity to do stargazing, as Princess Diana once did in this area.
Spend your day in and around your resort as you wish. Available excursions may include hikes around the mountain terrain, discovering the nearby town of Nizwa, a lesson on the local rock formations from the in-house geologist, exploring castles and forts, and more.
It is time to come down from the mountains and make your way back to Muscat airport for a flight to Salalah in the south of Oman. Hemmed in by a mountain range, this coastal city is blessed with an annual monsoon that transforms the desert terrain into a lush, green landscape. The first stop is the Frankincense Land Museum which recounts the city's maritime trade and traditions. Then take a walk around the archaeological park next door, the primary settlement in the area during the 8th-16th centuries. Make stops at Sultan Qaboos Mosque and Al Husn Palace to admire the architecture before strolling through Haffah Souk.
On your final day, hit the road early with visits to the fishing village of Taqa, an old town with an interesting castle surrounded by watchtowers and Taqa stone houses. It’s then on to Khor Rori creek, the site of the ancient capital Arabia’s frankincense trade. An afternoon visit takes you to the tomb of a Biblical Prophet, Job, which is perched high up in the “Jebels” (mountains). The journey up is quite spectacular, and there’s plenty of opportunity to stop and admire the view before returning to Salalah City and your hotel in the evening.
After breakfast, enjoy some time at leisure, perhaps taking another stroll through the souk or along the beach. Come time, take a private transfer to the airport for your flight onward.
A stay at The Chedi in the Omani capital of Muscat is an experience like no other. Sitting on its own private beach, with the glittering waters of the Gulf of Oman on one side and views of the Al Hajar mountains rising up behind, yet right in the thick of the city, The Chedi is an urban oasis from its sultry, lantern lit lobby to its lush Moroccan gardens and sumptuous Balinese spa. Guests relax in rooms combining traditional Omani architecture balanced with influences from around the world for a sleek, elegant and ultimately relaxing experience. A culinary whistlestop tour is on offer with cuisines from nearby and as far afield as Europe and Southeast Asia, in artfully-designed restaurants, indoors beneath sparkling chandeliers and alfresco, with the sand underfoot. Leisure guests have every whim catered to with outdoor pools, a 13-suite spa, fitness club and souvenir boutique, while business guests can keep things afloat in the well-equipped business center.
The rugged Al Hajar mountains make a rustic backdrop behind the fortress-like Al Bustan Palace, which overlooks a canopy of perfectly-manicured lawns and an expansive half-mile private beach. Authentic Arab influences run throughout the hotel and its 150 rooms to remind guests of the rich and ostentatious Arabian culture. Beautifully-designed interiors are an artistic combination of old and new, fusing local traditions and art deco hints to create a unique melange of Middle Eastern culture and art. Particularly notable is the spectacular 125-foot-high domed atrium lobby, which, along with the ornate wall covers and intricate carvings has earnt the hotel the extravagant reputation as the ‘Jewel of the Sultanate’. Its idyllic location and range of facilities gives guests the opportunity to indulge in a number of watersports or simply relax in one of the five outdoor pools. Four exquisite dining options from alluring beachfront restaurants provide guests with spectacular sea views while they savour exceptional flavors from around the world.
Just 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Muscat, Oman, the spectacular Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa sprawls over a rugged peninsula, reaching out into the crystal blue water of the Sea of Oman. Featuring a long, sandy beach and surrounded by mountains, this resort matches its spectacular natural environment with its exquisite design and architecture, calling back to times of Arabian Palaces and local markets. Guests may choose between three distinct hotels located across the property: Al Waha, “the Oasis,” a family-friendly hotel turned seaside paradise; Al Bandar, “the Town,” which serves as the shopping-and-eating hub of the resort, and the palatial Al Husn, "the Castle,” the most luxurious of them all. With world-class restaurants and seaside cafes and bars, a wide variety of water activities including sea kayaking and scuba diving, and –of course –CHI, The Spa, guests at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa will lose themselves in fun, in adventure, in luxury, and in style.
Rising like a surreal mirage out of the colorful Wahiba Sands, Desert Nights Camp is an exclusive five-star hotel in Oman. The fragrance of frankincense and myrrh greet guests upon arrival for a journey into an alluring Arabian world. Offering luxurious comfort in the form of Bedouin-style tents under a blanket of Arabian stars, the camp is an exceptional destination with exclusive air. Red sand dunes create a romantic backdrop for these intimate air-conditioned tents, complete with Omani-style decor and furnishings. An extravagant bathroom is the highlight of the room, featuring world-class amenities and golden tiles for a lavish and airy feel. All rooms open out to encompass panoramic scenes over the silken desert sands, offering serene and picturesque views.
The Al Hajar mountains form one of the most photogenic regions of Oman - a widely underrated country known throughout the Middle East for its diverse natural beauty and fascinating culture. The Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort takes full advantage of the location, perched thousands of feet above sea level, looking down into a spectacular gorge that plummets to the ground below. And it's not just a good location that sets this resort apart from the rest. The wonderfully appointed range of suites here boast 'ridge', 'mountain' or 'horizon' views, each as spectacular as the next. This, after all, is a five-star hotel, so expect the rooms to come fully furnished with all the facilities you would expect; this means free high-speed WiFi, cable TV, air conditioning and lavish en-suite bathrooms with a quality range of toiletries. Away from the rooms, take a dip in one of the indoor or outdoor swimming pools, or enjoy delicious, elegantly presented local specialities at the resort's signature 'Juniper Restaurant' or adjacent 'Rose Lounge'. There's also an onsite business center, a luxurious spa and free parking for guests coming by car. Alila Jabal Akhdar is approximately 2.5 hours away from the major Muscat International Airport of Oman.
In Oman’s northwest lies Green Mountain, and here, upon Saiq Plateau, sits Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar. More than 6500 feet above sea level, it is the Middle East’s highest five-star resort and, perched on the rim of a vast plunging canyon, the views from every vantage point are stunning. Surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery, and with all the benefits of a temperate climate, the resort is perfectly situated just two hours’ drive from Muscat, and near to all the wonders of Nizwa. Based on the awe-inspiring architecture of its ancient counterparts, guests will be enchanted by the towers and courtyards of Al Jabal Akhdar, where historic elegance meets modern luxury. The comprehensive range of facilities include an infinity pool, fitness center and tennis courts, library and spa, not to mention a huge array of dining options. Kids and teens have their own dedicated clubs so the whole family will be well occupied and happy, and the stylishly appointed rooms and private villas offer accommodation to suit all parties.
Situated along the white-sand beaches of Oman, this stylish resort features luxurious guestrooms and a collection of spacious villas that boast private pools. Perfect for romantic getaways and pleasure trips, the Anantara Salalah also houses three gourmet restaurants which serve a variety of flavors and an opulent spa that ensures guests can find a premium state of relaxation. Additionally, the resort's youth clubs make it an excellent destination for families as well.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, car refreshments, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. VIP arrival airport service with porter, lounge, dedicated fast track included. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
Duncan Forgan travels through Oman to find turtles, beaches, and one of the most luxurious hotels in the whole of the country, The Chedi Muscat.
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