Back in 2018, I ended a four month backpacking trip with a week-long road trip around Oman. Oman is oft referred to as the ‘jewel of the middle east’ and it is incredibly easy to see why. Sinkholes, endless sand dunes and incredible wadis were just the beginning.
Here are the most wonderful things I did whilst road-tripping through Oman.
Take a dip at the Bimmah Sinkhole
This insta worthy sinkhole is a gorgeous swimming spot not far out of the capital of Muscat. Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t go any deeper than my calves into the water, mostly because I didn’t think to wear bathers under my clothes! Also, none of my bathers were really ‘Middle East appropriate’. For reference ladies, unless the place is deserted or a fancy hotel pool, do not even think about donning a bikini!
Little shorts and a t-shirt are your safest bet. I have seen numerous other travel bloggers don bikinis as if Oman were Dubai, and honestly, it is just not respectful or appropriate.
However, provided you have the right garb, a swim here will be absolutely epic!
Explore the gorgeous fort of Sur
This little fort was a huge surprise to me. I had marked it on my offline maps as a spot to check out, but I didn’t expect for this spot to be much more than a quick looksie.
When we entered there was nobody around and at first I wasn’t sure that I was allowed to be there, but we were soon met with an incredibly warm welcome. The lovely man in this next photo was delighted to meet us, and wasted no time in showing us all around the fort, including all the hidden passageways and best photo spots! He even pulled some 300 year old guns down off the wall to let us hold – I am not a gun enthusiast, but anything that old is so cool to see – and boy were they heavy!
The entrance fee is listed online as 500 baisa (for reference, there are 1000 baisa in one Omani rial – so 500 baisa is 1/2 a rial) which is equivalent to around $1.80 AUD, but I don’t think we paid anything to visit this fort, it seemed like the owner/manager/guide was just excited to show us around – what a sweetheart!
Marvel at the stunning coastline in Sur
God, the Omani coastline is just something else! When I was researching our Omani road trip, I didn’t really read about anyone raving about how stunningly gorgeous the coast is! Sure, the beaches are more rocks than sand, and if you want to swim you will need to be prepared to cover up, but from a purely visual standpoint, it could not be more beautiful.
Get your fort on again, this time in Nizwa
The fort in Sur was small but charming, but the fort in Nizwa is absolutely huge! We chose to visit early in the morning to avoid the most oppressive heat of the day, which was a fantastic decision. We ended up spending a good three hours exploring this stunning fort.
Dating back to the mid 17th century, the design features of this defensive structure are incredibly smart and deceptive. Complete with hugely thick walls, cannons, secret passageways, battlements, trap shafts and more – this fort is as impressive as it is extensive.
The entrance fee is 5 OMR (Omani Rials) which is equivalent to around $18 AUD. It is definitely one of the more expensive attractions in Oman, but it is well worth the money.
Marvel at the architecture in Muscat
There are no words to describe the beauty of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat. This mosque is one of the most extravagant and architecturally awe-inspiring in the world. Made from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone, this incredible spot is so extensive and interesting that you can easily lose hours there, just admiring your surroundings.
Go for a gander at the prettiest lighthouse you’ll ever see
I wasn’t expecting too much from the coastal city of Sur, more than anything it seemed like a good place to stop as we continued onwards towards Nizwa. However, the coastline surrounding Sur ended up being some of the prettiest we saw in Oman. This stunning lighthouse was a total surprise to us, but ended up being a highlight of my time in Oman. It’s small and unassuming, but oh so pretty.
Watch the sunset over the dunes of Wahiba Sands
There is something so magical about a sunset and by the same token, there is something incredibly magical about the desert – so when these two elements are combined?
It took quite a bit of quad strength to haul my butt up these dunes, but as I sat there and admired the view, it was worth every burning muscle.
and lastly, stretch your legs by exploring a wadi
Oman is full of so many gorgeous wadi’s – they are often a bit of a hike to get to, but are well worth the effort! Just remember to bring a waterproof bag, sunscreen and acceptable swim clothes.
What thing would you most want to see/do in Oman? Let me know in the comments!
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30 thoughts on “8 Things You Simply Must Do in OMAN”
This looked like a wonderful trip. Thanks Ellen!
Thanks Tim, it was certainly a wonderful country to explore and travel through 🙂
Looks like you visited the same places as we did while in Oman.which wadi did you visit? We thought Wadi Shab (on the road to Sur) was amazing – a very hot hike up to the pools but worth every step. Some intrepid folk were jumping off the rocks into the deeper pools. Also Kargeens in Muscat is an absolute must for good Omani food (quality and value). However, some of the best food we ate was at a small roadside restaurant somewhere up in the mountains on the Jebel Akhtar plateau – total cost 5 OR for five of us! Happy days.
Yes we did Wadi Shab too! It was a hot hot hike for us too, I regretted not bringing sunscreen! Thanks for the tip about Kargeens, will have to check them out on my next trip!
This makes me really want to visit Oman. It looks like such an amazing country.
It really is gorgeous, easy to see why people call it the jewel of the middle east!
I haven’t seen alot of guides to Oman that have photography this beautiful. Great job, and I hope I can come visit some of these amazing places someday! -Aireona
Thank you so much, that is honestly such a beautiful comment to receive <3 I hope you make it to Oman too someday :)
Wow I knew nothing really about Oman before reading this and now I’m adding it to the bucket list. Those sand dunes were incredible!
I love to hear it! Oman deserves so much more tourism!
You definitely do the stunning coast justice with your beautiful photos. How much time would you recommend spending in Oman?
I would say at least one week, but if you want to venture into the mountains I’d say at least two 🙂
Your pictures are stunning. You make a visit look so inviting.
Thank you so much, it truly is an amazing country!
Looks like a great trip. I hope to do something similar someday!
It was awesome! I hope you get there 🙂
What a beautiful place. The Bimmah Sinkhole looks absolutely gorgeous! I really want to visit this place after reading your blog
Love to hear it! 🙂
OK – your Oman content has been jaw-dropping! I have loved seeing a more intimate/real side of this country.
Thank you so much! I am so happy to have been able to share it with you <3
Wow, your photographs are stunning! It’s not a spot I ever considered visiting, but it looks amazing.
Thank you so much! <3
Wow, those dunes look so beautiful. And your photography awesome!
Absolutely beautiful! This looks amazing. This post has inspired me to visit Oman!
The photos of sand dunes are just terrific. I loved them.
Gosh this looks so fabulous! I loved all of the photos and the story of that incredible sink hole.
I have been to Oman but more for a beach holiday and so didn’t get to see any of these wonderful places. I am planning a return at some point so next time these will be on my planning board.
I heard so many good things about Oman! your article convinced me: I have to add it to my bucket list! Thanks for all your recommendations!
I absolutely love the water, so I think that visiting the Bimmah Sinkhole and seeing the coastline in Sur would be at the top of my list! Thank you for sharing!
Wow, I’ve never given any thought to visiting Oman, but your photos make me want to go now! Your photography is simply stunning.