Being based in Dubai, I got tired of hopping on an airplane for at least 4-6 hours for short trips that don’t exceed just a couple of days. So I decided to head to neighboring Oman, a nearby destination that I hadn’t explored yet. Located at just an hour’s distance by plane, the Sultanate is the ultimate short holiday destination for all UAE residents.
- Feel the cultural difference
If, like me, you live in Dubai or anywhere else in the GCC, going to Oman and meeting the Omanis will be anything but redundant.
While most of the GCC cultures combine an interesting mix of South Asian, Persian, and Arabic elements, Omani’s demographical makeup introduces a new element. Having colonized a large part of East Africa until the 1960’s, the two regions have engaged in a strong cultural exchange ever since. Today, most Omanis look and speak Swahili as well as uphold many East African cultural values that set them apart from the rest of the GCC.
- Go on a road trip
We grew up watching Hollywood stars taking us on road trips to Las Vegas and Mexico in tantalizing films that resemble nothing like our lives in the UAE. Now is the time to take this opportunity and actually go on a road trip, rather than passively watching one from the comfort of my sofa. The distance between Dubai and Muscat is just four and a half hours by car. With a few of your good friends and a couple of stops here and there, it could easily become that same fun road trip that you once watched in movies.
- Swim in the Sea of Oman
There is nothing better than taking a dip in the Sea of Oman. Directly linked to the wide Indian Ocean, the water here is a lot different from the rest of the region. This is not to mention that Omani beaches are a lot less crowded and the big waves offer a lot more activities. Here you can enjoy a plethora of water sports that range from surfing and diving to sailing and boat trips. And some of Oman’s beaches, like the strip near the city of Sur, offer guided turtle watching tours.
- Enjoy the weather
Surrounded by desert the hot desert and the cool breezy Sea of Oman gives the Sultanate an extremely mild weather all year round. And the country has a lot of pedestrian-friendly areas as well as plenty of mountains and valleys where you can enjoy the sunset and the scenery.
In the city of Muscat alone, the areas surrounding the corniche, as well as the old souk located in Mutrah near the historical fort, offer a large pedestrian space with charming seating areas by the sea every 300 meters or so.
- Go on an adventure
For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, Oman is a haven for outdoor activities, from trekking mountains to exploring valleys and hot water springs.
The Sultanate is also home to the Jebel Akhdar Mountain, which stands at a 3,000 meter above sea level altitude; the highest in the Arabian Peninsula. Not to mention the variety of safari and camping activities available throughout the Sultanate.
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