12 Best Things to do in Oman
Updated April 2020, 12 Best Things to do in Oman was originally written in April 2019
I’ve not exactly kept my love for Oman a secret on here. Oman has still remained one of my favorite adventure trips I’ve taken to date with endless opportunities to explore seas of sand dunes, cling to vertical cliff edges, swim in wadis and even chase a cheeky goat down that may have stolen your sandal while you took a nap in the golden sun. Without carrying on for too long about all the reasons I love Oman I want to share with you the 11 best adventures in Oman.
Cruise The Khors Of Musandam Peninsula
Nicknamed the “Norway of Arabia” and for good reason. This gorgeous exclave (completely surrounded by the UAE in Oman’s far north) on the Hormuz Strait offers jaw dropping views of the meandering coastline with crystal clear waters. The Musandam Peninsula is a great addition to any Oman itinerary, or those looking for a city break who are visiting Dubai in the UAE.
The Musandam Peninsula is a perfect destination for adventure lovers. Explore the coastline by dhow boat keeping an eye out for dolphins and Socotra cormorants, snorkel or dive in the clear blue waters, take a boat out to camp on the beaches of Oman’s famous Khors, or take a mountain safari on the rugged winding mountain roads.
Bash Over Dunes In Wahiba Sands
Want to traverse what feels like an endless sea of sand dunes? The Wahiba Sands are the best place to experience it. Pack up your 4WD (don’t forget the sand plates and shovels in case you get stuck!) and camping gear and head inland for an unforgettable journey across massive dunes to set up camp and stargaze the night away under perfectly clear skies.
For those wanting a more tame adventure, you can opt for one of the several desert camps in the Wahiba Sands.
Read about my experience camping in the Wahiba Sands, and how you can do it too
Trek In Oman’s Soaring Peaks In The al Hajar Mountains
Not far from Muscat sits the dry, arid peaks of the al Hajar Mountains. Trek to the top of Oman at Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest peak. From Jebel Shams, you’ll have spectacular views down into Wadi Ghul a perfect way to end a day trekking to the summit is camping on the rim of Wadi Ghul. The ascent is steep and grueling all the way to the top. Plan for 10-12 hours for the ascent and descent.
Another more leisurely option is to trek around Jebel Akhdar from Al Aqor to Seeq, especially in springtime when the roses are in bloom. Note that Jebel Akhdar is only reachable by 4WD. After a day exploring around the green mountain of Jebel Akhdar, I recommend spending a night at Anantara al Jebel Akhdar Resort and treat yourself to a night of luxury.
Go Robinson Crusoe On Masira Island
Wanting to explore what feels like a deserted island? Look no further than Masira Island. This is a true nature-lover’s paradise. Fringed by sandy and empty beaches, home to a jagged rocky inland, and crawling with wildlife you’ll find yourself hard pressed to ever leave.
There are a few hotels and even a resort on the island for those wanting to sleep indoors, otherwise, you can pitch a tent just about anywhere on the island.
Masirah does have one paved road making a ring around the island, but a 4WD is recommended for accessing beaches. There are ferries from Shana’a on the mainland every day departing at 8 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 6 pm for 10 OMR per car with National Ferries Company and several departures per day on older ships for the same price that leave when full.
See Turtles Laying Eggs At Ras al Jinz
Ras al Jinz is the easternmost point of Oman as well as the Arabian Peninsula. From April to August thousands of endangered green turtles come to lay their eggs in the sand here at Ras al Jinz. Not to worry though- we saw a turtle laying her eggs at Ras al Jinz in November!
You will need to stay up late, as turtles laying eggs happens at night. Officially you need to be on a government guided tour to see the turtles. Note that Ras al Jinz is one of the few places in Oman that camping is not allowed (for the protection of the green turtles). It is possible to set up camp at nearby Ras al Hadd.
Explore Oman’s Magical Wadis
Imagine plunging limestone walls with crystal clear, neon turquoise waters filling the depth of the canyon. This, in a nutshell, describes Oman’s unforgettable wadis. Wadi Shab, Wadi Bani Khalid, and Wadi Tiwi are among favorites for most travelers that traipse through Oman.
My personal favorite was Wadi Shab. Take a small boat to the other opposite side of the wadi from the parking lot under the highway bridge and then start your trek. You’ll eventually reach a swimming area where you’ll find locals and tourists alike going for a swim and picnicking on the rocks. From here make sure you swim upstream a ways where you’ll eventually come to a mound of large boulders in the wadi. Swim through the narrow slit and prepare to be mindblown. There’s a waterfall inside the cave-like feature in the wadi. If you climb to the top of the waterfall you can join local boys cliff diving from the top.
Please note that Oman is a conservative country and when swimming outside of resort areas it is best to swim in a shirt and long pants for women as to not cause offense to the locals.
Plan your visit with my Wadi Shab Guide
Swim In A Sinkhole At Bimmah
Bimmah Sinkhole (Hawiyat Najm Park) is an absolute must-see for those making the journey from Muscat to Sur or further south. Legend has it the Bimmah Sinkhole was created by a falling star long ago (hence the local name of Hawiyat Najm), though the scientific cause to the sinkhole was the dissolution of deeper layers of limestone, which then collapsed yielding the unique and beautiful Bimmah Sinkhole we know today.
There is a stairway down to the lake at the bottom, and those with a wild hair can hoist themselves up on the ledges on the walls of the sinkhole and dive in— but do take care as no one really knows the depth of the water.
Plan the perfect trip: Everything you need to know to visit Bimmah Sinkhole
Camp With The Genies On The Edge Of Wadi Ghul
Wadi Ghul, the Grand Canyon of Arabia cuts deep into Oman’s al Hajar Mountains. Locals believe that genies inhabit the wadi and come out at night time.
Take the marked Balcony Walk trail down from the village of al Khateem that meanders to the deserted hanging village of Sap that clings to the vertical cliff edge that offer a great day trek.
Camping is possible here, right on the edge of the cliff. Don’t miss sunset and sunrise here as golden light illuminating the craggy arid peaks all around are truly something magical to witness.
If camping isn’t you’re cup of shai- there are a few lovely resorts near Wadi Ghul.
Visit Remote Villages Along The Mountain Road In The Western Hajar Mountains
This winding, bumpy road inches perilously down the side of Wadi Bani Awf giving scenic views of the arid landscape around. You’ll need a 4WD to navigate the descent into Wadi Bani Awf as the dirt track here is steep and narrow. Don’t miss the mountain oasis of Hatt, Sharfat al Alamin for stunning views from the highest point on the road, trekking in beautiful Snake Gorge, and last but not least the gorgeous terraced village of Bilad Sayt.
Take An Epic Oman Road Trip
Oman has been my favorite country to road trip in, by and far. If you want to explore on your own itinerary and timeline a road trip is the best way to do it. Driving in Oman is pretty mellow in comparison to other Middle Eastern countries and free camping is allowed most everywhere.
Check out the One Week Oman Road Trip Guide
Go Kiteboarding At Al Jazir
In Oman’s Dhofar region, just north of Salalah sits the perfect lagoon with just the right conditions for epic kiteboarding. Thanks to the Dhofar Mountains and near-constant winds, paired with the protection provided by the lagoon from the open seas gives al Jazir the perfect recipe for riding. Head to Al Jazir between May and September for the best kiteboarding conditions. Even if kiteboarding isn’t your thing, everyone can agree that Al Jazir Lagoon is stunning.
Explore Oman’s south: A Guide to everything in & around Salalah
Take In Some World Class Rock Climbing
Head to Qantab, Khubrah Canyon, La Gorgette, Wadi Daykah and beyond for epic rock climbing offers. Cling to vertical cliffs over deep wadis or the open sea for an unforgettable adventure trip in Oman. There are climbs of various difficulties scattered throughout the country.
Oman Quick Tips
Currency: Omani Riel (OMR). Current exchange rate: 1 OMR = $2.60 USD.
Drives on: Right.
Language: Arabic, though you will find some English-speaking Omanis. Many road and shop signs are written in Arabic and English.
Dress: Conservative dress is most respectful as Oman is a predominantly Islamic country. The best practice is to have knees and shoulders at the very least covered when outside resort areas. Headscarves are not mandatory for female travelers but do keep one handy for visiting religious sites.
Best time to visit: October to April has the best weather when temps are at their coolest. June to August is best avoided as temperatures are boiling hot. Those coming to kitesurf will have the best winds from May to September.
Visas: Many nationalities are eligible for a 30 day e-visa foa cost of 20 OMR. Get your Oman e-visa here.
The best and easiest way to explore Oman is by private car rental. This gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility in Oman. I recommend Marks Tours for 4WD rentals. A 4WD is a must for those wanting to explore the dunes, drive winding mountain tracks and get off the paved roads.
It is possible to travel between main cities by bus, however getting to many of the attractions outside cities will require taxis or tours for those who aren’t interested in self driving. Hitchhiking is also possible but can prove difficult at times.
Looking for a self-drive Itinerary? Check out my One Week In Oman Guide!
For those that don’t mind a little dirt and love spending the night under the stars, Oman will be a special place for you. Camping in Oman is a real treat.
Not to worry if you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are a scattering of great resorts around Oman. I recommend spending a night at Anantara al Jebel Akhdar Resort after a day exploring Oman’s fabled Green Mountain.
Who’s ready For An Oman Adventure?
Plan your holiday and check out tours, hotels, special deals, and more at Kenwood Travel and for more information on Oman and some of the destinations listed in this post please visit Experience Oman.
Have Questions About Any Of The Best Things To Do In Oman In This Guide?
Ask your Oman adventure questions in the comments below.