Oman Travel Guide



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The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula and boasts a 1,700km coastline washed by three seas – the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. Oman has a colourful history and there are many desert castles, forts that bear testament to its past. For a great part of the 20th Century, Oman was a country closed to the outside world, but in 1970 the newly appointed Sultan truly opened the borders to embrace tourism and it now has a thriving, bustling economy. In recent years, the rugged mountains, panoramic beaches, desert landscapes, pristine reefs and extremely welcoming locals have proved to be an irresistible lure to divers seeking an exotic holiday away from the hordes.

Oman has been voted the safest country in the Middle East and is not a target of extremist politics. Oman enjoys freedoms and securities not normally associated with Arab countries and crime is virtually non-existent. Like elsewhere in the Middle East, Oman is an Islamic country. However, this poses no problem for women visitors to Oman. On the beaches and sea you can wear normal bathing and summer dress; however, it is respectful when out in public to wear dresses or trousers down to the knee and tops that will cover the shoulders. Omanis are both friendly and extremely respectful; they embrace the modern whilst also maintaining tradition. On your visit to Oman you can be assured a warm welcome upon your visit.

Location

Oman with some of the most biologically productive seas in the world lies at the south eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula between Latitudes 16°and 27 ° N. It is in the middle of three different seas; the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman & the Arabian Gulf opening onto the Indian Ocean.

Temperatures and Climate

It enjoys a tropical climate with water temperatures between 20°C in winter and 35°C in summer and has an amazing variety of aquatic life.

Hotels in Oman

Muttrah Hotels – 1 star

Conveniently located on Muttrah Corniche (Seafront), near the famous Muttrah Souq and fort. Rooms all have en-suite and air conditioning and are clean and well presented. Great for the diver on a budget, looking to experience Muscat s rich heritage and culture.

The Beach Hotel – 3 Star

The Beach Hotel is located in the popular Shatti Al-Qurm area, a stone throw away from the beach, shopping, restaurants, bars and nightlife and only a 15 minute drive to the Dive Centre. It boasts a tranquil courtyard, swimming pool and restaurants and blends perfectly traditional Arabic architecture, with Omani hospitality and modern hotel facilities & services. You can be assured a very comfortable stay after a day’s diving.

Ruwi Hotel – 3 Star

Ruwi Hotel offers traditional Omani hospitality blended with international standards of service and has a range of bars with live entertainment. Located in the heart of the city center and overlooking the Central Business District, Muscat Security Market and Banking District, it is 25kms from Seeb international airport and 10 minutes from the Dive Centre.

Al Falaj Hotel – 3 Star

Al Falaj Hotel Muscat is conveniently located in Ruwi, the heart of the city with easy access to both the business district as well as tourist attractions. A 25 kms drive from Seeb International Airport will bring you to the Hotel and approx. 10 minute drive to the Dive Centre. The Hotel offers everything the diver needs; excellent exotic cuisine, bars with live entertainment and a choice of recreational activities that will help you to unwind.

Muscat

Muscat, the capital city of Oman lies sparkling white, topped with golden minarets in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains reaching down to the Arabian Sea . Described as “Arabia’s jewel”, this city is a blend of the old and the new.

Muscat is green as green can be, and defies being classified as part of a desert country. The roads are lined with well-manicured green lawns and trees. During winter this is interspersed with a profusion of multicoloured flowers. The city has steadfastly retained its old-world character. Old Muscat has a quaint charm about it with many forts, castles, mosques and towers dotting the landscape. Of particular note are Jalali and Mirani forts flanking Al Alam Palace.

The old port of Muttrah and the Corniche, with its promenade and souq (market) is one of the highlights of the city. The old souq is an ideal spot for tourists to buy keepsakes and treasures. Greater Muscat boasts high-rise business properties (but not too high), world-class highways, upscale suburbs rooted in traditional Islamic architecture, elegant mosques, large green parks, archaeological sites, museums and world-class hotels.

It is no wonder that Muscat is increasingly becoming an attractive tourist destination among the world’s travelling public.

One of the nicest places to visit in modern Muscat is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque complex. Work began on the construction of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque complex on a site by the main road between Muscat and Seeb early in 1995. It was completed six years later and inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan in May 2001. The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square metres. The Mosque complex (covering 40,000 square metres) is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books. Illuminated up at night, the Grand Mosque makes a spectacular sight.

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