I’m obsessed with Oman! Little secret…until I was a geography teacher in the UAE I had no idea where Oman even was! (Maybe I shouldn’t admit that🤷🏼♀️but it’s true tho) Last year, we (the hubs and I) wanted to try it out after hearing so many great things. We were looking for a low key spring break trip where we could hike a lot, explore a new place, and not spend much $$$. Oman delivered more than we expected. We started in Jebel Al Akhdar with a brief Anantara resort birthday splurge….and then made our way through Nizwa, Sur, and Muscat. We visited again a few months later in the northern most tip of Musandam. And most recently we went to Sohar and Mahdah. Oh Oman why do I love thee?? Well lemme explain 5 of the many reasons:
1. The Wadis
Wadi is the Arabic term for valley. Some wadis only contain water after heavy rains, but there are many wadis in Oman that have water almost year round. We visited Wadi Tiwi, Wadi Shab, and Wadi Bani Khalid. These areas are great for some hiking with a variety of difficulty levels and going for a swim in the blue green waters. The areas are massive and you can hike all day if you want, experiencing new landscapes and terrain the entire time. Following Wadi Tiwi provided us with hikes through small villages, over large boulders, on heart-rate spiking cliffs, and under waterfalls. The views were absolutely breathtaking. The trails are well marked with the Omani flag trail blaze and there are water stops and a few friendly locals and hikers along the way. The Wadis in Oman are a hikers paradise and it will take several trips to explore all that they have to offer.
2. The Coast
If you drive along the eastern coast of Oman, there are so many good opportunities to pull off-road and enjoy the view. Many places on the coast are untouched and you can basically find an area to have your own private beach day on the Gulf of Oman. It’s a great cheap way to enjoy the blue green waters without the fuss of a resort. We found a few large flat rocks in the water below the cliffs to lay out on and enjoy the sound of the crashing waves. If you do fancy a resort, which I’m not always opposed to, they have plenty along the coast to enjoy a cocktail and enjoy the view as well.
3. The Food
If you like fish, you will not be disappointed in Oman. It’s so fresh and so delicious! We went to several restaurants with no menu that brought us a tray of freshly caught fish on ice. You point to which one you want, try and communicate “medium spicy” and they bring it back to you grilled and cooked to perfection. Preparations were all a little different but most places cooked the fish in various versions of a tomato, lemon, garlic sauce. Flexibility when ordering is key- with our limited Arabic we did get some surprises, all of which were fun and exciting.
4. The People
The Omani people are amazing. We were offered food, water, and rides on our hikes. People waved and smiled in the villages we passed through. Our cab drivers offered their time to take us around to the local areas. Even when we struggled with language, communication was friendly and smiles and laughs filled in the language gaps. Overall we felt welcomed and could tell the people were proud and happy to have visitors.
5. The Old Villages
One of the coolest and unexpected parts of our hikes was wandering into the small quiet villages of the Hajar mountains. The trails led right through the center of town. The villages are fully functioning and beautifully humble. We stuck to the path when we could, trying not to invade space, only wandering a few times when lost. Comfortingly enough, the people in the village would give us a smile and point us in the right direction if we took a wrong turn. My favorite part was watching the packs of baby goats try and climb the steep stairs with their tiny little legs and the greetings of big waves from the sweet Omani children. It’s a unique experience that makes you feel a world away from home.