Fish market in Muscat, Oman.
Oman Travel Fast Facts
Getting there: regular flights from major cities to international airports in Muscat and Sallah
What to see: Muscat and the Al-Alam Palace and Grand Mosque, Nizwa, Sohar
Currency: Omani rial
Official language(s): Arabic
Bordering Saudi Arabia to the West; the United Arab Emirates to the Northeast, and Yemen in the South, Oman remains historically the first Gulf state to establish official relations with Israel (in 1994) while still maintaining cordial relations with the rest
of its Arab neighbors.
Safe and sensible, with a culture that blends the ancient and modern, Oman is a land of old trading towns and cosmopolitan resort hotels, where unspoiled natural beauty and outdoor adventure never fails to impress even the most jaded world traveler.
Most Oman journeys begin in its capital, Muscat, offering modern amenities with lush public parks and spectacular beaches such as popular Qurum Beach, Yeti, and Bandar Al-Jissah.
Also be sure to take in the city's famous landmarks at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Clock Tower Square and the stunning Al-Alam Palace and surrounding historic forts. (And, if you're traveling in January, don't miss one of the biggest entertainment extravaganzas in the Middle East at the annual Muscat Festival.)
Additional Oman must-sees include the ancient oasis city of Nizwa, with its notable mosques, the imposing Nizwa castle and nearby bustling souq (market) -- as well as the mellow and laid-back city of Sohar (believed to be the birthplace of the legendary Sinbad the Sailor!) with its historic castle, impressive beaches, and beautiful public parks.
DID YOU KNOW? Oman Travel Fun Facts
Door to door in Oman.
• Decorating even the most modest of houses, brightly colored ornate doors are found everywhere throughout the country.
• Don't expect to find the world's most popular soda pop in Oman. Instead of Coke the most preferred soft drinks are Pepsi and Mountain Dew!
• In Muscat, the Grand Mosque is truly grand with room for 20,000 worshipers, and houses one of the world’s largest carpets. It weighs 21 tons, took 600 people four years to weave and contains over 700 million knots.
• Oman is the only country in the world to have souq (market) where men are not welcome -- it happens every Wednesday in Ibra when women traders sell colorful fabrics, jewelry and spices exclusively to other women.
More about Oman travel & tourism around the Web:
Oman - Busy & bustling site with detailed information
on top attractions, markets and shopping, as well as practical
tips on getting around, traffic rules, social customs, useful
Arabic phrases, maps & photos.
Explorer - Complete and detailed information on all major
cities and towns with photos and suggested itineraries, featured
scenic stops, historic forts, and story articles on traditional
camel racing and the annual Kharif Festival.
Travel Guide - Quick, useful and entertaining overview
from BugBog.com with 'been there' advice on when & where to
go and what to see, a list of annual festivals, weather facts,
cultural etiquette tips, and relate resources.