Fact : It's completely different - historically, geographically, and culturally.
Oman has a long and rich history, thanks to its ideal location on the sea route between the eastern and western continents. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and China, all of which relied heavily on copper and frankincense, had trading routes to Oman. This created a nation of sailors (like Sinbad), astro-navigators, and an open-minded perspective.
Fact : Oman's geography is magnificent, but there is certainly desert.
Oman's geography is amazing and savagely beautiful, and it is divided into three parts—the main country and two satellite states, Musandam and Madha, which are surrounded by the United Arab Emirates. Oman's geography includes a lot of stunning, savagely beautiful areas. You will find a lot of untouched, shady palm trees lining sandy coastlines; steep mountains with deep valleys and mudbrick villages clinging to their slopes; narrow, rocky wadis with cool water that you may swim in; and the Wadi Nakhr (sometimes referred to as Wadi Ghul), a canyon where you may find dunes and gravel plains, among other things.
Fact : On the contrary, the people there are friendly and polite.
The people of Oman are always happy to welcome tourists and expats to the country, making it a welcoming and safe environment for its locals and visitors. They are warm and friendly, and this is why they are frequently referred to as the world's friendliest people.
The Wahiba Sands area, which is a pleasant two-hour drive from Nizwa or 2.5 hours from Muscat, is the easiest place to visit Oman's desert. There are a variety of budget desert camps. The dunes cover an enormous area, some 180km from north to south and nearly 80km from east to west. In certain locations, the dunes rise 100 meters tall. There are no roads; the desert is huge, empty, and as you imagine it, with dunes expertly molded by the wind.
Oman is one of the safest countries in the world (due to heavy fines and punishments for lawbreakers). The only Middle Eastern or Persian Gulf country to rank zero on the global terrorism index is Oman.
There is certainly much cultural fascination in Oman, starting with the Grand Mosque in Muscat. In the male prayer room, you will be amazed by the 8.5-tonne, 24-carat-gold chandelier with 600,000 Swarovski gems adorning it. Furthermore, you will be amazed to find that you are standing on the world's second-largest handwoven rug.
Fact : While Oman does have vast stretches of desert, including the famous Wahiba Sands, it also boasts a diverse landscape that includes mountains, beaches, and green oases.
The Dhofar region in southern Oman, for example, experiences a monsoon season that turns the area lush and green. The Hajar Mountains and the coastline along the Arabian Sea offer even more variety to the country's landscape.
Fact : Oman is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
The country is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the ancient city of Bat and the archaeological site of Al-Ayn. Other popular attractions include the vibrant capital city of Muscat, the impressive forts and castles throughout the country, the stunning fjords of Musandam, and the diverse marine life that can be found in the waters off the coast.
Fact : Omani cuisine is a mix of flavors and influences from India, Persia, and East Africa.
The food is diverse and flavorful, featuring an array of spices, fresh seafood, and locally grown produce. Traditional dishes include shuwa (slow-cooked marinated lamb), majors (a spiced rice dish), and halwa (a sweet dessert made with sugar, rosewater, and various spices). Visitors can enjoy a wide range of dining experiences, from local markets to fine dining restaurants.
Fact : Oman is an Islamic country with traditional values, but it is also open to tourists and respectful of their customs.
While visitors are not required to adhere to strict dress codes, dressing modestly is recommended to respect local culture. This generally means covering shoulders and knees for both men and women and wearing loose-fitting clothing. In religious sites, more conservative attire may be required.
Fact : Oman offers a variety of accommodations, dining options, and activities to suit different budgets.
While it is true that some experiences can be pricey, budget travelers can still find affordable hotels, guesthouses, and hostels, as well as reasonably priced local eateries. By doing some research and planning, it is possible to explore Oman without breaking the bank.