My first question was, where exactly is Oman?
Ya’lla Tours made history by being the first US tour operator to operate an educational FAM trip to Oman.
I didn’t know this would be the case when I packed up for our visit to the UAE and Oman, but found out during the trip when the Oman tourism director showed up and made a point of personally greeting our group. Later, the US Ambassador to Oman, Greta C. Holtz, invited our Ya’lla person in Oman, Amur, to lunch after the holidays.
Oman is a land of contrasts, and has something to offer the visitor who wants soft adventure, authentic experiences and even luxury.
With a long Arabian Sea coastline with great beaches and desert and mountains, there is a unique variety that is really unexpected. Oman is also a photographer’s paradise. It is almost impossible to take a bad picture there.
Our travels in Oman took us from Muscat, the capital, to the desert, for a beautiful overnight, to the souks, and along the fantastic coastline. Along the way we visited the Royal Opera House, a work of art in itself, the 5th largest mosque in the world, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Al Alham Palace, flanked by two 16th-century Portuguese forts, and the museum of Muscat, the Bait Al Baranda. A little later, further along the Corniche (promenade), we helped the local economy at the largest souk in Oman, the Muttrah Souk.
We saw the Oman of ancient when we visited the brick-walled village of Bilad Sayt, nestled into the Rustag Mountains, and had a traditional lunch in a mud-walled building called Bait Al Safah outside the first capital of Oman, Nizwa. We spent the night about two hours from Muscat in a desert camp, Sama Al Wasil, which consisted of twenty suites and had another traditional meal Bedouin-style.
Oman is the best kept secret in the region. It is extremely clean, the people are kind and treat you like brothers and sisters when you talk with them, and it is totally unspoiled as a tourist destination. Look for even more interest in Oman, as Ambassador Holtz and the Sultanate of Oman have signed an “Open Skies” agreement.
Do your clients a favor, suggest a trip to Dubai for a couple of days, then a nice trip through Oman, and then maybe top it off with a visit to Abu Dhabi. Dubai is Las Vegas on steroids, Oman is Arizona-Arabian-exotic and Abu Dhabi is a real-life Disney World or Aladdin’s castle that has kept its natural heritage and culture intact. This is an adventure for singles, couples and families to enrich and enjoy the exotic that are usually the stuff of dreams.
To see some choices visit the Ya’lla Tours web site.
Remember, we can custom plan any trip for your clients, be it one person or a group.
Man, I really loved Oman.
Guest blogger Rich Davis is the Ya’lla Tours sales manager in the Midwest region.