Beyond Muscat: Five Things to See in Northern Oman

Nizwa
The 17th-century Nizwa Fort looks out over lush palm groves at the base of the Western Hajar Mountains, about 1.5 hours from Muscat. Built to protect the city of Nizwa, an important center for trade and religion, it’s the most visited national monument in Oman. For a very local experience, wander through the Nizwa souk. The animal auction is held there early on Friday mornings. That’s worth scheduling around.

Al Hamra & Bait Al Safah
The restored hillside village of Al Hamra is a time capsule of traditional life in Oman. Wander through the maze of mudbrick houses to Bait Al Safah, a living museum where local woman demonstrate domestic tasks done the old way. You’ll be greeted with tea and dates, an ageless gesture of welcome in Arabia.

Misfat Al Abryeen
The nearby village of Misfat Al Abryeen is an idyllic place, where you can take a shady walk among the terraced farms and orchards and catch stunning views of the surrounding mountains and gorge. Date palms, banana trees, pomegranates and goats are just some of the inhabitants of this oasis, all fed by the falaj irrigation channels trickling through.

Bilad Sayt
This impossibly picturesque village spills down a hillside above terraced green fields and palm groves with majestic mountains towering all around. Babbling falaj course through the village and fields and friendly locals offer dates and wild honey foraged from nearby caves. Park down the road and walk into the village.


Wadi Bani Awf

A wadi is a valley, and Oman has them aplenty. If you enjoy a hair-raising drive, you’ll love Wadi Bani Awf, which may have the most spectacular scenery in Oman, and that’s saying a lot. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive (all of our Oman touring is done in 4WD vehicles) and an experienced mountain driver. We highly recommend a local guide.

Read more about Oman here and here.

See more photos of Oman here and here.

See our Oman tours here.

Foto Friday – Oman

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Al Hamra village, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Al Hamra village, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

local entertainment in the Sharquiya Sands desert of Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

local entertainment in the Sharquiya Sands desert of Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

 

Foto Friday – Ya’lla Groups

Happy Friday one and all! Thanks for stopping by.

Here are some shots of Ya’lla group travelers enjoying some of our destinations.

at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

inside the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

inside the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

old Stock Exchange building, Plaza de San Francisco, Havana

old Stock Exchange building, Plaza de San Francisco, Havana

Even if you agree on a price before hand, some camel guys will demand extra money to let you off the camel. This is one of many reasons why a guide is highly recommended.

Even if you agree on a price before hand, some camel guys will demand extra money to let you off the camel. This is one of many reasons why a guide is highly recommended.

tea on the Nile

tea on the Nile

outside the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora in Istanbul

outside the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora in Istanbul

walking the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem

walking the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem

in the Roman theater of Amman, Jordan

in the Roman theater of Amman, Jordan

in the Royal Opera House of Muscat, Oman

in the Royal Opera House of Muscat, Oman

at Bait Al Safah, a renovated house in the old village of Al Hamra, Oman

at Bait Al Safah, a renovated house in the old village of Al Hamra, Oman

riding through the streets of Trinidad de Cuba

riding through the streets of Trinidad de Cuba

Another Arabian Peninsula Foto Friday – Dubai & Oman

We have so many great images from our Arabian Peninsula fam trip to the UAE (specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and Oman, I’ll keep posting them in nice juicy batches until you’ve seen them all. Most of these are from fam group member Sallie Volotzky, with one or two from our Midwest Sales Manager, Rich Davis.

DUBAI

Here are a few shots of the Bastakiya Mosque. The Bastakiya district is one of Dubai’s oldest neighborhoods and is full of traditional character.

Dubai’s Gold Souk is located in the business district of Deira. With hundreds of shops, the souk contains something like 10 tons of gold.

walking through the Gold Souk, Dubai, photo by Rich Davis

walking through the Gold Souk, Dubai, photo by Rich Davis

OMAN

Traditional elements merge into a sleek, modern whole in Muscat’s sparkling Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It was completed in 2001 and can hold 20,000 worshippers.

The ancient city of Sur, Oman, about 93 miles southeast of Muscat, was an historically important port and center for ship building in the Arabian Gulf.

restored Ghanjah Dhow, Sur shipyards, Sur, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

restored Ghanjah Dhow, Sur shipyards, Sur, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Al Hamra is a largely-abandoned, 400-year-old, mudbrick village, the best-preserved of its kind in Oman. It’s located in northeastern Oman, about 140 miles northeast of Muscat.

Al Hamra, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Al Hamra, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Bait al Safa is a cultural center/museum in Al Hamra, where local women demonstrate traditional methods of milling grain, cooking, weaving etc.

Bait al Safa, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Bait al Safa, Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

On the road to Al Hamra…

For impressions of Oman in words, read Rich Davis’ post. For more Oman and UAE pictures, see these posts – Foto Friday and Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman: a few photos.

Our tours to Oman can be found here and our tours to the UAE can be found here. They are all privately escorted and open for customization. We will also create custom itineraries from scratch in any of the areas we serve – Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey and Cuba.

Enjoy the weekend!