Oman has been on the top of my bucket list for a while now. Ever since I visited in 2015, and barely saw anything of all the beauty it was known for, I had to go back. It is a much bigger country, there was so much in terms of natural beauty, as well as architecture wise, and museums – a lot to see. A lot to experience!
When we got the National Day Holiday, we decided it was time for another escape. I really do need the escapes to nature on a timely basis. Being a blogger and a digital media strategist, I always need to escape to recharge. Away from the fast life, and digitally advanced concrete cities, don’t get me wrong. They are nice too!
However, they are what I don’t need more of when I am looking for a break. When I am in Doha, Social Media consumes a lot of my energy!
Where to Stay
Stay In Intercontinental Muscat
That is of course where we stayed, and the one I can recommend. Reminds me of the Sheraton Doha when I step inside. It is a beautiful hotel that is almost 40 years old. Have you heard of the phrase timeless beauty? I think Intercontinental Muscat is one true example of that. Don’t get fooled by the construction that you see from far away around it. When you step inside, it’s like you have gone back in time and yet in the present sort of feeling.
This hotel boasts a huge pool area with a garden and a children’s park, and also access to the beach.
The best part of my stay was when I went in for breakfast in the morning. We took our seats outside. The weather was perfect. There was so much green. It was pure bliss to the eyes. Anytime you have enough of seeing concrete beauty, a getaway to Muscat is a brilliant idea.
The pool area of the hotel is a world of its own. Whether you are there to swim or just lounge around, you don’t have to ask for anything more. The hotel has also a direct access to the beach.
Before you leave the place, lunch in Tomato is a must. Tomato is an Italian restaurant overlooking the pool area. The weather was just perfect while we were there.
Birds flew around. The green grass. The Pool Area. It all looked like a happy place.
There can be a lot of crows and birds that may come off as a nuisance and steal your meal when you are dining outside sometimes. However, I think there is joy in that experience as well. It adds to the experience of being close to nature. ( I can remember one of the staff telling me about how some customers complained about the crows. And, her reply to them was ” I am sorry sir/ma’am but we do not train crows here. “) Moments like these are priceless. Stories like these are unheard of except when you go exploring the world.
I absolutely enjoyed my stay in the Hotel.
There’s a lot to do and see in and around Muscat.
Things to Do
Al Alam Palace
Oman has beautiful architecture, and so much scenic beauty. The area around the palace grounds of Al Alam Palace is worth a visit. About 15- 20 minutes drive from the hotel, the little of the gate that we can see of the palace, the garden around it and the grounds is a beautiful place to stroll through.
Al Alam is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos and lays in the centre of Old Muscat. The building js fronted by four decadent gold and blue columns; Built in 1972, the palace is a fine example of Modern Islamic Architecture.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
This is the main mosque of Muscat which houses the world’s largest Persian carpets. Honestly, Until I made it to Muscat this time, I was so ignorant of the existence of this Mosque. It was such a beautifully designed Mosque, I wonder why I never heard of it before. Every detail of it was so well thought. It’s much older than many mosques in the region, and so much more fascinating. What I really liked about this mosque was that inspite of its glory, it hasn’t been commercialised like the one in Abu Dhabi.
Sometimes, overly being commercialized ends up in the loss of authenticity somewhere. Oman as a whole has a whole spirit of its own – its nature, its architecture, its grandeur, its simplicity, its a beautiful balance.
Royal Opera House
Music is not something that is part of my lifestyle. But, when we saw the impressive looking Opera House in Muscat, it took us by surprise. It was literally 2 minutes from the Hotel. The weather was perfect and it made the perfect area for night strolls and romantic dinners.
Drive to Hawiyat Najm Park
Visit Hawiya Nejm Park, and see the Bimma Sinkhole. The park is just a normal park and doesn’t look like it hides a beautiful spot of this sinkhole. The color of the water fascinates me. How is that pretty blue and green! Nature is beautiful, and can leave you speechless in all its beauty.
Buzzing with so much energy is the Muttrah Corniche, and the souq side by side.
Don’t forget to get your share of Omani Halwa and Frankincense that Oman is so famous for whilst you are there.
Those Halwas melt in the mouth! Only if you could imagine them! Yummmmmmmmmm……
Qurriyat (Qurayat) Fishing Village
The fishing village here is well known for fishing of course, and is also a sight of scenic beauty. There’s also a beautiful dam closeby here. We didn’t know much about the dam until we left the place.
Valleys called Wadi in Arabic are known for their beauty. In the rains, these valleys can also get filled with water, and can be a place of great risk. One of the most beautiful known valleys in Oman is Wadi Shab.
Wadi Shab is located in the Al Sharqiyah region in Oman, it is less than 2 hours drive from Muscat and you can combine your trip here with a visit to Wadi Tiwi, Bimmah Sinkhole and/or the lovely beach of Tiwi.
Depending on the water level, you may have to get get a boat to take you across to the other side from the car park, where you start the hike. There are people right at the car park who will take you across the pond, and the price is 1 OMR per person.
Where to Eat
Bait Al Luban
On the Muttrah Corniche in the souq, the entrance to this restaurant is hidden away in a building where as you climb the stairs you think you are in a horror movie of some sort. The more you wander into the building, the more convinced you are that you are in the wrong place.
Once you step in, you can see that the restaurant has a very homely setting. The food here was absolutely amazing. Absolutely worth the 2 flights of stairs we climbed up. Do not miss trying the Shuwa which is the traditional rice dish in Oman. Delicious!
We had the most amusing experience at Al Angham. We were judged by what we wore of course. And, me like the blogger I am had a camera in – hand. This restaurant is located right by the Royal Opera House, and is an absolutely beautiful restaurant. We walked in, and there’s a discussion between the staffs at the entrance and the waiters inside. ” I don’t think they came here to dine. She has a camera in her hand. Perhaps she only wants to take pictures.”
We did dine in there. The food however, was okayish for me. I would go there and recommend you just have a peek inside because it is quite beautiful inside. However, cuisines wise it wasn’t the best of experiences for me.
There is a lot more to see and do in Oman in general. This was how much we saw. The plan was last minute. We really had no time to research through everything. Oman was a beautiful lesson in our lives just like every other place that we had been to. There’s so much we felt just with all of the places we went to. All that we know is that we will definitely be back to explore more of this country with so much natual beauty and a gem in the Middle East.
Have you been to Oman? Which places did we miss out that are on your most recommended list? Would you go to any of these?
Disclaimer: Part of our stay in Oman was in collaboration with Intercontinental Muscat. All pictures and opinions shared are my own.