Oman trip report

 

Oman



Often overshadowed by its glitzy neighbours in the Gulf, Oman is the switzerland of the Middle East, which is quite a feat considering it's the Middle East. Public transport is not very comprehensive, so I rented a car to get around.

 

Nizwa

Nizwa was the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th century, hence is rich in history. Nizwa is famous for its fortress built to defend the city's location on a major trade route.


 

Bahla

Bahla is a fortified oasis town around 40 km west of Nizwa. Bahla is best known for its immense 14th-century fortress constructed of traditional mud brick, many of which are hundreds of years old. Bahla is also known in Oman as Madinat Al Sehr ('City of Magic') due to its long association with djinns, so probably the best place to hunt for a magic lamp.


 

Misfat Al Abriyyin

Near the town of Hamra, Misfat is an ancient village located up the mountain. It is still inhabited though many houses have been abandoned. Misfat gives an impression of how Oman villages may have looked like centuries ago. The ancient irrigation system is still running and you can fresh dates growing there.


 

Bimmah Sinkhole

About 1 hour drive from Muscat, the Bimmah Sinkhole is a large hole filled with fresh groundwater. The local legend says that it was created by a meteorite hence local Omanis call it "Hawaiyat Najm" ie "The Falling Star". The sinkhole boasts clear emeral waters, beautiful towering cliffs and tiny fish that eats away dead skin from your feet.


 

Wadi Shab

Wadi Shab is a beautiful valley of palm trees, rocks, and natural pools of crystal clear waters. It's like being in a giant oasis. The trek can feel challenging, but is well worth it.


 

Muscat

Muscat is the archetype of a Gulf capital. For centuries, it was a small desert port town, then oil was discovered and a rich modern city shot up from the sand in only a few decades. But unlike many other Gulf capitals, much of the history has been actively preserved.