This vibrant itinerary combines some of the highlights of northern Oman, including the capital city of Muscat, the vast desert of Wahiba Sands and the dramatic forts and hidden villages around Nizwa in the stunning Hajar Mountains.
Oman is an excellent destination for families, with superb child-friendly hotels and plenty of activities to suit all ages. A combination of the beach, mountains and desert makes for an easy-going but exciting trip, which can easily be tailored for you.
Oman is a country with dramatic landscapes, magnificent forts, vast empty deserts, rugged mountain ranges and stunning coastlines. Imagine India specialist Louise has travelled extensively throughout the country and is very passionate about this little known Middle East destination. We have asked her to whittle down her ideas to come up with the top five reasons why Oman should be your next holiday destination…
This luxurious itinerary takes in Oman’s most breathtaking sites, including the dramatic Hajar mountains and powdery white beaches of Salalah. Spend a night under the stars in an exclusive private camp, and be awe-inspired by Muscat’s Grand Mosque.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Best for: Beach, Family
Facing the blue water of the Gulf of Oman, the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa offers Arabian-inspired international accommodation, a fantastic range of onsite facilities and world-class service. The resort has two hotels; Al Waha and Al Bandar.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Set between the rugged interior mountains and the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah is a beach resort built in majestic Omani-style within 124-acres of landscaped
gardens. It is a 45-minute drive from Muscat International Airport and around 15-minutes from the
old town of Muscat, the Muttrah (port area) and the Ruwi business district.
With sweeping views of the Arabian Sea, the resort offers a fantastic children’s club and facilities, three swimming pools, as well as 20 restaurants and bars to choose from. Each of the hotels has its own character, with Al Waha catering mainly for families whilst Al Bandar is quieter, with more spacious rooms that feel a bit more luxurious. Al Waha has 262 rooms and Al Bandar has 198 rooms. The rooms are international in style, but with Arabian touches, and each features either a balcony or terrace and modern amenities including Wi-Fi, satellite TV, coffee and tea making facilities and air-conditioning. The third hotel on the site, Al Husn, was formerly part of the resort, but this exclusive adult-only property is now completely separate from the other hotels, and has its own private grounds and beach.
There is only a short walk between Al Waha and Al Bandar, and the hotels share facilities. The resort includes three freshwater swimming pools, the Splashpad (an aquatic play area) and a private beach. There are four tennis courts and a fitness centre with a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi, while beauty treatments and massage can be booked at the Chi Spa. All guests enjoy complimentary non-motorised watersports, such as kayaking and windsurfing, as well as snorkelling and there is also an onsite diving centre. The Cool Zone Kid’s Club is located in Al Waha and includes both an indoor and outdoor play area. Families can also enjoy playing in the Adventure Zone, which includes physical challenges, soft play and computer games, or try a spot of tubing on the Lazy River which meanders between the Al Bandar and Al Waha. And if all of that was not tiring enough, there’s mini golf, along with camel and pony rides. Having said that, the resort is mindful of protecting a relaxed atmosphere for adults and there are areas, such as some of the bars and restaurants, which are adult-only.
When to go
The most popular time to visit northern Oman is from November to March, when daytime temperatures are around 25-30 degrees Celsius, with warm seas and blue skies. Whilst there may be the odd rainy day, these are pretty infrequent, although occasionally there can be tropical storms which can last a few days. From May to September, humidity and temperatures soar, with July and August often experiencing temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Nizwa Friday Market
The Nizwa Friday Market offers a fascinating insight into Omani culture, as farmers from the mountains and desert gather to buy and sell camels, sheep, goats and cattle. There is a live auction close to the entrance to the souk.
Bait Al Baranda Museum
Built in the 1930s, this former American Mission was converted into a Museum in 2006, focusing on the history of Muscat reaching right back to the 1st century AD.
Dolphin Watching from Muscat
Many species of dolphin can be found in the waters off Muscat, including bottlenose and spinners. The pods often number hundreds of dolphins, and the chance of sightings is very high. The views back onto the coast are also stunning.
Jabal Shams & the Carpet Weavers of Wadi Ghul
Jabal Shams is Oman's highest peak, rising just over 2,000 metres above sea level. The area is often referred to as Oman's Grand Canyon, and the views from Jabal Shams down into Wadi Ghul below are breathtaking.
Muscat Cooking Class
This hands-on cooking class is an entertaining experience both for first-time cooks, and for those who know their way around the kitchen. Visit a local market to pick up ingredients, and then learn how to transform them into delicious dishes.
Get your adrenalin pumping by climbing to the top of Jabal Shams using the Via Ferratta; a metal cable and rungs in the rock face. Whilst not for the faint hearted, this is an exciting experience for adventure enthusiasts!
Wadi Arbayeen Day Excursion
Venture south of Muscat to explore Oman’s stunning coastline and enjoy a BBQ lunch in one of the country's most picturesque wadis. Wadi Arbayeen is lined with lush date palms, and features deep pools of water, surrounding by soaring mountains.
Half Day Muscat City Tour
Muscat is a fantastic mixture of history, tradition and modern influences. Explore the capital with your private guide, taking in the highlights of this modern Arabian city.
Coffee with the Curator at the Bait Adam
Visit the fascinating Bait Adam Museum in Muscat where you can enjoy a traditional Omani coffee with the curator, and learn more about the country's history as well as the museum's impressive collection.
Like the round tower fort in Nizwa, Jabrin Castle was built during the 17th century. Explore this historic castle, which offers panoramic views across the countryside and beautifully intricate design and decorations.
Private Dolphin Watching & Snorkelling Trip
Enjoy a private boat trip into the Gulf of Oman, searching for dolphins and whales before heading to Bandar al Khiran to snorkel amongst the coral reefs, which are home to a variety of fish species and even turtles.
Dinner with an Omani Family
Enjoy an evening meal with a local Omani family in their home, where you can learn about their day-to-day life, culture and beliefs. This is a fantastic way to gain a better understanding of this fascinating country and its people.
Visit the Royal Opera House
Take a tour of Muscat's impressive Royal Opera House. The serene, white-washed exterior contrasts beautifully with an opulent interior, decorated with intricately carved wooden panels, ethereal archways and lavish design.
Visit Bahla Fort, one of the oldest and most dramatic forts in Oman, as well as designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort also has extensive battlements which run along the valley, and the nearby town is famous for its pottery.
Daytrip to the Damaniyat Islands (Private Charter)
Enjoy a private boat trip out to the incredible Damaniyat Islands, and spend the day swimming, snorkelling and paddle boarding amongst the beautiful scenery. The area is home to a myriad of marine life and coral reefs.